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Spring Maintenance Checklist

 

Spring is finally here, and with it comes the promise of sunny days, exciting road trips, and new adventures.

As the weather warms up, we, drivers must remain vigilant on the road and be aware of the unique hazards that come with the season. More pedestrians, cyclists, and animals are on the roads, and heavy rainfall can create deep puddles, leading to dangerous hydroplaning. The good news is that by performing regular vehicle maintenance and following a few simple tips, you can stay safe on the road and avoid any unexpected challenges. So, let's gear up, check our vehicles, and hit the road with confidence! Here's a quick checklist of vehicle maintenance tips to get you started.





1.  Swap your winter tires  

It's time to start thinking about switching from winter to summer or all-season tires. The general rule of thumb is to make the switch when temperatures consistently rise above 7 degrees Celsius. Winter tires are designed with flexible tread rubber that delivers better traction on snow and ice, but they wear out faster in warmer conditions. Summer and all-season tires, on the other hand, are more rigid and designed for better handling and performance on snow- and ice-free roads. Before storing your winter tires, it's essential to spray or wash them to remove excess salt and prevent corrosion. Store them in a cool, dry area to keep them in top condition and ready for the next winter season. 

2. Rotate your tires 

As you prepare to switch to your summer or all-season tires, consider tire rotation as part of your maintenance routine. This involves swapping the front and back tires to ensure even wear and extend their lifespan. Uneven weight distribution on tires causes them to wear out at different rates, with front tires bearing more weight during steering and braking. Regular tire rotation can also improve gas mileage and prevent hydroplaning incidents. Have an auto mechanic check your tire pressure and conduct routine rotations to keep your vehicle in top condition and ready for the road. 

 3. Any Alignment Issues

As temperatures rise and winter fades, your vehicle's suspension may have suffered damage from potholes, curbs, or icy ruts, which can cause alignment issues. Signs of misalignment can include an off-centre steering wheel, uneven tread wear, or a pull to one side while driving. To avoid further damage and ensure safe driving, take your vehicle to a mechanic for an alignment check. At Volkswagen Downtown Toronto, a complimentary Alignment inspection is provided at every Service visit. If the indicators show any issues, have an alignment done. 

4. Wash away road salt

Freshen up your ride for spring by washing away the winter salt. Driving in the winter often leads to salt build-up on your car's exterior, which can cause damage to the body and undercarriage. To prevent this damage, wash your vehicle thoroughly, including the underside. Most car washes have high-pressure sprayers that can remove salt and grime effectively. A regular wash, even in winter, can help keep your vehicle looking great and protect it from harm.

5. Replenish the fluids

Check your owner's manual to see when you should get an oil change and how often you should check other fluids. Don't forget to check the transmission fluid too, as it's often neglected. You can also check coolant levels and brake fluid, and top up your windshield wiper fluid. Regular maintenance can help ensure your vehicle runs smoothly and save you from costly repairs.

6. Check the brakes

It's crucial to have your brakes checked by a professional after winter. Failing to do so could result in expensive repairs later on and compromise the safety of you and others on the road.

Winter weather can take a toll on your braking system, affecting the condition of the pads and rotors. Having your brakes checked and serviced before spring arrives will not only ensure your vehicle is in good shape but also prevent potential accidents.

7. Change the air filters

‌Replace engine and cabin air filters after winter to improve air quality inside your vehicle and ensure optimal combustion. Dust, mildew, mold, and other allergens can accumulate in the filters, leading to unpleasant odors and restricted airflow.

8. Replace worn wiper blades ‌Winter weather can damage your wiper blades, causing streaks and reduced visibility. Check your wipers for any tears or corrosion and replace them if needed. This simple and quick maintenance task can be done yourself, saving you time and money.
9. Test the battery ‌Extreme temperature fluctuations throughout the winter season can take a toll on your car battery. To avoid getting stranded, have your battery checked by a professional if it's older than three to five years, to assess its health and determine if it needs to be replaced soon.

10. Belts still need attention

‌Vehicle serpentine belts need replacement despite most cars have switched to this system. The slushy, salty, and sandy winter roads can contaminate and deteriorate the belt, causing it to squeal.

Check for missing segments or cracks in the serpentine belt, and have a professional change it if needed.

11. Light checks

‌Checking your vehicle's lights is crucial for safety, even with longer daylight hours. Make sure to inspect your turn signal bulbs, brake lights, headlights, marker lights, daytime running lights, and license plate bulbs to ensure they are all working correctly. If a bulb needs replacing, find an appropriate replacement bulb on our Online Parts Store, using OEM parts so it doesn't change the light's performance, and swap it out. If you don't know how to, check your owner's manual, or book a Service Appointment




 

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