As the seasons change, our driving styles need to adapt. We know this is especially the case with the winter season. Sleet, snow, and ice can cause potentially dangerous situations while driving. So, although we can’t control the weather while we drive, there is something that we can control, our vehicle’s readiness through seasonal car maintenance.
Seasonal car maintenance can be crucial to the driving experience in what mother nature throws at us. Tires, suspension, and braking are all very important for your safety on the road. While you may be thinking that driving in the cold and snow is tough, it takes a toll on your car too. During the colder months is the worst time to neglect maintenance on not only the suspension and tires, but also the engine itself. Why is pushing the date of your seasonal check-up potentially dangerous? What should you consider replacing while at the shop? How do these things contribute to the safety of your vehicle?
Importance of Seasonal Check-up
Listen, seasonal car check-ups are not fun for anyone, they take time out of our day that we could devote to doing something else. Not only that, but we normally need to spend money in order to fix the issues that the technicians find. But why is it so important that we get this done?
A check-up on a car, or our Multi-Point Inspection, goes through your vehicle to determine any issues. The wheels come off so that the brakes can be checked. The tires are checked for uneven wear, age, punctures, or wear bars showing.
The suspension is checked by looking for leaks, torn boots, and damage to suspension components. The battery’s life is determined with a battery tester, and the coolant is topped off. All of the exterior lights are checked as well. The windshield wipers are checked for skipping or streaks.
All of these things contribute to the safety of your passengers. The brake lights warn the drivers behind you that your beginning to slow down. What if you’re in a bad snowstorm and your rear lights are out, you start to slow down, but the car behind you isn’t warned. It’s difficult for a vehicle to brake suddenly and stop short. With icy roads, your tires that have uneven wear or minimal tread can lose traction, causing you to spin out.
These checks are important because you know what needs to be changed and what doesn’t. The cool temperatures affect your engine too. If the coolant inside of the engine doesn’t have the proper amount of antifreeze, it’ll freeze losing the ability to cool down the engine, and possibly crack the block. As the outside temperature decreases, so does the oil temperature and effectiveness for lubrication. If here is old oil, or not enough, it can cause damage. So, the oil is checked too, ensuring that the engine gets the proper amount of lubrication.
What Should You Replace?
Let’s consider what you should replace. If you live in a place that doesn’t have an aggressive environment, like wintertime here in Cincinnati, OH, then some of these things mentioned probably won’t apply to you. Let’s start with tires.
Tires are crucial for not only traction but stopping too, which is especially important as roads are frequently covered in snow. If you live in an area with snow like us, then some proper all seasons or winter tires, even studded snow tires, will be good to have. If your tires are under 5/32, then it’s time to consider new ones. Many people will keep two sets of tires, one for winter and then one for the spring through fall. It is still important to make sure that, even during the winter months, you get the tires rotated so that you get the best life and use out of the tires.
The suspension is very important because unseen potholes or other obstacles can be masked by snow or ice. The suspension will help absorb the impact and make sure your car stays in a straight line. But if your suspension is worn, it can be really hard to drive, and you could possibly lose your heading and spin out. If the struts are losing their hold on the car, it might be a good time to replace them.
The next thing to consider replacing if worn would be the wiper blades, as they determine if you see the road ahead of you while driving in undesirable conditions. If you happen to notice that your wipers are streaking, get them replaced before you’re in the next storm wishing you’d already done it.
Brakes are another area of the car that can’t be skimped out on. If the check-up’s results suggest that you get your brake pads, your rotors, or even your brake fluid replaced, you should seriously consider it. An engine tune-up could be a nice option too. Both the extreme heat and the extreme cold can really start to wear down engine parts. An oil change and maybe spark plugs, or anything that the maintenance sheet’s due date is up on, will help your engine to putt along the road with confidence.
Drive Confidently and safely
Although we may think that we can make it through till the next season, why take that chance? There is nothing worse than being stuck in a parking lot with a dead battery when it’s frigid outside, or when you need to apply the brakes suddenly, or you lose traction on the icy corner. It is better to be prepared than sorry later.
You’ll also need to pick a place to get the work done. If you are in the Cincinnati, Ohio area, and are in need of seasonal car maintenance, visit us at Kings Ford Quick Lane. We want the experience to be as painless as possible. With short wait times, reasonable prices, and a great inventory, you’ll be able to drive with confidence in no time. We are also located near different restaurants and shops, which is perfect if you decide to replace parts on your car that take a little bit longer.
To review, seasonal car maintenance is very important for the longevity of your vehicle. It’s also important for the safety of you and your passengers. Extreme conditions can roll up on you unexpectedly when while traveling, so you should be able to drive with confidence this year. See what your car is in need of, and get your maintenance done.