After the three long winter months, we’re all ready for some real sunshine. For many Australians, spring is an opening season for holidays, camping and weekend road trips. Whichever your escape route, you’re likely to hit the road among many other motorists. But is your car in such a good shape as you are? Does it share your confidence? Even if it’s unlikely you’ll encounter snow and ice, except on the highest of Aussie’s peaks, heavy rains and strong winds means more mud and debris on the road. Go through these five spring maintenance tips and get your ride back on track.
Change your oil
The safest route is to change your oil and the filter at the intervals recommended in your owner’s manual. However, if you neglect that routine, at least make a habit of replacing the engine oil once a year, and the onset of spring is a very good time. Apart from higher fuel consumption, irregular oil change may lead to serious engine issues. But, your car needs other fluids as well. Make sure your power steering, brake and transmission fluids are up to the mark, but don’t forget the windscreen washer and coolant, either. Brake, power steering and coolant are closed systems, so a low level may be a sign of a leak.
Inspect the windscreen and wipers
In areas where sand and rocks are used to improve traction on unstable roads, drivers are often faced by chips and cracks in the windscreen. Most of the tiny ones can be fixed by polishing, however, more significant damage to your windscreen may decrease the effectiveness of safety features such as airbags, seatbelts and roof structure. The first time you notice a crack, have your windscreen replaced or repaired without further delay. While you’re at it, check your wiper blades as well. Dust and debris, as well as tree sap drops, can make your windscreen sticky, leading to blades cracking or ripping.
Assess the tyres
New motorists often underestimate the importance of tyres. They are the only point of contact between you and the road, so they deserve your full attention, especially in between the seasons. Depending on which region of Australia you live in, the spring and summer can mean more precipice or less. Heavy winter rains on the east coast often conceal potholes and cracks in the tarmac, which may damage the treading or even cause cuts on the sidewalls. While it’s important to rotate your tyres every 10,000km for a more even wear, if they are damaged beyond repair, check out the vast palette of cheap tyres in Blacktown, and remember that sometimes it’s the bent rim that causes the problem and not the tyre.
Have the suspensions examined
Just as the winter can be harsh on roads, it can be harsh on your car. Frequent driving on roads dotted with potholes or bumps emerging from the asphalt can misbalance your wheel’s alignment or ruin the suspension components. If you’ve already taken your car to the mechanic to check the situation under the bonnet, ask them to check the suspension and alignment as well. Although some newer cars are advertised as ‘lubed for life’, the truth is that many models can still use regular chassis lubrication as written in the owner’s manual. Expendable steering and suspension components can also use interval lubrication.
Test the electrics
Lower temperatures and damp weather may reduce the effectiveness of your battery, so the springtime is a good opportunity to have it tested. While you’re at it, make sure the battery is securely fixed in its mount and that the connections are clean, tight and free of corrosion. If your battery has lower capacity than specified by the owner’s manual, or is more than five years old, start looking for the best deal on a new one. This may be a good opportunity to check your lighting too. While you’ll be able to replace any burned out bulb yourself, have an electrician inspect connectors or sockets for corrosion. It might just solve that irritating dashboard ‘bulb’ light.
Winter conditions are always putting a lot of stress on your car, even if the signs of wear and tear aren’t visible at the first glance. Spring is the ideal time to attend to small issues before they become big ones in the midst of the summer.