Spring is Here: How to Care Your Car After Winter
Posted by: Lydia on 3/10/2018
Every season brings new opportunities and challenges in the world of cars. Summer provides beautiful cruises along the coast, but the extreme heat can really strain cars' engines. The winter months bring extra concerns about water damage and rust, but offer the chance for great road trips to the snow. Spring is one of the milder seasons. But while it doesn't bring the extreme temperatures of winter and summer, it's the wettest time of year in some parts of Australia.
With all of these varying weather conditions, there must come a clear-cut plan to tackle the related challenges. Here's a look at how to care for your car after winter.
It’s always essential at the start of a new season to give your car a through inspection. Any big problem that emerges – like a flat tyre or huge dent from someone who slams their door into your car – will always be noticed quickly. Little problems are harder to spot, but if left unattended over a winter season, can grow into big problems.
The exact things you should look out for will depend on the climate you live in, how intense the seasonal changes are, the types of roads you regularly drive on, and the way in which you use your car. After all, someone who is always braking hard will wear out their tyres much faster than someone who practices gentle and gradual braking.
Between seasons is a particularly good time to ensure your tyres have all retained their tread and haven't worn down below their acceptable limit, and don’t have any bald spots.
Also check your oil level, make sure that your lights and wipers are working properly, and that your battery hasn't sustained any damage in the freezing cold. While you’re at it, check for any leaks or water damage (like rust) that has developed. If you feel anything is amiss – or just want a professional to take a look at your vehicle – a new-season service with your mechanic is always a good idea.
Repair, replace, and optimise
If you or your mechanic decide any repairs are required, it’s ideal to get them fixed right away. Sometimes there are minor issues that don’t require urgent attention, but the risk grows that minor issues can turn into major problems over time. So even if your mechanic isn’t worried about it right now, if you have the cash and time to spare, repair it pronto.
In addition to undertaking any repairs, the change of seasons is a good time to replace any essentials. Checking that your spare tyre is still in good condition is an important step here (as is confirming that you do still actually have a spare tyre).
It's also a good time to run through any supplies you keep in your garage, like oil, cleaning products, and spare windshield wipers. If you used them up during the colder months, now is a good time to replenish them while you're thinking about it.
Spring is also a really good time to sort out any upgrades you've been wanting to do, especially since better weather brings more opportunities to spend time at outdoor events, take road trips, and yes, show off your car just a little!
These upgrades may not be anything really complicated or expensive, but if you've been wanting to pick up a new set of tyres, apply a fresh coat of wax, add new car seat covers, or even get a stereo upgrade, spring is a great time to do these things and give your car a fresh new look.
Avoid a mad rush with regular maintenance
Modern life is busy, and the days can really fly by. That’s why it can be hard to not only keep track of all the tasks you need to do each day, but also each week or month. It can really become an issue for your car if maintenance is always put off as something you’ll do ‘tomorrow’ or ‘next week’.
As rapidly as the seasons change, this can really catch you off guard. That’s why instead of planning to attend to your auto maintenance work only when the seasons change, it’s ideal to get in the habit of doing ongoing maintenance and checks year-round.
Obviously that can be a challenge with the busyness of life, but that’s why committing to ‘little and often’ is wise. Most of the time, just doing some quick daily checks (and a task or two that’ll take less than five minutes) will not only ensure your car is maintained, but will keep it running at its best.
Staying ahead of the seasons
By now, you should have a clear-cut plan for how to go about caring for your car as the seasons change. A good plan will most certainly see you through from one springtime to the next (especially if you make a habit of regular maintenance throughout the year). Just keep in mind that not every springtime will be the same.
In Melbourne, famous for ‘four seasons in one day’, October 2015 delivered a far warmer month that normal, with six days over 30 degrees. But in October 2016 it had just one day above 25. The major maintenance tasks may not change drastically from year to year in cases like this, but the smaller ones could, since extreme heat or cold impacts your auto. Be sure to keep this in mind – and keep an eye on the weather forecasts – as you plan.
What other spring car care tips do you know of? Let us know in the comments below: