Spring Car Maintenance: Get Your Car Road Ready
Spring is here, which means it's time to give your car a little TLC.
Get your car ready for spring
Take your winter tires off
You may be thinking — what's the big deal if you leave them on a little longer than usual? It's not like you're doing that much driving, anyway. But if you leave your winter tires on in the summer, you could also be opening yourself up to risk. Winter tires don’t have the same rigidity that all-season or summer tires have, and this can affect a driver’s ability to maneuver.
When the temperature is consistently above 7 degrees, it’s safe to change your tires from winter tires to all season. We recommend changing your tires once the snow and ice have melted; the springy rubber on winter tires that delivers better traction on ice and snow will wear out faster in warmer conditions.
Before you store your winter tires, hose them down or wash them to remove winter debris and excess salt. Be sure to store them in a cool, dry place — this combo will keep the rubber supple and fresh for the next winter season.
Take your car in for a full inspectionWinter’s sub-zero temperatures and icy road conditions have been hard on your car, even if you’ve only hit the pavement (or slush) once a week. Spring is the perfect time to bring your car in for a full inspection to identify emerging issues before they become major problems. A full inspection should include:
Checking fluids, belts, and hoses.Changing your oil and oil filter after winter is recommended to help keep your car’s engine running smoothly. Throughout the season, your car’s fluids continually freeze and thaw. Neglecting to replace engine oil can result in poor engine performance, higher fuel consumption and even severe engine damage.
Cold weather, salt and debris can also harden or damage rubber so it’s important to check your belts and hoses. They should be replaced ASAP if they’re loose or damaged.
Replacing wiper bladesIf your wiper blades are worn or cracked, they won’t help when visibility is reduced by spring showers. Check them out, and swap them out for new ones if there’s any damage.
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Check your chargeCold temperatures can have a negative impact on your battery, so the turn of season is a good time to have it tested. Also, check that your battery is securely mounted and that the connections are clean, tight, and corrosion-free. If your battery is more than five years old, you should consider having it replaced to avoid getting stuck while out on the road.
Be prepared for floods
As you’re swapping your winter tires for all-seasons, you’ll need to consider what else the change in season means for you. Driving in the springtime brings its own set of challenges, with April showers and the like. While the spring thaw and heavy rainfall are common reasons for flooding, hundreds of Canadians are impacted by rogue wet weather conditions, making it one of Canada's most common and costly disasters.
To avoid getting swept away in a flood, drivers should:
- Use tires with a deep tread and drive slowly on wet roads to keep control of your vehicle and prevent hydroplaning.
- Choose reliable roadways that take you through the higher ground. Low-lying areas — particularly those near rivers — are prone to flooding in heavy rains.
- If you run into deep water on the road, don’t go through it. Small vehicles may be swept away in only 6 inches of water, while only 18-24 inches is needed to sweep away a truck. Driving through flooded roads carries many risks, as water may impact your braking ability, flood your engine, or irreparably damage your vehicle.
Stalled out in floodwaters? Here’s a few precautions you can take to protect yourself and your vehicle:
- When your car stalls, the engine will cut out; don't try to turn it back on, as this will introduce water into your engine, potentially causing permanent damage.
- Turn on your hazard lights.
- If you’re concerned the water level is rising, open the windows and doors to allow for a safe escape route.
- If water levels continue to rise, leave the car and head to higher ground.
Regardless of the weather conditions, months of staying home can make for driving skills that need a little brushing up on. Start driving with the Onlia Insurance™ app today to learn more about your driving skills, and what you can do to stay safer on the road.