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Spring and Summer Vehicle Checklist

Winter can leave a lot of wear and tear on your vehicle, and the evidence doesn’t just show in the paint. Salt, snow, and ice can create corrosion and rust that will provide long-term performance issues.

Summer usually entails long-distance roads trips and is accompanied by increased traffic. Be sure your vehicle is ready for the high mileage and remains immune from any catastrophic failure…it is worth the investment. Trust me- it’s cheaper to check now than to fix later.

Oil Change

Chances are your car was sitting in the garage for a few days or weeks due to a snowstorm or bad conditions. When cars are not run consistently, oil can build up within the engine and cause performance issues. Stop and go traffic, shorter trips, and running your car at slower speeds during the winter will not pump oil through your engine as efficiently. It’s crucial you perform an oil change (https://www.familyhandyman.com/automotive/diy-oil-change/diy-car-maintenance-how-to-change-your-car-oil-yourself/view-all) before the start of spring and consider switching to heavier oil that won’t thin out in the high heat.

Coolant and Radiator Check

Cold startups and warming your car are no longer necessary in the month of May, but making sure your engine is fed enough coolant becomes even more important. Check for any leaks(http://www.wikihow.com/Check-and-Add-Radiator-Fluid) within your coolant valves and reservoir to ensure that your engine doesn’t overheat during the summer months. Sitting in traffic during a summer day will prevent air from flowing through your engine and is the easiest way to overheat your car. Be sure to check for any loose radiator caps potentially leaking air.

Tire Pressure and Replacement

The cold air will cause your tires to release air pressure. Tire pressure can fluctuate 1 psi for every 10-degree Fahrenheit change, so inspecting your psi will be your top priority. Monitoring your tire pressure can help prevent wear and can save on gas mileage. Replace (http://www.americanmuscle.com/simple-buyers-guide-tires.html) your snow tires and be sure to have your alignment checked out as snowy roads can affect your suspension. Need to get your tires looked at? The ReferLocal Business Directory can connect you with local tire and auto stores in your geographic location.

Clean Battery Terminals

Most people don’t realize that the heat can actually speed up the chemical reactions in your battery and cause it to be overcharged. The best way to prolong the lifespan of your battery is to regularly clean it (https://www.yourmechanic.com/article/how-to-clean-battery-terminal-connections-on-a-car). Disconnect any cables and clean all terminals and connections within your battery.

Change Air Filters

Air filters can collect a lot of debris during the winter months. Changing your air filter (http://www.artofmanliness.com/2010/09/23/how-to-change-your-cars-air-filter/) regularly ensures that cleaner air is running through your engine and that your engine is better adept to run on cleaner air. It’s easy to ignore your air filter, although it’s recommended to be changed every 12,000 miles. With the increased driving summer brings, changing your air filter will help your engine run smoother and cleaner in the log run.

Replace Windshield Wipers

Windshield wipers take the most damage of any mechanical part during the winter months. Between ice and snow, windshield wipers can collect massive amount of salt spray and screws can become loose. Be sure each wiper is making full contact with the windshield, and that the fluids have not dried out.

Brakes

Old brake fluid was designed to absorb moisture, which causes aged brake fluid to turn brown and rust out other brake components. Flushing brake fluid (http://www.dummies.com/home-garden/car-repair/brakes-bearings/how-to-check-a-vehicles-brake-fluid/) and having your brakes inspected is ideal before the spring and summer months. Be sure your brakes still have friction and that your brake pads are not entirely worn. Driving through snow and salt will create massive wear on your moving brake parts.

Belts and Hoses

Winter places a beating on your engine parts and belts and hoses are susceptible to becoming hard and cracked. Electromagnetic degradation is the process that causes the rubber in your belts to wear out and become brittle. The belts and hoses of your car are what maintain cooling, as well as helping to start the engine. Be sure to get these parts inspected before taking a long distance ride.

Interior Detail

Salt and snow can eat away at your interior from the upholstery to the floor mats. Detail the inside of your car to prevent corrosion and clean out any heavy winter equipment still lying in your car. Don’t forget the trunk either. Save on gas mileage (https://www.thoughtco.com/top-fuel-saving-tips-533123) and improve fuel efficiency by detailing your car and getting rid of any clutter. This tip should be followed seasonally.

Some simple checks will keep you on the road and keep the ride smooth this summer. Don’t wait until you have a serious problem to check. Preventative measures will cost less time, money, and frustration than breaking down halfway to the beach, so grab yourself a Game of Thrones decal to pump yourself up on your journey, because winter is coming, but you can hold on to summer with these tips.

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