©iStockphoto.com/Pavel Yakovenko Image by: ©iStockphoto.com/Pavel Yakovenko
Seasonal checkup checklist
Do you change things around in your coat closet when the seasons change? Maybe move those spring jackets to the basement and dig out your boots, gloves, hat and scarf? Your car needs the same kind of attention. Consult the following checklist in the spring and again in the fall:
• Switch wiper blades.
• Change windshield washer fluid.
• Change tires.
• Change oil.
• Clean out trunk.
• Check spare tire and jack.
• Perform walk-around inspection (look for loose moldings and hoses, paint chips, scratches, etc.).
Once you and your car are through the ravages of winter, you'll find a whole new set of challenges to face in the spring, such as potholes, which pop up like perennials. Your car has already suffered enough abuse through the winter. You know what I'm talking about, those times when you were stuck on the ice, or stuck in a snowbank, and rather than shovel your way out you gunned the engine and smoked the tires to get unstuck.
At times your engine may have been revving up at around 3,000 RPMs. That's really hard on the transmission and the engine, as well as on the front end. The spring checkup will show you just how badly you've hurt your car.
First, you'll want to have the air filter checked. A car picks up a lot of moisture and sludge and dirt throughout the winter, so you'll want to make sure the air filter is not all gunked up. Again, you may or may not be due for an oil change, depending on the mileage. You'll also need to have the winter tires removed as soon as is safely possible.
A lot of lazy car owners drive on their winter tires well into the spring. If this is you, start saving up for another set. The rising springtime temperatures will adversely affect the tires. They'll break down in the heat much more quickly than they would when used for their correct application in the cold and the snow. Prolonged contact with dry roads is also not good for winter tires. So, as soon as is safe, switch 'em for the summer set.
You should check the brakes next. If you've managed to survive pothole season, and after you get your summer tires put on, check the front end, the suspension and the alignment, because you'll want to make sure the car drives straight after all the stuff you've bumped into or slid on during the winter. Last, but certainly not least, you should put your summer wiper blades back on and store the winter ones for next year.
• Get the best price for car repairs
• Safe driving strategies
• Cut your gas usage by up to 30 per cent
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