4 things to inspect on your vehicle during spring
By Amanda Mitchell, AccuWeather staff writer
For those who live in colder climates, they know all too well that the winter brings challenging weather for your driving. However, just because the seasons shift to spring and summer, doesn't mean the impacts on your car from wintry weather go away.
Tony Molla, an expert from The Automobile Service Association, explains four things drivers need to be aware of as spring arrives.
In the winter there are numerous things that can affect your car's undercarriage, resulting in the misalignment of the car.
Driving through the snow or mud, slipping on ice, knocking a curb or hitting a pothole are common occurrences throughout the winter.
Any of these situations may not appear to have resulted in damage, Molla says, but all could have possibly misaligned the car. Unnoticed damage can drastically affect your tires and breaks, putting the car in potential danger and risking your own safety.
If a driver notices they are constantly pulling the wheel back from one side or the wheel sits at an angle, despite the car going straight you should seek out a professional to check the vehicle's alignment.
2. Air conditioning
As you make the switch from blasting the heat to cranking the air conditioner you may find the cool air never comes through. Your car's air conditioning system could have developed a leak during the winter that becomes apparent in the warmer months.
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The rubber seals of the car’s air conditioning system have a greater potential to dry out and crack in the winter months. When these cracks occur it provides refrigerant, the gas responsible for cooling the air in your car, the opportunity to escape.
Throughout the year, the moisture of the air conditioning system acts as lubricant for these rubber seals, making them more likely to crack and wear in the winter. This problem will be quick to show itself and can be remedied before it gets too hot.
3. Low tire pressure
It is widely known that winter temperatures affect your car’s tire pressure. As temperatures drop, air becomes denser, and this results in lower tire pressure.
Drivers often rely on their car’s tire-pressure monitoring system (TPMS) for a reminder to fill their tires up. Although, that TPMS warning light will not come on until a tire is 25 percent under the recommended pressure amount if it's a direct TPMS system, according to Tires Plus.
“Too many drivers rely solely on their TPMS when in reality that warning won't come on for some time," Molla said.
It isn’t safe to be driving with such low tire pressure, making it imperative to perform your own pressure checks so nothing happens to you or your vehicle. A tire-pressure gauge is inexpensive to buy and lasts for years to assist in monthly pressure checks.
4. Windshield wipers
Constantly removing snow and ice while also cleaning away road salt and dirt provides windshield wipers a full time winter job.
Their perpetual use wears down the rubber blade edges, making them ineffective. In addition, "the wiper continually freezes to the windshield tearing away the rubber edge," Molla said.
Come spring the exhausted blades may not make for safe driving conditions for April showers.
For more safety and preparedness tips, visit AccuWeather.com/Ready.
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