Simple Spring Vehicle Maintenance
Head into spring with a well maintained vehicle.
Spring is just around the corner! Depending on where you live, your vehicle may have had a rough time over the winter months. Spring is a great time to do some simple car maintenance that you may have put off during the colder months.
Here are some factors to consider to keep your vehicle safe and reliable on the roads.
How is your car battery performing?
During the cold weather that we typically experience throughout winter, your car battery may require more power to start and run your vehicle. This is because the chemical activity inside the battery is sped up by heat and diminishes in colder temperatures. As a result, it’s important to ensure that your car battery is in good working order after the challenges of winter’s icy chill.
Your local BestDrive store is here to assist with a battery test. One of our qualified technicians can test its condition and advise you if it’s time to replace your battery. Car batteries typically have a lifespan of around 3 to 5 years. If you noticed that your car was struggling to start up this winter, make the time to have it tested and avoid the hassle of an unexpected breakdown.
How are the condition of your tyres?
When was the last time you assessed the condition of your tyres? How you care for and maintain your tyres has a significant impact on the performance and safety of your vehicle. In many parts of Australia, spring can bring plenty of rain. When you find yourself driving under less than ideal road conditions, like wet roads, you will be pleased you took the time to assess their condition.
Tyre maintenance should include:
Checking tyre pressures:
BestDrive recommends that you check (and adjust as needed) your tyre pressures once a month. This includes the spare tyre if you have one. When your tyres are appropriately inflated, tyre life is prolonged and the performance and safety of your vehicle is enhanced.
To check your tyre pressures, you will need to:
- Locate your manufacturer’s recommended tyre pressures in the vehicle manual or on the vehicle placard
- Ensure your tyres are cold (the vehicle has been parked for at least 3 hours, or been driven for less than 1.6km)
- Use a quality tyre gauge to read the inflation pressure of each tyre
- Adjust pressure as needed using an air compressor
- Once pressures have been adjusted, check the pressures again
- If you overinflate a tyre you can let some air back out until you achieve the correct pressure
Assessing tread levels:
Your tyres legally require a minimum of 1.5mm of tread. Ideally, once your tread is worn to 1.6mm you should be looking to replace them. Low tread compromises your vehicle’s ability to effectively brake, corner and disperse water.
You can check your tread levels in a few ways, including:
- Tread wear indicator - tread wear indicators become increasingly visible as the tread wears down, when the tread wear indicator becomes level with the tread, it’s time for new tyres.
- Tread depth gauge - measure each tyre at least 3 times, the inner and outer sides as well as the middle, but be careful not to place the gauge on the wear bar itself.
- 20c coin - you can measure tread depth by placing a 20c coin into the tread and if the tread doesn’t reach the bill of the platypus, your tyres have less than 3mm of tread remaining.
Knowing how old your tyres are:
All tyres come with a build date in their sidewall. The age is represented by a four digit number that is the week and year of manufacture. For example, if your tyre has a build date of 2119 it was manufactured in the 21st week of the year 2019.
Even if you think your tyres look okay, it doesn’t mean they are. Rubber compounds naturally deteriorate over time. If your tyres are 5 years old, or older, it’s a good idea to have a trusted professional assess their condition.
Checking that your lights are in working order:
Having good visibility on the road at all times is essential. If the lights on your vehicle are dim or burnt out, you have a serious safety concern on your hands. If you have any lights that aren’t working as they should, have them immediately replaced.
When assessing the working condition of your lights, be sure to include:
- Front lights such as the parkers, low beam and high beam settings, fog or driving lights and the indicators.
- Rear lights such as the taillights, brake lights, indicators, reverse lights, and where applicable, the rear fog light.
Maintaining the cooling system:
Your vehicle’s cooling system is vital year-round, it works to remove excess heat from your engine to prevent overheating. The main components of a modern car cooling system include the radiator, thermostat, cooling fan and an overflow bottle.
Your cooling system typically requires an inspection twice a year. For information specific to your vehicle you can check your owner’s manual. For safety reasons, always ensure the engine is cool before checking your cooling system.
When assessing your cooling system, be sure to include:
- Checking the coolant level is between the minimum and maximum marks indicated on the side of the coolant reservoir tank. If not, it will need a top up.
- Monitor your temperature gauge (or alert light), located on the dashboard. A warning light is triggered if your engine is outside of normal operating temperatures. Contact your local BestDrive to arrange an inspection if this occurs.
- Be on the lookout for visible leaks and puddles appearing underneath your vehicle as this can be an indicator that there is a problem with the cooling system. If this happens to you, contact your local BestDrive store to speak with a trusted professional.
Assessing your wiper blades:
Throughout the winter months your wipers may have been put under more stress than usual due to exposure to colder temperatures. Wiper blades typically require replacing every 6 to 12 months.
Take a quick moment to assess your car’s wiper blades. If you notice that the blades no longer make correct contact with the windshield surface, or they appear split or bent, now may be the time to replace them.
Is your vehicle due for some spring maintenance? Don’t put it off - a regularly serviced vehicle is a good way to avoid more costly repairs further down the track. At BestDrive, we offer a range of services and repairs including wheel alignments, tire rotations, new car batteries and brake servicing. Let the trusted technicians at your local BestDrive store give you peace of mind that your vehicle is safe and performing at its best.
BestDrive. You drive, we care.