Linxup Blog

Spring Vehicle Maintenance Checklist

By Jay Black Back to Home on April 3, 2017
Maintenance Reminder

Winter is hard on your business's vehicles. Between road salt, blizzards, and frigid temperatures, harsh winter weather can take a toll on everything from your vehicle's body to its internal components and even the interior cabin. Mid-season maintenance can help your vehicles withstand winter, but when the snow melts, a spring check-up is the best thing you can do to keep your business running smoothly until the mercury drops again.

To help reduce fuel consumption, improve driver safety, and increase the lifespan of your vehicles, we've created a checklist of essential springtime vehicle maintenance tasks. Whether you pass this list on to your drivers or use your GPS tracking system to create automated maintenance reminders, these tips can help keep your fleet vehicles in top condition all season long, even if your business doesn't operate in a wintery climate.

1. Wash your car

Road salt coats the underside of your vehicles and can cause corrosion and rust, which in turn can seriously damage your vehicle's body and undercarriage. Thoroughly washing your car in the spring isn't just a cosmetic concern – a good wash will clean your vehicles of any residual road salt and keep them looking pristine and professional.

Before you wash your vehicle's body, scrub the tires and wheels, especially if you're switching from winter tires to all-seasons. While you wash, inspect the body for paint chips and cover any chips as quickly as possible to prevent further damage or rust. Clear nail polish works in a pinch for minor issues. After you wash, give your vehicle a good wax to protect its fresh and shiny finish.

2. Change the oil and oil filter

Every time you change your oil, you should also change your oil filter. Clean oil keeps the combustion chamber cool and your engine's components working smoothly. Springtime is also the perfect opportunity to replace dirty oil or switch from a winter oil to a summer viscosity blend that's designed not to get too thin when the weather heats up.

Your oil filter keeps contaminants out of your oil and engine. Contaminants can easily enter your engine if your filter is dirty or clogged, which can lead to reduced fuel economy and more expensive repairs down the line.

3. Check your fluids

Regularly checking and replacing fluids is one of the most effective ways to make sure your vehicle runs smoothly and increase its lifespan. When spring arrives, be sure to check these fluids:

  • Power steering
  • Brake fluids
  • Transmission fluids
  • Windshield wiper fluid
  • Coolant

Power steering, brake, and coolant systems are closed. If these fluids seem low, you may have sprung a leak and should consider speaking to your mechanic.

4. Test your battery

Car batteries can wear out much quicker in cold temperatures. Spring is a great time to test your battery, as well as check to make sure the connections are free of corrosion. Signs of a weak battery include dimming lights, slow power windows, and sluggish ignition.

Poor tire condition can lead to increased fuel consumption, as well as an increased risk of damage if you run over a pothole. When spring arrives, check your tire pressure and inspect tread as well as general tire condition:

  • Tire pressure: Always check tire pressure when your tires are cold, not after you've been driving. Be sure to check your spare tire pressure as well.

  • Tread: If you notice uneven wear, you may need to get your tires re-aligned. Rotating your tires every 5,000 miles can help ensure even tread wear.

  • General tire condition: Bulges and cracks in the sidewalls of your tires are a serious safety issue. These tires should be replaced as soon as possible.

If you put on winter tires, don't wait to switch them out. Winter tires are designed specifically for colder temperatures, with softer rubber compounds so they'll grip cold pavement more effectively. Using winter tires when the temperature rises can actually compromise traction on wet surfaces, cause your tires to wear out quicker, and even increase fuel consumption.

5. Test your brakes

Is braking rough and noisy? Does your vehicle pull to one side when braking? Does the brake pedal feel too soft?

Winter conditions and road salt can cause your brakes and brake parts to corrode, and because of the slippery conditions, anti-lock braking systems have to work a lot harder during the winter. Checking your brake pads and rotors for issues can help prevent costlier repairs down the line.

6. Replace your wipers

Your wiper blades should be in top condition when spring showers start to fall. Check for tears and cracks, and if they make a high-pitched squeaking noise, it's time to replace them.

7. Check alignment and suspension

Potholes are common in the springtime, and driving over one can damage your suspension and alignment. If you notice your vehicle vibrating or pulling to one side, you may have a suspension or alignment issue.

Get out tips for avoiding potholes.

8. Check belts and hoses

Cold temperatures can harden or damage rubber. In the springtime, check your belts and hoses for:

  • Hardening or softening
  • Cracking
  • Blistering
  • Tightening
  • Glazing

9. Check oxygen sensor

This often-overlooked sensor can significantly impact your fuel mileage. The oxygen sensor helps set the fuel mix going into your engine; if your oxygen sensor is faulty, you may end up using more gas than you need to. This sensor should be replaced every 30,000-50,000 miles, and is a common cause of the dreaded “check engine” light.

10. Interior cleaning

Don't neglect the inside of your car! It's easy to collect debris and garbage inside your vehicle during the winter. Giving your interior a thorough scrub can help keep you organized, and a pristine vehicle also appears more professional. Road salt can also be carried into the interior of your vehicle on clothing or footwear, which can irreparably damage upholstery and reduce the re-sale value of your vehicle. You should also pay attention to the interior of your windows – washing the interior will increase visibility, which will help improve driver safety.

Spring has sprung

Springtime maintenance can improve your fuel mileage and increase the lifespan of your business's vehicles. With Linxup GPS tracking devices, you can automate your routine maintenance so you never miss another check-up

Learn more about tracking maintenance schedules with Linxup.