Ah, springtime. The days are getting longer, leaves are starting to sprout, and the great thaw begins. With this shift in weather comes the promise of warm summer driving and the time to prep your favorite ride for the road.
You should begin by washing the exterior of your vehicle, and be sure to clean underneath to remove the corrosive salt, chemicals and grime that build up from winter driving. Use a high pressure hose, paying close attention to wheel wells and bumpers.
Next, have your tires changed and rotated to ensure best performance and safety on the roads. While winter tires work best in the snow, they can accelerate and brake poorly and offer reduced tread life on dry asphalt. Spring is the best time to swap back to your performance–oriented summer or all–season tires, storing your winter set for later.
Just like your tires, the fluids in your vehicle need to be checked each spring to ensure proper engine performance throughout the seasons. Chances are the radiator in your vehicle uses an extended–life antifreeze coolant to prevent it from freezing. Check the coolant level and quality, and consider flushing the radiator if necessary. Most vehicles require fresh coolant every 240,000 km.
While you’re at it, be sure to check your oil and top up the rest of your fluids. The most common grade of engine oil in Canada is 5W30 which should perform well under both winter and summer driving conditions. Consult your owner’s manual for the recommended grade and quality of oil for your vehicle, and perform an oil and oil filter change at the recommended intervals to provide year–round protection.
Beyond these measures, helping keep your engine running at its best this spring is as easy as filling up with a high–quality gasoline. “Gasoline primarily contains carbon and hydrogen molecules, and combustion can create a residue, called “gunk”, which is a build–up of carbon particles on critical engine parts,” says Ken Mitchell, an Engineer from Shell Canada. “This gunk has a porous surface that can negatively affect combustion and the performance of your vehicle. Some high–quality fuels, like all three grades of Shell’s Nitrogen Enriched Gasolines, clean and protect critical engine parts from the build–up of gunk while you drive.”
After you’ve cleaned it from the inside out, take your ride out for a spin to feel the engine roar to life. Think about your summer road trips to come, and enjoy the ride.