Ask The Beaverton Car Guy: Recommended Spring maintenance for your vehicle

By Larry “The Car Guy“ Ferguson

Hello loyal Beaverton Readers,

Thank you so much to everyone who has reached out via email and telephone. I appreciate the opportunity to be of assistance for all of your vehicle and automotive needs and questions.

I received a call from a retired gentleman who was curious as to what type of maintenance should be performed on his vehicle for spring. Here are some tips I always recommend after winter has departed. Whether you’re driving around town or across the country here are the typical things I have checked already on all of my personal vehicles.

Exterior Maintenance

Wiper blades play an extremely important role in increasing visibility. Replace every six months or when cracked, cut, torn, streaking or chattering.

Check the tires. A simple test to check tire tread depth is to insert a penny into the tread of the tire. If the top of Lincoln’s head sticks out, your tires are starting to show signs of wear and should be replaced. Also check the tire inflation and inspect the tread for uneven wear, which could indicate the need for a wheel alignment. Also look for bulges and bald spots.

Give your car a good washing from top to bottom. Use a product specifically made for automobiles. Never use dish washing detergent, as it leaves a film on the paint. Always clean the tires and wheels before washing the body, and don’t use the same mitt for both.

If you find minor paint damage, cover the paint chips as quickly as possible. For a quick fix until you can get some touchup supplies, dab a little clear nail polish on the scratch.

Spring is an excellent time for waxing, which not only protects the finish but also makes subsequent washing easier. Before proceeding, make sure there are no foreign particles on the paint.

Under the Hood

A good rule of thumb is that a change of season equals a change of oil. Changing your car’s oil and filter every three months or 3,000 miles, whichever comes first, will ensure that your car operates at peak efficiency. Keep in mind that dirty engine oil becomes diluted with fuel. When this happens, the oil is thinned and will tend to make your engine use oil between fuel fill up’s. This occurs when our engine is due for an oil and filter change.

Check all fluids. There are several fluids that require attention, including engine oil, power steering fluid, brake and transmission fluids, windshield washer solvent and antifreeze/coolant. The antifreeze/coolant should be refreshed every two years.

Check hoses and belts. A belt that fails can affect the electrical system, air conditioning and power steering, as well as the cooling system. Cooling system hoses may be deteriorating from within, so old hoses and clamps that appear to be in marginal condition may need to be replaced.

Under the vehicle

Spring is a good time to check the entire brake system, including brake linings, rotors and drums.

Check the shocks or struts for signs of physical damage, such as leaking, rusting, or dents. Also be aware of the warning signs that you may need them replaced: vehicle rolls or sways on turns, front end dives when braking, rear end squats when accelerating, vehicle sits lower in the front or rear, a loss of directional control during sudden stops, and the vehicle bounces or slides sideways on a winding and rough road.

If you notice any fluid puddles or stains under your vehicle, it is a good idea to have it inspected. There are several fluids that can leak from the vehicle including antifreeze/coolant, battery acid, brake fluid, clear water, diesel fuel, engine oil, gasoline, gear oil, power steering fluid, transmission fluid and windshield washer fluid.

Larry’s specialty is locating cars, even hard to find cars, for everyday folk. He has been in the automotive industry for over 35 years and has several degrees in automotive technology. Email him at or call 503-930-1493