Your hotrod, or your antique car, is perhaps your most favored possession. During the winter months, you keep it bundled away in the garage with a nice car tarp covering it. You would be crazy to drive it through the snow and slush and harsh salt that cover roads during the winter. But now, as the weather begins to shift into spring, you’re ready to get that hotrod out of storage and back on the road. When you’re gearing up to put your vehicle back on the asphalt, you should make sure it is in tip-top condition. While you always avoid driving your car during winter conditions, you still need to perform a proper tune-up before turning the key in the ignition. Use the list below as a maintenance checklist. Once you’re done, hop in, roll down the windows, and hit the road.
Tires: Even though your tires didn’t endure the harsh winter roads, they did endure cold winter temperatures in your garage or storage facility. Low temperatures can have a negative effect on tire rubber, sometimes even inducing cracks. Check your car’s tire pressure and fill as needed. Take your car into the shop and have them rotated as well. You may also consider filling your tires with pure nitrogen to maintain more stable pressure.
Oil: As your car sat in storage for the winter, the oil similarly sat inside it. When you’re getting your tires rotated at the shop, have them change your motor oil, too. Remember to use the factory-recommended oil weight for your car so that your vehicle performs its best. Don’t stop at the oil change alone: consider swapping out your oil filter for a premium one and to change your air filter.
Engine Coolant: Now is an opportune time to flush your cooling system. Regardless of the amount of time your vehicle has spent on the winter roads, there can be a buildup of grease and sediment in your cooling system. Drain your radiator, and clean it with a radiator flush product to remove any and all nasty buildup. Then, refill the radiator with a coolant mixture (50/50 should do the trick).
Clean: As you’re preparing to hit the streets again, think about how to make your car look its best. Wipe down the dashboard and remove any bits of trash that were left behind last season. Give the floor and seats some attention with a vacuum and shake out the floor mats to loosen any collected dust. When you’ve got the inside taken care of, move on to the outside. If you’ve had your vehicle under cover during the winter months, you won’t need to do any intense cleaning. Just give your car a wash, and make sure to apply a wax coating as well. The wax coat will provide a layer of protection from rain, dirt, and pollen, keeping the exterior shiny and easier to clean.
Battery: Properly re-install battery cables if you disconnected them over the winter, check for battery corrosion and fully charge your battery. Replace as needed.
Do you have a car you only take out once spring arrives? What do you do to prepare it for the road?