“Less is more,” I justify when it’s time for new wiper blades or when the tires could use some more air. “My car is low maintenance. It can hold off for awhile and be no worse for wear.” Denial, anyone?
It’s time to be proactive. It’s time to turn over a new leaf. It’s time to bring my car in for a spring check-up. After those windblown, salt strewn winter months our cars need a little TLC. Consistent maintenance now leads to longer life for the car and potentially better trade-in value later.
When either checking it yourself (kudos to you, I’m not there yet) or bringing it in to your mechanic, here are a few things to focus on:
- Battery – Winters are hard on starters. If your battery is over three years old be especially vigilant. If you have gutless power windows or weak headlights, these may be signs of a fading battery.
- Belts and hoses – Look out for peeling, cracking, fraying or softening. If any of those are visible that part may need to be replaced immediately.
- Fluids – Oil, coolant, transmission, brake, power steering & windshield fluids need to be checked.
- Tires – Air pressure and tread. If there is uneven wear you’ll need an alignment.
Here are a few maintenance issues you can definitely tackle yourself:
- Wash and wax – Household dish detergent can strip the wax finish off a car so choose a cleanser that is auto specific. Applying a coat of wax twice a year will help protect your vehicle from grit, grime and UV rays.
- Salt – It can eat through your exterior paint. Bring it to a carwash and give it a thorough undercarriage wash.
- Conditioner – For leather upholstery use a leather conditioning product such as Pinnacle or Lexol which both have a balanced ph and won’t be too harsh. Turning the heater on in the car for a few minutes before you condition the seats will help the leather to be more receptive to the conditioner and you’ll have a better overall result. (Make sure the garage door is open and the space is well ventilated.) Revitalize weary plastic, vinyl or rubber with an interior surface conditioner as well.
After you’ve checked these car maintenance issues off your list, go out and enjoy this gorgeous time of year.
What are other spring maintenance tips you can recommend?