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The Car Coach gets your car ready for spring

The never-ending winter is finally over and at long last, spring is here! The extreme temperatures we’ve experienced this season, mixed with a few warm days, have really taken a toll on our roadways. As the potholes get larger, they become a safety risk and can take a chunk out of your wallet. April is the time to get your car back into shape and ready for spring driving and summer road trips! National Car Care Month reminds you to take care of any maintenance issues that may have occurred or been ignored during the winter months.

Save money with the right tire pressure – If you are driving through a pothole everyday on your daily commute, some of the more common problems you may experience include flat tires, bent rims and suspension damage. Proper tire pressure = better gas mileage = savings of 2-3 mpg. Check all five tire pressures; yes, that means the spare too. The proper tire pressure for your vehicle is found in the gas door, glove box or the placard inside the door jamb. Check the tires when they’re cold because tire pressures increases while driving. Never use the number on your tire. Check your tire pressure once a month!

Check the wear of your tires, inspect the tread! – Inspect your tires to determine when your tires need to be replaced. One way to check tire tread is to insert a penny into the tire groove with Lincoln’s head down. If the top of the head is showing above the tread you need new tires.

How do you check the wear? It’s easy!

1. Is the tire bald? Replace the tire!

2. Is the center bald and the outside ok? Replace the tire!

3. Are the outsides bald and the center of the tire ok? Replace the tire!

4. Are the sidewalls cracked? Replace the tire!

What needs to be replaced? When the engine is cool, check your car’s fluids, including engine oil, radiator coolant and windshield washer fluid and refill or replace them as needed. Be sure to inspect hoses and belts for signs of wear such as cracks or blistering. You’ll also want to check your wiper blades, and replace them every six months. Make sure the air conditioner is working. If not, a certified technician should repair it.

Wash your car! When salt is on the road, washing your car is the major factor in combating corrosion and maintaining the value of your car. Salt that remains on a vehicle surface and undercarriage for any length of time can damage your car’s clear finish, promote rust, and affect the mechanics of your vehicle.

What to carry in the car – An emergency kit includes a cell phone and charger, first aid kit, tire inflation product, battery cables or a self-enclosed battery jumper, flares, a flashlight with fresh batteries and washer fluid.

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This interview is courtesy of The Car Care Council (non-profit) and sponsored by Continental Tire, Repair Pal and Home Depot Automotive.