It’s already March! Before you know it, the nice weather will be here and you’ll be cruising around with the top down. Follow these tips when taking your car out of winter storage so you can have a fun and safe summer of driving:

  1. Check the battery: You don’t want to be starting a cold vehicle on an uncharged battery. Make sure the battery is fully charged and check for damage to cables and terminals, looking for any cracks, corrosion, or residue.
  2. Inspect the filter: Air filters make a nice place for a rodent to build a nest. Check to make sure the filter is clear of debris and rodents before starting the vehicle.
  3. Get an oil change: Your car runs best on clean, new oil. Before driving, make sure there is the proper amount of oil by checking the dip stick and be sure to get an oil change as soon as possible.
  4. Fluid check: Along with the oil, you need to make sure your car retained all other fluids as well. Look around the vehicle for any leaks. Check the coolant, power steering, brake fluid, etc. and add fluid as necessary.
  5. Check the air in the tires: Proper PSI can be found on the interior of the driver’s side door. Be sure to inspect the tires for any cracks or bulging in the rubber as well.
  6. Examine brake pads and shocks: Before you set out to drive, with your car in park tap the brakes a few times to make sure it feels right. On your first drive, take it easy, and listen for any noises while breaking. If there is noise, the breaks and pads should be inspected. The suspension should be checked as well.
  7. Ensure all lights are operating: One last thing to double-check before setting out is all of the lights. Make sure all are working properly including headlights, turn signals, brake lights, high beams and hazards.

After a thorough inspection start the car and let it warm up, but don’t rev the engine. Once you hear a smooth idle the car is ready for its first drive. Take it slow and easy, listen for strange noises, watch the dash for warning lights, and enjoy because summer is on its way!