National Car Care Month: How to Maintain your Car after a Rough Winter
We sure hope this winter is finally behind us and we can enjoy the open road without slipping through slush or driving cars that resemble powdered donuts. April is National Car Care Month and with it comes a reminder of the importance of proper vehicle maintenance, particularly after a grueling winter (such as the one we just had in Pittsburgh).
Winter is often the time most vehicles are neglected due to the cold temperatures and bad weather conditions. No one likes banging their knuckles while wrenching on a car, so most people either take their vehicles to their local auto service department when something goes wrong or simply wait until the temperature warms up (potentially causing more damage). The hard winter season not only takes its toll on us, but our cars, trucks, and SUVs also feel the brunt end of Old Man Winter’s wrath. This makes spring vehicle maintenance even more important.
According to a recent publication by the Car Care Council, “Your car has gotten you through one of the worst winters in recent memory, working overtime in harsh conditions, but the extreme cold, potholes and road salt have taken a toll,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council. “Since most Americans rely on their vehicles nearly every day to get to work, school and everywhere in between, taking a little time for car care now can save headaches and money in the long run.”
Three simply steps will help keep your vehicle running at peak performance before, during, and after the winter season.
A CLEAN CAR IS A HAPPY CAR
This is especially important in areas of the country that use salt and other additives to the roads during the winter months. Salt is highly erosive to your vehicle’s undercarriage and can cause rust, build-up, and other potentially serious problems. Other issues from winter driving include potholes and freezing temperatures. It’s crucial to wash your car regularly, particularly during the winter months, paying more attention to cleaning the vehicle’s undercarriage.
MAINTAIN A VEHICLE MAINTENANCE SCHEDULE
All vehicle manufacturers have recommended maintenance guidelines for car owners to follow in order to get the most out of their cars and avoid costly vehicle repairs. Whether you do your own car repairs or take it to the local auto repair shop, following your service schedule is the best way to keep your vehicle running at peak performance and potentially saving you money in the long run on costly repairs.
DON’T PROCRASTINATE WITH AUTO REPAIRS
One of the most common problems with auto repair is putting off minor repairs until they become serious and subsequently more costly. It’s important to be aware of your vehicle’s sounds, smells, dashboard indicators, and overall performance. If something is out of the ordinary, it’s better to address it immediately before it can potentially become an expensive fix, or even worse, malfunction during operation.
ABOUT THE CAR CARE COUNCIL
The Car Care Council is a non-profit consumer education program aimed at promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance, and repair. For more info, visit: www.carcare.org.