With winter over and spring in full effect, it’s the perfect time to take your Jeep out for a spin and allow it to stretch its legs. However, before you hit the road, it’s important to prepare your Jeep following its winter-long hibernation.
There are a few things you need to check before you can hit the road or go out on your next big adventure. All of these steps will ensure that your Jeep is in tip-top shape and is ready to tackle anything. It’ll also give you peace of mind knowing everything is as it should be, especially when you find yourself out in the middle of nowhere as you often do on an off-roading adventure.
Make Sure Your Undercarriage is Clean
One of the first things that you can do to prepare your Jeep for spring is to make sure that the undercarriage is clean and void of any debris. During the winter months, salt and sand are typically used to keep the roads from freezing over and improve traction. Unfortunately, both sand and salt have abrasive properties, meaning they can cause significant damage to your vehicle’s undercarriage if left unchecked.
To clean the undercarriage of your Jeep, you can use a high-pressure washer to remove any dirt, mud, and gunk buildup. Next, you can use a degreaser to break down the accumulated oil and grease that the washer can’t get rid of. Last, you can finish cleaning the underside by scrubbing it thoroughly with a car brush and drying it to wrap it all up.
Once you’ve finished cleaning the undercarriage, it’s important to check for any visible signs of rust or damage. Pay attention to weak spots that are particularly susceptible to rust such as the wheel arches or the side skirts. Look for paint chips, rust, or corrosion. If you find any areas of rust or corrosion, it’s important to address them as soon as possible to prevent further deterioration.
Do a Complete Maintenance Check
Since spring and summer are the two busiest seasons for any Jeep owner, it’s important to do a complete maintenance check and go over everything. This includes checking the fluids, tires, brakes, and suspension system.
Always start by checking the oil, coolant, and transmission fluid levels. If any of these fluids are low, make sure to top them off. You should also check the brake fluid and power steering fluid levels, especially if your Jeep hasn’t been driven for a few months.
If you haven’t performed an oil change in over a year, you should definitely replace the oil along with the oil filter. Even though most oil changes need to be performed roughly every 5,000 to 8,000 miles, that’s only the case if the vehicle gets used often. It’s always a good idea to replace the oil once a year even if the recommended change interval hasn’t been hit.
Another consumable item that might need replacing is the air filter. Over time, air filters can become clogged with dirt and debris, which can impact your Jeep’s performance and fuel economy. Air filters are relatively inexpensive, so it’s always a good idea to replace them together with the oil, oil filter, and fuel filter.
Don’t forget to go over your Jeep’s battery. The cold weather can take its toll on your battery, and if it’s not functioning properly or it can’t hold a charge, you may find yourself stranded on the side of the road with a car that refuses to crank. If you have a voltmeter (or multimeter), use it to check the battery’s voltage. If it’s low, consider replacing the battery or at least top it up using a battery charger and see if it slowly depletes over time.
Next, inspect your tires and look for any signs of wear. Be on the lookout for cracks, bulges, or punctures. It’s also important to check the tire pressure to ensure your tires aren’t over or underinflated. If your tires are worn or old, it’s important to replace them to ensure everyone’s safety.
After checking the wheels and tires, you can also inspect the brakes. Inspect the brake pads and rotors and replace them if they seem worn out. It’s also a good idea to visually inspect the brake lines for leaks or cracks.
Finally, it might be worth doing a quick inspection of the suspension system. Check the shocks, struts, and springs to make sure that they’re in good working order. If you notice any issues, take your car to a mechanic and have it sorted before heading out on any serious adventures.
Get Ready for Spring Off-Road Adventures
General Jeep maintenance is one thing, but if you’re a more serious off-roader, you need to go over a few additional things before setting out on that epic adventure.
- First, if you have a winch, make sure that it’s working properly and that you also have a recovery kit on hand. Consider investing in a set of off-road lights to improve night-time visibility if you haven’t done so already.
- Next, check the skid plates and the rock sliders. These components protect crucial things such as the oil sump or the axles from damage, so they need to be in good shape.
- If you plan on doing any towing, you can also go over your Jeep’s towing equipment. Check the hitch, ball mount, and safety chains, to make sure that everything is as it should be and there are no signs of damage.
Last but not least, it’s always a good idea to take your Jeep out for a quick spin before setting out on a long drive. There are some things that you can’t inspect visually but that you can notice on a drive. Make sure the front end doesn’t squeak or rattle when turning the wheel, and also look out for any weird noises coming from the bearings when the car is moving.
As they say, if you take care of your vehicle, it will take care of you. So, take the time to go over your Jeep and sort out any potential issues before heading out for this spring’s first proper adventure! 4 Wheel Parts carries everything you need for your truck or SUV to keep it working at its best this spring.