Spring Tune-Up Advice

Spring has sprung! The birds are singing, the flowers are blooming, and it is time to get your special cars back on the road!
Here are five easy tips for waking your car up from a long winter’s nap.

Power up
Put the battery back in place. If the car is a newer model abounding in electronics, the battery may have been left under the unlatched hood with the charger’s cables hooked up, not only keeping the charge fresh but also providing minimum power to the digital processors. Oh, and look at those terminals, wiping away any buildup.

Inspect the tires
Tires were “aired up” a few extra pounds in the fall to prevent flat spots. Now the sidewall rubber should be inspected for cracks or bulges. Adjust air pressure to the recommendation. How old are the tires? Even if tread depth is substantial, rubber breaks down after a few years and tires need to be replaced. Maybe this is the year.

Walk around the car
Inspect for signs of corrosion or rodent mischief. Mice love wiring! Traces of their activity will have collected on the plastic sheet that was laid out on the garage floor. If the tailpipes were blocked up with steel wool to foil the critters, it should come out now. Check all belts and hoses for cracks.

Check the Oil
If indeed it was changed in the fall, the level should be good and lubrication properties uncompromised. If it wasn’t changed, now’s the time. Although leakage of coolant or hydraulic fluid would be pretty obvious, it can’t hurt to double-check the levels.

Start it up
The engine may splutter after startup. Check the instrument panel for warning lights. Once the engine settles into a rhythm, the car can get under way. Take it easy in the first few miles until fluids and lubricants come up to operating temperature. Components like valve seals and suspension bushings will be grateful.

Now let ‘er rip, and enjoy a safe driving season.

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