Spring has sprung and in addition to household spring cleaning chores, AAA reminds motorists not to forget their cars. Even after a relatively uneventful winter, vehicles need to be cleaned to remove the remnants of corrosive substances used by road crews -including winter road salt and brine that can turn a showroom car into a rust-bucket. As we mark the official beginning of spring, the time is now to get your car into gear.
“This is the time to be pro-active in flushing the salt, brine, sand, road de-icing chemicals and other liquid agents from your car,” said Jenny M. Robinson, Manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “To keep damage at bay, wash every inch of the car –from top to bottom and from the front grille to the rear bumpers –and that includes the under-body and each wheel well. Keeping your car clean and performing preventative maintenance will help keep it looking good and running well as warmer weather arrives.”
All that road brine and salt is great for keeping us from skidding during icy weather –but it could be doing lots of damage to your car’s brake lines and other parts of the undercarriage. And very often the problems show up later in the year as well, due to the salt corrosion being compounded by hot weather –so our experts recommend you take care of your car now by getting undercarriage car washes and getting your vehicle checked out, instead of ignoring it and getting stranded on your summer trip.
In addition to thoroughly cleaning the interior and exterior of your car:
Check the tires –It’s crucial to check your tires after weather changes because tire pressure can fluctuate about 1 pound per square inch for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit change in temperature.
Check the wiper blades –Windshield wipers take a beating during the winter –clearing away dirt, debris and salt spray. Make sure the blades are making full contact with the windshield and have not dried out.
Rotate the tires –This should be done roughly every 5,000-10,000 miles and it can extend the life of your tires significantly by reducing wear.
Change oil and filter –Keep to the manufacturers’ recommendation and change your oil and filter in accordance with the vehicle owner’s manual. Usually every 3,000 to 5,000 miles.
Change the air filter –Your car’s air filter prevents dust and other debris from getting into the engine’s running parts, meaning less efficient use of gas and weaker engine performance.
Check the belts and hoses –Winter weather takes a toll on your car’s belts and hoses making them more likely to break. Visibly inspect them for wear. Replace glazed or frayed belts or bulging hoses.
Check battery and plugs –Make sure battery posts and connections are clean. Spark plugs fire as many as 3 million times every 1,000 miles.
Clean the interior –Residual salt and sand that was brought into the interior of the vehicle can damage floor mats and carpet. Use a hand vacuum to remove dirt and debris from the floor and seats of your vehicle.
AAA recommends that motorists follow this simple checklist to determine their vehicle’s spring maintenance needs. Many of the items on the list can be performed by a car owner in less than an hour, but others should be performed by a certified technician.
Motorists seeking a trustworthy repair shop to help maintain their vehicle for spring driving are encouraged to visit one of AAA’s more than 8,000 Approved Auto Repair facilities.
AAA Mid-Atlantic serves over 80,000 members in the Wilkes-Barre region and nearly four million members.