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Car Maintenance >> Spring-Summer

Spring Car Care Relief for Your Vehicle Beware the Deadly Sins of Winter

(ARA) - Winter can be tough on lots of things, including cars and trucks. Cold temperatures, snow and ice, road salt and pothole-causing freeze-thaw cycles put car batteries, tires, brakes and suspensions to the test. Spring is the time to rid vehicles of winter’s sins in time for summer travel.

Since 1970, Americans have more than doubled their vehicle miles traveled, according to federal statistics. In summer, many of those miles are logged on driving vacations far from home, the last place motorists want to risk a breakdown.

“Regular vehicle maintenance and inspections can help improve a vehicle’s fuel efficiency, achieve peak performance and even help avoid major repairs down the road,” says Peter Lord, executive director, GM Service Operations.

Winter’s “major deadly sins” can affect just about all vehicle systems, but some are especially vulnerable. Vehicle owners can follow these tips to ensure their vehicles are ready to roll:

* Batteries: They work harder when it’s cold, and winter can compromise their cranking performance up to 60 percent. Test and replace old or weak batteries, especially those more than three years old. It can be cheaper than a tow and replacement on the road.

* Tires, wheels: Cold weather can reduce tire pressure, so make sure all tires, including the spare, are properly inflated and balanced, and wheels are properly aligned. Inflate tires to their recommended pressure. Under-inflated tires can reduce fuel economy by up to 3.3 percent, cause premature tire failure and are a safety hazard. Tire failures and blowouts, often a result of under-inflation, contribute to 414 deaths and 10,295 injuries each year in the U.S., according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In addition to tire pressure, check for tread wear and any obvious damage caused by potholes or sharp objects.

* Belts and hoses: Inspect and replace worn or cracked belts, as well as hoses that are blistered, brittle or too soft. Belts and hoses older than five years, even if they look intact, might need to be replaced.

* Brakes: A spring checkup can uncover any winter damage. Inspect the brake system, including lines, hoses, and parking brake. Inspect brake fluid for proper level. Low brake fluid can be an indication of excessive brake wear or fluid leak. Have the brake linings/pads inspected and measured.

* Suspension: Deep potholes aren’t friendly to shocks and struts. An inspection to determine wear or leaks can alleviate bigger issues down the road.

For extra security on the road, GM Goodwrench encourages motorists to bring their vehicle to their local GM dealership for a multi-point vehicle inspection this spring. The inspections help identify service items that can help vehicles run better and better, last longer, and retain their value.

“Goodwrench technicians receive specialized training on GM vehicles directly from the factory – making them more qualified than anyone to maintain and service GM vehicles,” says Lord. “Because GM dealerships have a direct link to GM, they receive service information updates daily, along with technical support – helping to ensure GM vehicle owners are back on the road quickly.”

GM Goodwrench offers convenient, efficient, GM Goodwrench Multi-point Vehicle Inspections, comprehensive diagnostic testing and complete service and maintenance capabilities. GM Goodwrench technicians are ASE-certified, have almost 1 million hours of additional factory training and nearly 7,000 GM dealerships nationwide offer GM Goodwrench service.

Here are other items vehicle owners should have inspected in the spring:

* Inspect the antifreeze/coolant level, making sure the coolant used meets the specifications listed in the vehicle owner's manual.

* Check oil level regularly. If a vehicle is equipped with the GM Oil Life System (OLS), the Simplified Maintenance plan can help save time, money and oil. The plan calls for owners to visit their GM Goodwrench dealership for maintenance when their “Change Oil” light comes on, instead of every 3,000 miles. GM estimates that if all the 20 million-plus vehicles on the road equipped with this technology used the system as intended, hundreds of millions of gallons of oil would be saved over the lifetime of the vehicles, further reducing environmental impact.

* Check the transmission fluid for correct level. Check the owner's manual for the right type of transmission fluid to use and the proper interval for service and replacement.

* Inspect power steering fluid for proper levels. Low power steering fluid can cause damage to the power steering system and lead to premature power steering failure.

* Inspect windshield wiper blades for wear and cracks, ideally each spring and fall. GM recommends replacement of blades that look worn. Also inspect and replace the rear wiper blade, if equipped. Don't forget to check the windshield washer fluid.

* Inspect and replace as necessary the engine air filter and the cabin air filter.

* Inspect steering components and steering linkage.

What is a Goodwrench Multi-Point Vehicle Inspection?

GM Goodwrench technicians perform comprehensive vehicle inspections to help customers keep their vehicles operating properly. In addition to the items above, GM Goodwrench offers the following inspection services:

* Exhaust system

* Transmission, drive shaft and u-joints

* Radiator, heater and air-conditioning hoses

* Interior lights, exterior lamps, brake lamps, turn signals and hazard warning lights

Goodwrench is the service brand for GM vehicles – Chevrolet, Buick, Pontiac, GMC, HUMMER and Cadillac. With dealerships located nationwide, the GM Goodwrench network is one of the largest automotive service chains in the industry. GM Goodwrench technicians receive specialized training from General Motors to provide expert care for GM cars and trucks. Genuine GM replacement parts are manufactured to the same specifications of the GM vehicle. For more information, visit the GM Goodwrench Web site at Courtesy of ARA Content

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