Spring isn’t quite springing yet but it’s certainly getting closer. On the one hand, spring is generally a much kinder season all around than winter. On the other hand, it’s likely to be a time when you’ll use your vehicle more as you go out more. With that in mind, Car Mats UK are some tips on how to prepare your vehicle for the upcoming season.
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Start with a good clean, inside, and out
Winter weather can leave your car dirty and covered in salt, over time, this can lead to corrosion. A good wash and wax will help protect your car’s finish. If you’re washing your car outdoors, avoid leaving it in direct sunlight. This can make the water dry too quickly and leave soap spots. Alternatively, just take your car to a car wash.
Inside, give your car a good declutter. Vacuum the interior and deodorise it. If you’re really in the mood for spring cleaning, you can clean the upholstery and the centre console. There are special cleaners for both. Ideally, you’ll use a microfibre cloth on the centre console.
Use your cleaning time as an opportunity to assess the state of your vehicle, especially on the outside. For example, winter may have damaged your paintwork. If so, you want to deal with it quickly. Even in spring, the weather can compound any existing damage.
Check the state of your tyres
If you use seasonal tyres, then you’ll need to think about when to switch out your winter tyres for your summer ones. Summer tyres can usually work in temperatures down to -7°C. That means, technically, you’re probably safe to switch them out now.
With that said, some parts of the UK could still get some Arctic blasts before winter is really over. If you’re in one of them, you might want to keep your winter tyres on for a bit longer if they’re still in good condition.
If you use all-season tyres, then make sure they’re still up to the job. In the UK, for tyres to be road-legal, they must have a minimum tread depth of 1.6mm across the central three-quarter area. This is, however, a limit, not a target.
Look at your tread pattern and think about your vehicle’s performance (e.g., are there any unexpected vibrations). If there’s anything that gives you cause for concern, just change your tyres. Remember, in the UK spring tends to bring a lot of rain with it. This means you need to have total confidence in your tyres’ ability to grip the road.
Open up your bonnet
Realistically, the question is not whether or not winter has taken a toll on your car. The question is how much damage it has done. Here are the key points to check.
Batteries need to be clean to work properly. Once you’ve cleaned your battery, check if it still holds a charge properly. If it doesn’t, just replace it.
Top up your coolant, power steering, brake, and transmission fluids. Consider changing your screen wash fluid.
Standard windscreen washer fluid is sometimes called summer washer fluid. This is presumably to reflect the fact that it doesn’t have the de-icing properties of winter washer fluid. You can, however, buy washer fluids that are actively designed for use in warmer environments. They help to ward off summer hazards, such as insects.
While you have your bonnet open, you might want to change your oil. This isn’t exactly a spring-specific task, but it does need to be done regularly.
Your brakes, belts, and hoses
If you’re not confident checking these yourself, have a mechanic do it for you. Remember, winter ice will give way to spring rain. You need to be able to trust your engine, particularly your brakes.
Test your windscreen wipers
On that note, make sure to check that your windscreen wipers are up to dealing with that rain.