The calendar is saying it is time for the spring car checks even if the weather does not quite agree yet.

The spring maintenance somehow always gets overlooked. This is a bad practice as hot temperatures to come are just as hard on a vehicle as the cold winter temperatures.

There are some important post winter services to be done on every vehicle to extend life and reduce costs.

Winter TiresWinter tires

In the next few weeks it will be time to remove winter tires if you use them and return to the standard radials. This is important as it not only preserves tread life of winter tires but typically you get better fuel economy with a less aggressive tread pattern. In some area where studded tires are common remember the calendar and law says they must be removed by a certain date- typically sometime in April.

Alignment

While you are changing or even just rotating tires take a careful look at the tread wear. If it is uneven at all take them in to be spun balanced. Ice and snow has a habit of displacing wheel weights and an off balance wheel will have a bad effect on both tire life and handling.  If the tires balance well or if there was many instances of hitting frozen ice or curbs hidden beneath the snow a wheel alignment may be in order. A simple check for that is to straighten the wheels and check to see if the steering wheel is also oriented perfectly up and down. If not then there is no doubt you need and alignment.

Anti-FreezeAntifreeze

Check the antifreeze again. Remember it is not just antifreeze – its actual purpose is coolant. With hot weather coming it is just as important to ensure it has the correct mixture for efficient cooling of the engine and block. In the winter cooling is helped by always having the heater on- when summer arrives and the heater is off there it is more strain to keep the engine cooled and you may not have noticed that during the cooler months.

Undercarriage Wash

One of the most important things you can do for your car after the last snow is to put it up on jacks and give it a thorough undercarriage wash and spray down. Do not attempt this with a standard jack – it is not safe. Use a quality hydraulic jack (visit the SGS website here for examples) and blocks- the same goes for changing out multiple tires. The accumulated salt and grit from the winter will wreak havoc on your exhaust and all metal surfaces if it is not washed away completely at the end of winter.