According to the calendar, it's already spring, but looking out the window makes one wonder if it's really time to get out the summer tires yet. "According to the temperature, winter tires are still compulsory", driving instructor peter seidenath from stegaurach also confirms to his students in theory lessons.
According to road traffic regulations, winter tires are required only in bad road conditions, i.E. Black ice, slippery snow, slush, ice or frost – but not for a certain period of time or for certain temperatures. In the tire industry, however, the "seven-degree limit" is referred to as the "salt limit" accordingly, they should only be changed at temperatures above seven degrees celsius.
Nevertheless, the tire change in the workshops is already beginning – even if only slowly. "Many take their time because of the weather", says markus meibner, press spokesman at auto-teile-unger. However, it can't be long before the rough rush begins. "It's better to change early, before everyone comes. At the moment you still benefit from full warehouses and short waiting times", advice meibner.
When the time comes and you change your tires yourself, you should take a close look at your summer tires before fitting them. "Do you still have enough tread? If they are damaged? Is the air pressure correct??", peter seidenath tells his students the crucial questions in the theory lesson.
But besides the right tires, there are a few more things car owners should think about this spring. The best thing to do is to give the car a full spring tune-up.
Removing traces of winter
the first step is a thorough wash – to remove the traces of winter in the form of road salt residues, as thomas fink from tuv sud puts it. Salt is "poison for our vehicles," says, as peter seidenath makes clear. An engine wash is also indispensable in the process.
The windows must be cleaned from the outside as well as from the inside. Seidenath's tip for this: use microfiber cloths without cleaning agents or other chemicals. Wipe with a damp cloth and then with a dry one afterwards. At the same time you can check the windshield wiper blades – they are usually broken after the winter and need to be replaced. Similar is the situation with the air conditioner: after it has run heavily during the winter, the filter inserts now need to be cleaned or even replaced.
With regard to antifreeze, seidenath recommends that his students use it "at least until may" still to keep in the car. If it goes then in may to the nachfullen, however normal wiping water is sufficient. And he has another tip for future drivers: dispose of all unnecessary packing material. This can save a lot of fuel. For a short walk around the car, the experienced driving instructor sharpens the word "clouds" to his students a. This is to remind them to check the following: water/cooling, oil, air, fuel, energy and emergency equipment (warning triangle, first aid kit).
"Everything that is attached to the vehicle must work", he also sharpens them. During the spring check, the light and signal functions should also be checked in particular. "Has condensation formed somewhere or is everything really dry and clean??", peter seidenath raises a crucial question about the inspection of lights and headlights. In winter there is also a lot of moisture in the vehicle itself. That's why you should remove the carpets in spring, let them dry outside the car, and in the meantime give the car itself a good airing.
According to the driving instructor, the car usually looks like the apartment: meticulously tidy for some, but like a pigsty for others. "You just have to make sure that your car is roadworthy and safe to drive", seidenath finishes the spring theory course. What he probably wants to say to his students is that if they are too lazy to remove unnecessary packing from the vehicle, that's up to them; however, checking the light and signal functions, for example, should not be neglected.
After the winter, the dirt is not only on the visible flat surfaces of the car. If you want to preserve the value of your car, you should not only give it a thorough cleaning, but also a few maintenance checks. For those who want to give their car a complete spring makeover, tuv sud has compiled the eight most important mabreakdowns:
1. Clean out: many things that were very useful in winter are now just ballast. Since 20 kilograms can add up to 0.1 liters of fuel, it's better to take out the snow chains, snow shovel and other winter accessories.
2. Filtering: not only allergy sufferers benefit from cabin filters. What many do not know: "these filter inserts are among the most maintenance-intensive car parts. They need to be changed much more often than the engine's air and oil filters", says thomas fink, head of the tuv sud bamberg branch office. Cleaning and disinfection of the air-conditioning system is particularly helpful for sensitive people. This work, as well as the change of the cabin filter, is usually a job for a specialist workshop.
3. Drying: the first warm days often produce fogged windows – a clear sign of moisture that has accumulated in and under floor mats. All removable carpets should be left to dry outside the car; to air them out, open the door windows and, if necessary, the sunroof.
4. Washing: a thorough wash is the first step in the spring cure – an engine wash to remove road salt and other corrosion-causing deposits should not be omitted in the process. However, not all places and parts in the engine compartment should be treated with high pressure. "It's best to leave engine washing to the professionals", female thomas fink. The underbody and wheel wells can be cleaned by the driver himself. But be careful with the tires: don't get within 50 centimeters of them with a high-pressure lance.
5. Cleaning: in winter it is almost impossible to prevent grit and dirt from getting into the passenger compartment. The best remedy for this is first of all the vacuum cleaner. Then clean the plastic parts with a damp cloth and some spooling agent or a special cleaner. The windows have certainly also put on a film after the winter months. Cake paper or a microfiber cloth, in conjunction with window cleaner, can restore clarity.
6. Lubrication: door and hood hinges thank a few drops of oil or grease for longer life and the elimination of creaking and squeaking noises. If they are easily accessible, clean them first with a rag or paper towel. The closing cylinders should not be treated with graphite.
7. Checking: a vigilant walk around the car shows whether all light and signal functions are doing their job. It is highly probable that grit has left its mark somewhere on the paintwork. Minor damage can be repaired with a dab of varnish. The temperature should be above 15 degrees – otherwise the paint will not harden and adhere properly.
8. Filling: frost protection was yesterday. Insects, pollen, and blood residues call for a special cleaning additive for the water in the windshield washer system. Tuv sud advice to use branded products. "This is especially important for cars that have a headlight cleaning system. Headlight lenses today are no longer made of glass, but of plastic. And that often does not get along with any cleaner.", confirms fink.