Tips for getting your car ready for your first road trip of the season

Nothing says spring like spring-cleaning. Spring is the perfect time of year to get your car, truck, or SUV ready for road trip season. Road trips are an important part of North American culture. Every year thousands of people pack up the car and head out on a journey full of excitement and adventure. Spending […]

Life + Leisure Automotive Brian Webb

This article was published on April 25th, 2015

Tips for getting your car ready for your first road trip of the season

Nothing says spring like spring-cleaning. Spring is the perfect time of year to get your car, truck, or SUV ready for road trip season. Road trips are an important part of North American culture. Every year thousands of people pack up the car and head out on a journey full of excitement and adventure. Spending a little bit of time now can help in reducing a headache on your vacation.

Check your wheels

Potholes and driving surfaces can take a toll on tires and treads during the winter driving season. It only takes a few quick moments to check the treads and tire pressure. Ideal tire pressure can also save money at the pump and prolong the life of your tires.

Tires should also be rotates every 8,000-10,000kms. This reduces the chance of uneven wear. Spring is also a good time to take off winter tires and put on all-season tires.

It’s important to have the wheel alignment checked and readjusted. Winter road conditions are notorious for throwing your wheels out of alignment. Alignment can have a big impact on the wear of your tires and can cause your car to pull to one side over time.

Fluid and brake check

Keeping the fluids topped up and changing filters is important spring maintenance. Fluid levels are critical for your vehicles best performance. Oil is important; it keeps the engine functioning properly. Typically drivers will run thinner oil in the winter, especially in colder climates; in warmer months a thicker oil should be used.

In the winter months, drivers typically use a lot of windshield wiper fluid. In the warmer months, it is better to switch to a lighter mixture without anti-freezing solution.

Brakes generally lose performance slowly, over long periods of time, to the point it may not be noticeable that they are no longer at peak performance. Calipers need to slide smoothly to work properly. Road grime and salt from winter roads can accumulate and impair brake performance.

Wipers, battery, and the rest

Wiper blades are used all throughout the year and they get a lot of wear and tear. In the winter months ice, snow, salt, rocks and sand, and road grime can damage the blade, which can lead to streaking, and the rubber can harder causing the blades to chatter across the glass. Old blades should be replaces with a fresh pair. Don’t forget the rear blade if you have one.

Have your mechanic check your battery. Posts and connections need to be free of dirt, grime and corrosion. In the summer months the air conditioner puts a heavy load on the battery, so you want to make sure it’s in good shape.

A good, thorough car wash will remove salt, sand, and grime, which can damage your vehicles exterior. Wash the top, sides, underside, and wheel wells. On the interior, clean the floor matts and vacuum the seats, floors and any fabric upholstery areas. Stains should be cleaned up with appropriate cleaning solutions.

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