It’s almost time! The snow is melting, the air is clearing, the sun is shining, and you’re finally washing off 3 months of salt, ice, and dirt from your car. While you might think that a thorough car wash is enough to get your car ready for the hot months to come, you might be interested to know that there are quite a few things you can do to prepare your car to run a little better in the months to come.
1. Remove your snow tires. Snow tires wear out faster on dry pavement, so save them from frequent replacing by having them removed as quickly as possible in the spring.
2. Check your tire pressure. One of the biggest keys to good gas mileage is to ensure that your tires are at the correct pressure at all times. Prevent uneven wear and possible blow-outs by checking the tire pressure in the spring and summer months. If you aren’t sure what your tire pressure should be and you don’t have your car manual, most tires have the pressure on the label, or you can find it on the inside of the driver’s side door, on the tag with your VIN number.
3. Change your oil and check the viscosity. This might sound complicated but it really isn’t. Viscosity refers to the thickness of the oil. For example, maple syrup has a higher viscosity than water. Engine oils are sold with different levels of viscosity, and many of them are also multi-viscous, which means the oil’s thickness can change depending on its temperature. Generally speaking, the warmer the oil is, the thinner it will be. If the oil is too thin, the engine might not get the proper lubrication.
4. Have the belts and hoses checked. The belts and hoses in modern cars last a long time. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have the potential to fail. Before summer begins, have the belts and hoses inspected on your vehicle. And if you’re not sure when they were last replaced, consider having them changed, especially before commencing a long road trip.
5. Inspect your wiper blades and fill your wiper fluid. Now that all the ice is gone, you might find that your windshield wipers aren’t ready for the first heavy thunderstorm to roll in in the summer.
6. Check the battery. You know that in the winter the cold weather can wreak havoc on a battery, but did you also know that hot weather can put just as much strain on it as cold? Have your battery tested at a certified facility so you don’t walk out one morning and find your car is dead.
7. Check your coolant and anti-freeze. The ideal mixture of coolant and water inside your vehicle’s radiator is 50:50. If the mixture deviates from this norm, then hot-weather performance (and cold) can be compromised. You can check the composition of a radiator’s mixture by using an antifreeze tester. You can find these at all auto parts stores, and they are inexpensive and easy to use. If the mixture’s balance is off, adjust it by adding either coolant or water.
With these simple steps your car will be ready for long summer road trips, late summer nights, and generally enjoying the warm weather after all the ice and snow we suffered through!