When it comes to maintaining a vehicle, the first thing that springs to mind is cost. Why is it so expensive to get auto repairs done? Can’t they be done for cheaper? For many people, having to get their car or truck fixed is an unavoidable burden. After all, unless you live in some specific cities, it’s pretty hard to get around without a vehicle. There are a few things one can say to these understandably outraged sounding questions.
The first thing is to find technicians you can trust! We do exist. But instead of talking about the people doing your repairs, let’s talk about the bottom line and what is really the most important issue to you: your money. Owning a car costs money, there’s no way around it. But there ways to save more of that money in the long run and that’s by properly maintaining your car. See, many times when you bring your car in because something has gone wrong, you get hit with the information that there are actually many things wrong and this visit is going to cost you more than anticipated. This is not an unusual scenario and can sometimes feel like you’re being worked over a bit. Some shops may run that way. But, the truth is, if you’re suddenly surprised by a bunch of repairs that need to be done, it’s probably because the proper maintenance wasn’t done all along to upkeep the vehicle.
Taking proper care of your vehicle can help you avoid those situations where you hear that seemingly everything has gone wrong at once and you need to fix it or buy a new car. By maintaining your vehicle, you can keep it running for years and miles to come. That’s why it’s so important to take the changing of the seasons seriously. Making some maintenance decisions to properly meet the conditions the changing of the weather brings is an important part of extending the life of your vehicle. For the most part, you probably take winter pretty seriously. The fear of ice, other dangerous driving conditions, and the effects the cold can have on your car are well known and widely shared. But, the shift to spring requires its own tune ups as we’re about to discuss.
Here are some of the best ways you can prepare your vehicle for the spring. Getting into the habit of preparing your car for the changing seasons will help make sure your car gets to see more of them.
Get it Cleaned
This first tip is one that sometimes gets overlooked because it’s assumed that you’re only getting your car washed for aesthetic purposes. Everyone knows how dirty vehicles can get during the winter because of the snow, salt, and dirt that can accumulate. But, making sure to get your car thoroughly cleaned isn’t just about having it look presentable when you’re driving around in the warm spring weather.
That same salt that makes unsightly streaks on your car’s exterior could be wreaking havoc in your undercarriage. Salt can cause quite a bit of damage over time due to rust and corrosion. Your muffler, exhaust system, coil springs, brakes, and more could be experiencing corrosion due to this build-up of salt. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you’re washing it out.
Replace Windshield Wipers
Windshield wipers tend to get forgotten when it comes to replacing them in a timely manner. Sure, they might streak a little, but you just spray more fluid and that kind of helps. This isn’t a practice that’s terribly safe. Windshield wipers are cheap enough that you shouldn’t risk a dangerous situation just for the sake of putting off replacing them a bit longer. If you’re seeing streaks, get new ones. The winter takes a heavy toll on your windshield wipers. That old “April showers bring May flowers” saying isn’t wrong, either. Don’t get caught in heavy rainfalls without reliable, new windshield wipers.
Get Your Tires Inspected
This is a big one. There is a lot to be done when it comes to your tires and it all relates to your safety, to say nothing of extending your vehicle’s use. Winter is generally the time of year where most potholes develop in the road due to plowing, salt, and bad weather. If you’ve ever hit one at even a somewhat slow speed, you know it can feel like a small explosion. Now imagine what that’s doing to your car.
The first thing you’ll want to do is get your winter tires removed if you use them. If you don’t and you’re sticking with all year tires, you’ll want to get them rotated and aligned. Hitting those potholes can mess up your alignment and significantly shorten how long your tires last. It’s also a good idea to check out the tread on your tires. Bald tires are always dangerous but are especially so in rainy weather where you’ll be relying on your ability to stop quickly and not skid.
Check your Battery
Car batteries get put through their paces in the winter months. A lot of electricity needs to be generated to do all of the work of not only driving through rough conditions, but also heating your car, defrosting, and everything else that makes driving both possible and comfortable. Bring your car in for a battery check to see if it needs to be replaced. You don’t want to find yourself stuck on the side of the road with a dead battery. Definitely make sure to get your battery checked if you can’t recall replacing it within the past few years.
Replace or Top Off Fluids
It’s always a good idea to periodically check your windshield wiper fluid, engine oil, and brake fluid. The fluids of your vehicle keep things running smoothly. Even if you aren’t due for a change, topping off fluids, especially windshield wiper fluid, is a good idea. You don’t want to be stuck with wipers that can’t improve your visibility or brakes that don’t stop fast enough.
Do a Brake Inspection
Which leads us to the last point of getting your brakes inspected. The warmer months are when we travel the farthest. It’s important to get a sense of what shape your brakes are in before doing all of this driving. The winter weather can be quite hard on your brakes, especially if you were driving around with low fluid levels. While you know it’s time to get your brakes checked if the lamp comes up on your dash, you’ll also want to be wary of any noise coming from your brakes or a grinding sensation. You might need new pads.
Some of this information might be known to you and some of it might be brand new. Hopefully, you’ve come to the conclusion that it’s in your best interest (and your wallet’s) to get regular maintenance done on your vehicle so you can avoid the costly major auto repairs that will show up down the road if you don’t take the proper care. Give us a call today and set up up an appointment with one of our technicians. The team at Independent Motors is here to provide the service you need at a fair price.