You spent all winter dreaming about those road trips you want to take once Old Man Winter leaves the scene, so as the temperatures rise, it’s time to put your plans into action. Before you hit the road, you need to make sure that your vehicle is ready for travel. To get a jump on preparing your car, truck or SUV for spring, be sure to check out the Winter Wrap Up - End of Season Maintenance Tips article. Once you have taken care of the items in that article, you’ll be ready to move on the tips outlined below. At the end of the process, you’ll feel confident that your ride is ready for the road.
Have your steering and suspension inspected
Thanks to the freeze/thaw cycles that seem to last all winter long, potholes are a fact of life throughout the season. Hitting these obstructions can do a number on your vehicle’s steering and suspension. If your steering is pulling to one side, it could indicate that your vehicle is out of alignment or if your car is riding rough, it could point to suspension problems.
If you suspect you may have a problem with your steering or suspension, have your trusted mechanic examine your vehicle. They’ll be able to diagnose the problem and get you back on the road in no time.
Check your A/C
There is nothing worse than turning on your car’s A/C and feeling nothing but hot air. Ensure that your vehicle is ready for those first warm spring days by testing the air conditioning system. Turn on your A/C and run the fan on all speeds.
Does the air feel as cold as you remember from last summer? Is the fan blowing strong on all speeds? If something seems amiss, make an appointment with your mechanic to have the cooling system examined.
Repair dings and dents
Snow and ice-covered roads can lead to minor accidents. If you had a fender-bender and didn’t have the resulting dents and dings taken care of, spring is the perfect time to get the body work done.
With the advent of paintless dent repair, having minor dings taken out can be done economically and without an expensive trip to the body shop. Getting these repairs done not only lets your car look its best but it also helps it hold its value, which is important when you sell or trade in your vehicle.
Examine your emergency kit
Spring is an ideal time to examine your emergency road kit. Once the snow stops flying, you can remove all those winter-specific items like tire chains, winter jackets and boots, and kitty litter.
Take inventory of your kit; make sure all of the essentials are there and in working order. Is your spare tire inflated to the proper level? Are your jumper cables ready for use with no frayed wires? Do you have plenty of bottled water not only for yourself but also for your car if it overheats? Does your flashlight have fresh batteries? Taking care of this now ensures that you’ll be prepared if you find yourself stranded on the side of the road.
Spring cleaning – inside and out
Spring cleaning isn’t just for your house. After a long winter, your car could use a good cleaning – inside and out. Salt, sand and dirt coat not only the outside of your vehicle but your floor mats. Start your deep clean with a trip through the car wash followed by spraying off your floor mats.
Thoroughly clean the interior. With the floor mats out of the vehicle, vacuum the floor including all the crevices. Also vacuum the seats and use upholstery cleaner on any stains. Finish this mini makeover of your car with a coat of wax and watch those April showers roll right off!
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