4 Car Care Tips for Spring Weather

Ready for spring. Photo by Terri Marshall for AGirlsGuidetoCars.

Yay, it’s Spring! Now, here’s what that means for your car.

We all worry about running into car problems in the winter, but they can happen anytime. The weather is warm and it’s time to start planning for adventure, but your car may still be trying to shake off winter’s hold. Here are the things you should check this spring to make sure your car is ready after a long, cold winter of driving.

Check Your Battery

The cold weather might be over, but that doesn’t mean your battery is off the hook. All that cold weather is hard on a battery. Combined with corrosive salt and chemicals, winter takes a hefty toll. Signs your battery may be in trouble include dimming headlights or interior lights and slow-moving power windows or sunroofs. Have your battery checked to be sure it’s not about to give up rather than run into trouble the next time you try, and fail, to start your car.

Check Your Wiper Blades

Spring means rain and you need good wipers to see clearly and stay safe. Sometimes it’s hard to tell that your wipers are wearing out until you install a new set and suddenly see clearly in the rain. The rule of thumb is to replace them every six months, but there’s no reason not to replace them sooner if they’re leaving streaks or are worn from a winter’s worth of snow and ice.


Getting your tires checked for Spring driving. Image: Mopar

Check Your Tire Pressure

Make sure your tires are inflated to the proper pressure. Changes in temperature can leave you with under inflated or over-inflated tires, which has a significant impact on how well those tires grip the road. While you’re at it, check the tire tread. Make sure the tire wear looks even and use the penny test to make sure the tread hasn’t worn thin.

Take a penny and insert it into the tread with Lincoln’s head down. If his head disappears, you’re good. If you can see the top of his head, then it’s time for new tires. Do this at several different points along the width and at several different spots around the tire in case there’s uneven wear.

Get Your Brakes Checked

Think about how you drive in the winter and it’s easy to see why it’s a season that puts extra strain on your brakes. Harder braking to avoid collisions on ice and snow as well as more frequent braking on snowy roads cause your brakes to wear out. Have a professional inspect them to be sure that your brakes are ready for Spring adventures and summer road trips.

Nicole Wakelin contributes to The Boston Globe, CarGurus, BestRide, and Boldride, and she hosts her own blog, http://www.nicolewakelin.com, where... More about Nicole Wakelin