Harsh winter weather, salt and grime can easily cause premature aging for your ride if left to accumulate. The end of winter is a good time for a good spring cleaning.
First and foremost, the salt and sand that road crews apply to help you stay safe on icy roads generally don’t mix well with the way cars and trucks are constructed. When bare metal, salt and moisture come in contact, it’s an instant breeding ground for corrosion. On leather and fabric upholstery and carpeting, salt and grit can cause fading, rotting and wear.
Fortunately, modern car and truck bodies are generally made of steel and aluminum alloys that are much more resistant to corrosion, but that doesn’t mean they are completely impervious. Sand and stones that get thrown up from the road surface can eventually wear through paint and other protective coatings, exposing the metal and making it susceptible to corrosion.
To minimize the effects of salt, it’s a good idea to get regular car washes throughout the winter and especially in the spring. The spring wash should really focus on the underside of the car and around the wheel wells.
Corrosion isn’t the only potentially nasty by-product of road salt. Your engine is constantly drawing in air through a filter as it runs. In the winter, the moisture in the air can contain substantial amounts of salt. That salt gets deposited on the filter as the air flows through and, as it dries, the filter can become plugged. Spring is an excellent opportunity to inspect and if needed, replace the filter.
Cold temperatures, salt, sand, ice and snow build-up can also cause a lot of wear on rubber windshield wiper blades. By the time the snow has melted, odds are pretty good that your blades are doing more streaking of the water on the windshield than actual wiping, so a fresh set of blades or inserts can keep the view clear on rainy days.
As the salt is washed from the roads and the exterior of your ride, it’s an excellent opportunity to head over to your local dealer and take advantage of the many spring service and detailing specials they offer. Along with the usual oil changes and topping up of fluids, there are plenty of other things to take care of.
If you have opted to run on dedicated winter tires for maximum traction in the snow, now is the time to replace them with all-season or summer rubber. Winter tires are specially formulated to work great in cold weather, with special tread patterns and rubber compounds. Running these tires in warm weather will cause them to wear out prematurely and give you reduced handling quality.
If you have a second set of wheels mounted with summer or all-season tires, ask about storage services for your winter tires during the off-season. Whether or not you are changing your tires, the change of seasons is an excellent time to rotate the tires and get a full inspection of the brakes and running gear.
Dealership service technicians can check for uneven tire wear, which may be an indication of alignment problem or suspension damage. The freeze and thaw cycles that are typical of late winter cause chunks of pavement to pop out, producing potholes. When you hit the sharp edges of those craters at speed, it can cause bent wheels, bent or broken suspension links, or damage to your tires. Curbs, parking blocks and railroad tracks are other objects that can knock wheels out of alignment. Factory-trained service technicians can recognize and correct subtle, and not so subtle, alignment problems to optimize handling and the life of your tires.
While the wheels are off for changing or rotation, a full inspection of the brakes is recommended to make sure your stopping power is up to snuff. The sand and grit that come off the road during the winter can get built up around the brake pads and calipers, causing extra wear and reduced braking efficiency. A technician can quickly service or replace brake components to restore your vehicle’s stopping capability and make sure the Antilock Braking System (ABS), Traction Control System (TCS), and Vehicle Stability Assist (VSA) can work as they were designed to help you maintain control of your vehicle.
Once all the mechanical stuff has been taken care of, it’s time to pay some attention to the space inside. Snow, slush, salt and sand get tracked inside your vehicle all winter, and you may even find that telltale white salt residue on your carpets or upholstery.
A thorough detailing that includes carpet and upholstery cleaning will remove damaging salt residue and leave you with fresh and renewed carpet and upholstery, conditioned leather and sparkling clear windows. A dirty or filmy windshield is especially dangerous when driving into the sun in the morning or evening. A visit to the specialists at your dealer can get your interior all cleaned up and refreshed so it feels like new.
Stop by today to learn about the services we can offer. Your car will appreciate it, and so will you.