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March 31, 2016

It's Spring Time

Well now that winter is over and we are in the early days of spring, it is time to give your Buick a once over to make sure you're ready for the hazards that come after a harsh winter season.

Winter is not just hard on people and cars, it's also hard on roads as well. With the changes in temperature and the freeze/thaw cycle, road materials are susceptible to cracks and potholes. Add the damage from de-icing chemicals and studs or tire chains and you end up with a road that is a real mess.

While we would hope that the Department of Transportation will fix these issues before you get on the road, reality is that it is not going to happen. You are going to encounter potholes so bad that not only can they cause your alignment to go out of spec, but possibly bend a rim or blowout a tire!

Here we are going to list some steps to take to prepare for the harsh roads that come with a harsh winter. Just as you prepare for the winter and summer driving, you might want to take some time to prepare for spring as well.

● Regular rotation of your tires is probably the best step you can take to prolong your tires longevity. If you have not had a tire rotation all winter, you will for sure need them rotated in the spring. You will notice an immediate difference in the drivability, handling and the ride quality of your Buick.

● While your Buick is up in the air, make sure to take a good look at the frame, exhaust and suspension parts for any sign of corrosion or damage from winter road conditions.

● Check the inflation of your tires. This should go without saying but since tire inflation levels can vary in cold weather too, making sure your tires are properly inflated can help insure your safety.

● Inspect your tires. Check the sidewalls for severe cracks, bulges or gouges from potholes or curbs. Also look for irregular wear patterns along the edges of the tires both inside and out. These are sure signs of a front end that is out of alignment.

● An alignment should be performed at least once a year. Spring time is one of the best times to do it. Along with the above mentioned issues, other signs of needing an alignment are pulling to one side at highway speeds or braking and a vibration at highway speeds.

● Tires can also be out of balance. If you hit a pot hole hard enough, this can easily cause a tire and wheel to be out of balance. This causes vibrations that set up other problems. Problems arising is more prevalent in front wheel drive cars where the wheels are attached to the drivetrain.

● Lastly have a mechanic inspect all components of the ABS system on your Buick. Winter corrosion can cause damage there as well.

Spending money on a vehicle is never a fun time but remember that it will always be cheaper fixing a problem early on than letting it go on and cause something else to fail. Preventative maintenance pays off in the life of a Buick. It is better to spend little now than more later on.

The Tire Industry Association (TIA) California Tire Dealers Association Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA)