We all know just how ruthless winter conditions can be, both on your car and on the roads themselves.
Gritted roads, potholes and slippery conditions all add a good amount of wear and tear to our cars. However, when the nights begin to get lighter and the weather milder, the stresses and strains begin to ease.
Once spring arrives, it presents you with a good opportunity to address some of the problems which winter conditions may have caused your vehicle.
To ensure your car is fit as a fiddle and ready for the warmer months ahead, here’s a quick guide to spring car maintenance.
Have A Deep Clean
The winter weather can be pretty harmful for a number of reasons. The semi-constant battery of wind, rain, sleet and snow can damage a few things and make others worse.
The bad weather also means that roads are covered in salt. While this offers extra grip, it also means it finds its way into every nook and cranny of our car.
On top of this, many of us fall into the bad habit of never washing our cars during the winter months.
All of this build-up can cause your car some serious damage. The mixture of moisture, grit, dirt and salt can work away at your car and start rusting, which you may not notice until it has become a big problem.
Take a look at this post from Garage Living which explains why it’s important to wash away all that winter scum.
Take your car to a quality car wash and give it a deep clean, giving special attention to the areas you can’t see, such as the underside and the wheel arches.
Change Oil and Fluids
The classic rule about changing a car’s oil is every 3,000 miles, however, this is no longer quite as true as it once was.
Modern cars don’t burn through oil quite as quickly as they once did, partly because of more economic engines, and partly because of higher quality lubricants. Just take a look at this post from Angie’s List which explains how 5,000 miles or more is actually realistic.
However, the winter months often mean our cars work a little harder, which ultimately burns fluids a little quicker.
If you changed your oil and other fluids before winter, it’s certainly worth checking them once more, even if you haven’t covered many miles.
Check Alignment and SUSPENSION
Potholes and damaged sections of road are commonplace during the winter and pose a threat to your car. Ultimately, this damage can end up costing drivers greatly.
This post on The Hill describes a study from AAA auto club who found that pothole damages cost US drivers over $3 billion each year.
If you make it to spring without having to visit the garage for a new spring or something more serious, it’s quite easy to assume your car is absolutely fine.
However, we spoke to spare parts retailer VW Motor Parts who said that this might well not be the case. They said:“While it might not be obvious at first, pothole damage can disrupt your wheel alignment and partly damage your springs.
“Ultimately, if slight damage has occurred, it could end up causing further, more expensive damage at a later date. If you feel as if your steering wheel vibrates more than usual, get it checked out before things get worse.”
Check Tyres and Tyre Pressure
The AA suggests that you should hope to get at least 20,000 miles out of front tyres on a front wheel drive car and double that for the rear.
However, winter conditions can really add wear and tear to our tyres’ condition and speed this process up considerably.
Whether you had some fresh tyres put on just before winter or not, once spring arrives it’s worth taking a look at them.
UK law requires that tyres have a tread depth of less than 1.6mm. So, not only is it important to check to ensure you are safe on the roads, you also want to make sure you don’t face a fine.
The rough winter roads can also affect tyre pressure and if it begins to drop, it can mean you lose grip. Make sure you have a good inspection of tread and pressure at the start of spring.