Winter can be tough on both roads and vehicles, especially if you live in a snow-loving state. Weather that bounces between freezing and un-freezing can contract and expand the asphalt on the streets you’re traveling, which results in potholes and cracks in the pavement. The damaged roads can damage your vehicle in turn.
Once spring has finally sprung, it’s a good time to take stock and determine the shape of your vehicle and where it has room for repairs. Wash off the salt and dirt from snow and rain and look over your ride. You may need to bring it in for a spring tuneup. What should you consider for maintenance and repairs? We recommend giving some attention to these four areas:
1. Clean the undercarriage
There’s a reason cars last longer in the warmer southern states, and it's the same reason car-collectors store their cherished classics in warmer climates: road salt can wreak havoc on a vehicle. When you’re giving your steel baby a bath, ensure the car wash offers sprayers directed at the undercarriage. You don’t want your vehicle to rust, and if salt is left to sit on your mechanical components, it will corrode the metals.
2. Check all fluids
In the winter, people catch more colds. As a result, they need more hydration in the form of water, chicken soup, or cough syrup—maybe even a little honey. Cars don’t need honey or chicken soup (definitely don’t try that at home), but it’s a great time for an oil change. At the very least, check the levels of your window washing, cooling system, power steering, transmission, and brake fluids.
3. Take a look at your alignment
After the winter weather has moved out for the year, it’s a great time to get an alignment check. While you're driving, you may have noticed your vehicle pulling to one side or another or that your steering wheel has started vibrating. Those are sure signs your alignment is out of spec. A poor alignment is simple to fix in most cases, but when left unchecked, can cause premature tire wear, as well as put undue stress on suspension components.
4. Keep tabs on the tires
If you haven’t checked your tire pressure lately, you should. Tire pressure affects everything from fuel economy to ride and handling, and it certainly affects safety. Low or unequal tire pressure is like wearing one shoe with a one-inch heel and another with a three-inch heel. Your spine would be out of alignment and you would not be able to run or walk properly. Tires are like a vehicle’s “shoes,” and you want to ensure they are properly maintained, or you could run the risk of a blowout—a dangerous predicament when travelling at high speeds. Rotate your tires, measure the tire pressure, and never let the tread get too shallow to stay on the safe side of the road.
Take care of your vehicle, and it will last longer and perform better for you year after year. These small checks and updates will ensure your car will be ready to go when you are!
Need help getting your car in tip-top shape? The DCH Toyota of Oxnard Service Department is standing by. You can conveniently schedule your service online or give us a call, and we'll gladly answer all your automotive questions!