Make us your home page

6 car maintenance suggestions for spring

Drivers should thoroughly inspect their vehicles inside and out at each season change, either themselves or through a local service center, for signs of damage and degradation. Pep Boys, an automotive aftermarket service and retail chain, suggests six key areas to clean, inspect or have inspected this spring.


Spring is a great time to have your vehicle's battery checked for a full charge, ensuring it is operating in tip-top shape during warmer months. Battery terminals and other connections should be inspected for signs of corrosion. Built-up deposits can hurt a car's ignition system or even prevent the engine from starting.

Check tires

Properly rotated and inflated tires allow drivers to brake more quickly, handle better, avoid danger on the road and get better gas mileage. Pep Boys recommends rotating a vehicle's tires per the manufacturer's suggested interval, or every 5,000 to 10,000 miles depending on wear and driving habits.

In addition to rotating the vehicle's tires, it's also important to regularly inspect each tire to make sure its pressure is within the manufacturer's guideline. Drivers can find the recommended pressure specification on the inside of the driver's side doorsill and in the owner's manual.

Filter and oil changes

Clean filters and oil help a car's engine move and breathe easier, and as a result improve engine performance. For maximum engine life, Pep Boys recommends inspecting or replacing dirty engine air filters and changing a vehicle's oil and oil filter as directed by the manufacturer in the vehicle owner's manual.

Spring is also a great time to inspect a vehicle's in-cabin air filter. When cold weather gives way to the warmer temperatures of spring, blooming flowers create additional pollen in the air. Regularly inspecting and replacing the in-cabin air filter can help prevent seasonal allergies and irritating odors emanating from the air conditioning system.

Wiper blades

For optimum performance, change your wiper blades every six months and regularly check for streaking, chattering or skipping. Summer UV damage, winter ice and snow take a major toll on wipers. Drive safely and be ready for spring showers.


For both safety and convenience, it's important to regularly inspect and/or replace a vehicle's windshield washer, coolant and brake fluids at regular seasonal intervals or as recommended by the vehicle manufacturer.

At home or with the help of your local service center, have the coolant system flushed and refilled with fresh coolant as recommended in the vehicle owner's manual. Be sure to always fill the system with a 50 percent mixture of coolant to water to avoid altering the recommended antifreeze ratio.

Look at the brake fluid reservoir and make sure the level is above the "low" mark. An empty or low level of brake fluid reservoir usually indicates increased brake wear or a leak somewhere in the system, both of which can be dangerous. If either symptom is present, see your local service center immediately.

Clearing snow, road grime and debris from the windshield can tax a vehicle's washer fluid level. As winter closes, inspect the washer fluid reservoir and make sure it is filled with the proper mix of washer fluid and water as directed by the vehicle owner's manual.

Clean and wash

A car deserves just as good a spring cleaning as the home does. Thoroughly cleaning and washing your vehicle inside and out removes built-up road grime, allowing for quick visual inspections and easy diagnosis of potential leaks and increased wear areas.

Once the interior and exterior of the car have been cleaned, consider cleaning the engine bay. Cleaning under the hood helps remove caked-on debris kicked up by tires and allows for a quick diagnosis of certain common engine problems like oil and coolant leaks, or frayed and cracked belts and hoses. (But leave this to the experts if you have an electric or hybrid vehicle.)

6 car maintenance suggestions for spring 03/08/12 [Last modified: Thursday, March 8, 2012 3:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Will new laws protect condo owners from apartment conversions and rogue associations?

    Real Estate

    Danny Di Nicolantonio has lived in St. Petersburg's Calais Village Condominums for 33 years. Annoyed at times by the actions, or inaction, of the condo board and property managers, he has complained to the state agency that is supposed to investigate.

    That has left him even more annoyed.

    A bill passed by the Florida Legislature would affect places like The Slade in Tampa's Channelside district, where cCondominium owners have battled a plan to convert homes into apartments.
[Times file photo]
  2. Walmart opens first Pinellas County in-house training academy


    Seminole — It had all the hallmarks of a typical graduation: robe-clad graduates marching in to Pomp and Circumstance, friends and family packed together under a sweltering tent and a lineup of speakers encouraging the graduates to take charge of their future.

    New Walmart Academy graduates are congratulated Thursday morning by associates during a graduation ceremony at the Walmart store, 10237 Bay Pines Boulevard, St. Petersburg. The Walmart location is one of the company's training academies where managers complete a one week retail course. David Shultz and Richard Sheehan, both from St. Petersburg, get high fives from the crowd.
[SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]

  3. Lawsuit: Florida contractor fakes death to dodge angry homeowners

    Human Interest

    SEMINOLE — For weeks, Glenn Holland, 67, crawled out of bed before the sun rose to look for a dead man.

    Last year Glenn and Judith Holland said they paid a contractor thousands of dollars to renovate their future retirement home in Seminole. But when they tried to move in on Dec. 14, they said the home was in shambles and uninhabitable. They sent a text message to contractor Marc Anthony Perez at 12:36 p.m. looking for answers. Fourteen minutes later, they got back this text: "This is Marc's daughter, dad passed away on the 7th of December in a car accident. Sorry." Turns out Perez was still alive. Now the Hollands are suing him in Pinellas-Pasco circuit court. [LARA CERRI   |   Times]
  4. Owners to level Port Richey flea market but may rebuild

    Public Safety

    PORT RICHEY — The owners of the recently shuttered USA Flea Market have agreed to demolish all structures on the property, leaving open the possibility of rebuilding the weekend shopping attraction, according to Pasco County officials.

    Pasco County officials shut down the USA Flea Market after it received hundreds of citations for health and code violations.
  5. Kimmins Protégé-Mentor Program a crash course on business know-how



    Williams Landscape Management Company was founded 30 years ago with one employee.

    Marisela Linares and Jorge Castro listen to speakers during a workshop at the Kimmins Contracting Corporation on Wednesday, June 7, 2017.   Kimmins Contracting Corporation is handling road construction projects Jeff Vinik's company as he remakes the Channel District. To do some outreach, the company is partnering with three minority contractors, but it's a unique partnership with Kimmins not only giving them the opportunity, but taking them through a series of workshops. It's essentially providing training to the subcontractors so they will be in position to get other contracts.