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Feb 6, 2021

6 min. read

A few DIY ways to prep your ride before setting off this spring

Spring is the perfect time to get out and explore Manitoba! Before hitting the road, set aside some time to show your car some TLC. A few simple steps can help ensure a smooth ride. For long trips, it’s a good idea to repeat some of these steps midway through the drive.

Inspect your tires

Check wear bars, the little rubber mounds in the tire’s track. You should also keep tabs on your tire pressure using your car’s internal monitoring system, if it has one. If not, remove the cap from the valve, place a good-quality tire pressure gauge on top of the valve, press firmly and a reading will appear.

To find the recommended tire pressure for your car, check your owner’s manual or look for a sticker inside the driver-side door. Avoid inflating to the pressure listed on the sidewall of the tire itself—that number refers to the maximum pressure of the tire, not the recommended tire pressure for your vehicle.

Don’t check your tires immediately after driving. Friction from the road increases both heat and tire pressure, so the reading may be skewed.

A person using a tire pressure gauge on a tire.

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Eyeball the oil

Wait until your car has been off for about 10 minutes. Find the dipstick, pull it all the way out, clean off the oil with a paper towel, and place the stick back in its cradle. Let it sit for a few seconds and pull it back out. The bottom of the dipstick will have two markings or holes; the oil level should fall between them. It should be light brown and viscous. If it’s thick and black, get an oil change right away.

Check your lights

Walk around the vehicle and check that your front, tail and reverse lights are working, along with your turn signals. Check your high beams, too, and fog lights, if your vehicle has them.

Enjoy the view

To check washer fluid—and top it up if needed—locate the fluid reservoir, which will have a diagram of a windshield and what looks like a dotted umbrella. Look for a marking on the side of the reservoir; if your washer fluid is below this fill line, lift up the cap and add some more. It’s a good idea to keep an extra bottle in the trunk.

Did you hear something?

A major problem is often preceded by a noise, like a squeak or bang. If you hear something like that, report it to your mechanic immediately. Don’t worry—they’re used to customers making strange sounds to describe what’s happening to their car. And if you notice an unusual smell, give your technician a heads-up about that too. A small tune-up can go a long way on the open road!

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