You’re lucky if you’re located in a place where winter doesn’t bring extremely harsh weather. However, with every change of season, there are certain things you need to take care of to keep your car in the best condition.
If your vehicle has been hidden in your garage during the wintry months, make sure to tick these five things off your checklist to properly get your car back up and running.
1. Visual inspection
This is one of the first tasks that you need to do as signs of cracks or leaks could lead you to the discovery of more serious problems, which may have developed in the past months. Check the engine bay, the wires and hoses, the wipers, and all the other mechanical parts. Make sure to be thorough during inspection; you wouldn’t want to miss anything and only find out about the issue when there is already too much damage.
Do not, at all costs, try to start your stored car for the first time in months, especially if the battery is weak or half-drained. Hopefully, you’ve had your battery on a maintainer or tender while it was in storage. In this case, check if the battery is fully charged; if not, make sure to put it on a charger.
3. Engine oil
There’s always been a debate on when the best time is to change oil. Some car owners opt to do this in the fall so that the dirty oil won’t sit in the pan all winter when the vehicle is stored and to avoid the risk of damaging some motor parts. Others, however, think that it’s best to change oil before and after winter storage because there can be humidity in the oil depending on the storage location.
4. Air conditioning
Inspect your car’s air conditioning and see if there are low freon levels, loose belts, or compressor issues. It would definitely be a bummer to find yourself sitting in a sauna in the midst of traffic or during your summer road trip.
Brake pads are the usual victims of winter. If you hear a squealing or grinding noise, make sure to correct the issue as soon as possible to be safe on the road.
Once you’ve accomplished your car maintenance checklist, you can now go hit the road — but take it easy on your first run. Remember that you haven’t driven your vehicle for months so you might want to let the engine idle for a few minutes and don’t push it too hard.