Congratulations, you made it through winter! As the weather starts to warm up, you’ll probably want to get out more and enjoy it. But before you do, make sure your vehicle is up to the task. A good spring vehicle inspection is an important part of any maintenance schedule, as there are a few specific things to look out for after winter has done her worst.
The Suspension Is Killing Me
Hey, nice lane assist technology! Too bad your steering components might be damaged and compromising it. The cold weather and road salt wreak havoc on bushings and rubber seals exposed in the undercarriage. This can cause loose linkage and ineffective suspension. Check for extra play underneath, as well as shock absorber condition which can take a beating from all those fresh potholes.
Old and Tired
Speaking of potholes, give your tires a once over because they suffer too. Check for rim damage, irregular wear and tread depth. Remember that rainy season is around the corner, and you want to go in prepared.
Ah yes, the rain. You’ll also want to make sure your wiper blades are in fighting condition. They can often become damaged cleaning off sleet and ice and end up doing a better job smudging than clearing. These are easy to replace and make a huge difference.
You might have all the latest gadgets and assists and auto-everything and cameras galore, but they aren’t going to be good for anything unless you take care of them. Much like suspension components, these components (many of them sensors) and electrical connectors suffer mightily from salt and freezing temperatures. A dirty sensor isn’t going to do its job properly and a corroded electrical connection is going to cause all sorts of gremlins and misreadings to pop up. Do yourself a favor and give these a visual inspection and make sure they’re clean.
So Clean, Clean
While you’re at it, clean everything! Inside and outside alike. Getting all the grim off will stave off rust and premature wear to components, and at the same time, you’ll be able to get a better look at any potential problems. And cleaning your car’s interior will improve air quality before mold has a chance to take hold.
Assisted braking and ABS are literal lifesavers, but brake components can corrode and rust, and rubber lines and seals can be compromised resulting in leaks or brake fluid contamination. Check calipers for smooth piston movement, rotors for rust and pads for thickness. Peek in the master to make sure your fluid doesn’t need to be topped off or flushed.
Now’s also a good time to make sure all your headlights, taillights, parking lights and turn signals are working as expected. Bulbs are another easy fix that make a huge difference. Not only are they integral to safety, but it can also help you avoid getting pulled over.
Spring checks might not yield a ton of extra work to be done (let’s hope!), but it’s important to do a vehicle tune-up before small problems grow into something big.
Check out all the vision and safety parts available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on your spring vehicle inspection, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
Photos courtesy of Blair Lampe.
Blair Lampe is a New York-based professional mechanic, blogger, theater technician, and speechwriter. In her downtime she enjoys backpacking wherever her boots will carry her, rock climbing, experimental theatre, a crisp rosé , and showering love on her 2001 Sierra truck.