8 Simple Spring Car Care Tips

Essential Spring Car Care Tips

The changing seasons mark the passing of time, giving us a chance to reflect on where we’ve been and where we’re headed. That’s even more true when you drive for a living. Serious haulers and fleet managers should get in the habit of servicing their vehicles every 12 weeks, which happens to coincide with the changing seasons. Some people can go up to six months or even a year before taking their rides into the shop, but you risk wasting money on underutilized fuel or letting minor problems run amuck when you go more than a few months without poking around under the hood. The experts at Auto Truck Service suggest adopting a standard 3,000-mile maintenance schedule and keeping detailed records of your vehicle’s performance and fuel usage.

Winter tends to be the hardest on vehicles as fuel and oil start to gel or separate. The salt and rocks left over from the snow can scrape against parts on the interior and exterior. Sudden temperature shifts can cause housings and bearings to crack. Condensation in the fuel or oil can also lead to rust, spreading debris through various systems. The changing climate has made things even more unpredictable, fluctuating between freezing cold and warm, sunny days in just a few days. Celebrate the start of spring with these car care tips.

What fluids do you change in a car

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Change the Fluids

A staple of any maintenance check-up, changing your fluids and checking the levels should be at the top of your list. Metal shavings, water and soot deposits will collect in the oil supply, reducing viscosity and lubrication. Refill and replace the coolant, brake, transmission, power steering, differential fluid, hydraulic clutch and diesel exhaust fluid.

Inspect Your Fuel Injectors

Dirty oil or fuel will clog the fuel injectors, limiting their ability to fire. Particulate matter can break through the seals, reducing oil pressure. This saps fuel efficiency, acceleration and engine power. Test fuel injection timing and pressure and replace the fuel injectors if they leak or jam.

Check Gaskets, Hoses and Seals

Strips of metal and hydraulic tubs prevent fluids and gases from leaking into the crankcase. Condensation and excess friction can loosen these connection ports, letting precious resources escape. Give them a once-over and replace anything that doesn’t look brand new.

Clean/Replace Your Filters

Excess soot and carbon will clog the mesh filters, restricting the flow of air, oil and fuel. Replace your filters after a long winter of heaving towing to clear these passageways.

Troubleshoot the Turbo

The same pollutants mentioned above can wreak havoc on your turbocharger, which regulates the amount of compressed air going into the combustion chamber. Particulate matter in the exhaust can prevent the wastegate valve spring or diaphragm from opening, forcing more compressed air into the engine than necessary. This causes the engine to run lean, which leads to overheating and increased NOx emissions. Replace the turbo actuator if fuel consumption remains high, the turbo lags or you fail to get a boost.

Adjust Tire Pressure

Fluctuating temperatures make it hard to keep your tire pressure in check. The heat on a surprisingly warm spring day increases air pressure, potentially over-inflating your tires. This wears down the tread faster and increases your chances of getting a flat. Discount Tire reports that a ten-degree Fahrenheit increase boosts tire pressure by one to two PSI, which could knock you out of range. Keep your gauge and pump handy as it gets hotter earlier in the year.

How can I check my car battery health

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Test the Battery

Cold weather makes it harder to power just about anything. Once the temperature drops below freezing, condensation can form inside the battery, potentially short-circuiting the electrical system. Modern vehicles use electronic sensors to regulate injection pressure and timing. A lack of juice will leave the engine control unit flying blind. Inspect the battery for water damage and rust and test the voltage to see if it needs to be replaced.

Keep Replacement Parts Handy

Managing your fleet every few months is much easier when you already have everything you need. If you notice a problem, fix it before sending it back out to avoid losing money on fuel or making matters worse. Otherwise, it could spread to other systems and components, leading to even more repairs. Shop for diesel parts online to keep commonly replaced items in stock. It’s always better to anticipate your needs than to wait for something to go wrong. Certain makes and models are known to run into issues after a certain number of miles. Read your owner’s manual to find the recommended replacement intervals.

Spring may be easier on your vehicle than winter, but your ride needs a full tune-up to recover from the last few months. Use these tips to spring it into shape.

Featured Image Source: Vitpho/Shutterstock.com

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