With winter firmly in the rearview mirror, it's time to make sure your vehicle is ready for the summer roads ahead because chances are your car is feeling a bit sluggish. Every May is Car Care Month in Canada, so there's no better time than now to wipe away the affect that salted roads, cold temperatures, and potholes have had on your car.
10 simple spring maintenance tips for your car
1. Give your car a good cleaning
Refresh the interior of your car by wiping down the windows, washing the floor mats, and vacuuming the car's upholstery to remove any dirt and road salt that have settled in after the long winter.
2. Clean out your glove compartment and trunk too
Sift through what you're storing in your glove compartment and trunk and throw out items that are no longer needed. Keep only important items in your glove compartment, like your owner's manual, vehicle ownership and proof of auto insurance.
Tip: Don't leave your ownership and insurance documents in the car all the time; if your car is ever stolen, the last thing you want is for the thieves to have your personal information. Take your documents with you whenever you park the car.
3. Go through your emergency roadside kit
Emergency car kits aren't just for the winter. Make sure you have a kit in your trunk all year long and it includes things like a first-aid kit, flashlights, snacks and bottled water.
4. Test your car's lights to make sure they're working
Check your vehicle's various lights--both inside and outside--to make sure they're all working. For lights that no longer work, refer to your owner's manual because you can change the bulbs on many of them yourself.
5. Inspect your windshield for chips and cracks
According to BeCarCareAware.ca "any damage to your windshield can decrease the overall effectiveness of airbags, seatbelts, roof stability, and your personal safety in the event of an accident. If your windshield has a crack, it's important to have it repaired or replaced immediately."
Tip: Your first insurance claim for repairing or replacing your windshield will typically not affect your premiums; however, if you have a history of windshield claims, you could be looking at some coverage changes come renewal time. In some cases, your deductible may be increased while in other instances, the coverage may be removed from your policy.
6. Change your wiper blades
Wiper blade rubber deteriorates over time, and wipers that do not wipe away the rain effectively are a safety concern. Replace your wipers at least twice a year.
7. Top up your window washer fluid
You don't realize how important window washer fluid is until you've run out, usually at the most inopportune time. Top up your window washer fluid and keep a spare jug of it in your trunk, just in case.
8. Check your tire pressure
Your car's tires are the only thing between you and the road so it is essential that you keep an eye on them. Check your tire pressure monthly (including the spare) because if your tire pressure is off, safety features like your antilock brakes may not function correctly, your vehicle's fuel efficiency will suffer, and your tires won't last as long as they should.
9. Check your tire's treads
According to BeTireSmart.ca, all tires in Canada are manufactured with wear bars to warn drivers when the tires should be replaced. These coloured bars appear when there is less than 1.6 mm of tread depth remaining on your tire.
If you're not sure where to look for the wear bars, the site also suggests trying the "Bluenose" test. Just place a Canadian dime in the tire's groove, with the Bluenose's sails pointing down. If you can see the top of the sails, then the tire needs to be replaced.
10. Take your car into the mechanic for a well-deserved servicing
Take your car in for a springtime tune-up, oil change, and an overall good looking over. Filters, hoses, belts and fluids will all get the attention they need. Also, if you haven't yet, switch back to your all-season or summer tires. Winter tires don't like the warm weather and they'll wear out faster.
Now that the summer driving and road trip season is on the horizon, taking care of your car now will ensure that your car is good to go, when you're ready to go. Safe travels.