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Get your car ready for spring with our 6-point checklist

Glad to have waved winter goodbye? Us, too.

Funny thing is, though, the snowy season has a way of lingering past its expiration date when it comes to long-term effects on your car. Frigid temperatures, potholes, road salt and more conspire to do a number on your vehicle. Some of the casualties caused by wintry conditions are wheels knocked out of alignment or damaged shocks, struts and other suspension-system parts. And there’s more where that came from.

Variances available in tires permit motorists to change to a tire type that has characteristics that better suit their driving style.

Many times, cold-season-created problems become apparent only after the mercury has risen. In other words: Just because spring has sprung doesn’t mean you’re immune from a sproing!

Add to that the effect rising temperatures have on Chicago-area roads (warmer weather often opens up a lot of potholes) and you can see why now is the time to “spring clean” your car.

Here’s the CARS of America Spring Cleaning for Your Car checklist:

  1. Wheel alignment/shocks/struts. The winter served up a whammy on our Chicago-area roads by creating potholes, humps and bumps. These also might have done a number on your vehicle’s suspension and wheel alignment. A strut’s or shock absorber’s primary purpose is keeping us safe by ensuring tires maintain road contact and don’t bounce up or leave the pavement. Worn shocks also make it harder for a car to stop. Likewise, a vehicle whose wheels are out of alignment can chew through tires at a rapid pace.
  2. Windshield chips and headlight/taillight surfaces. Lots of loose stuff kicked up on winter highways can strike windshields and headlight surfaces. Chips can rapidly spider web into major cracks requiring complete windshield replacement. Before that happens, we recommend repairing the chip to keep it from spreading. Need advice on whether you should repair the chip or replace the windshield? Call on your experts at CARS. We’d be happy to help advise you.
  3. Tire pressure. Let’s face it: Getting out of the car on blustery days to check the tire pressure probably isn’t tops on your fun list. If your car isn’t equipped with a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) and you haven’t been keeping tabs on your psi readings, it’s time. Underinflated tires slurp excess fuel and wear the outer treads faster. Changing weather conditions and temperature fluctuations can impact tire pressure significantly. In fact, every 10-degree decrease prompts a 1 psi dip. Therefore, check tire pressure monthly. Don’t rely on your eyes to “gauge” whether a tire has enough air. That only works for severely deflated tires.
  4. Slop and salt. Slop and salt. So often, that’s the refrain of a Chicago winter. Combat the crud Old Man Winter left on your car with an inside-outside detailing service through CARS of America.
  5. Dents and dings. Sometimes, that December-through-March mayhem leaves more than just grime on your vehicle. Bring in spring by taking care of those dings. Repairing those minor blemishes is easy, thanks to a process called Paintless Dent Repair. The technician uses special tools to reach behind each dent, gently coaxing it back to its original contour. Repairs are made without the use of paint or body fillers.
  6. Tip-top temp control. Chicagoans appreciate a well-functioning heating and air conditioning (A/C) system. If you feel your heating system wasn’t quite pushing out the warmth this year, why risk the A/C conking out when those outdoor temps start jumping? Let CARS’ technicians make sure your heating and A/C systems are working properly.

Want some help readying your car for spring? Schedule an appointment today at CARS of America in Glenview or Evanston.

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