Spring Vehicle Maintenance Checklist

Now that winter is (FINALLY) behind us and spring has decided to make an appearance, it’s time to start thinking about spring cleaning – for your vehicle! Winters can be harsh on your car, which makes spring the perfect time to do some good maintenance and a deep clean.

Check out our Spring Vehicle Maintenance Checklist below, and stop by for our no appointment necessary oil change or see our service specials and let Monken help you with your spring chores!

Schedule an Oil Change. A good rule of thumb is to get an oil change approximately every 5000 miles.  It’s an easy and inexpensive part of your vehicle maintenance and it really helps extend the efficiency and reliability of your vehicle.

A GOOD Car Wash – Inside and Out. More than just the aesthetic of having a clean car, giving your vehicle a good wash at the start of spring is a step toward maintaining the overall health of your car. Road salt left on the exterior for too long can deplete the color and corrode the metal. (And spring rain showers are not enough to rinse off all that winter grime). Don’t forget the wash the undercarriage as well – this is where a lot of the road salt tends to sit and cause problems.

Don’t forget about the interior. Most car washes offer free vacuums after you’ve paid for a wash, so take advantage of them! Winter tends to encourage a trash buildup in the doors, nooks and crannies of vehicles. Take 20 minutes after your car wash and vacuum out the entire inside.

Replace Wiper Blades. Winter can be very harsh on wiper blades and small tears and cracks can appear without you being able to see them. With the onslaught of spring showers, you want to make sure that your wiper blades are up to snuff.

Check Tire Pressure and Alignment. Your tires are literally the cushion between you and the road, so it’s especially important to take care of them. We recommend checking your tire pressure monthly. Most newer vehicles will send you an alert when one or more tires has fallen below the recommended level.

Check the tread for wear and tear. Roads can be very slippery during spring rain storms, so you want to make sure you’re able to stop without sliding. You’ll want to rotate and align them in the spring as well.

Change Air Filters. You may not be using that AC just yet, but before it becomes an absolute necessity, make sure that your air filters are unclogged and replace them if necessary.

Review Your Insurance Policy. This is one of the vehicle maintenance items that people always forget about. Oftentimes, your agent will proactively reach out to you every so often, but if they don’t, spring is a good time to be proactive about it yourself. Are you in the most efficient policy for your family? Will you be adding a new teen driver to your policy soon? Call your agent and find out if there are any deals or discounts that you can get as well.

Understanding Vehicle Warranties

Warranties are for new cars.  Service contracts are when the factory warranty expires, and a customer purchases an additional warranty for their vehicle.
Here are some warranty details we found on CarsDirect.
Extended Factory Warranty Tips

All new cars and trucks come with a factory warranty.  Moreover, all new vehicles will generally come with a bumper-to-bumper warranty that lasts a minimum of 12 months or 12,000 miles. However, most manufacturers now offer bumper-to-bumper warranties that last for a minimum of three years or 36,000 miles—whichever comes first. Federal laws do make certain requirements that must be met for new car warranties regarding emissions systems and the warranties that cover them. According to federal law, vehicles must provide warranty coverage for the emission system for a period of five years or 50,000 miles.

Warranty information for your vehicle will generally be listed in a manual type book similar in appearance to your owner’s manual. While all warranty manuals may appear similar in appearance, the warranty information contained inside may vary considerably depending upon the manufacturer.

Basic New Car Warranty Information
With all new car warranties, most major systems and subsystems of a vehicle are covered for a specific period of time and provide warranty protection against malfunction or defect for most parts on a new car.

However, consumable parts, or parts that generally need to be replaced periodically, such as windshield wipers, fluids, belts, and accessories are generally not covered under any manufacturer’s new car warranty. So, you should check your owner’s manual for specific warranty information for your vehicle. In some cases, tires on your vehicle and car battery may be covered but, you should be aware that some manufacturers may not.

Also, different car manufacturers provide various levels of warranty coverage for accessories, like air-conditioning, sunroofs, premium sound systems and other options. Some manufacturers include them for coverage under the terms of the new warranty while some require you pay for replacement parts while the manufacturer pays for labor. Almost all new car warranties cover the drive train, or engine, driveline and transmission.

New Car Warranty and Emissions
When reviewing your new car warranty, you should pay particular attention to the emissions control section. This is the part that guarantees emissions performance for your vehicle.

An important note, because many states have minimum requirements for pollution control and carbon emissions released from your vehicle. If your vehicle fails to meet the standards of your state, you may be prevented from driving on state roads and highways. Also, repairing a damaged or defective emission control system can turn out to be very costly. So, you should always check to see if there is coverage. If you feel the warranty protection is inadequate, you might want to consider purchasing an extended warranty or mechanical breakdown policy to supplement your new car warranty.

Maintaining Your New Car Warranty
While all new cars and trucks come with a manufacturer’s warranty, you are required to perform certain steps in order to make sure your coverage remains in effect. For example, you will need to make sure you follow the manufacturer’s directions for having oil changes and routine maintenance performed.

If you fail to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for changing your oil or performing routine maintenance, the car manufacturer will many times simply choose to void your warranty. Under the terms of your current warranty contract agreement, the manufacturer has the right to cancel your warranty if you do not reasonably take good care of your vehicle.

Why Service Your Vehicle at a Dealership

While vehicles are more reliable than ever, they still do require maintenance and do break down. Why service with the dealer you purchased your vehicle? Auto manufacturers often offer either hidden warranties or offer some type of goodwill. These are generally reserved for loyal customers. When a dealership is evaluating an out of warranty claim for goodwill, they typically have to go to the manufacturer and answer several questions to justify the goodwill expenditure:

How long has the customer owned the vehicle?
Does the customer service the vehicle at your dealership regularly?
Do they perform recommended maintenances?
Are they loyal to the dealership and/or the manufacturer?
Have they owned other “brand X” vehicles?

Manufacturers and dealerships will go above and beyond for loyal customers.  These goodwill dollars are finite and tracked by the manufacturers to be reserved for the most loyal customers. In our experience, customer loyalty is most often rewarded by the manufacturer. Dealerships have finite dollars and will work hard for those that are regular customers.

Another reason you may want your vehicle serviced at a dealership is because dealerships have certified technicians with yearly training that update them on the new makes and models of each brand the dealership carries on the lot.

At our Monken Chrysler Nissan location we have 4 Certified Trained Technicians and 3 Master Technicians.  At our Monken Chevrolet Buick GMC location we have 2 Certified Trained Technicians and 2 Master Technicians. A trained technician must have all certification that meet factory guidelines before they are able to work on our vehicles.      A Master Technician has completed all levels of the training and are top notch.