Cars are often neglected during the colder winter months. With this in mind, April, which is National Car Care Month, is a good time to give your car the care and maintenance that it needs. Here are some spring car care tips to make your car safer and more reliable.
Spring car care essentials and maintenance for safety and reliability
During the spring, there are some basic car care essentials that you should follow to maximize the safety and reliability of your vehicle, as detailed by Business Wire. This includes:
- On a monthly basis, check your tires to ensure that they are properly inflated. Also, every 6,000 miles, get your tires rotated and balanced.
- Before going on a road trip, ensure that the various fluids are at their appropriate levels. This includes oil, windshield washer fluid, and air conditioning coolant. Also, check the oil filter and air filter.
- Check the windshield wipers. Replace them every six months.
- Get your brakes checked, especially if you plan on driving on mountainous roads with steep grades.
- To ensure that the battery is still strong and effective, get a computerized battery test.
- Be sure to follow the recommended maintenance schedule for your car. This is typically three months or 3,000 miles, whichever comes first. Preventative maintenance is a good way to identify issues before they become serious problems.
Get an emergency and car care preparedness kit
Business Wire also recommends getting an emergency and car care preparedness kit for your vehicle in the spring. Part of vehicle safety and reliability is being prepared for emergencies. Put an emergency and car care preparedness kit in the center console, trunk, or cargo area of your car, and you’ll give yourself the peace of mind for safety.
Items in the kit include:
- Flashlights for when a car is stranded on the side of the road and won’t start
- Water bottles and snacks, which are good to have if you get stranded for a long time
- Tire pressure gauges with a reading from 32 to 40 psi
- Whistle, which enables injured or trapped occupants to alert others for help
- Emergency blankets, which provide warmth and a barrier to the elements when it’s cold outside
- Battery- or solar-operated phone chargers to ensure that your phone has enough power to enable you to make an emergency call
- First aid kit, with items such as bandaids, bandages, gloves, tape, scissors, tweezers, sting relief pads, antibiotic ointments, antibiotic wipes, and safety pins
- Vehicle escape tools for when you’re trapped in a car that’s on fire or sinking in water
- Car wipes and air fresheners, which help keep your car clean, sanitized, and smelling good
Spring driving safety tips
In addition to car care, it’s important to follow good spring driving tips. As detailed by American Family Insurance, this includes:
- Drive safely in the rain: Spring is a rainy time for much of the United States, so be sure to drive slower and give other cars more space when driving in rainy conditions.
- Watch out for potholes: Winter weather is brutal for roads, resulting in potholes and cracks, which become worse with the heavy spring rains.
- Avoid flooded roads: With the combination of heavy rains and melting snow and ice, flooded roads are a frequent problem in the spring. If you encounter a flooded road, turn around and choose a safer, alternative route.
- Watch out for leftover sand and salt. Sand and salt are effective at melting snow and ice, but when left on the roads in the spring, they can have an adverse effect on traction and braking.
- Avoid driving in the hail: Spring is when thunderstorms start in many parts of the U.S., which sometimes includes hail. If you get caught in a hailstorm, pull your car over, and if possible, seek shelter.
With these car care and driving tips, you can stay safe on the road this spring. The spring season brings its unique set of challenges, so take the necessary precautions to ensure that you’ll have a safe and reliable car for your trips.