It's Time for Spring Maintenance

When most people think of "spring cleaning," they're probably thinking about their jam-packed closet, cluttered bookshelves or weed-ridden garden. But you want to also be thinking about spring-cleaning your car.

According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, more than 2,600 deaths occur each year as a result of neglected vehicle maintenance.

And it's the cold, winter months of freezing temperatures, road salt, potholes and weather that's to blame. Although most new vehicles have computer systems that can alert you when it's time for a check up, the average American is driving roughly a 10-year-old car without the updates.

So what should you check for? Here are the most important pieces to check, especially each spring, to make sure your car is reliable and efficient!

The battery. You're pretty stuck if your car won't start. During the winter, the battery has to work harder and can drain. What are the signs of a weak battery? Dim headlights or interior lights or power windows that take longer than usual to go up or down.

The brakes. Blame winter conditions and salt on the road for corrosion of the brake parts. But nothing is more crucial to your safety than your brakes, so make sure they're in working order. What are the warning signs of failing breaks? Pulling to one side when you brake, squeaking or grinding noises and a brake pedal that feels too soft.

The tires. Cold weather can reduce tire pressure, so make sure all tires, including the spare, are properly inflated and balanced. Try the age-old coin test on your tires. Insert a quarter into several grooves across each one. If part of Washington's head is always covered, you still have 4/32 inch of treat left and can probably drive safely. If you have less tread, start thinking about replacements. Not sure what your pressure should be? Check inside the car door to find what the proper air pressure should be.

The belts and hoses. A broken belt or hose can cause problems ranging from loss of power steering to an overheated engine, and sad to say, these parts can be easily overlooked. Inspect and replace worn or cracked belts, as well as blistered hoses. If your belts and hoses are more than five years old, they may need to be replaced, even if they look intact.

The fluid levels. Check all of them—engine oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, antifreeze/coolant and even windshield washer fluid. And on the plus side, a brake fluid flush can bring your sluggish brakes back to life.

Questions about what you should be doing for your vehicle maintenance? Contact us today and we'll walk you through what you need to remain safe on the road.