Spring doesn’t officially begin until 7:02 a.m. on March 20, but after the dreary weather we’ve had over the past few days and Daylight Saving Time arriving this weekend, we can at least start thinking about spring.
When you think about car care, spring probably isn’t the first season that comes to mind, but there are some steps you can take to help ensure hassle-free vehicle operation as we drive through the next few months. AAA offers the following advice:
- Wash Away the Salt - Wash your car to get rid of corrosive salt used to treat the roads. Be sure to wash your car’s underside every time, as this is the most common area for salt accumulation.
- Air Filters –Air filters often get clogged with sand or become a nesting place for small animals during the cold weather. Clogged engine filters reduce fuel economy and increase exhaust emissions. Cabin air filters clean the incoming air for the passenger compartment and remove allergens.
- Tire Pressure and Tread – Proper inflation will make tires last longer and avoid dangerous blow-outs. Tire treads should also be checked for wear to keep vehicles and drivers safe during spring showers. If you have studded tires, they must be removed by the end of April in Connecticut.
- Beware of Potholes – Hitting a pothole can cause costly damage to your car, including lost hubcaps, misaligned wheels, damaged undercarriages and bent axles. Any unusual noises or vibrations that appear after hitting a pothole should be inspected immediately by a certified technician.
- Drive Belts and Engine Hoses – Inspect the underside of accessory drive belts for cracks or fraying. Many newer multi-rib “serpentine” belts are made of materials that do not show obvious signs of wear; replace these belts at 60,000-mile intervals. Inspect cooling system hoses for leaks, cracks or loose clamps.
- Keep an Eye on the Little Things – Windshield wipers, headlights, and turn signals help drivers see and be seen during inclement weather and at night. Wipers should be replaced every six months. Keep an eye on headlights and turn signals to ensure bulbs do not need to be replaced.
If you’re ever in doubt about a vehicle maintenance issue, consult your owner’s manual or a certified mechanic. AAA also has a useful vehicle maintenance brochure here.