Winter and early spring months can be tough on a vehicle. It is important to properly inspect the car to make sure all components are working properly. This will help prepare the vehicle for the warm summer months ahead.
1. Check Brakes
Brakes are one of the most used (and often abused) components. A thin layer of the brake pad disintegrates every time the brakes are applied. It’s vital to replace pads or shoes before drums or rotors become damaged. Check pads, shoes, drums, rotors, calipers, fittings, brake hardware and parking brake to prevent problems.
2. Check Tires
A smooth and safe ride starts when the rubber meets the road. Check air pressure on all tires, including the spare, as improper tire pressure leads to premature wear and a decrease in fuel mileage. The entire surface of the tire, both tread and sidewall, should be inspected for uneven or irregular wear. Excessive edge wear, center wear and shoulder wear may be signs that other maintenance is required.
3. Check Wiper Blades
Be prepared for spring showers and summer storms. Properly functioning wiper blades increase visibility in all conditions.
4. Check Headlamps, Tail lamps, Turn signals and Hazard Lights
Properly functioning headlamps and tail lamps play an important role in safe driving, especially at nighttime, or in rainy or foggy conditions. Inspect and test all exterior lamps and lights, including turn signals and hazard lights to ensure they are in proper working order and alignment.
5. Check Air Filter
The air filter is one of the unsung heroes of a vehicle, as it protects the engine from airborne contaminants. Poor air flow within the engine hinders performance and can lead to greater fuel consumption. Replacing a dirty air filter allows clean, unrestricted air flow into the engine and helps ensure proper performance and longer life.
6. Check Oil
Oil is the lifeblood of the engine. Engine oil level should be checked often, with the oil being changed and replenished regularly. Low or dirty oil may have dire consequences on how the engine and its components perform, especially under the extreme heat and conditions of summer driving.
7. Check All Fluid Levels
With the increase in miles driven during warm-weather months, vehicle fluids and lubricants should be checked often and changed at factory-recommended intervals to make sure they’re fresh and filled. Dirty fluids and low fluids may affect the performance of a vehicle and can lead to breakdowns if not properly monitored and filled.
8. Check Engine Belts, Hoses and Fuel Filter
Belts and hoses under the hood play an important part in the proper function and performance of the engine. Prevent breakdowns or serious engine damage by replacing belts and hoses at recommended intervals. Checking and replacing the fuel filter is also key to ensuring that the engine is running at its optimal level and maximizes fuel economy.
9. Check Battery
Following a winter full of cold-morning starts, definitely check the battery. Having reserve power to run the air conditioning and other vehicle accessories in the summer is priceless. When checking the battery, be sure to look for corroded terminals, and inspect for a bulging or cracked case.
10. Check Shocks & Struts
Following the traditional cold-weather pothole season, shocks and struts should be checked. Shocks and struts are vital to a smooth ride and may also affect a number of related parts on your vehicle.