In the late spring, the weather has turned consistently nicer and we want to get ourselves and our vehicles out of hibernation.  While the PNW can tease us with short stretches of summer-like weather, we know we aren’t quite there yet.  In the meantime, while we wait for real summer, here are a few car care tips to get your vehicle ready to enjoy the warmer weather.

Wash and wax.

If you haven’t done so yet, give your vehicle a good scrub! Winter can be hard on the body and paint of your vehicle. All the salt and grime from the winter builds up, especially if you have driven over the mountain passes.  Now is the perfect time to clean all that winter gunk off. Don’t forget to wash the wheel wells out (use a tire brush to really get in there) and hose off the undercarriage as best as you can. Once you’re done, a good coat of wax or a clay bar will help extend the life of your paint as the hot summer sun approaches.  If your vehicle needs more detailing than you are comfortable with, seek out a professional detailer service.  You will feel like you are back in a brand new auto without that brand new payment. 

Clean the inside, too.

Cleaning the inside won’t make your vehicle run better, but it will create a more enjoyable environment. Just like the body of the vehicle, interiors get neglected in the winter. Clean it out, put some high quality vinyl or leather treatment on the dash to keep it from cracking from the heat of the sun as it beats through the windshield. If you tote around extra shoes or ice scrapers or snow brushes just in case, put those away until you need them again.  It’ll feel better to drive around in a neat and clean carriage.  

Inspect your wiper blades.

The winter ice and cold degrades the wipers rapidly, and spring in the PNW will bring plenty of rain showers. Don’t wait until you can’t see to replace your wipers. They are affordable and easy to install. If you are having trouble installing them, most auto part stores will install them for you at no charge if you ask nicely.

Check alignment and suspension.

Mother Nature can really do some damage to our roads in the winter months. If you’ve encountered potholes, chances are your car could use an alignment. If you’ve driven in Western Washington, you have definitely encountered potholes.  Aside from that jarring feeling of hitting a pothole, the action can cause alignment issues which will wear out your tires quickly. If you feel your vehicle drifting to the left or the right, or if your steering wheel is not centered when you are driving down a flat, straight road, that is a sign that you likely need an alignment. Suspension checks are something that you can ask a trusted, experienced mechanic to check for you.

Set your tire pressures.

Temperature changes make your tire pressures fluctuate. Now that the cold has begun to subside, and temperatures are rising, check your tires and set them to the appropriate pressure using the pressure stated in the door jamb of your vehicle, not what is on the sidewall of the tire. This will improve your fuel mileage and give you longer tire life.

Check under the hood.

If you’re not comfortable doing this, then make an appointment to have a mechanic do a basic check, but don’t feel intimidated opening that hood and familiarizing yourself with what lives under there. Once open, if you see belts and hoses that are cracked or frayed, have them replaced immediately before it becomes a problem. You can also look for leaks, and if you notice wet spots on the engine, that’s very likely a sign that something is wrong. A visual inspection can help prevent issues before they become a big problem.

With a staff of experienced, professional ASE Certified Technicians, Rolf’s Import Auto Service is the premier import auto repair and service facility in the Lakewood, WA and Fife, WA communities. We provide expert vehicle services, repairs, and professional technicians.  Give us a call today so we can help you enjoy the warmer weather to the fullest. 

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