Spring Car Maintenance | Shelter Insurance®

Spring Car Maintenance

Image: A person checking their tire with an air gauge

Imagine you are cruising down the road with your windows down feeling the new warmth of spring on your face after a chilly and bitter winter. You’ve been looking forward to a nice road trip after being stuck inside all winter. Suddenly a light on your dashboard goes off and there goes your good mood. The tire pressure is low and you’re in the middle of nowhere, and you forgot to check your tires before getting on the road.

Spring is a good time to check your vehicle and get it in good shape for the warmer days ahead. This will help ensure that your next road trip will go smoothly and avoid any proverbial bumps in the road. Here are some things to check:

Washing and Waxing

After months of driving through road salt slush, your car could use a good wash. Leaving salt and other debris can cause rust and corrosion. The brake and fuel lines are the most susceptible to corrosion and rust because they are close to the undercarriage of the car, so focus on the underside of your vehicle when you are washing it. You should also wax your car in the spring because of the additional sunlight exposure.  This level of sunlight isn’t harmful to the paint yet, and the slight moisture in the air will help the wax set in better. Waxing will protect the paint on your car from dirt, bugs and other contaminants.

Tire Pressure

When the seasons change, the temperature can impact your tire pressure significantly. During the cold months, your tire pressure usually decreases, so much so that you need to add air more frequently throughout winter. Spring is  a good time check your tire pressure to see if it is at the correct pressure per square inch, more commonly known as PSI, for your vehicle as temperatures are on the rise. You can check your tire pressure by removing the cap from the air valve on your tire and then pressing your tire gauge against the open valve system for a second. You should then compare that number to your vehicle’s recommended PSI. Your vehicle’s recommended tire pressure can usually be found on a sticker inside the driver’s door.

Filters

Start off the season with clean and efficient air filters. Your car’s air filters are there to protect your engine’s air quality and fuel efficiency. They are designed to filter out contaminants and allow fresh air to enter specific components. The main filters are your engine and cabin filters. Your car’s cabin air filter gets rid of contaminants and allergens in the air used for your air conditioner and heating. When these filters are full, you are more likely to breathe in dust and pollen. You may also notice a musty smell and the air might seem stuffy as you are driving. Having a clean cabin air filter is also important when trying to ensure adequate air flow for defrosting and defogging your windows.

Your engine’s air filter is there to prevent dirt, dust, debris and other forms of contaminants from getting pulled into your engine. A dirty air filter can decrease your car's performance power because of the lack of amount of clean air getting through to the engine. A clogged air filter can also cause damage to other engine parts which can affect your car’s drivability.

Fluids

Spring is a good time to check the fluids in your car because the winter conditions may cause your fluids to break down. Now that it is getting warmer out, check to see if your fluids need to be topped off, flushed or changed. Some fluids to check are coolant, windshield wiper fluid and brake fluid. Coolant is responsible for keeping the engine from overheating as temperatures rise. Having windshield wiper fluid ready is crucial to keeping your view clear and driving safe in case something gets on your windshield. Brake fluid becomes less effective over time as it absorbs moisture, and this makes your brakes less responsive and may cause you to step on them harder.

Check these things off your to-do list this spring so your car will be prepared for the hot months ahead! These simple precautions can save you from dealing with bigger problems down the road. Take advantage of the spring weather to get it done!

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