It is officially spring in British Columbia and you’re probably getting that unmistakable urge to clean, organize, and de-clutter. Our homes are usually at the top of this spring-cleaning checklist, but what about our vehicles?
Vehicles should most certainly be on the list not only in terms of giving your car a wash, wax, and vacuum, but to ensure you’re in tip-top safety shape for all those summer road trips you have planned, and support your vehicle’s longevity and efficiency as well.
Read on to find a list of maintenance suggestions to check-off this season.
They’re the first, and hopefully only, point of contact your car has with the road which makes them an important aspect to check. Check your tire pressure to make sure that it’s at the recommended pressure stated in your vehicle’s manual or on the tire sidewall. Tire pressure fluctuates with temperatures so while monthly checks are ideal, seasonal checks should be mandatory. Now is also the time to check the tread on your tires for uneven wear, punctures, or cuts and bruises along the sidewalls - tire tread should not be less than 2/32” (1.6mm). A real Canadian way of checking your tire tread is with a toonie! Stick the toonie within the tread of your tire and if the tread doesn’t entirely cover the silver border, it’s time to get them replaced. Rotating your tires regularly (every 10,000 kms) and replacing them if they are worn or damaged will ensure a safe and smooth ride.
Another very important component to your driving safety, windshields that have taken a beating can compromise the overall effectiveness of your vehicle’s stability. This is because your windshield supports the frame of your vehicle so any damage to your windshield should be addressed as quickly as possible. If chips or cracks can’t be repaired, a replacement should be installed.
We’ve likely all had the unfortunate pleasure of witnessing firsthand what ineffective wiper blades look like in the middle of a mucky spring. Checking your wiper blades for cracks and tears and replacing them before you’re splashed with mud will keep you from driving for kilometres on end while trying to peek through that one clean streak in the middle of your windshield.
Since a vehicle’s oil is key to a healthy engine, keeping up with regularly scheduled oil changes is important. Motor oil loses effectiveness as it ages and collects impurities throughout the lubricating and cooling process. A clean oil filter and fresh batch of oil ensures your engine is protected and ready to enjoy the road as much as you do. Failing to do so could mean higher fuel consumption, poor engine performance, and in the worst-case scenario, severe (and costly) engine damage.
A good habit to get into while you’re checking your oil and oil filter is to check your fluids as well. We all tend to be fairly diligent in checking our windshield washer fluid and coolant, but don’t forget about your transmission, power steering, and brake fluids If you find coolant, power steering, or brake fluids are low, it may be best to have a mechanic check your vehicle for a leak as these are closed systems and their levels should not decrease substantially.
Fluctuations in temperature not only effect your tires, but your battery as well. Having your vehicle’s charging system tested could save you from being stranded in the middle of one of your upcoming epic road trips. Checking your battery mounts are secure and corrosion-free is also recommended and replacement batteries should be considered for batteries five years and older.
Check both exterior and interior lighting for bulbs that need replacing. If you find your headlight bulbs are working fine but are still dim, try giving the covers a scrub with a soft toothbrush, water, and baking soda to restore their brightness. While you’re at it, why not give your taillights the same pampering too?
Spring cleaning is something many of us get the urge to do with our homes and offices, we hope now it’s a bit easier to include preparing our vehicles for a fresh and safe summer as well!