In Chicagoland, natives resign themselves to the possibility of snow in April. But spring does finally come, and residents of the greater Chicago area start to think about road trips and drop-tops. It may not be time yet to think about getting boats in the water, but it’s not too early to think about ways to prepare your car for spring.
Brakes, Blades, Belts, and Batteries
Everything works harder in the winter. As conditions warm up, it’s a good idea to have your brakes inspected. Consult your owner’s manual for the maintenance schedule and mileage that indicates it’s time to replace brakes. Wiper blades do double duty in the winter, clearing both precipitation and salt residue from the windshield. Consider replacing wiper blades for April showers—and July cloudbursts, and August thunderstorms.
Wheels and Tires
Pothole season is upon us, and sequential rounds of thaw and freeze have been rough on Chicago-area roads. Be vigilant about inspecting your wheels for dings and dents. It may be possible to repair bent rims, or it may make more sense to replace them altogether.
Tire pressure varies with temperature, so check the manual or the tire itself for the proper psi and get out the gauge. Inspect your tires for wear and have your trusted tire and auto shop rotate and align them.
Salt and Suds
Salt is the enemy of paint and the metal beneath it. Take the car for a thorough wash, including an undercarriage rinse to remove salty residue. If you own a vintage, performance, or luxury car, you probably prefer to wash your car yourself. Keep in mind that there are specialized products for different parts of your car. There’s a proper way to clean your rims, and there are different products for wheels, tires, and car bodies.
Fluids and Filters
Among winter’s most frustrating moments are those times you discover, while driving, that you’re out of wiper fluid. Now is the time to top off all fluids and to flush and replace brake and coolant if doing so is on your car’s maintenance schedule. Check all filters and replace them if they are dirty or past their recommended lifespan.
Your trusted mechanic may have other recommendations based on your car’s make and model year, but these tips for preparing your car for spring will help you get ready for the road trips you’ve dreamed of all winter.
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