Spring will be here before we know it. I know that pesky groundhog saw his shadow so we’re in for a little more winter, but thankfully for us even if he’s right, the changing of the seasons is a guarantee. That’s why we need to spend a moment talking about getting you and your car ready for the onset of warmer weather and lots of showers! So let’s get into it and talk about some maintenance and specific points to check as we transition into the Spring season.
Most people are probably riding on all-season tires. For you this means an easy transition from winter to spring. Here’s a couple of things you should check and remedy if necessary. First, and I can’t stress this enough, please check your air pressure often. This isn’t a once a season thing. This should be done every two weeks, or as your car tells you to if you have a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS). Not sure if you have this? Check the gauge cluster for an icon that is a tire with a “!” in the middle (pictured below). If this light is on when you are driving, it means that the tire pressure is under or over the proper level.
Courtesy of safercar.gov
Second thing to do is to ensure that your tires have the proper amount of tread left to handle the wet weather driving. For a long time we used to do quick checks by doing the “penny test”. We’ve learned recently that even if your tires pass the “penny test” they may not perform at their expected level. More and more experts are adopting the “quarter test” because when the tire fails the “quarter test” performance starts to degrade. Remember this, your tires are the only thing between you and the road, so give them the credit and care that they deserve.
Back to the tests. Both tests are conducted the same way. See both tests pictured below. Take your testing coin of choice upside down and stick it in the tread at various locations on the tire. If your tire fails the “quarter test” it means it’s time to plan for new tires because you’ll need them soon. If your tire fails the “penny test” it means that you need to change these tires immediately. Tires that fail the “penny test” are guaranteed to take longer to stop, slip when steering and hydroplane.
Courtesy of autoweek.com
If you use winter tires, consider switching to your summer tires when the average low temperature in your area is above 40 degrees.
Courtesy of Walmart.com
If you’re like me living in the northeast, you’re using a lot of washer fluid to de-ice the windshield and clear the salt water spray coming off of the road. This winter has been especially bad with a higher than average number of storms, and other parts of the country have seen similarly wicked weather. So it means that it’s time to check the washer fluid. And it means that it’s time to transition from de-icing formula to a bug cleaning formula (you know why!).
Along the same lines as the washer fluid, your windshield wipers must be looked at to make sure they are in tip-top shape. The second you can’t clear the windshield in one stroke you need to replace at least the rubber insert if not the whole wiper blade assembly. If you’ve had to clear ice and snow like I have, you’ll want to replace them as soon as possible. The rubber can’t stand up to the icy surface on the windshield.
Courtesy of electronicproducts.com
Can’t remember the last time you replaced them? Then it’s probably time to do so. And don’t be stingy here because they are inexpensive to replace. And if you’re intimidated by the thought of changing them, your local auto parts supplier or service center will replace them for you, and some of them do it for free!