Haliburton County’s roadways have emerged from the grip of snowstorms and ice. Sunny road trips and warm-weather drives are just around the corner.

Aside from a suds-and-scrub to polish off winter grime, here are some yearly maintenance tips to keep your car in tip-top shape and ready for summer fun.

• Oil changes keep your car’s engine happy. Cycling out oil every three to six months ensures any sediment mixed up in the oil is discarded. It’s a job best left for professionals, who know how much oil to add and have equipment to conduct the job safely.

• Car batteries are stronger than ever, but extremely cold temperatures can still take a toll, especially this year with frequent weather fluctuations. If your battery is more than four years old or it takes some time for your engine to turn over, it’s worth getting a mechanic to test it. That’s a quicker option than waiting for a parking lot boost.

• Highlands road crews don’t use salt, a road treatment that can corrode a car’s frame, brakes and engine parts. However, sand, which still coats Haliburton roads after the snow is gone, can clog your vehicle’s air filter. Making sure your filter is clean of dust and debris before summer helps your engine run smoother and longer. Experts recommend changing the filter once every year. You can easily do this at home: the air filter is housed in a black box with a tube sticking out of it, usually on or beside the engine block, and you can purchase air filters at Canadian Tire and other stores.


Tired tires

Rolling your snow tires back into storage is often a relief. Experts recommend waiting to do so until the temperature hits seven degrees for a consistent length of time. Haliburton County often gets snow later in the year than Ontario’s southern locales, so waiting until mid-April is usually a safe bet.

If you’re getting professional help with the switch, it’s always best to book your tire change early. Don’t forget to take a peek at the condition of your snow tires before you stow them to make sure they’re in shape for next winter. Auto experts like CAA recommend a tread depth of about 1/8 of an inch. An easy way to check involves sticking a Toonie in between the treads, bear paws down. If the words on the outer rim of the Toonie are visible, your tires are likely nearing time for a replacement. If one side of the tire is more worn down than the other, there’s a chance your car’s alignment may need a check too. Anyone who regularly drives around the County knows the most common misalignment culprits: potholes. If your suspension feels too firm or is squeaking, it’s likely time for a mechanic to give your car a post-pothole tune-up.

Finally, we’ve spent the last two years more aware than ever about germs and sanitization, so why not take some time to make sure your car is clean as well as tidy.

A study from Carrentals.com found the steering wheel was the dirtiest spot in a car, a hotspot for all the bacteria our hands pick up day-to-day.

A microfibre cloth and Lysol or disinfectant wipes are your ticket to a clean steering wheel, console and other high-touch areas.

With regular maintenance and cleaning, you’ll be ready to drive confidently into Haliburton’s summer months this year.

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