DIY

Car Maintenance Tips for Spring

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The chill of winter is finally wearing off and spring is just around the corner. That means rebirth and rejuvenation for not only nature but your vehicle, as well. Although the warm weather probably has you more concerned with planting tulips than tinkering with your car, it’s important to give your ride some TLC.

Thankfully, we’ve put together a spring car care checklist, so you’ll know exactly where to start.

Couple washing their car on a spring sunny day
It’s important to wash your car after the winter season to prevent rust from building up.

The Essential Spring Car Care Checklist

At last, the ice is melting and you can work on your car without freezing. Are you ready to dig in?

Here are a few spring vehicle maintenance tips to help get you started:

Wash and Detail Your Car

Many locations put salt on the road during the winter to combat snow and ice. And the longer you leave that salt on your car, the better chance rust has of taking hold.

That’s why it’s critical to wash your car as soon as possible. It’s also a good idea to detail your vehicle with a little wax and polish afterward. Don’t forget to clean your car’s interior, too.

Fix Any Damage from Winter Driving

Winter driving, with its slippery roads and other hazardous conditions, can take a toll on your car. The good news is, now that the warm weather is here, you can fix any body damage or mechanical problems sustained during the wintertime.

Also, don’t forget to check the steering and suspension, as well as the wheel alignment, if you had any type of accident.

Check the Fluids

You should check your car’s fluids throughout the year, including several times during the spring. And we’re not just talking about engine oil, either—you need to check all of the underhood fluids.

Your car may also have fluids that need to be checked from underneath the vehicle. If you’re handy, you can tackle that task yourself. Otherwise, find a professional to do it for you.

Inspect the Tires

Worn out tires are bad news. Now that winter is over—and you can hold a tread depth gauge without your fingers going numb—check the tire tread for wear. If any part of the tread measures 4/32″ or less, you should start looking for a new set of rubber.

You’ll also want to inspect the sidewall of the tire for defects (such as cracks and bubbles) that would warrant replacement. Don’t forget to check the tire pressure as well, and adjust it as necessary.

Usually, the manufacturer’s recommended tire pressure is listed on a placard inside your car’s driver’s side door jamb.

Man inspecting the left rear wheel of a car
Inspect your tires for wear, defects, and if the pressure needs to be adjusted.

Catch Up on Vehicle Maintenance

If you’re like most people, you probably put off vehicle maintenance when it’s freezing cold outside. But now that the weather is warming up, you have no excuse. So, go ahead and knock out that oil change or air filter replacement you’ve been postponing.

You’ll feel better about yourself once you stop procrastinating—trust us.

Take Care of Any Necessary Repairs

Have you been turning a blind eye to an illuminated check engine light? Or ignoring strange noises coming from your car’s undercarriage? Now’s the time to be responsible and address such issues.

Most car problems get worse—and will likely cost more to repair—the longer they go unchecked.

Check the Wiper Blades

We’ve all heard the saying: April showers bring May flowers. As that catchy rhyme implies, it rains a lot during the springtime. So, you’ll want to make sure your wiper blades are in good condition.

If not, replace them right away. Also, don’t forget to top off the wiper fluid while you’re at it.

Ensure the Air Conditioning is Working

Unless you’re one of those lucky individuals who live in California or Florida, chances are, you haven’t used your car’s air conditioning all winter. But as most of us probably already know, ice-cold A/C will be critical once the warm weather rolls around.

Now is the time to ensure everything is working properly before the first heat wave hits.

Inspect Underhood Rubber Components

Cold weather can be hard on belts and hoses. Make sure all of your underhood rubber components are in good shape by taking a few minutes to look them over.

Mechanic inspecting a car's underhood parts
Check if your belts and hoses are in good shape.

Enjoy the Warmer Weather

Now that you’ve got your car ready for spring, it’s time to enjoy the warmer weather and take a cruise in your clean, well-maintained ride.

Put winter in the rearview mirror and get ready for sunshine and blue skies.

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Author

Mia Bevacqua

Chief Mechanic at CarParts.com

Mia Bevacqua is an automotive expert with over 15 years of industry experience. She holds ASE Master, L1, L2, and L3 Advanced Level Specialist certification, as well as a bachelor's degree in Advanced Automotive Systems.

Throughout her career, Mia has applied her skills toward automotive failure analysis inspections, consulting, diagnostic software development, and of course, freelance writing. Today, she writes for companies around the world, with many well-known clients showcasing her work.

Mia has a passion for math, science, and technology that motivates her to stay on top of the latest industry trends, such as electric vehicles and autonomous systems. At the same time, she has a weakness for fixer-upper oddballs, such as her 1987 Chevy Cavalier Z-24 and 1998 Chevy Astro Van AWD.

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