The ice is finally melting and it is time to put away your parka and snow boots—spring is coming!
In addition to nicer weather, this seasonal change means that it is time to prepare your car for the post-winter roads. From spring-cleaning to tire changes, getting your vehicle ready for spring is an important process that can save you from a lot of potential damage later on.
Whether you take your car to a professional or decide to do the handiwork yourself, here is what you need to know about preparing your car for the warmer weather:
1) Check your brakes
The rough winter road conditions can really take a toll on your brakes. With things like ice and salt on the roads, brakes can lose their functionality, so take notice if your brakes make any unusual sounds when you use them—this could be a sign that you need to get them checked out.
2) Replace your wiper blades
Springtime showers bring more than just flowers—they bring difficult driving conditions. Make sure that your wiper blades are in good condition going into spring, so that you can safely navigate the roads.
3) Check your alignment
This one sounds technical, but you can check your car’s alignment simply by observing how it moves when the steering wheel is centered. If your car doesn’t drive straight ahead, but veers to one side, definitely get your alignment checked. This problem is often caused by potholes and other rough winter road conditions, and getting it fixed early can ensure that your tires don’t wear out prematurely, saving you money in the long run!
4) Take care of your tires
If you swapped your all-season tires for snow tires during the winter months, it is important that you change them back at the beginning of spring. Snow tires are not meant to handle spring conditions, and will wear down faster if you keep them on all year. Plus, switching your tires back will give you a good chance to do some other tire-maintenance tasks, such as checking your tire tread and your tire pressure.
5) Wash off the salt
Start your spring-cleaning with your car! It is important to keep you car clean in general, but in the winter, salt and other dirt can build up on the underside of your vehicle and eventually cause rusting and other damage. So, when the warmer weather arrives, be sure to wash down your car or visit a local carwash!
If you’re doing the cleaning yourself, check out the DMV’s advice for washing the salt off of your car at home.
6) Check your coolant level
Topping off your fluids is a crucial part of preparing your car for spring. As the weather gets warmer, the coolant works to keep your car’s engine at the right temperature, so don’t forget to consult your car’s manual to find your fluid level gauge and check your fluids.
7) Re-evaluate your insurance policy
If you haven’t checked on your car insurance recently, spring is a great time to do so! Make sure that your current policy is sufficient to cover the kinds of claims that are common during this transitional season. For example, comprehensive coverage will often cover damages done by an unwanted animal interaction, while collision coverage can cover the costs if you run over a particularly vicious pothole.
In addition, winter brought the new year, so be sure to check in with your insurance agent for any new auto insurance discounts that may have been added in the past few months!
Once you are ready to take to the roads after preparing your car for the springtime conditions, don’t forget to prepare your driving as well. Here are some driving tips for the spring season:
- Springtime means plenty of rain, so don’t forget to go slower in rainy conditions and avoid large puddles so you can stop safely and avoid hydroplaning
- Stay alert and check your blind spot for bicyclists and motorcyclists who will now be sharing the road with you
- Keep an eye out for road construction, which is common in early spring as cities try and fix the roads after rough winter conditions. You may need to slow down when driving through these work zones and navigate around any potholes that could damage your tires or affect the alignment of your car
- Warmer temperatures also mean that many animals will come out of hibernation, so keep your eyes peeled for any animals that may dart across the road
- Be mindful of pedestrians, as more people will start traveling by foot to bask in the newly warm weather