Get Your Cars and Trucks Ready for Spring!

Staying up-to-date with chores and household maintenance is incredibly important.  From desk calendars and phone reminders to emails and to-do lists, there are several ways to stay organized and on top of the tasks.  

Some chores may be done on a daily basis and will become more of an effortless routine.  Others can be done weekly, monthly, quarterly, and perhaps, even annually.  In fact, it’s wise to follow a checklist of tasks that need to be completed to be sure that none are forgotten.

Now that we have entered the months of Spring, surely, there is an entire list of items that need to be tended to.  The following article will remind you of the important car and truck-related items that need to be on your Spring cleaning list.

Check for Corrosion

The salt that is used to keep our roads safer to drive on can cause corrosion on our vehicles!  Be sure to do a thorough clean to remove any residue prior to doing a full car corrosion check.  

Be mindful to also check the undercarriage and other spots out of view.  Check the tailpipe for any type of residue.  If any residue is found, look at its color.  It should be gray and dry. If you get anything black and greasy, it means there’s burnt oil.  By doing a deep clean, you’ll be able to see any damage and other issues (like rust) easily.

DPF Filter

Speaking of the tailpipe, check your DPF (diesel particulate filter).  The DPF is designed to remove soot from the exhaust gas of a diesel machine.  The cost of replacing a DPF can be quite high, therefore doing regular at-home care can help you save quite a bit of money.   You can also ask a professional to clean it for you, or if need be, change it for you.  

At the very least, ask a professional for advice on the proper way to clean it yourself, to be reassured that you know how to do it correctly.

Windshield

Check your windshield wipers!  Just think of the number of times you used them throughout the winter in order to see through the windshield as the snow fell.  Think of all the splashes of mud and water it received from other trucks and cars.  All of the salt from the roads may even remain on the windshield wipers; be sure to clean these well!

Check your windshield for any small cracks.  Even a small crack that may look like an artificial issue can eventually cause bigger (and more expensive) problems. Do the same for every other glass window.

Body

Inspect the body of your vehicle, including the roof.  Take note of any dents, rust, and scratches.  There should be no gaps or misaligned panels.  Blistered paint can be an indicator of rust, or be an area more prone to rust in the future, so be sure to get this taken care of.

Doors

Open and close every door, including the trunk.  Make sure the hinges don’t seem loose, and that the rubber seals aren’t torn or rotting.

Lights

Check to make sure that all of your lights are working.  This should be something you pay attention to regardless of the season.  In fact, every time you go for a drive, you should be checking to make sure your lights are working; just like you should always wear a seat belt and check each mirror.

Driving with one or more non-functioning lights can lead to receiving a fine, or worse, it could cause an accident.  If you’ve been putting off taking care of a lighting issue- don’t wait any longer.  Now is the time to fix it!

Suspension

When you look at your car from the outside, does it seem to rest evenly on the ground?  When you push down on the corners of your car, does it bounce only once, or several times?  If it bounces more than once, check your shock absorbers.  You may even be able to notice that

while you drive, your experience feels a bit more bumpy than usual- this is another sign that you should take a look at your suspension for any issues.

Under the Hood

Perhaps you’re feeling extra motivated and will go as far as cleaning your engine.  This isn’t a bad idea if you can see a visible amount of dirt! 

Under the hood, you should check:

  • Fluid levels (coolant, windshield washer etc.)
  • Radiator
  • Cooling System
  • Belts
  • Hoses
  • Car Battery
  • Air Filter

While you’re under the hood, you should check your cooling system and battery.  It’s well-known that cold temperatures drain batteries faster, so your battery is an important feature to be checking.  Make sure to look for any corrosion!  

Car batteries should be changed every four to five years, but watch for the signs indicating your battery should be changed sooner.  Obviously, your battery light indicator is a good way of knowing it needs to be checked, but there are other signs too.  This includes a slow start-up and issues with your alternator.

Some cars and trucks have more than one battery.  If this is the case, never change only one.  You must change both batteries at the same time.

Trunk

Open the trunk and use your hand to feel for any dampness.  Your sense of smell may also help lead you to any leaks.  Since this is usually where spare tires are kept, you can also check the spares for any rust.  This would indicate that even though you may not see it, there is, in fact, a leak elsewhere.

Bumpers and Bumper Valance/Valance Panel

You should check both the front and rear bumper.  This is especially true if you were involved in any incidents throughout the year.  They are meant to reduce damage in case of any incident, and you’re usually advised to replace them after being involved in an accident.  Even if it was a light tap, it could cause the plastic to crack.

Many bumper incidents are small and do not call for a replacement bumper.  However, ask for a trusted professional’s opinion before deciding.

Tires

What are the items that cars must have in order to be of any use?  That’s right; don’t forget about the tires!  Now is the perfect time to rotate them, repair them, and replace them if needed.  As you rotate them, you can also take a look at your brakes. Make sure there are no signs of corrosion or wear and tear. 

Check the tire pressure (PSI), and also check the tire tread.  Tires should always be checked on a monthly basis for optimum performance.

As you can see, there can be quite a few items to take care of to make sure that your car or truck is ready for the Spring and Summer.  Take care of it one car (or truck) part at a time and you’ll be driving with your windows down, enjoying the Spring air in no time.