Vehicle Spring Revival: Top 4 Vehicle Maintenance Items To Check This Season
Get your vehicle ready for spring with these essential tips!AAMCO | 04/24/2023
As the winter frost melts away and flowers bloom, it’s time to gear up for spring, and that includes getting your vehicle ready for spring adventures. After enduring winter weather, your ride may need extra TLC to ensure safe and peak functionality for the warmer months ahead.
Include these four essential vehicle maintenance items on your to-do list: oil and filter change, check your tires, replace your windshield wipers, check your wiper fluid, and inspect your battery. These key maintenance tasks will help you ensure safety, clear visibility, and smooth performance on the road as you transition from winter to spring driving. Read on to learn why these maintenance items are crucial and how to prepare your vehicle for the season.
1. Oil & Filter Change
Fresh oil is crucial for optimal engine performance. During winter, your vehicle's engine is exposed to harsh weather conditions such as cold temperatures, snow, and road salt. These conditions can cause increased wear and tear on the engine oil and filter, potentially reducing performance and efficiency. Changing the oil and filter in the spring allows you to remove any contaminants that may have accumulated over the winter, ensuring that your engine starts fresh for springtime. Regular oil changes are considered a fundamental part of preventive maintenance for your vehicle. Adhering to a recommended oil change schedule can help prevent potential engine problems, ensure peak performance, and extend your engine's lifespan. It's a relatively simple and cost-effective way to take care of your vehicle and avoid more significant repair costs down the road.
Additionally, changing our oil filter regularly is essential because it plays a crucial role in removing contaminants from the engine oil, preventing them from circulating through the engine and causing potential damage. Over time, the oil filter can become clogged with dirt, debris, and contaminants, reducing its effectiveness. Changing the oil filter during a spring oil change ensures it is clean and functional.
2. Vehicle Battery Check
Including battery checks as part of your spring car maintenance routine is a proactive approach to vehicle maintenance. It allows you to identify potential issues early on and address them before they become more significant problems.
It’s important to understand that winter temperatures can decrease the lifespan of your vehicle's battery. During the winter months, the chemical reactions inside a vehicle battery can slow down, reducing its ability to generate and hold a charge. As a result, your battery may have experienced increased discharge and reduced capacity during the winter, potentially leaving it in a weakened state when spring comes into view. Having your battery checked in the spring can help determine if it has been impacted by winter weather and if it needs to be charged or replaced to ensure proper functionality. Increased usage in spring and summer can put more strain on your battery, especially if it was weakened during the winter months.
Regarding safety, a reliable battery is essential for powering your vehicle's electrical system, including critical components such as lights, power windows, and other electronic features. A weak or failing battery can cause various issues, such as difficulties starting your vehicle, reduced electrical system performance, and even stalling while driving.
Vehicle batteries have a limited lifespan, typically ranging from 3 to 5 years, depending on the type and quality of the battery. If your battery is approaching the end of its expected lifespan. In that case, it may be more prone to failure, and checking it in the spring allows you to plan for a replacement before it fails unexpectedly, potentially leaving you stranded.
If you need clarification on the condition of your battery, it's always best to consult a qualified automotive technician for a thorough battery inspection.
3. Tire Check
Proper tire care ensures safe and smooth driving during the warmer months ahead. After braving harsh winter conditions, your tires may have taken a beating. Cold temperatures, icy roads, and rough driving conditions can cause wear and tear on your tires, such as uneven tread wear, loss of tire pressure, and potential damage from potholes or debris on the road. Having your tires checked in the spring allows you to assess their condition after the winter season and address any issues that may have arisen.
Having your tires checked during this transition allows you to ensure that they are in good condition, properly inflated, and suitable for the upcoming warmer weather. Depending on your climate, consider swapping out your winter tires for all-weather or summer tires for better performance.
There are two main things to always check on your tires regularly:
- Tire Pressure: Proper tire pressure is critical to optimal tire performance, including traction, handling, and fuel efficiency. Cold temperatures in winter can cause tire pressure to drop, leading to underinflated tires. Having your tires checked in the spring includes checking and adjusting their pressure to the manufacturer's recommended levels, ensuring optimal performance and safety.
- Tread Depth: Adequate tread depth is essential for good traction and safe driving, especially in wet or slippery conditions. Checking your tire tread depth in the spring allows you to assess if your tires have sufficient tread for the upcoming driving season. If the tread is worn out, replace your tires to maintain safe driving.
The easiest and cheapest way to check your tire depth is by using the quarter test. This is a popular method for checking tire depth and tread wear, and it is considered more effective than the penny test. The quarter test uses a U.S. quarter to measure a tire's tread depth.
The Quarter Test:
First, Hold the quarter with George Washington's head facing down.
Insert the quarter into a tread groove on the tire, with the top of Washington's head going into the groove. Finally, observe how much of Washington's head is visible above the tread.
- If the tread completely covers the top of George Washington's head, the tire has sufficient tread depth and is considered safe to use.
- If the top of Washington's head is partially visible or not covered at all, it indicates that the tire's tread is worn down and needs replacement.
- Wheel Alignment: Winter driving conditions, such as potholes, rough roads, and icy patches, can affect your vehicle's wheel alignment. Incorrect wheel alignment can result in uneven tire wear, reduced fuel efficiency, and poor handling. Checking your wheel alignment in the spring can help identify and correct any alignment issues, ensuring that your tires wear evenly and your vehicle handles properly.
Properly maintained tires are crucial for your driving safety. Well-maintained tires with adequate tread depth, correct tire pressure, and proper wheel alignment provide optimal traction, handling, and braking performance, reducing the risk of accidents.
Replace Your Windshield Wipers and Check the Washer Fluid
Replacing your windshield wipers and checking your wiper fluid are important tasks to include in your spring vehicle maintenance routine for a few reasons:
- Clear Visibility: Spring weather can bring frequent rain showers and more road debris. Properly functioning windshield wipers are essential for maintaining clear visibility in wet conditions to keep you, your passengers, and the drivers around you safe on the road. Worn-out or damaged wiper blades can streak, smear, or skip on the windshield, reducing their effectiveness in clearing rainwater and hindering your ability to see the road clearly. This can be especially dangerous when going at highway speeds. By replacing your windshield wipers as part of your spring vehicle maintenance routine, you ensure they are in optimal condition to handle the increased rainfall during the season. Checking your wiper fluid is also an important part of spring vehicle maintenance. Winter driving can deplete your wiper fluid reservoir, and it may need topping up for spring. Aquauate wiper fluid levels ensure you have enough fluid to properly clear your windshield of rain and debris, providing good visibility regardless of weather conditions.
- Safety: Properly functioning windshield wipers and sufficient wiper fluid are essential for safe driving. Clear visibility is critical for identifying potential hazards, avoiding accidents, and maintaining overall road safety. Including windshield wiper replacement and wiper fluid check as part of your spring car maintenance routine is a proactive approach to ensure that your wipers are in good condition and ready to provide optimal performance when needed.
Keep Your Vehicle Running Smoothly This Spring
As you gear up for the warmer months and hit the road, it's crucial to prioritize your vehicle's maintenance to ensure a safe and pleasurable driving experience. Checking off the top four maintenance items this spring will go a long way in maintaining your vehicle's best performance, safety, and longevity. Remember to consult your vehicle's owner's manual or seek professional assistance from a qualified mechanic or automotive professional for proper maintenance procedures. By taking proactive steps to care for your car this spring, you can enjoy worry-free driving and peace of mind knowing your vehicle is in its best shape. Happy spring driving!
Tackle Spring Vehicle Maintenance with AAMCO
AAMCO is here to help you with all your vehicle's maintenance needs. From oil and filter changes to battery checks, tire inspections, windshield wiper replacements and beyond, our experienced technicians are equipped to keep your vehicle running smoothly and safely. Contact us today to schedule an appointment and ensure your vehicle is in its best shape for the season ahead. Take proactive steps to care for your vehicle with AAMCO's expert service. Find an AAMCO Transmissions & Total Car Care Center near you to schedule an appointment today and enjoy worry-free driving all season long.