We’ve been talk, talk, talking about winter tires and driving in ice and snow, but no more! It’s March! We’re looking ahead and thinking warm thoughts! So, in preparation for sun and fun, should you also be doing some things to your vehicle? A little springtime prep, maybe? The answer is yes!
Last fall, you were dragging out the snow tires and topping off the anti-freeze, but now it’s time to start thinking about those summer tires and everything that goes with them.
First step: Wash winter off your car. If you’ve been driving through snow and slush all winter, then you’ve also been driving through salt. That salt is now firmly attached to your car—and not just the sides where you see it! Maybe you’ve tried to keep as much salt off as possible with a random wash-down here and there throughout the winter, but you may have forgotten about the underside of your vehicle. Way down there on the bottom where you don’t see it, salt is all caked on and it needs to get washed off. Why, you ask? If you don’t remove it, salt can ruin a nice paint job; it can also eat away at the undercarriage of your car—and that’s not good. Grab a garden hose and get the pressure as high as you can, then get down there and get that salt off! Lots of automatic car washes have an option for an undercarriage wash as well, so fork over a little more and go for it. And don’t forget your wheels! Salt can damage the finish on your wheels and make them look old before their time, so take care of them and get them clean.
Second step: Take a look at your tires. Tires can take a beating during the winter. I mean, have you seen the size of some of the potholes that have developed this winter? They’re huge! Driving over potholes can mess with your alignment, so get that checked; think about rotating your tires as well. And don’t forget to check the pressure (you should do this every 5,000 to 10,000 miles anyway)! Temperature changes can cause tire pressure to fluctuate. Everything in your vehicle is riding on your tires. They are the most important safety feature that you have, so take care of them.
Third: Check your wiper blades. They’ve probably been working overtime during this particular winter, and with spring comes spring showers (or more likely, buckets of rain). You need to be able to see, so make sure your wipers are in good shape. Did you know that the life expectancy of a wiper blade is 6 months to a year? How long have yours been on? Check to make sure that they’re making full contact with the windshield and that they aren’t cracked and worn out. They’re easy enough to change and inexpensive, so don’t skip this step.
Fourth: Get your brakes checked. You’ve probably been giving your brakes a workout this winter on the snow and ice, and that can cause a lot of wear and tear. Be safe and get them looked at.
Fifth: Take a look at your oil. Some car manufacturers encourage switching to heavy-weight oil in the summer months, but at the very least, take a peek and see if you need an oil change (and don’t forget to change the filter too!). Routine maintenance like oil changes extends the life of your vehicle, so keep up with them.
At RNR, we can’t wait to see this winter fade into the past, and we hope that before you take off into full-on, warm-weather mode that you take a few minutes and consider the maintenance that might need to be done now that the cold, snow and salt are melting away. Come in and see us for all of your tire needs, whether you need new ones, a repair, or just need to have a problem looked at by professionals. RNR is here to help!