Spring has long been associated with new beginnings, new growth and fresh starts.  So along with your spring planting and spring cleaning, be sure to remember to perform your spring auto check.  The Columbia SC Auto Repair Pro will walk you through the spring fix ups, auto maintenance and checkups that you should be doing.  Taking care of your automotive business on a regular schedule helps minimize the chances of unexpected breakdowns, big auto repairs you missed the early warning signs on, and it helps you get the most for your vehicle should you decide to sell it one day.

Spring Auto Fix Up #1

Clean your ride from top to bottom!

When I say clean, I mean clean her up all the way around.  Start with the outside of the car.  Give your vehicle a good scrub down using cleaners that are specially made for autos and a soft sponge.  Be careful with any wheel cleaners because many will damage your auto paint finish.  This is also a great time for one of your annual auto waxing dates.  A good waxing 2 or 3 times a year will be the best protection for your auto’s finish against the elements.  When working with auto wax, a paste wax usually offers better, longer lasting protection, but there are some good liquid waxes out there if you look around.  No matter what wax you end up choosing, ALWAYS remove wax using a soft rag, by hand.  Power buffers may sound like a good idea, but they can and will leave unsightly marks on your clear coat.

Mechanic tip: Always wax your vehicle in a shaded area.

Once you’ve got the outside of your car looking its best, time to start on the inside.  Get your interior clutter free.  Vacuum all seats and carpets, and don’t forget your trunk!  While you’re all clean and crawling around the floors already, now is a great time to get rid of stains using appropriate stain removal or upholstery cleaners.  Switch out your Winter Auto Preparedness Kit for the appropriate seasonal auto emergency kit you need to be carrying.

Spring Auto Fix Up #2

Get rid of scratches and small dents and dings.

A small bottle of decent quality touch-up paint should be all it takes to repair most of the dings and scratches you have.  It is a minimal investment that really makes sure your vehicle looks its best.

Spring Auto Fix Up #3

Be ready for spring showers.

Inspect your windshield wiper blades.  The cold, dry winter weather can really take a toll on them.  You can either do a good inspection or just automatically plan on replacing them every spring as part of your fresh start.  Check all of your wiper blades and do not neglect the rear window blade if you have one..

Spring Auto Fix Up #4

Check out those wheels!

Your car is looking spiffy and clean, and so are the wheels.  Now is a great time to get a good look at your tire’s condition.  We all know tires need to be thoroughly checked every couple of months, inspecting freshly cleaned tires can be easier than trying to see through grime and build-up.  Also be sure to check your tire pressure.  Look for any signs of uneven wear that may indicate alignment problems.  You also need to remember to check your spare tire’s condition and air pressure as well.

Spring Auto Fix Up #5

Regain your balance this spring season.

Your tires need to be rotated and balanced every five to seven-thousand miles.  Depending on the sizes of your front and rear wheels, tire rotation patterns may vary.  For most front-wheel drive cars, front tires should move to the rear on the same side they were on.  The rear tires need to go to the front on the opposite side from where they had been.  For most rear-wheel drive autos, the back tires come to the front on the same side they were on and the front tires move to the back on the opposite side.

Spring Auto Fix Up #6

Brake time.

It is time for a brake inspection.  The disc behind your wheel should be shiny and smooth.  Look for signs of wear, like deep grooves or areas with dings or unusual roughness.  Next have a look at the brake pads.  Check from the edge of the disc all the way to the caliper.  This outside pad of your brake should not be less than 1/8” thick.  If they are, I would suggest you head to an auto repair or brake repair shop right away for replacement.

Spring Auto Fix Up #7

Out with the old and in with the new…water that is.

Now is the best time to perform a radiator flush.    Follow these instructions on how to flush your radiator or take it to a trusted mechanic or reliable auto repair shop.

Spring Auto Fix Up #8

Connections and belts and hoses, oh my!

All of your connections, hoses, and belts need to be inspected.  You want to look for loose connections and take care to properly secure anything loose that you find.  Your hoses should not have cracks or spots that feel very soft or mushy.  Your belts should be tight and free of cracks or damage.

Spring Auto Fix Up #9

Check your levels.

Go through your fluids one by one.  Check your levels to make sure they are filled to the adequate levels.  Top them off as needed and if you seem to have to add an excessive amount of anything, seek the advice of a professional mechanic to find out why and to correct the issue.  Do not forget about your windshield washer fluid when you are checking fluids.

Spring Auto Fix Up # 10

Keep the juices flowing!

Battery connections are important.  You need to periodically check that they are tightened down securely.  It is equally important to ensure that the battery connections and posts are clean and allowing for the best connection possible.  If you find any corrosion, take the proper steps to remove your battery corrosion buildup.

While many DIY and home auto repair enthusiasts will be able to perform these tasks, if you are unsure of anything or just feel better trusting your vehicle to a professional, come by Sanford’s Automotive Service on Wilson Blvd. in Columbia, SC.  We are open Monday through Friday and even take Saturday appointments, because we understand that your time is important too.  Our full-service auto repair shop has been making drivers happy since 1989.