It’s not too early to think about Spring
Here’s some good news for those who don’t enjoy winter: the worst is behind us. Despite the fact that there’s snow on the cars this morning at Budds’, the sun is climbing higher and it’s getting warmer.
Admittedly, while we’ve had some cold snaps, (January 6th saw -20.8C in Oakville,) it hasn’t been an awful winter.
Then again, if you got hit by the flu you probably found it a pretty miserable time.
Winter isn’t just hard on us though—it’s hard on our cars too. So as the skies lighten, and our mood lifts it’s time to give them a little TLC.
Here’s what to think about.
Over in Quebec snow tires are mandatory up until April 15th. Here in southern Ontario we’ve no such laws and it’s getting a little warmer—so when do you swap back to summer rubber?
The general advice is to use winter or snow tires when temperatures are below 7°C. While we’ve seen as high as 23°C in March, average highs are more like 5°C. That suggests you don’t need to think about a swap until the second half of the month.
If you do a tire swap, be sure to check the pressures. And if you don’t, check your tire pressures anyway. Air expands as it heats up, so warmer days raise the pressure. A 6°C rise in temperature will increase pressure by around 1 psi (or 6.9 kPa or 0.07 bar if you prefer those units.)
Over-inflation isn’t such a problem as under-inflation, but it does shrink the size of the contact patch. That could mean less grip, so check and adjust as needed.
While you’re changing tires and checking pressures don’t forget to look at tire condition too. Potholes can damage sidewalls, so if you see anything that doesn’t look right get it checked out.
Even if potholes don’t damage your tires they can still put your alignment out. Alignment faults can make the steering feel vague and may affect how the car steers and stops. They’ll also lead to faster tire wear as one or both ‘scrub’ against the road surface. Investing in an alignment may well save you money.
Rubber stiffens in low temperatures. Combine that with a frosted windshield and you can see how winter takes a toll on wipers. March is often dry, but you don’t want to get caught with worn out blades when a spring storm hits, so have them replaced. And don’t overlook the rear wiper on your SUV or hatchback.
This surprises many people, but high temperatures are harder on your battery than lows. (It’s all to do with the chemical reactions inside.) If your battery only just made it through winter, see about having it checked. (We’ll be happy to do it at Budds’.)
Belts and hoses
Winter temperatures are hard on these flexible components, so look for signs of cracking. If in doubt, have them replaced—it’s much better than getting stranded someplace!
Regular oil changes are essential, but as the mercury rises in the thermometer it’s worth thinking about viscosity. Oil thins in higher temperatures, and if it gets too thin that could accelerate engine wear. Modern multigrade oils are designed to handle the seasons, but this does depend on how your vehicle is used. Ask us if you’ve got the right viscosity oil in your engine.
Did you drop kitty litter, a shovel and jumper leads in your trunk back in November? If so, well done. They’re good winter survival aids, but you should be done with them now. Take them out, along with any junk cluttering up the cabin. Your car will be a little lighter and it will look better too.
Wash, wax, and detail
On the subject of looking better, how about giving your car a thorough spring clean? Vacuum everywhere and get to work with some carpet shampoo to remove all the salt and grime that accumulates. Then give your car a good wash, including underneath, to flush out any salt before it starts causing corrosion. Finish with a good wax or polish. It replaces what wore off during the winter and protects against the UV rays in all that sunlight we’ll be getting!
No need to toil
If this all seems like a lot of work, don’t worry, we’re here to help. Just call the Service desk here at Budds’ Chevrolet Cadillac Buick GMC and we’ll help you take care of everything.