Spring Cleaning Time! Must-Do Car Maintenance Items for Spring

Springtime is here, and it couldn’t come soon enough for folks in cold weather climates! The change of seasons always brings on a set of car maintenance items that owners should take care of as soon as possible. Welcome back the warm spring weather by treating your car to these tasks to ensure it’s happy, healthy, and ready for that spring or summer road trip!

Ditch the winter tires

Closeup of winter tires full of snow, demonstrating how they maintain traction via a contact patch extending past the snow
Winter snow tire | Soeren Stache/picture alliance via Getty Images

According to CAA, if you’re running a winter tire compound, now is the time to take those tires off! Don’t get too hasty; if the tires are still good, there’s no reason not to hang on to them for next year. Many tire shops will even put them in plastic bags for storage if you ask them nicely!

While studless winter tires aren’t going to do any harm in spring and summer road conditions, driving them in spring or summer conditions can cause them to wear faster. Winter tires are designed for traction, not longevity.

Additionally, in many states, driving on studded tires is illegal past before or after a certain date. According to Tirebuyer, metal studs are outright illegal in some states year-round. When there isn’t snow on the ground, metal studs in tires can cause damage to roadways.

Check your alignment

Though the upfront cost of an alignment may be a bit of an annoyance, it can save you hundreds of dollars when it comes to tires. So, you’ll need to make sure you’re still driving straight and true!

There are tons of conditions that can cause your alignment to go bad throughout the winter. Potholes, curbs that are disguised by snow, and unseen speed bumps can all knock suspension components out of whack. You may not even have to hit something as hard as you think to mess your alignment up.

Some shops offer a lifetime alignment plan for those budget-conscious who don’t plan to get a different car any time soon. For example, Firestone offers a one-time payment lifetime alignment plan that allows you to get a free alignment every six months or 6,000 miles.

Wash away the winter

Man giving a spring wash to his Porsche 911 GT3RS with a pressure washer and wash bucket
Man washing a Porsche | Richard Baker / In Pictures via Getty Images

This is especially important if you live in an area that uses salt on the roads. Take your car to a car wash and wash away all the winter grime. It’s imperative to get up into the wheel wheels and wash exposed suspension components. Additionally, it’s essential to do your best to wash the underside of your car sufficiently. Doing so will help prevent rust from forming from salt.

Additionally, the weight of road grit and grime packed into wheels and tires can cause them to become unbalanced, making for a very unpleasant driving experience.

Experts recommend washing your car at least every two weeks and more frequently if salt is involved. Salt does not need to spend much time on your car to start rusting exposed components.

Check your fluids

Close-up view of motor oil as it is poured from a red container into a blue bucket
Pouring engine oil into a funnel | Tom Kelley Archive/Getty Images

The vast temperature fluctuation from extreme heat to extreme cold can have a negative effect on your car’s fluids, especially the oil.

Going back and forth between temperatures can cause sludge to build up in your oil, leading to serious engine problems or even total engine failure. In general, it’s best practice to have your oil changed after winter, even if it’s not due if you live in a very cold area.

You’re on your way to Springtime fun

With these basic maintenance items out of the way, you’re now free to go out on your Spring adventures without worrying about having issues with your car!

If you’re preparing for a road trip, keep scrolling to read all about the precautions you should take to ensure your car is up to the task before hitting the road for a long-distance drive!

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