With spring coming soon to most parts of the country – or at least we hope! – here are some maintenance tips to get your car ready for the warmer weather. If it is already warm where you are, here are some good items to check anyway.
The changing in the weather is a great opportunity to pop the hood, inspect your tires and give your vehicle a once over. In fact, it is a great idea to do this each spring and fall since the winter cold can play havoc on your vehicle.
Inspect Your Battery
Cold weather can literally suck the energy right out of your battery. This is especially true if your car battery is older. Most batteries have a tag on them indicating when they were built. Generally, you have about 4 years of life on a battery. If the battery is more than 4 years old or if you see a leak and/or other concerning issue, make sure you replace it.
Also, while you are checking the battery, it is a good idea to clean your cables and the terminals on top of the battery. Regularly cleaning your battery connections will ensure it performs at its peak performance.
Check Your Tires
On of the most overlooked items on a vehicle is tire pressure. Did you know cold weather can lower your tire’s pressure? With the warmer temperatures, the rubber on your tires will expand and the lower tire pressure will become more evident or will cause your tire to wear unevenly. A simple check of the tire pressure will not only improve the life of your tires, it can also improve your fuel economy.
Belts, Hoses, Plugs, Wires
Pop the hood on any Toyota vehicle and you will see a myriad of belts, hoses, plugs and wires. While it may look extremely complex, it doesn’t have to be. Taking a look at one item at a time, inspect everyone you can see and/or feel for cracking or splitting. Detecting small problems with these parts can save you from being broken down on the side of the road with a broken belt.
Another good item to look over is the fluid levels of your oil, radiator, wiper fluid and power steering. These items all need to have proper fluid levels to operate their best. Check your owner’s manual for information on how to check them and what level they need to be at.
Did you know that many Toyota models have a cabin air filter? This air filter, commonly found around the glove box, helps keep the air inside the car clean and free of debris. During the winter, when your vehicle’s windows are mostly rolled up, this filter works hard to keep the cabin air fresh. Make sure you check it and the, equally important, air filter in the engine bay.
Remember that if you don’t feel comfortable doing any of these items to bring your vehicle into your local Toyota certified service center.
Taking the time to look over these items can pay dividends down the road. Don’t be stuck on the side of the road thanks to a basic maintenance items, follow the tips above and have a great spring!