What follows are 10 ways to reverse the effects of cold winter on your vehicle. This clearly isn’t the best list of items to check, repair or replenish, but it will absolutely get you on the right course, and your car will enjoy it.
For the vast majority of applications, replacing from winter tires to summer tires is a given. Usually, tires designed for snow and especially ice wear quickly on warm, dry asphalt. On top of that, many states outlaw the use of studded tires when spring brings the big thaw.
2. Oil, Filter and Lube
Winter in some place means super cold temperatures, which also indicates that thin oil goes in when the mercury drops. When the weather warms, it’s time to switch to a more conventional lubricant. This is also a good time to lube your vehicle, and of course, to replace the oil filter.
3. Flush Cooling System and Transmission Fluid
While you’re under the hood, check all fluid levels. It’s also a very great time to clean the cooling system and to replace automatic transmission fluid. Coolant wears out. Winter is hard on the coolant and it’s also hard on the radiator and heater core. In the same way, the transmission fluid takes a huge beating. As a result, it should be changed before warm weather hits. While you’re at it, check and change all hoses as necessary.
Given the corrosive character of winter driving, it’s always a wise decision to check the brake pads and rotors when spring rolls around. It’s also a great time to lubricate the park brake cables and park brake mechanisms. Winter road salt does a real number on cables and hardware.
Test each and every lamp on your car. Examine front lenses too. You might be surprised to see damage from errant rocks, wayward tire studs and other winter debris. Headlights are the biggest problem, and it’s quite normal to find damaged lamps and lens assemblies following a tough winter. The only choice here is to change bits and pieces as necessary.
6. Windshield Wipers
Wiper blades can take the real brunt of winter’s snow and ice. Blades can easily crack and tear with the cycle of sub-freezing temperatures, lots of ice buildup and certainly, rapid defrosting. And don’t forget blades are also at the mercy of chemicals. The point is that spring is a good time to replace the blades. It’s also a good time to replenish windshield washer fluid and to examine any damaged washer hoses.
If you think the lights and wipers take a pounding over the long winter, take a good look at the windshield in your truck or car. Generally, cars with more vertical windshields suffer more so than sloped back aero models. It’s not tough to sustain a stone chip or 6 over the winter. It’s also common for the windshield to suffer from numerous cracks. If the windshield has stone chips and bruises, it’s time to get them repaired. Plenty of outfits can fill and repair chips. Outright fractures on the other hand require a complete windshield replacement. Spring is the time to get the job done to best avoid difficulties in a hot summer.
The battery and electrical system on a car can really be taxed when the temperature drops. The end of winter is a good time to go through the starting system. Check all cable connections, clean and lube as necessary and watch for battery acid damage on battery trays and adjacent components. It’s also a good time to consider the actual battery. If it worked especially hard in a harsh winter, there’s a good opportunity it might need to be replaced.
Pick a day and devote an afternoon to washing, polishing and waxing your vehicle. Once thoroughly washed, take the time to touch up stone chips. Once the paint has dried, polish the sheetmetal and chrome and provide everything a good coat of wax. A good detail job will not only extend the life of your car, it will hopefully make you adore your vehicle as well.
The inside of your car takes a pounding in the winter. Spring is the time to vacuum, clean and detail interior. While you’re at it, remove things like carpeted floor mats. Offer them a chance to dry out. Some people like to leave a clothes dryer sheet or two in the vehicle to remove odors.
A little work in spring will help get your car or light truck over winter and ready for summer.