Spring Maintenance Tips for Your VehicleMar 29th, 2017
Spring is finally here, and it’s the ideal time to get your vehicle ready for a great season of driving. Most people know that it’s time to take off their snow tires, but there’s a lot more required to take care of your car after the long and harsh winter has taken it’s toll.
Repair Winter Damage
Winters in Canada are tough on vehicles. There’s no two ways around it. From salt and sand, to brine, to potholes — your car has been through a lot of wear and tear this past season.
Here are some cold, hard facts about road salt and the damage it can do to your vehicle:
Approximately five million tonnes of road salts are used in Canada each year to mitigate ice and snow conditions on roads.
This use of salt is great to work against ice on our roadways, but it causes a lot of damage to our vehicles.
In 2015, the United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that salt corrosion was the cause of thousands of vehicle brake failures.
Salt and Brine
Did you know that the road salt and the wet brine that is sprayed onto roads is extremely corrosive?
Brines are typically a mixture of 20% salt (or some other de-icing materials like beets or chemicals) and 80% water.
Sure, brine is great because your car won’t get dinged by chunks of salt getting kicked up from the road — it’s hard to get excited about the visible damage from salt scratching your paint or windows. However, it’s the invisible damage of brine that can be the most destructive to your vehicle.
Everyone knows that salt is corrosive, but the extent to which salt can cause damage to the underbody of a vehicle is truly shocking.
The underbody of your car is completely exposed to the road, and unlike the sides and top of the car, it won’t get clean with a traditional car wash. Salt-filled brine will coat every square inch of your vehicle’s underbody and it will begin to corrode. This corrosion will lead to the rusting of your chassis (or frame), your exhaust system and muffler, and your springs. If left on your undercarriage for a longer period of time, the salt will begin to corrode your brakes and your subframe, leading to expensive repairs.
Because the underbody of your vehicle is hard to get to and difficult to see, it’s challenging to detect corrosion. Heffner recommends staying ahead of corrosion and rusting by bringing your vehicle in for a spring undercarriage wash to remove the harmful salt, before it does damage.
Tires and Alignment
Winter driving, and spring thaw, lead to a variety of road conditions — and they aren’t kind to your vehicle.
Over the course of the winter, your car will deal with slippery conditions and bumps from snow and ice. These vibrations will loosen your alignment over time.
Driving in winter also requires the driver to employ different kinds of steering and braking techniques (sometimes even the ABS will kick on), and this can create additional wear on your tires. In some cases, the winter can lead to increased feathering on your tires.
Why is wheel alignment important?
Proper wheel alignment not only extends the life of your tires, it also improves your fuel efficiency, vehicle performance, and handling/steering control — this makes it an important part of safe driving.
Generally, wheel alignment can be corrected by adjusting the angle of each tire and by rotating the placement of the tires on your vehicle. Other times, if the feathering is bad enough, you may need to replace your tires. Since most drivers bring their vehicles in around this time of year to have their snow tires removed, it’s the perfect time to have your tires checked for feathering.
Snow Tire Removal & Storage
At Heffner’s, we not only provide expert snow tire removal and all-season/summer tire alignment — we also offer tire storage.
Our enormous tire storage facility is temperature and humidity controlled to ensure that your tires are carefully protected until the next time you need them installed. You don’t need to worry about your tires degrading by being exposed to the elements or temperature fluctuations. You’ll also get peace of mind knowing that you won’t have to haul those heavy tires around in your garage or basement any more.
If your tires have come to the end of their life, Heffner can assist you in selecting new tires for your vehicle — we also offer a price matching guarantee, so you know you’re getting the best deal.
We encourage you to bring your vehicle in for a check-up. This can be as simple as having our team give your ride a once-over and make recommendations. Or, you can schedule a complete vehicle service and detail, undercarriage wash, and oil change.
We aren’t in the business of selling you services you don’t need, but we do recommend that you stay ahead of any potentially costly issues by maintaining your vehicle.
Toyota drivers should adhere to their Maintenance Menu, in order to maintain their warranty and keep their vehicles running optimally.
At Heffner’s, we will service any make or model of vehicle, whether you bought it from us or not. We also regularly examine the competition to ensure that we offer our customers the best value in the region, so you can rest assured that you are getting the best service at a competitive rate.
Arrange for a scheduled appointment today. Heffner’s service departments are now open until midnight from Tuesday to Thursday, and Fridays until 9:00pm to make it easy.