Winter can be rather unforgiving to cars in Southern Ontario. And with an extremely unpredictable season coming and going, problems can arise within our cars unexpectedly and build up over time. With winter (hopefully) in the rear-view mirror and summer road trips taking shape in front of us, it's wise to take preventative measures and have repairs done to your car to avoid any inconvenience and stress when you hit the open road for a vacation this summer.
With countless decades of experience servicing cars, there are a few crucial areas of concern that stand out every spring. Here are our top 8 areas of focus.
- Steering, Suspension and Alignment
Winter can be especially savage against your wheel alignment. Especially with all the potholes existing on our roads these days. Salt damage is also prevalent in the spring due to the salt put down on icy roads to help with winter driving conditions. It can make steering and suspension components corrode easier and fail over time. Be sure to get this checked when you schedule an appointment.
When you have your all-season tires installed (as it is highly recommended to have winter tires for the winter season), have them checked for irregular wear patterns, sidewall stress cracks and tire tread depth. Don't forget about your spare tire as well. It is also a good idea to have your mechanic balance your tires to avoid any wobbles that may occur if they are not balanced after the winter season. Tire maintenance is crucial to keep from being stranded with a tire failure on the side of the road.
Extreme winter weather mixed in with a heavy dose of road salt can wash away the lubricants needed to keep your brakes performing at peak efficiency. This spring, be sure to have your mechanic check your brake system for safety, and be sure all components are lubricated and moving freely.
- Filters and Fluids
Making sure that your filters and fluids are all topped up are important for your car to stay hydrated and healthy. This includes:
- Engine oil,
- Power steering,
- Brake fluid,
- Windshield washer solvent,
Dirty air filters can waste gas and cause your engine to lose power. The next time you're scheduling an appointment with your trusted mechanic, ask them about the health of your filters and fluids.
Conventional wisdom would suggest that your car battery can be pretty unreliable once you hit that 4-5 year lifespan mark. Your car battery will gradually deteriorate over time, so it's wise to take some precautionary measures this spring to run some diagnostics on your battery to see how much juice it has left.
- Air Conditioner
Without regular maintenance, an air conditioner loses up to 5% of its original efficiency per year. Stay ahead of the heat this summer and make this a top priority. Even worse than your vehicle overheating in the summer, is you and your passengers overheating as the result of an air conditioning failure.
- Oil Changes
Oil lubricates the engine and makes sure that all of the internal parts are working in unison - and not overheating. Don't let your engine oil break down and lose its power to absorb heat. Booking an appointment for an oil change can be so seamless nowadays, you barely miss a step during your busy schedule. An oil change service is your best insurance to keeping your vehicle performing for a very long time. Talk to your service advisor about great ways to extent your vehicles expected lifespan by reviewing your oil change intervals with them to be sure you are on time.
- Emergency Kit
Cold weather can see a constant shuffling of items in and out of a car and into storage. Don't let your emergency kit or spare tire get lost in the confusion by making sure you're fully equipped with a healthy spare, along with all the tools to get you back on the road in the wake of an emergency.
It also doesn't hurt to have a 24-hour Roadside Assistance Program in place to ensure peace of mind. Everything from emergency fluid delivery, help if you're locked-out, and a friendly jump start to your vehicle are great to have in your back pocket.
Get a head start on your spring maintenance and book your appointment today!