It is that time of the year, spring is going to be here soon, following that, hot summer days (I hope).

Anyway it'll be time to get our cars and trucks ready for spring and summer:

Under the hood

  • Engine oil, I propose that you change both the oil and filter.
  • Coolant (level, color and strength) Do not run with only water, and maintain the antifreeze at -45 C or -50 F
  • Air condition, check it out now, don't wait until summer when it actually is hot out, (your wife and kids won't be really happy if it doesn't work)
  • Transmission, Is it due for a Transmission service? How does the oil smell? Is the color nice and red? How does it perform? (slippage, hesitation, bump, slow engaging) Is the level within limits? Do you see any leaks?
  • Power steering, once again check the level, smell and leaks.
  • Belts and hoses, check for fractures and / or frayed hoses, check hoseclamps and if you can find spring sort clamps, give them a close look (I have seen them break in half, and in addition the radhose came off).

You'll be able to guess what was next!

  • Battery and Cables, keep the clamps clean and tight, check the battery charge, charging system.
  • Sparkplugs, when was the last tune-up? Some engines have long life plugs in them, but if you have 60,000 km or miles on your motor vehicle, pull 1 or two plugs to see what they look like. Check the plugwires (Corroded, Oil soaked, cracked) replace them, it might be that you go up a lengthy hill, you locate that the engine is bucking (might be just one or two wires)
  • Airfilter, I think that the filter is the most forgotten item under the hood. Can you see light through it when you hold it up to a lamp (lamp on, of course, LOL) I have seen some fairly dirty one where no air can pass through, if the engine doesn't get sufficient air, it just works harder to breath and uses more fuel, at today's price of fuel … well, you fill in the blank. You are able to clean the filter by tapping it against a wall, check it once again, replace if needed.
  • Windshield washer fluids, what I do is any further I start adding the summertime washer fluid, you are aware of the pink stuff (the bug remover fluid). If the container is clean just add to it, that way you'll still have some antifreeze washer fluid (in case it still get cold).

Under the vehicle

  • Exhaust system, check for leaks, damage, rusting muffler, etc. (remember exhaust fumes can kill)
  • Steering, check all steering parts for looseness, (bear in mind that pothole you hit?)
  • Suspension, check ball joints, struts, springs, shocks. (all these parts can make your vehicle act like a donkey on a narrow path) (can you picture this?) All kidding aside, failure in any of these parts can make you loose control over your vehicle!
  • Ride height, look for low hanging parts, ie. low exhaust system, brake / fuel lines, wire harness, etc.
  • Engine / transmission mounts, Swaybar, check all bushings for cracks or wear.

Outside vehicle

  • Wipers, replace those winter wiperblades, if last years blades are still excellent, make use of them. (identical with the winter blades, if still excellent, maintain them until next fall)
  • All lights, check all bulbs, replace those that are out. (the most forgotten light is the center brakelight and licenseplate bulbs) Check also for headlight beam height, fog and driving light included. (we have all had an automobile coming towards us with high adjusted lights)
  • Tires, Off with those studded tires, (most states or provinces have a law against studded tires at a certain date) Remember AWD's and 4WD …… Same size tires all around (I suggest: same size, precise same brand! )
  • Tire pressures, as shown on the drivers door or inside your owners handbook.

Within the vehicle

  • Brakes, how does the brake pedal feel? If the pedal is spongy or the brakes don't work as excellent as they ought to, you may have air in the system and / or the brake rotors / drums, pads / shoes are worn. (take into consideration, poor brakes makes for a slow stopping vehicle … whoooo there Nellie)
  • Brake and warning lights, (bulb monitor the dashboard) these should come on for some seconds when you initial set up the engine, if all OK explode and stop.

Generally, I think we all recognize that a clean vehicle runs and rides much better, so give baby a nice warm bath and slap a superb coat of carpolish on her and she'll hum like a happy bee.

Happy and secure Motoring.