There are a lot of things that go into hibernation each winter, but your everyday vehicle certainly isn’t one of them.
In fact, your car can get rather grizzly after three months of driving in slush, snow, ice, and cold temperatures, along with plenty of exposure to road salt and sand. That’s why it’s important to bring your vehicle in for service as the first signs of warm weather arrive.
“It’s always good after the winter months to have a thorough check up done underneath your vehicle,” said Vinnie Klimkosz, owner of the two area locations of Vinnie’s Mr. FixIt. “Winter can be extremely harsh on all your vehicle’s major systems, so having them inspected each spring is a smart idea.”
According to Klimkosz, who you get to inspect your vehicles is almost as important as the inspection itself.
“You want to have your car inspected by a licensed mechanic or trained technician, not a tire shop or quick lube place” said Klimkosz. “A licensed mechanic is better trained to spot issues and problems. It’s always better to take your vehicle to an automotive repair centre or a good independent repair shop for a proper evaluation.”
Klimkosz said there are a lot of vehicle owners out there who have only ever taken their cars to a quick-lube place or tire shop for simple service. The problem arises when something major happens with their vehicle.
“Suddenly they need some brake work or more intense work done to their vehicle that a lube shop can’t handle,” he said. “Then they’re scrambling to find a reliable place that can work on their car. It’s always good to start a relationship with an automotive repair centre. They’re going to be your best line of defense when it comes to maintenance and anything more technical when it comes to your car.”
So what are the primary areas of focus to consider when bringing your car in for spring maintenance after motoring through another season of winter driving?
According to Klimkosz, there are some important areas that require immediate attention.
“Switching from your winter tires is the first thing and taking the wheels off allows you to get a good front end inspection and a brake inspection,” he said. “It’s the right time to check all the parts that have been wearing hard, especially after pothole season. That can be pretty hard on your suspension.”
Cleaning all the rust, sand, salt, and corrosion from the hubs during the tire switchover is also vitally important, because that can negatively affect the seal between hub and tire. Klimkosz said it’s also important to have the wheels retorked once they’re put back on to ensure the wheel is secure.
“Whether you do it or you have it done at the shop, it’s a good preventative measure. Most shops will do it for free. Have it done within the first week or the first 100 kilometres just to be sure your wheel is fastened properly.”
Other critical spring maintenance includes checking all the lights to ensure lenses are clear and lights are working, replacing the wiper blades, checking tire pressure, and getting a proper lube oil and filter.
For full automotive service and advice, visit Vinnie’s Mr. Fixit online. Or drop by either of their two Guelph locations: 30 Hayes Avenue, or 41 Woodlawn Road West.