Spring Break Car Maintenance Tips

by Don Elliott on March 20, 2012

Car MaintenanceAs winter ends, it is time to check your vehicle for any car maintenance needed. Winter driving can be tough on a car. Road salt, potholes, cold weather, ice, and snow can create wear and tear issues that need addressed before you take off for your Spring Break vacation.

A good auto repair shop can easily do any car maintenance services. To save money, take in your checklist and ask if they have a car maintenance package that handles the items that you need inspected. To save even more money, many of these car maintenance tips can be done by you in the driveway or in the parking lot of your favorite auto parts store.

  • Car wash – Winter road salt and debris builds up in you car’s undercarriage. Spring for the undercar package at the car wash when you run the car through just before the big trip. Even better, visit an auto detailing shop and have a thorough reconditioning done inside and out. For just a little bit of money, it’ll add used car value to your vehicle.
  • Check the tires – Make sure that you have at least 3/32 of tread on each tire and that the air pressure is correct. Remember, tire pressure will go up, as the weather gets warmer. If you haven’t rotated the tires in the last six months, now would be a good time to have it done.
  • Wheel alignment – Driving through potholes and icy conditions can knock car wheels out of alignment causing potential wear to the tires and an unsafe driving situation. Tire shops will check your tires to see if a wheel alignment is indicated by the wear on your tires.
  • Change the oil and filter – If you plan on driving some distance during Spring Break, change the oil and filter before you leave. The extra miles could push you well beyond the recommended oil change schedule. By the way, some cars require thicker oil for driving when the weather is warmer. Check your owner’s manual for guidance.
  • Wiper blades – Winter is hard on the soft rubber wiping surface of your wiper blades. Replacing the blades is inexpensive car maintenance task that will prevent you from trying to drive with a streaking windshield on unfamiliar roads.
  • Change the air filter – Replacing the engine air filter is a simple job on most cars. A clean air filter will help the engine perform better and improve gas mileage.
  • Battery – Your car’s battery wears out over time. Cold winter weather is particularly hard on the battery’s charging capacity. Your auto repair shop or auto parts store can tell you how much life is left in the battery and whether it will make through the Spring Break vacation trip. At least, clean the terminals with a mixture of baking soda and water to make sure that the voltage flow is not impeded.
  • Lights – Before you jump in the car, have someone help you check the lights on your car to make sure all of the bulbs light up as expected. Be sure to check the daytime running lights and the trunk lights if you have them.

After completing these common car maintenance tasks, you can rest assured that your car is ready for the road. Have a safe and happy Spring Break road trip!

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