Your Car’s Spring Checkup Checklist

With warmer weather on the way, it’s the perfect time to get your car out of winter mode and ready for the road trips, late night drives, and rainy days that spring weather in Minnesota is sure to bring with it. This spring maintenance checklist from Kennedy Transmission will help you get your car ready for the longer days and warm-weather activities ahead.

1. Check Fluid Levels and Schedule Vehicle Maintenance

On average, vehicles require oil changes every 3,000 miles or about every six months. This makes the spring a perfect time to check your levels. Regularly scheduled oil changes help maintain a healthy engine. As oil runs through and lubricates an engine, it removes impurities. After time, the oil becomes less effective as it ages and doesn’t do as well of a job keeping your engine clean.

Regular maintenance consisting of oil changes and oil filter replacements will keep your engine running in its best condition. Schedule an oil change this spring with Kennedy Transmission to protect your engine and the value of your vehicle.

While you’re under the hood, take a few minutes to check your car’s transmission fluid level. The transmission of a car ensures the right amount of power goes to your wheels depending on your speed. Low transmission fluid levels lead to issues with hydraulic pressure and cause problems with gear slippage. To check your transmission, let your car warm up and run for a few minutes on a level surface, pull out the dipstick and wipe it clean, reinsert it and then remove it and find the spot it comes to on the dipstick. If you’re low on transmission fluid, visit the technicians at Kennedy Transmission to get your vehicle serviced and running efficiently.

2. Replace Windshield Wiper Blades and Refill Washer Fluid

Cold winter temperatures and salt do a number on rubber windshield wipers. After months of clearing snow and ice from your windshield, they may not be doing their job. If you notice smearing or chattering, take time to make sure your blades are clear from any leftover debris such as ice, salt, or gravel. If the trouble persists it may be time for a new set of wiper blades for upcoming spring and summer rainstorms.

While you’re at it, fill up the wiper fluid so you don’t run out before the last bug of the season hits your windshield.

3. Remove Snow Tires or Rotate “All-Season Tires”

Winter tires, or snow tires, are designed to give your vehicle stability as you drive in ice, snow, and frigid winter conditions. As soon as that weather clears, it’s time to swap your tires back to the summer/performance variety. If you use the same set of tires throughout the year, a rotation before each season will help in extending their life.

After swapping tires is a perfect time to check your tire tread. Spending time on the road will wear down your tires’ tread with time. Lack of tread on tires won’t allow them to grip the road like they’re supposed to do. If you’re not sure whether your tread depth is enough, simply do the penny test. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the tread depth on your tires needs to be at least 1/16 of an inch to safely grip the road. To check if your tires adhere to this, take a penny and stick it into your tread. If your tread is shorter than the distance from the rim of the penny to the start of Abraham Lincoln’s head, it’s time to replace your tires.Have

4. Brakes and Brake Pads Inspected

Sustaining damage to your brakes during the winter is not an uncommon occurrence. Similar to windshield wipers, the snow, gravel, ice, and salt can contribute to wear overtime. Take a drive and listen closely for any grinding, clanking, or squealing. If you hear any groans or unfamiliar sounds, it’s time to get your car in for a check. In addition, if your dashboard light comes it’s a sure sign you’re in need of an inspection. Brakes should be checked annually to ensure everything is in working order.

5. Deep Clean Your Car’s Lights and Underside

Winter driving can be messy. After months of dirty snow and debris on your car, it’s important to give your lights and the underside of your vehicle a good scrub. There are a few different methods you can use to clean your headlights and taillights including a DIY solution of toothpaste and baking soda. Scrub the mixture on your lights with a toothbrush, wipe clean, and then apply a sealant.

Tackle the underside of your vehicle with the help of a high-pressure sprayer. Pay special attention to the front and rear bumper areas. Make sure to wash away salt and gravel buildup that has accumulated so it doesn’t eat away at any exposed metal such as the brake and fuel lines. Inspect your vehicle for any signs of rust and treat accordingly so the problem does grow. Common areas for rust include the bumper and wheel wells.

Spring Break Road Trip Tips

With time away from school and some of the first warm days of the year, planning a spring break road trip is the perfect way to get out for an adventure to see some new sights. Pack the following items to make sure you’re prepared for anything a cross-country trip may send your way:

Bring for the car:

  • Car essentials (spare tire, jumper cables, tire pressure gauge)
  • UV shade for windows
  • First aid kit and roadside emergency kit
  • Driver’s license, AAA card, and rental car agreement (if applicable)
  • Road map, atlas, or Google Maps

Bring for yourself:

  • Portable snacks and refillable water bottles
  • Car charger and any extra cords and batteries
  • Travel insurance and IDs
  • Cash, bank cards, and traveler’s checks
  • Blanket and neck pillows

Kennedy Transmission is Always Here for Your Winter Car Needs

When it’s time to hit the road, don’t let your vehicle hold you back. Make sure it’s ready for adventure after the snow melts with this spring check up checklist. The helpful, knowledgeable mechanics at Kennedy Transmission are ready to help you get prepared for anything the warm weather brings. Visit our Minneapolis location or six other auto repair and maintenance shops around the state. Wherever you’re driving across town or across the country, we’ve got you covered. Stop in today or give us a call to schedule your spring maintenance check up.

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