Spring Maintenance Auto Checklist

By: Tom Kline

Spring is a time of fresh starts and renewals. Extend the "spring cleanup" you give your house and yard to your vehicle. You'll not only improve its performance and lengthen its life, but you'll spare yourself time, money and aggravation.

RK Auto Group Spring Checklist #1: Items You Can Perform On Your Own Whether you do the work yourself or depend on a professional technician, getting your vehicle in shape now will undo any damage caused by winter driving and keep you safe on the road this season.

1.Remove clutter from your car. Vacuum the carpeting and seats. Use an old toothbrush to clean the dashboard vents, and other tiny crevices.

2.Wash your vehicle to remove winter salt and grime. Regular washing throughout the year helps prolong your car's finish. Windex the windows; wipe the headlights with a soft, damp rag.

To preserve the shine and protect the surface, wax your vehicle once it has dried completely.

3.After washing the exterior, use a power washer or garden hose to thoroughly spray the underbody and underneath the rear and front bumpers. You want to get rid of the salt build-up which can lead to erosion and rusting.

4.Cooling system (radiator): flush and refill according to the service manual's instructions. The level, condition, and concentration of the coolant should be checked periodically. Important: first let the engine cool down before removing the radiator cap.

5.RK Toyota service technicians tell us that skipping oil changes can greatly reduce your vehicle's life. Change the oil and oil filter as specified in your owner's manual.

(Typically, 10W30 is recommended for warmer weather, but make sure to double-check your service manual. Be sure to properly dispose of used oil. Replace other filters (air, fuel, PCV, etc.) as recommended in your service manual.

6.Check your tires, including the spare. Let them cool down before checking their pressure. Uneven wear, cupping, vibrations, or pulling to one side indicates problems with your tires or suspension system. If you have winter tires, now is the time to put them away in storage until next year.

7.For safety and convenience, inspect all lights and bulbs, and replace any that are burned out.

8.Replace worn wiper blades and always have plenty of washer solvent on-hand to combat summer's dust and insects.

9.Read your owner's manual and follow the recommended service schedules.

Don't miss Part 2 of this series: RK Auto Group Spring Checklist of Services to schedule with your Qualified Auto Technician.

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