After a long and brutal winter, it's time to think spring, especially for your vehicle. There are a few maintenance services that should be performed to ensure that your vehicle is ready for long trips, as well as daily activities, in spring and summer.
Although you should change your oil and filter at intervals recommended by your vehicle's maintenance guide, changing your oil after winter is especially important because you will switch from a low viscosity oil to a high viscosity oil more suitable for warmer temperatures.
Your tires should be rotated at intervals recommended by the manufacturer. This ensures even wear which helps your tires to last longer. Your tires should be inspected after winter to be sure that the tires or rims haven't sustained damage from potholes caused by temperature shifts in winter.
Your wheels should also be checked to be sure that they are aligned properly. Potholes or accumulated ice on roads can cause wheels to become misaligned when struck. This causes steering impairment as well as excessive tire wear, as each front tire attempts to drive in a slightly different direction.
Coolant flush and fill
Many summer trips are cut short by an overheated vehicle. Antifreeze/coolant can degrade during brutally cold winters, limiting its effectiveness as a coolant in the summer. Be sure to have this service performed at a repair facility that uses the proper grade of coolants that are required for specific vehicles.
Hoses and belts
Hoses and belts should be checked after winter, because cold weather can cause them to shrink or become dry and brittle, which may cause them to fail under stress.
Even a newer battery can be affected by severe cold, and lose its ability to charge fully, or to maintain a complete charge. You may not notice a degraded battery until you are in the middle of nowhere, attempt to start your vehicle, and nothing happens.
Your engine air filter, which cleans the air that your engine breathes, and your cabin air filter, which cleans the air that you breathe, should both be changed after winter. Road salt can cause them to become dirty and ineffective.
Windshield wiper blades
Winter is especially tough on wiper blades, because of snow, ice, and road salt.
Many dealership service centers offer spring service packages that may cover many of these maintenance tasks. The certified Toyota repair mechanics in these facilities know the needs of specific vehicles and will get them in great shape for shaking off the winter chill and hitting the open road.