Spring Tune-ups: Do Vehicles Still Need Them?
Remember your father’s spring tune-ups? Those grease cans for the ball joints. Switching to a summer motor oil. Changing the spark plugs. Today, with the evolution of vehicle design, many of these tasks have been made redundant, and yet it’s actually more important than ever to have your vehicle inspected in the spring.
Why? First of all, vehicle design has changed. It used to be that certain vehicle components—tie rods, for example—needed to be greased each spring. These days, many of those same parts are assembled using permanently sealed-in grease systems. Instead of a grease each spring, these ‘lifetime’ parts need to be inspected because when they go, they need to be replaced.
Second, Canada’s winters are hard on vehicles. Those cold, bleak months can accelerate the wear and tear on your vehicle because of things like:
- Road salt, sand and grime
- Heavy snow and rain
So, what does winter really do to your vehicle?
Salt, gravel, slush…abrasive winter grime can wear the seals of your vehicle’s suspension components such as ball joints and tie rods. It can also wash away lubrication on suspension points. Worn components can separate and affect your ability to control your vehicle. Alignment problems caused by potholes can cause:
- Steering issues
- Unsafe handling
Road grime can also corrode and rust rims, and potholes can lead to bent rims, both of which can cause leaks in the space between the rim and the tire, and tire damage.
Whether you swap your winter tires at spring changeover, or you ride on a set of all-weather tires, they should be inspected for:
- Tread depth
- Sidewall bruising
Any signs of unusual wear can be an indication that your vehicle has developed suspension problems caused by potholes.
Drivers tend to put their brakes to the test over the winter to reduce sliding. As part of your spring tune-up regime, it’s a good idea to inspect brake pads and rotors to ensure optimum performance. Worn shocks can also have a dramatic impact on emergency braking distance.
Your engine’s first line of defense against winter grime is clean, properly installed filters. A clean cabin air filter, often overlooked, improves effectiveness of heating and cooling for improved defrosting and visibility.
Even though your vehicle probably has an on-board oil reminder system, monthly checks of the fluid quality and quantity are important. An engine oil change is usually prudent at this time.
Your wiper blades work almost non-stop in the winter, and the rubber is often well worn by spring, just in time for the frequent rain to fall. Given that more than 90 per cent of your driving decisions are based on what you see, visibility is critical.
When you make time for a simple spring tune-up, you’re helping to maximize your vehicle’s:
It also reduces the likelihood of a breakdown at an inconvenient time or place. Which is kind of nice, unless you like throwing your day off the rails or spending your holiday money on expensive repairs….
A spring tune-up helps extend the safety, lifespan and performance of your vehicle. If you’re looking for expert advice and service, visit the Kal Tire location nearest you. We offer a range of maintenance options to keep your vehicle in peak condition.