There is no doubt about it; winter is rough on cars. While we might have a few frosty days again, most of the coldest months are behind us and it’s time to prevent unnecessary repairs and expenses by performing the annual ritual of spring auto maintenance and inspection. Small, hidden problems could get big if you don’t examine your vehicle after the spring thaw. 

One critical auto care step is about more than just looking good for road trips in the spring. It is also about maintaining resale value and keeping the grime from doing long term damage to the body of your vehicle. A good cleaning will reveal minor dings and chips in the paint, which are magnets for costly and all-consuming rust. Professionals tend to recommend hand washing instead of convenience car washes, which can neglect details but still cost $5 to $30 depending on the package and the size of your vehicle. In a rainy area like the PNW, invest in some quality care care products, and take advantage of those nice days by hand-washing your vehicle regularly.  The act of washing your car will get you familiar with the scratches and dings that may already exist, so you can be more aware of new blemishes.  

One thing pretty much every vehicle owner will need to replace in the springtime after a run of cold temperatures is windshield wipers.  But if you think about it, we live in a pretty rainy area and the windshield is (literally) your window to the road.  You certainly need it to be as clear as possible!  Thawing, freezing, and scraping over icy windshields can cause wiper blades to warp, bend, and crack. Measure the old blades and check the car’s manual for the correct size before removing the old ones to install new ones, which should cost (on average) between $8 to $25. Always have your replacements on hand before removing the old ones in case you have to leave quickly since the weather can be unpredictable.  We recommend that you replace blades once in the fall and once in the spring. 

Unfortunately, some drivers first realize they have a light out when a police officer pulls them over to tell them so (and possibly issue a ticket for this infraction). Spring is the perfect time to examine mirrors for cracks, and to have a friend or family member activate headlights, taillights, reverse lights, brake lights, parking lights, fog lights, and turn signals while you do a visual inspection.  If you’re noticing other drivers flashing their lights at you when you’re out driving, they may be indicating to you that something doesn’t look right.  Be sure you check it out.  

Roads in winter are salty and sandy and generally just gross, and washer fluid doubles as a de-icer for those days when the temperature seems to hover right around 33 degrees. Driving along at 70 MPH on the highway with compromised visibility is not the time to discover you’re out of fluid. Windshield washer fluid is available at most grocery and convenience stores in a gallon size, so be sure to pick some up to keep on hand.  Your vehicle, if newer, will probably give you a heads up that you’re running low by way of activating a sensor, but you can always top it off before the sensor lets you know there’s an urgent need to do so.  

The staff and families of Rolf’s Import Auto Service wish you a happy and healthy Spring season.  We are happy to be of service to you to help keep you on the road, and safe behind the wheel.  

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