Tuesday, February 22nd 2022, 1:30 pm - COVID-19 has kept most people's cars off the roads, aside from essential workers heading to work, but now warmer temperatures are setting in, there's no reason not to prep your vehicle all the same.
In places where business shutdowns are in effect, vehicle repair and maintenance shops are usually exempt, allowing auto-minded people to prep their vehicles for warmer weather -- even if they're not going to be driving them any time soon.
Whether you expect to drive your vehicle or not, this is the best time to get it in tip-top shape for the season ahead. Here's your 2020 vehicle maintenance checklist.
GIVE IT A THOROUGH CLEAN, INSIDE AND OUT
You've been driving your vehicle for months without much of a chance to even crack a window to air it out, and you've been tracking snow and salt in for most of that time. It's time for a serious clean.
That means vacuuming everywhere you can reach inside your car, giving your floor mats a serious seeing-to, and taking this chance to clear out the clutter that's been building up.
Keep in mind that road salt does a number on your car, and the undercarriage has had the worst of it so far, so don't pass it over.
SPRING IS THE TIME TO RENEW YOUR ANTI-RUST COATING
This one is a little counter-intuitive. If you're going to have your undercarriage rust-proofed, surely the fall, BEFORE winter's onslaught, is the best time?
However, experts say the best time is the spring, since the corrosion process is most active in the spring due to the increase in temperature.
CHANGE YOUR WINDSHIELD WIPERS
Like the rest of your vehicle, your windshield wipers have just been through another rough winter season, and the spring is the best time to check in on how badly the rubber has degraded.
If they need replacing, go for it -- especially if you've not been diligent about leaving them up before a storm during the winter. For a few more tips and tricks for extending your wipers' lifespan, take a look below:
SWAP OUT YOUR WINTER TIRES
Definitely not least, remember to replace your winter tires with all seasons. It's really not optional.
Winter tires are effective because they're made of a special kind of rubber that doesn't harden in cold temperatures, improving grip. Being temperature-dependent, the rule of thumb is that you should install them when temperatures consistently fall below 7°C. The flipside to remember for spring is that they degrade faster in warmer temperatures, so switching them out is a must.
The annual changeover is a good opportunity to check your suspension and alignment.
WATCH BELOW: WHAT TO DO WITH WINTER TIRES IN THE AGE OF PHYSICAL-DISTANCING?
GET AN OIL CHANGE AND CHECK ALL FLUIDS
How often you need to change your oil will vary from vehicle-to-vehicle (you should definitely consult your manual), but spring is a good seasonal reminder to schedule an oil and filter change.
While you've got it in the shop, it's also a great excuse to have your mechanic check all other fluids, like transmission fluid, brake fluid, coolant, and others.
CHECK YOUR BATTERY
Batteries don't last forever, and the harsh Canadian winters actually make them degrade faster.
When you've got your car in the shop, get your mechanic to test the battery, and be prepared to replace it altogether. The average battery can last as much as five years before giving out, but performance issues set in long before that, so every three years is a common rule of thumb.
CHECK BELTS AND HOSES
Your vehicle's belts and hoses are made of rubber, which typically hardens in cold temperatures, becoming less flexible and more likely to crack.
What that means in practice is leaks in your hoses -- and if, say, your timing belt snaps, your vehicle's going nowhere. You'll save yourself a lot of hassle if you get on top of the issue now rather than when your vehicle's components start failing on their own.
CHECK YOUR FILTERS
You'll hopefully have got your oil filter changed at the same time as you got your oil changed, but don't neglect your vehicle's other filters that keep your car running smoothly.
Checking and swapping out your fuel and engine air filter will keep the car running smoothly, while doing the same for your cabin air filter, which screens out pollen, dust and other small airborne debris, will leave you breathing a little easier.