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Local professionals offer spring car care tips

by on April 18, 2019 3:16 PM

Winter can be tough on vehicles, and after a long cold winter it is a good idea to give vehicles a thorough inspection to make sure they are performing at optimal levels. 

After all, with the warm weather comes summer road trips and if you keep your vehicle running smooth, who knows how far it will take you. There are a number of things that drivers can do to keep their vehicles running smoothly, so break out the wrench set and get to work, or head on down to your mechanic, to make sure your car runs as smooth as possible. Here are a few tips.

First things first. It is impossible to drive without being able to see through the windshield. Spring typically brings plenty of rain, so it is important to check windshield wiper blades, said Mike Clitherow, service manager at Bobby Rahal Honda in State College. Wiper blades can get easily damaged from the snow and ice of winter, so unless you think driving through streaky windows is a good idea, it important to make sure they are working properly. It is a good idea to check wiper blades before you get caught in the middle of a rainstorm.

All the salt on the roads during winter to melt the snow can be corrosive to vehicles, so it important to give the exterior a good spring cleaning, said Casey Flynn, sales manager at Lion County Kia. But, he said, don’t forget to get the undercarriage where all the moving parts are — winter dirt and calcium can build up under them, causing costly damages.

With pollen and left over winter debris floating around, air filters are also important to check up on. This time of year engine filters can get dirty and affect vehicle performance.

“It is kind of like breathing through a straw,” said Clitherow. “The engine needs air to perform and when it doesn’t get enough because of a dirty engine air filter, it just won’t perform as well.”

Cabin air filters also needs to be checked during spring in order to keep the air quality of the vehicle top notch. A vehicle’s HVAC system relies on the filter to keep pollen and other air pollutants such as dust and debris out.

This is pretty important, especially for allergy sufferers with all the pollen in the air, said Sally Lutz, service manager at Maggi Mitubishi.

It is also important to change the filter because if it is overly dirty, it can limit the cars HVAC systems ability to blow air into the car, causing the car to take longer to cool down during those hot summer days.

And since people haven’t used their AC all winter, it is a good idea to get it checked before the real hot summer weather comes.

“You don’t want it to be 90 degrees out when you realize it doesn’t work,” said Flynn.

Clitherow said that winter can be hard on incandescent lights used outside of the car. He said it is important to check to make sure they are working properly, especially the back.

“With a headlight, you can usually tell if it isn’t working, but with a taillight, you won’t know while you are driving, so it is important to have them checked,” said Clitherow.

Tires also are important to check after the winter. He said tires tread and pressure should be monitored closely after winter and into spring.

“Weird things happen to tires in the cold,” said Clitherow.

He said it is important to check tires and tire pressure in the spring to make sure everything is up to par. Low tire pressure can cause issues with the way a car maneuvers and can decrease mileage.

Flynn said that during spring the weather changes a lot — warm during the day to cold at night — so driver should keep an eye on tire pressure throughout.

Cold weather can also cause belts to become brittle, so as the weather warms up it is a good idea to check all belt to make sure they are in good working order. If you don’t feel comfortable checking you own belts, a mechanic can run a 27-point inspection and look at all the important maintenance that your car needs, said Lutz.





Vincent Corso is writer for Town&Gown and the Centre County Gazette.
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