After a long, cold winter in the Prairies, your vehicle may need some TLC now that the warmer temperatures have arrived. Here are some helpful tips to get your Toyota ready for springtime driving.
Avoid driving into potholes. The thawing temperatures of spring wreak havoc on roads and your vehicle’s wheel alignment if you’re unlucky enough to hit one. Drive slowly on noticeably rough roads to give you a better chance of steering around them. Be careful of potholes that are filled with water, as their depth can be deceptive.
Switch your winter tires out when temperatures become warm enough. The Tire and Rubber Association of Canada recommends removing your winter tires once temperatures stay above 7°C consistently for 10 days in a row. For helpful reminders, visit your local Toyota dealer to pick up a 7 degree window sticker. This will let you know when it is time to put on or remove your winter tires. Placed in the top left of your windshield, this sticker will turn blue when the temperature outside drops below 7°C.
Washing your car during the spring melting period will remove road salt and maintain your vehicle’s paint job. It’s also a good idea to clean and air out the interior of your vehicle, throwing away any trash that has collected and washing off the mud and grime on your floor mats.
Engines that run on old or low oil levels can slow performance, consume more gas, and even severely damage your engine. Your owner’s manual or Toyota Parts and Service advisor can let you know of your vehicle’s proper oil change frequency, but in general it’s a good idea to see your Toyota dealership every 8,000 km for regular maintenance.
After a long, cold winter, chances are that you didn’t escape catching a rock or two when driving on a Prairie highway. Chips should be repaired as soon as possible because the more dirt and debris that becomes embedded into the chip, the less chance it can be repaired. If chips have spread too far for repair, the entire windshield and seal will need to be replaced as soon as possible. Cracks can reduce visibility and make you a hazard to other drivers on the road.
One of the easiest and most important ways to maintain your car in good running order is to check your fluid levels. Engine oil, transmission fluid, coolant, wiper fluid, brake fluid, and power steering fluid must be clean and sitting at the recommended levels. A Toyota Parts and Service technician can conduct a comprehensive check for you to ensure none of your fluids are being neglected.
Ensure your roadside emergency kit is prepped and ready to go. Evaluate all items for their expiry dates, such as batteries, fire extinguishers, or non-perishable food items. If you’ve used your kit at any time throughout the winter, ensure that tools are in working order and have been returned to the kit.
Your battery may have survived a long winter of colds starts, but depending on its age, it could have been weakened in the process. Have your battery tested and confirm the mounts and connections are clean, tight, and free of corrosion. Typically, every five years is a good time to replace your battery.
Every vehicle has a number of filters that should be replaced regularly. This includes your engine air filter, cabin air filter, and fuel filter. Your vehicle’s owner’s manual can tell you where each filter is located, as well as what type will need to be purchased for replacement. Look for damage or clogging and swap them out for new ones if necessary.
The rubber that your hoses and belts are made of harden and can be damaged by cold winter temperatures. Carefully inspect them for signs of hardening, leaking, cracking, blistering, softening, or any other visual damage. Belts can become loose, cracked, glazed, or frayed. A complete inspection by a Toyota Parts and Service technician is highly recommended.
More information and an inside look at how your Toyota runs smoothly can be found on the Toyota Canada site.