Spring officially arrived just about a month ago, and in most areas here in Canada, the snow is beginning to melt away and signs of the warmer season are emerging. If you placed a vehicle in storage last fall, you might be anxious to start taking your car out of winter storage and get it back on the roads. But before you get behind the wheel, you should do some spring car maintenance tasks to make sure everything is ready for that transition back onto the road.
Tips for Taking Your Car out of Winter Storage
If your car has been in storage for the past few months, here are a few tips to make sure it is running smoothly for the summer:
- Do a visual inspection. The first step is to give the car a good once-over. Look underneath the car for signs of leaks and check wires and hoses for cracks or damage. Note any dirty filters that need replacement and check the pressure of the tires while looking for bubbling or deflation.
- Change the fluids. Check all the fluid levels for fuel, brakes, transmission, power steering coolant, windshield wiper fluid, etc. If necessary, add fresh fluids.
- Charge the battery. You should’ve disconnected your battery and stored it in a warm environment throughout the winter. Now is the time to inspect the battery and put it on a charger (if you didn’t have it on a maintainer or trickle charger while your car was in storage), making sure it’s got a full charge before you attempt to start the engine. Replace the battery altogether if it won’t hold a charge. Also, check the cables for corrosion and clean them if necessary.
- Start up the engine. It’s recommended to let your car idle for about 20 minutes, giving it plenty of time to warm up. Watch for warning lights on your dashboard, and check all the lights and turn signals to make sure everything is still working properly.
- Give it a thorough cleaning. Taking your car out of winter storage will undoubtedly require that you give it a good washing and detail before hitting the road. Even though it’s been protected in storage all winter, chances are it still got a bit dusty and dirty over the past few months. Wash and wax the exterior, vacuum the upholstery and floors, wipe down the windows, etc.
Spring Driving Tips and Car Maintenance
You’re now ready to hit the open road with your favorite summer car! Just keep in mind some safe spring driving tips, like watching out for motorcyclists and bicyclists, who are probably just as excited as you are to be back on the streets! More children will be back outside too, so practice caution when you’re in residential and school zones. Critters will be emerging from hibernation, so slow down in rural areas or places where you know there is a lot of wildlife.
Driving your car for around an hour after you take it out of winter storage will allow you the peace of mind that all systems are working properly, and your car is ready to be driven for the next several months.