With spring on the not-so-distant horizon, many people are beginning to think about what they need to do to get their homes ready for the coming season. We make lists of items we haven’t used, outline a detailed plan of what we’re going to deep clean, and prepare to air out the house and fill it with the scent of springtime air. Spring cleaning is the routine deep clean we prepare for all winter long, but do we think of the same treatment for our vehicles? We probably should, but surprisingly, many people don’t consider the thought.
Winter is hard on a car, from the salt on the roads to potholes, and many people don’t think about the impact that the season has. While we’re busy planning to steam clean our carpets, or wash the windows, we’re often ignoring one of our most important pieces of property when it comes to spring cleaning; our cars. Cars require routine maintenance to operate in their most efficient manner, and winter has some negative consequences for our primary way to get to and from work. The common car is riddled with issues caused by winter roads, but a lot of people don’t consider them prior to gearing up with new parts for their ride in the spring. So, what should you be doing?
- Tires – If you’ve ever lived on the East Coast, you know that the winter roads can be dotted with potholes caused by less than diligent plow drivers, or an excess of salt. With any amount of snowfall, the roads become quite uneven as ice and slush build up in certain spots, taking longer to melt that the snow on the ground. This wreaks havoc on our tires, but we don’t always think about the impact until it’s too late. By putting air in your tires, rotating and balancing them, you’re combatting any damage the winter may have done.
- Oil Change – You may not have driven the recommended amount of miles over the winter. Perhaps you carpooled to work, or worked from home more often than not, in order to avoid inclement weather or breathtakingly cold temperatures. If your car was allowed to sit for the majority of the winter, you may want to consider having the oil changed, just as a precaution. Even if it hasn’t been three thousand miles, it’s probably been over three months and a fresh dose of oil and a new filter couldn’t hurt the way your car runs.
- Battery Health – When a car is subjected to extreme cold and then extreme heat, this can be bad for the battery. It causes swelling and corrosion. These two issues can cause the battery life to be massively decreased or impact the health of the battery. When you need your car to get to work, it’s best to know that it is going to start, every single time, especially in the instance that no one is around to give you a jump start. Be sure to get your battery checked by your mechanic in order to ensure that it is in optimum operating condition.
- Paint – While it may seem like small potatoes in comparison to the bevy of issues that could happen internally, the paint job can be drastically changed by winter weather and high salt content on the roads. Allowing these items to build up on the paint of your car can lead to rust and other paint related issues. If you care about the exterior condition of your car, be sure to give it a thorough cleaning before getting it out on the road for the spring. Even a simple wash in the driveway could be enough to protect the paint for the spring season. To provide further prophylactic care, give it a good wax, as well.
While we spend the final months of winter thinking about how we’re going to make our homes sparkle and shine following the harsh winter months, we don’t think about our cars. This is shocking considering how much we depend on them to get us to and from where we need to be. Maintaining our cars after a harsh winter is every bit as important as maintaining our homes. Before the spring fully hits, and you put the pedal to the metal, get your car a nice checkup with your mechanic. Doing so can save you potentially hundreds of dollars in the long run.