As winter melts away, your car is freed from the damaging effects of the year’s harshest season. But winter’s icy grasp is known to leave cars in some form of disrepair, whether damages are superficial or more severe. Now is a great time to inspect the exterior of your vehicle and, if you spent a lot of time on treated roadways, you should also bring it to a mechanic for a more thorough once over.
The following list contains common winter damages and what you can do to fix them so you can drive safety into spring.
Though car batteries typically have a three-year lifespan, their voltage can be drained in extremely cold temperatures. During the peak of winter, you may have had trouble starting your car at some point, or you may have even needed a jump. If your battery survived the winter chill with no hiccups, it’s probably still going strong. However, if it gave you some trouble, it’s a good idea to have the battery tested and, if necessary, replaced.
The fluids inside of your car can thicken in the cold, causing them to move more slowly and gum up your car’s most basic functions. It’s a good idea to have a mechanic check your fluids—motor oil, power steering fluid, transmission fluid, antifreeze and brake fluid—and top them off or replace them as needed.
Rubber wiper blades can take a beating in icy weather and will likely need to be replaced after the weather thaws. Luckily, that’s an easy, inexpensive solution. However, more severe weather can ruin the wiper transmissions, which is a bigger job that should be performed by a mechanic.
The mixture of ice, road salt and sand that covers many winter roadways may prevent slipping and sliding, but it can also scratch your paint job and chip your windows and lights. Unfortunately, you don’t have much control over the situation during the season, but the best thing you can do is to get a thorough car wash after the season passes. Getting all the grit and grime off of your car will prevent further damage and allow you to assess any damage that may have already been done. You may be able to have small scratches buffed out by a body shop if desired.
While road salt can cause minor damages to your car’s body, it can cause much more severe damage to your car’s undercarriage. The chemicals in the mixture can rust or even corrode metal components, affecting the function of your car. Recent chemical additives have even been blamed for damaged brake lines as well. Have a mechanic inspect your car for similar damages and, if any are found, have them repaired immediately.
Once winter damages are fixed and your car is shiny and clean again, you can enjoy the ease of driving through the mild spring with the sun warming your skin. What’s your favorite way to enjoy springtime drives?