Winter can take a toll on your vehicle, which can extend into spring, if you don’t take a little bit of time to prepare your car for warmer weather. While it may feel that winter is still in full swing here in New Jersey, it will be spring before we know it, and that means it’s time to start thinking about how to get your Kia ready for the warmer temperatures. Here are our ten tips for preparing your Kia for spring.
1. Defend against road salt and other ice-melting chemicals.
In order to keep our cars from sliding all over the road during the winter, the state usually puts down sand, salt, or liquid ice melt in order to help keep the roads from icing over. While this is great for driving, it’s not so great for the metal and composite materials every car is made from. As the weather warms up and there’s less chance that there’s going to be more of these chemicals on the road, thoroughly wash the underbody of your car, just to make sure all of those chemicals, which can aid in rust and erosion, are removed.
2. Give it a spring cleaning.
Winter is a great time to track things in and out of your Kia, from snow to mud to sidewalk salt. Your Kia’s interior has probably taken a beating over the season, and because winter isn’t exactly the best time to get out and vacuum your vehicle or take it through the carwash, now is the time. Vacuum up any debris, clean out the jockey box and side containers, and give everything a wipe down with some glass cleaner. Then, take your car through the car wash or do a detailed hand wash to remove road grime.
3. Check your tires.
Winter is probably the worst season for tires. Sand or gravel on the road can wear down your tread faster than normal driving. As temperatures warm up, the air in your tires will start to expand, which means that they may become over-full. The ideal tire pressure for your Kia vehicle will be in the owner’s manual. Make sure your tires are neither too full nor too empty, and rectify the problem, if one exists. If your tires have worn down over the winter season, it might be time to consider getting new tires for your car.
4. Check your wipers.
Most wiper blades are not made to survive more than a year or so. The cold of the winter and the heat of the summer can dry out and crack the rubber of the wiper, making them ineffective. Spring usually brings plenty of rain to our area, and that means you’re going to want a new set of wiper blades if yours are worn out or damaged from a long winter of use. You don’t want to find out during our first big rain storm that they are no longer capable of keeping the rain off of your windshield.
5. Make sure your fluids are topped off.
If you haven’t taken your Kia in for its yearly oil change, now is the time. You can call our service department and set up and appointment for a checkup, oil change, and to top off your fluids. Winter temperature and weather can cause a car to work overtime, meaning that many of your fluids may be depleted after this season.
6. Check your battery.
Winter is also the worst season for your battery. The cold can really suck the life out of battery. Just because it’s warming up a little bit doesn’t mean that you can just forget about your battery. If you have a voltmeter, use it to check your battery and ensure that it’s still putting out enough power. If it’s not, you might want to have your Kia checked to ensure the alternator is working properly or if you just need a new battery for the upcoming year.
7. Replace your air filter.
Your air filter is one of the most integral parts of your engine, preventing dust and unwanted substances from clogging up your cylinders. They make sure that your Kia gets the best gas mileage and no matter how well you take care of your car, your air filter will start working less effectively over the years. Spring time is a great time replace your air filter, as spring winds will likely mean there is more dust and pollen in the air, that you don’t want to get into your engine.
8. Check your radiator.
The cap on your radiator should fit snugly, in order to ensure proper pressure in your cooling system. Spring is the perfect time to make sure that your radiator’s cap is still working properly and that your cooling system has the proper pressure. Another cap you should check is your gas cap. If it doesn’t have a snug fit, you’re going to be wasting gas and killing your gas mileage, as plenty of that fuel will just be vaporizing, instead of being utilized.
9. Flush your cooling system.
If you don’t feel comfortable doing this yourself, you can always bring your Kia into our service department and we will do it for you. Flushing your cooling system and refilling it will help to prevent rust and get rid of any sediment that may have collected in the system over time. If you’re not sure what kind of coolant to use or the proper ratio of coolant to water, make sure to check your owner’s manual.
10. Check your spark plugs.
Spark plugs take a beating, especially during the winter. The variation in temperature and the increased driving that most people do in the winter can put strain on your spark plugs. If they are dirty, you might not be getting the best firing, and therefore you are wasting fuel. Check and make sure they are clean and ready for use.