Spring Car Care Tips
Around this time of year most people plan to “spring clean” their home, but often forget about their vehicles. Just like you prepare your car for winter, there are various ways you can prepare your vehicle for spring. Spring brings more sun and rising temperatures. Before you hit the road give your vehicle a good inspection. To ensure your vehicle’s peak performance, check out these simple tips to help you care for your vehicle this spring:
Replace Your Windshield Wiper Blades
As spring starts and temperatures warm up, have your wiper blades checked for any signs of cracking or wear. Windshield wipers can be an overlooked part of your car’s safety system. The wiper itself could wear dramatically over the winter due to ice buildup, dry weather, dirt or debris. Driving with worn wipers can be dangerous. In most parts of the country, you’ll need those wipers for spring rains, so be sure they’re in good working order after winter comes and goes. As a rule of thumb, you should replace wiper blades each spring or fall.
With Spring’s arrival you’ll most likely be turning that temperature control from “heat” to “cool.” To make sure your car’s air conditioning system is ready to keep you cool at a moment’s notice, have your refrigerant or Freon level checked by a trained technician at Koester Automotive and Collision Center. When the temperatures climb in a few weeks, you’ll thank yourself for thinking ahead and topping off your air conditioning coolant.
Just like your air conditioning refrigerant or Freon keeps you from overheating in your car, radiator fluid helps keep your engine from overheating. Run low and you risk overheating your engine and getting stranded on the side of the road.
Routine oil changes are vital to your engine’s longevity. Changing the oil can be especially important as temperatures rise and driving conditions change. Depending on where you live and the type of vehicle you drive, it may be necessary to switch types of motor oil in the spring/summer. Besides keeping the car running smoothly, oil also prevents contaminants from accumulating in the engine. It also helps draw heat away from the combustion chamber. It can only do this for so long before it breaks down.
When you bring your vehicle in for an oil change, our trained technicians can recommend the best motor oil for your vehicle, mileage, and climate.
Wash Your Car
Keeping your car clean not only keeps it looking good and new, but lengthens its life as well. Dust, dirt, and sand particles stick to your car and can ruin your car’s paint finish. They are culprits for rust and corrosion. Washing your car frequently can prevent the buildup of these particles and extend the life of your vehicle’s parts and paint finish. This also prevents costly repairs and improves your vehicle’s performance.
Keeping your vehicle clean also prevents its resale value from diminishing. Dirt, like mud and road grit which builds up in winter, is bad for your vehicle’s paint. A build up of this debris will cause rust and corrosion, so it’s important to get rid of it in spring.
Make sure that you wash the whole car, including the wheels and around the bottom of the car where most dirt accumulates.
Gut the Inside of Your Car
The frigid winter temperatures may make you less inclined to make a ton of trips to and from your car. In the interim, stuff accumulates in the backseat and the trunk. Cleaning out those unnecessary items can save you money. Unnecessary items inside the car add extra weight to your vehicle, which makes your car eat up more gas.
Give Your Car a Good Waxing
Everyone loves that shiny, picture-perfect look of a car after it’s freshly cleaned and buffed. Just like cleaning your car, you should wax it for more than just that glimmering finish. Spring is the perfect time to wax your car, for a couple of reasons. Use a good long lasting wax and your car’s paintwork will be protected all summer, and also you’ll get a great shine on your car which will look great in the sun.
Wax will protect against deposits and even help to stop your paintwork fading in the sun, so it’s a good idea to do it before summer, when bugs start flying around and you take long drives down PCH on sunny weekends.
Replace Your Cabin Filter
The beauty of spring brings pollen, dust, and pollutants that are drawn inside your vehicle through its air conditioning and ventilation systems. Cabin air filters, located inside the dashboard of your car, clean the incoming air and should regularly be replaced about once a year. A dirty or clogged cabin air filter can cause contaminants to become so concentrated in your passenger compartment, that passengers breathe in more fumes and particles inside the car than when walking down the street. Check out our blog The Importance of Changing Your Cabin Air Filter to learn more.
Winter weather can deflate your tires — tire pressure drops about 1 PSI (pounds per square inch) for every 10 degrees the temperature drops. Driving on overinflated or underinflated tires is dangerous, especially on wet pavement. Cars with properly inflated tires have better handling, shorter braking distances, longer tire life, and improved fuel economy — which is especially appealing given the high cost of gas these days
Every driver in Los Angeles is familiar with pesky potholes plaguing our roads after it rains. Sometimes no matter how careful you are, you can’t avoid there is no avoiding those dangerous road cavities. After driving over a pothole there is usually no visible damage to your vehicle. However, that doesn’t mean there is no damage. You could have knocked you car out of alignment or even worse damaged your suspension.
The slightest alignment issue will accelerate uneven tire wear. A wheel alignment ensures optimal drivability. It will help your tires last longer, your vehicle drive smoother, ultimately keeping your wheels pointed in the right direction. Plus, your car will require less energy to keep going, potentially saving a ton of fuel depending on how much alignment was required.
Our vehicle’s suspension system (i.e., shocks or struts) is something we often take for granted. Most people don’t realize that bad suspension can greatly affect your ability to control the vehicle, especially when stopping or turning, so it’s in your best interest not to ignore this part of maintenance. R
Test Your Lights
Although the days are longer and the sun sets later, you still don’t want to be in a situation where you’re on the road and your bulbs, blinkers or lights go out. Not only does this make driving dangerous, but you could get ticketed. While we all can spot when a light bulb has burned out, checking the lights is more than seeing if they work or not. Our expertly trained technicians utilize special diagnostic software that verifies whether the headlight casts the beam in the correct direction and over the correct distance. Most importantly, the software also checks whether or not the headlamps dazzle oncoming drivers — you don’t want to be that driver who is flashed by everyone because his or her car’s lights point the wrong way.
Have Your Belts Tested
Cold winter weather often weakens your vehicle’s belts, and if they snap or break while you’re cruising around this spring, you can find yourself on the side of the road waiting for a tow truck. A worn belt can not only break without warning, it can slip and damage important engine accessories. That’ll vary for each individual car. The good news is that a visual inspection can reveal a belt that’s worn.
If there’s a problem with the serpentine belt you may hear a squealing sound from under the hood when accelerating. A loose belt might give you a slow, slapping sound. If you are having any of these problems, please just give us a call and we will set you up with a good time for you to come in and get it checked out.
If your car stalls or idles roughly when driving, or if it takes multiple attempts to get your vehicle started, it’s time to get it in to our shop. While this can seem like a serious issue, it isn’t always. Ignition wires may have burned out, the air filter may be too grimy, or the spark plugs may need to be replaced.
Spring will be here before you know it, so give us a call to schedule an appointment with us. We will be happy to check off your Spring Car Care To Do List for you!