Spring Maintenance Checklist for Your Vehicle

February 1, 2020

Cleveland winters can be tough on our vehicles. After driving through snow, ice, and salt, some care is in order. But with just a few common maintenance jobs this spring you can keep your car safe and performing well all throughout this year. High heat and low temperatures can both cause stress on your car – mild spring days are the time to spruce things up and handle any issues before they grow.

Inspect the Exterior

Road crews need to use salt and grit to keep us moving on slippery roads, but these substances can build up and might end up causing corrosion. That’s why a detailed washing is the best first step to getting your vehicle spring ready. Always be sure to wash the undercarriage and apply wax now to protect the finish all summer long. Check out these additional tasks to keep your car running its best:

  • Tires: wildly fluctuating temperatures and winter potholes can change tire pressure, treads might be low, you could need to swap out seasonal tires, and it’s always a good idea to rotate
  • Paint: chips after a full season of driving are common – look for matching touch-up shades at auto stores or ask a professional to repaint before it rusts
  • Lights: road salt dulls the surface – now is a good time to check bulbs and polish
  • Wiper blades: deteriorated rubber causes smearing and squealing and can reduce visibility during heavy spring rains
  • Air conditioner: after months of no use, test to ensure you’re getting cold air without any odd sounds or foul odors
  • Windshield: a chipped or cracked windshield is a common safety issue after months of winter driving

Give the Interior Some Attention

Running from work, to the store, and everywhere in between, your car’s cabin can take a beating. You’re tracking in road salt, grit, grime, salt, and snow all while hurrying to get out of the cold. Now that temperatures are warmer, take your time and give things a good once-over. Blast your tunes or stream a podcast and get down to business for a fresh ride all summer long. Here’s our list of key tasks:

  • Rubber mats: these do their best to hold onto everything your boots bring in and deserve an in-depth scrub
  • Rugs and upholstery: vacuuming is key to remove grit and grime and show up any spots that are stained or damaged
  • Air vents: both internal and external air carry dirt, grease, and allergens that can settle in vents
  • Air filters: clean filters make for a fresher smelling cabin, and are a necessity during peak allergy season

Rodents and other creatures might take cover in your car’s ventilation system – checking the air filters often reveals their acorn collections. If that’s the case, you might want to perform or schedule an inspection of the electrical system, since these critters often gnaw through wires. Better to know ahead of time and fix that problem than to find out while on the first road trip of the year.

Take a Look Underneath

You know that regularly scheduled oil and filter changes and tire rotation are vital maintenance tasks. But did you know that they’re more necessary after months of winter driving? Obviously you’d want to jump on any typical, scheduled to-dos, and here are some extras to consider so that your summer driving experience is the best it can be:

Beneath the Hood

    • Debris removal: deposited debris under your hood could potentially interfere with operation
    • Battery strength: winter extremes can tax your car’s battery and summer heat isn’t any better – the time is now to check battery charge and service it if necessary
    • Fluid levels: windshield washing fluid often runs low over a grimy winter and pollen-filled spring; antifreeze is vital in colder months, but it’s also needed in summer’s heat; other fluids should be stable unless there’s a leak
    • Hoses and belts: rubber belts can warp and crack in bitter winter temperatures and lead to leaks – cooling or steering problems are clear indicators

Beneath the Vehicle

  • Struts and shocks: winter potholes can damage your car’s suspension system – simple at-home tests or a mechanic’s keen eye can let you know if repairs are needed
  • Wheel alignment: winter driving always presents risks from potholes, icy roads, and other drivers – that requires a lot of maneuvering and can mess with your car’s frame – wheels that favor one side of the road are an obvious sign
  • Brakes: buildup from salt or road deposits might lead to grinding, chatter, or squeals – assess the brake system for wear and repair as needed

Seasonal tune-ups are a great way to ensure that all key systems are working as they should. And keep an eye out for any staining, pooling, or puddling of liquids under or around your car. It’s hard to notice these on snow and grime-covered surfaces but the spring thaw can show up previously overlooked leaks. Get these handled now, well before scheduled trips or summer drives. And since they’re free to get repaired, it’s always a good idea to check for parts recalls using NHTSA's Recall Look-up Tool. Sometimes that check can get you brand new components or fix issues that would otherwise cost you later on. After all these checks are made and your car is in tiptop shape, feel free to head out on the road with the confidence of knowing that you’re safe out there this season.

Sound Tips from FatMat

At FatMat we’re all about you enjoying the time spent in your vehicle. And our premium sound design products will make those upcoming summer road trips all that much better. But even when they’re controlled and contained, those blasting beats could dull your ears to advancing issues under the hood. That’s why we’re suggesting that you tackle a thorough inspection now. You’ll set yourself up for a great summer and ongoing safety and security out on the nation’s roadways. Meanwhile, keep looking to FatMat for quality tips and products, paired with our stellar customer service. Get in touch to learn more about our offerings!

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