Give Your Vehicle A (Virtual) Hug This Month
Every good relationship needs a regular tune-up or check-in and so does your vehicle. Is your vehicle feeling the effects of winter wear? Now is a good time to attend to the things that will keep you and your vehicle happy with each other for years to come.
Take some time to show your car some love before hitting the road with our top maintenance suggestions from repair and car care experts.
1. Inspect the tread on your tires: Car tires experience a gradual loss of air pressure each month, an issue particularly pronounced during the winter months.
If you haven't had your tires inspected since before New Year's Day, visit your service advisor for a thorough check. Continuing to drive on tires with insufficient pressure can cause significant damage to their sidewalls and pose a heightened risk of accidents.
2. Battery health check: Cold temperatures can take a toll on your car's battery.
Midwinter is a good time to test your vehicle’s battery to prevent problems when you’re away from home. If it's three years old or older, consider replacing it to avoid the inconvenience of a sudden breakdown during a frosty morning.
3. Focus on your fluids: Keep an eye on all essential fluids, especially the coolant or antifreeze.
Ensure that your coolant levels are adequate, and the mixture is appropriate for winter temperatures. Also, check oil levels regularly and opt for a winter-grade oil if you live in a colder climate.
4. Brighten up your drive: Facing challenges with visibility during nighttime drives?
It might not be an issue with your eyes. Take into account that the traditional bulbs of your vehicle tend to dim considerably within just a year.
When was the last time you switched out your headlight and taillight bulbs? If your response is, "I can't recall" or "never," it could be time to consider replacing the bulbs—plus your eyes will appreciate the difference.
LED lights typically last much longer than traditional incandescent or halogen bulbs. Yet, problems may still occur. Make sure they all are operating in good condition; conduct a brief walk-around to check all light units for cracks and brightness.
5. Wipe the winter blues away: Wiper blades are an affordable safety essential for your vehicle. Swap them out whenever you observe smudging, friction, or worn edges. Various options are available for blades, ranging from those crafted for snowy conditions to silicone replacement components tailored for hotter environments.
6. Car interior upkeep: Address spills on the seats and clean the carpet thoroughly. The accumulation of mold can transform your vehicle's interior into a rolling allergen factory. Use a vacuum to eliminate loose particles and debris. Utilize cleaners designed specifically for vehicle carpet and upholstery. Remember to pay attention to the cup holders, which can easily become a breeding ground for spills and turn into a living petri dish.
7. Prevent damage with rubber floor mats and cargo liners: Along with the upkeep of your car’s interior, utilize rubber floor mats to shield your vehicle carpet from winter weather, preventing unpleasant odors. These mats are simple to clean and install. Seek out mats tailored to fit your specific vehicle. The same principle applies to cargo liners; safeguard your truck and cargo spaces from the mess caused by winter travel gear with well-fitted inserts, maintaining a clean and organized interior.
8. Stay consistent with routine maintenance: Above all else, keeping consistent with routine maintenance of your car is the most important step to take. Don’t let inclement weather become an excuse to delay regular maintenance tasks. As February arrives, your vehicle has weathered many winter storms, so now is a great time for a routine check up with your local mechanic.
9. A bit of love keeps your vehicle sparkling: The buildup of winter debris, including grit, grime, and road salts, has the potential to harm your vehicle's paint and detract from its exterior aesthetics.
- Corrosion is particularly pronounced for your costly alloy wheels, making regular cleaning crucial to ward off corrosion and pitting.
- In case inclement weather hinders your ability to wash your car, consider a visit to a coin-operated or automatic car wash to keep up with regular cleanings. Ensure thorough rinsing, paying attention to the region in and around the wheels, including the brake components.
- Additionally, a thorough cleaning of your vehicle's undercarriage is essential to prevent corrosion.