The Importance of Post-Snow Car Maintenance
We aren’t there yet, but the groundhog said it’s coming soon — if you believe that kind of thing. Therefore, it’s important to get your vehicle into one of your favorite car maintenance shops for some post-snow car maintenance when the snow is finally gone. Taking care of your car after winter is almost just as important as getting it ready for the winter. The snow, ice, salt, and sand take a lot out of your vehicle, especially on the underside of your car. Your tires and windshield wipers will certainly need to be replaced as well, and it’s imperative that you check your fluids.
Since winter takes such a toll on many important parts of your car, not just the ones listed, it’s extremely important that you take car of it after the snow stops flying. You can start with your tires.
Rotate or Replace Your Tires
It’s important to check and replace your tires. If you have all-season tires, make sure there are no cracks or any other type of serious damage, and then rotate them. Even if they are meant to handle the harsh conditions, heavy snow and ice beats them up pretty bad; particularly, the drive wheels. These are the ones that take the most abuse, so it’s important to take the front tires and swap them out with the back if you have a rear-wheel drive car; or visa versa if you have a front-wheel drive car.
If you don’t have all season tires, and you have some snow tires that have really aggressive tread, it’s best to change them out completely. Not only do they take just as much abuse, but the aggressive tread doesn’t do as well in the spring/summer driving conditions. Since the tread is meant to hug the road, and keep your car stable under hazardous conditions, your mpg goes down. Not to mention, tires that are heavily treaded wear out much faster on dry pavement than normal tires. Therefore, you need to take them off so you can save them again for next winter.
It’s better to pay for a change or a new set of spring and summer tires as opposed to wearing out your winter ones and then needing new ones for next season; because, snow tires cost a pretty penny.
Checking Your Windshield Wipers
Your windshield wipers are another part of your car that take a beating in the winter, and need to be checked (and possibly replaced) as well. First, cold weather saps all the life out of the rubber compounds in the windshield wipers, and it weakens them significantly. Second, they are assaulted by a mixture of snow, ice, salt, and sand regularly throughout the winter season. If the salt can eat through the ice, imagine what the corrosive nature does to the windshield wipers. Not too mention, the grit from the sand has broken down the durability of the wiper blades even more; it’s not like the rubber is that thick.
You also probably nicked the rubber inserts once or twice when hurriedly scraping the windshield off in the morning, which also damages them. Also, it’s not like the ice that clings to your windshield isn’t easy on the wiper blades. Chances are, the ice has frozen your wipers to the windshield more than once this winter. If you didn’t properly scrape them off and turned the wipers on only to hear a crack as they tugged free, that damaged them as well.
The point is, it’s important to check them (and most likely replace them) for any damage after the winter. Second to your tires, your windshield wipers are next in line for taking the most abuse. They are much more important than you think they are, and you won’t know that until that spring rain comes crashing down and you can’t see because your wipers are tattered.
Check Your Fluids
For the internal components, it’s important to check your fluids. This includes your engine coolant, windshield washer fluid, transmission fluid, and most importantly; your engine oil.
For the winter, you should have put in a thinner weight oil. This way, it’s able to flow through your engine better when it thickens up in the cold weather. But, it’s just as important to throw a thicker engine oil in when the warm weather comes around. While a thinner oil is so it doesn’t thicken in the winter and mess with the performance of your engine, a thicker oil is what allows the engine to handle the added heat from the spring and summer weather. Without the thicker oil to lubricate the parts better in the warm months, the internal components could create too much friction; causing the engine to damage itself.
The transmission fluid also needs to be checked, and chances are it needs to be topped off. Seeing as the cold weather causes the vehicles to work harder. Furthermore, don’t forget to check and top off your engine coolant and windshield washer fluid.
Wash Your Car, Thoroughly
This is probably the most important thing you can do for your car on this list — wash it thoroughly. Take it through a car wash to get the body squeaky clean, and if it didn’t get the undercarriage or wheels well enough, then get on your hands and knees with a high-powered hose and a bristle brush if you need to. In winter, the biggest concern is the salt that’s put out on the roads. This causes your car to rust much faster than one that experiences warm weather year round. The salt’s corrosive nature eats away at the frame and body of your car much like it does to the windshield wipers, except the harm done to your vehicle is irreversible.
Therefore, once you have seen the last of the snow, give your car a thorough washing. If not, you are sending it to an early grave.
As You Can See, It’s Important
Post-snow maintenance is clearly just as important as pre-snow preparation, and you need to make sure it’s done right. These are 4 of the more important things to check/take care of after the winter season ends, and it’s imperative that you do these when spring time rolls around.
If not, you can expect your new 2016 car to look like one from 1996 in a couple years from now. While that might be exaggerated, neglecting post-snow maintenance overtime will be a huge regret; especially if you let the salt sit there and eat away at the body.