8 September 2023

Technical Inspection

Spring Car Care Checklist

Spring is finally here, and it's the perfect time to make sure that your vehicle is ready for the coming warmer months. With changing seasons come new driving conditions, and the car care checklist we've put together is designed to guide motorists through a series of essential maintenance tasks. From inspecting tyre pressure to changing the oil and filters, follow DEKRA's guide to keep your car running smoothly throughout spring and summer.

What kind of effect does season change have on our cars?

Season change can have a significant impact on vehicles due to variations in temperature, humidity, precipitation, and road conditions. Here's an overview of how these seasonal changes might affect different components of a car:

Temperature Fluctuations: Extreme cold in the winter can cause the engine oil to thicken, reducing lubrication, while hot summer temperatures may cause the engine to overheat if the cooling system is not in good condition. Rubber parts such as belts and hoses may become brittle in the cold and soft in the heat, leading to potential damage or failure.

Tyre Pressure Changes: Temperature changes affect tyre pressure as well since air contracts when cold and expands when hot. This can result in under-inflated tyres in winter and over-inflated tires in summer, affecting handling, fuel efficiency, and tread wear.

Impact on Fluids: The effectiveness of some vehicle fluids, such as coolant, can be impacted by extreme temperatures. For instance, winter requires a proper mixture of antifreeze to prevent freezing, while summer might necessitate a different mix to help with cooling.

Battery Performance: Cold weather can reduce a battery's capacity, making it harder to start the vehicle, while hot weather can speed up the battery's internal corrosion, shortening its life.

Road Conditions: In some parts of the country, winter might bring ice and snow, leading to slippery roads that require proper tyre tread for safe driving. Summer might bring rain, leading to potential flooding or slippery roadways.

Visibility Issues: Fog or glare from the sun may affect visibility, requiring proper maintenance of headlights, wipers, and windows.

Air Conditioning and Heating: The HVAC system works harder in summer and winter, leading to potential wear if not properly maintained.

Wildlife and Vegetation: Some seasons might bring more insects that can clog radiators or small mammals seeking warmth in engine compartments, and pollen can clog air filters in spring.

Alignment and Suspension: Weather-related potholes can affect alignment and suspension systems, leading to uneven wear on tyres, a less comfortable ride, and costly repairs.

Photot credit: Renzo Alarco on Pexels

DEKRA's Car Care Checklist

Here is a list of things we recommend you check, or have checked out by the DEKRA team, to help prepare your vehicle for the warmer months ahead.

1. Check the Tyre Pressure and Tread Depth

The safety and performance of your vehicle begin with its tyres. Ensure they're properly inflated to the manufacturer's specifications, and inspect the tread for any signs of wear. Uneven or excessive wear could indicate a need for alignment or tyre replacement.

2. Inspect the Brake Pads and Rotors

Your brakes are vital to your safety on the road. Check the pads for wear, and listen for any unusual sounds when applying the brakes. If you notice any grinding or squeaking, it may be time to have your brakes serviced by a professional.

3. Change the Oil and Filter

Regular oil changes are key to the longevity and efficiency of your engine. Consult your owner's manual for the recommended oil type and change interval, and remember to replace the filter as well.

4. Top Off Fluids

Check and replenish the essential fluids in your vehicle, such as coolant, power steering fluid, brake fluid, and windshield washer fluid. These contribute to the optimal performance of various systems within your car.

5. Examine the Belts and Hoses

Rubber components can become brittle and cracked over time. Check belts and hoses for any signs of wear or damage and replace them as necessary to avoid unexpected breakdowns.

6. Clean the Interior and Exterior

Spring cleaning isn't just for your home! Give your car a thorough wash and wax to protect the paint, and vacuum the interior to remove any accumulated dirt and debris. Don't forget to clean the windows for clear visibility.

7. Check Your Battery

Cold winter months can be hard on your car's battery. Test the battery's charge and look for any signs of corrosion on the terminals. Replace if needed to ensure reliable starts.

8. Replace Air Filters

Clogged air filters can reduce your car's fuel efficiency and performance. Check both engine and cabin air filters and replace them as needed for a more comfortable and efficient drive.

9. Schedule a Professional Inspection with DEKRA!

If you're uncertain about any aspects of your car's condition, schedule an appointment with DEKRA. A comprehensive inspection can uncover potential problems and provide peace of mind for the driving season ahead. DEKRA services you can choose from:

Not sure which one is right for you? Get in touch with us and we'll guide you in the right direction.

Frequently Asked Questions About Car Maintenance

Spring car maintenance doesn't have to be a mystery. Below are the answers to the five of the most common questions South African drivers ask about keeping their vehicles in top shape:

- When Should I Replace My Windshield Wipers?

Regular inspection of your wipers is essential, especially after winter. If you notice streaking or hear squeaking, it may be time to replace your wipers.

- How Often Should I Check My Tire Pressure?

Monthly checks are generally sufficient, but it's wise to check more frequently if you notice any irregularities in your driving experience.

- Why are Regular Oil Changes Important?

Regular oil changes prevent the buildup of harmful deposits and ensure your engine runs smoothly, effectively extending its lifespan.

- How Can I Tell If My Brakes Need Servicing?

Unusual noises, vibrations, or a spongy feeling in the brake pedal are common signs that your brakes may need professional attention.

- Is It Necessary to Flush My Cooling System?

Flushing the cooling system helps prevent corrosion and deposits, promoting the longevity of your radiator and engine.

Spring and summer are seasons of renewal and rejuvenation, and your vehicle should be no exception. As the seasons change, so do the demands on your car, making it imperative to adhere to a comprehensive car care checklist like the one we've compiled. From inspecting the tyre pressure to aligning your suspension and everything in between, these essential tasks keep your car running smoothly throughout the warmer months.

DEKRA's experienced team is ready to assist you in preparing your vehicle for the road ahead, offering professional inspections and guidance tailored to your needs. Don't leave your car's health to chance this spring and summer, get in touch with DEKRA and put our car care checklist to work for you.

Read Related Articles:

Conquer the Cold: Prepare Your Car For Winter Driving In South Africa
Weather-Related Driving Hazards: How To Stay Safe On The Road
Buying New Tyres? Here's How To Choose The Right Ones
DEKRA Safety Check: 10 Reasons Why You Need One
DEKRA Technical Inspection: What You Need To Know