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Your extensive springtime vehicle checkup list!
It’s time to start thinking about a springtime maintenance routine on your vehicle. In this article, we will look at how a maintenance checkup may save you money, make your vehicle investment last, and maintain your vehicle's safety. We also give a comprehensive list to check off during a vehicle inspection.
Why perform a springtime car inspection?
According to the American Society of Appraisers, a vehicle is the second biggest purchase for Americans behind a house. You can stretch that investment with an annual vehicle inspection to keep your vehicle working reliably and consistently for many years to come.1
The National Car Care Council found that neglected vehicles are the cause of 2,600 deaths on road and 100,000 disabling injuries every year. The council also found that 85% of cars inspected needed some maintenance done. An annual vehicle inspection usually improves the safety of vehicles on the road.1
Gas is rapidly rising to $3/gallon. Every mile per gallon earned is money saved. Poorly maintained cars waste 25% to 33% more gas per mile. Usually there are easy and inexpensive ways to improve the mpg of your vehicle, all done during an annual checkup.2
Vehicle Inspection Checklist
An annual vehicle inspection may protect your investments, improve safety, and save you money. But performing a vehicle inspection can be daunting if you don’t know what to look for. We’ve provided a list of areas of your vehicle to look out for and ways to check them.
Print Off Vehicle Inspection Checklist
Air Filters: Unfasten all clamps and fasteners from the air box, remove the filter, clean out the air box with a rag, replace with a new air filter, and refasten the air box. Check your owner’s manual to see if your car has a replaceable cabin air filter – the filter’s usually behind a panel inside the glove compartment.3
Note: Washable performance air filters can save money and improve engine performance.
Radiator Hoses: Inspect by pinching. Hoses should be flexible, not sticky. Check for swelling where hoses attach to engine or radiator. If swollen, replace immediately.4
Inspect hose clamps: Make sure they are secure and not leaking.4
V Belts: For older vehicles. Turn v belt over so the v is facing you. Look for cracking and glazing. If found, the v belt needs replacing.4
Serpentine Belts: Look for missing ribs, fraying, cracking, or cords. Replace if needed.4
Note: My first car, I never checked my belts. I let my serpentine belt get too cracked that it broke while I was driving. I lost power steering. Thankfully, I was a block away from my house.
Lights: Check and replace headlights, blinker lights, and brake lights immediately if out.
Windshield Wipers: Winter weather wears on a windshield wiper. Check and replace so you have adequate vision when it rains during the spring and summer. Top off your windshield wiper fluid as well.5
Battery: You can usually bring your car battery into an auto parts store for a free inspection. Summer is actually harder on the battery than winter. Make sure it is performing well before summer hits.5
Coolant: Summer is hot. Coolant helps keep your vehicle cool. Check your coolant levels and refill if necessary. Consider having a flushed performed to get rid of debris.3
Air conditioning: Many issues can result in poor air conditioning. Low refrigerant, clogged condenser, a leak, or a loose drive belt can be reason.5
Breaks: When driving, listen if your breaks are consistently squealing or grinding. If so, you may need them replaced.3
Tire Pressure: Change of weather affects the tire pressure. Make sure your tires are properly inflated for maximum gas mileage performance. Your tires will label the adequate tire pressure.3
Tire Tread: One easy way to check tread is the penny test. Simply insert a penny into your tire's tread groove with Lincoln's head upside down and facing you. If you can see all of Lincoln's head, your tread depth is less than 2/32 inch and it's time to replace your tires.6
Oil: Change your oil at least after every 3,000 miles.3
Clean Exterior: Living with snow, the road salt used can build up on your vehicle and cause corrosion. Give your vehicle a proper wash during the spring.3
Clean interior: Clean upholstery and vinyl and carpets. Clean the inside of your windshield for a better driving view.3
Clear Clutter: Extra weight reduces your mpg. This is a good time to clear the clutter from your car.3
Check paint: Deep enough chips in the paint can cause rust. Touch up these spots and give your car a full wax.3
Notice: This checklist is for informational purposes only and are just a few items to think about when personally performing a vehicle inspection. This should not be a substitute for your owner's manual or professional service or advice.