It’s that time of year again. The snow is melting, the sun is shining, people in Minnesota are shedding their winter parkas, and we’re all ready to get outside and enjoy the weather after a long winter. Most Minnesotans are ready to push the reset button as Spring starts. One of the biggest things we need to press the reset button is our vehicles.  Melting snow, fresh potholes, and salt on the roads can be rough on your vehicle – so while you’re replanting your home, garden, and resetting your schedule, it’s a good idea to pay some attention to your car as well.

When you’re ready to schedule your spring tune up, you may be wondering what questions you’ll want to ask when your car goes into the shop.  We’ve got you covered with 5 questions you should ask your mechanic this spring.

1. What is the tread life on my tires?

Your tires take a beating each winter which is why it’s important to have them looked at during your spring tune up. It’s essential to not only have your tires rotated and balanced, but also inspected for tread wear and damage. Damaged and worn tires can impact a smooth ride and your safety in driving all spring long.

2. How’s my alignment?

Speaking of tires, you’ll want to ask your mechanic about your alignment and suspension. Winter snow can hide many obstacles on the road that can impact your suspension and alignment. If you start to notice pulling to one side as you drive, or if your car keeps bouncing after hitting a bump, it may be time for TLC when it comes to alignment and suspension. Whether you’re noticing some symptoms or not, it’s important to have both alignment and suspension checked out before you hit the roads this spring.

3. Is it time to change out any belts or hoses?

Your belts and hoses keep your car running and help you avoid any side of the road breakdowns. Did you know that our bitterly cold temperatures and winter road conditions can create problems for your belts and hoses? Be sure to ask your mechanic to check them for any cracks, tears, or wear so you can keep your car running smoothly while  avoiding any unpleasantness that waiting for a tow truck can provide.

4. Do I need to change or replace any items this spring?

Our winter weather is not just hard on the things we’d expect (like tires and belts), but on things we take for granted on our vehicle.  Now’s the time to ensure your headlights, taillights, and turn signals have not become visibility liabilities. Snow and salt can cause our headlights and taillights to yellow or haze which makes them not as bright for night driving. In addition, you’ll want to ensure that your turn signals work, and burnt out bulbs get replaced. One last thing while we’re talking about visibility.  Spring is the perfect time to replace those windshield wiper blades. Changing or replacing these items can ensure you see clearly – night or day, spring rains or clear skies.

5. Is my car ready for warmer spring weather?

From the pleasant temperatures of spring to the dog days of summer, you’ll want your vehicle to be safe and keep you comfortable through the warmer months of the year.  Ask your mechanic to prepare your car by checking to make sure your AC is in working order, and changing out your cabin air filter for comfort all summer long.  One last preparation question – ask your mechanic to check your fluid levels. They’ll want to ensure your coolant, transmission fluid, brake fluid, and in some cases, hydraulic fluid are all topped off and ready to go.

By arming yourself with these 5 questions as you visit your mechanic this spring, you’ll know what to ask so your vehicle is in tip-top shape whether you are cruising around town and heading out on that family road trip.