We’ve all heard the proverb “April showers bring May flowers,” but is that actually the case?
In many states around the country, rainfall drastically rises around the month of April. The reasons are vastly scientific, dealing with percentage of precipitation and warm air rising into the cold upper atmosphere.
Even with the warm weather and sunshine, the constant rain can keep your plants watered and your driveway covered with earthworms. But that’s not what I’m here to talk about. I’m here to talk about your car.
Getting wet isn’t the only thing your car has to worry about during these months. While a little rain can seem harmless, tire damage and flying debris can prove to be damaging, and without the right preparation, can lead to expensive repairs.
Here are a few ways you can get your car ready for the rainiest season of the year.
Hydroplaning and drifting are very real concerns when it comes to the rain. When the roads are wet, the lack of traction can cause your car to slip and slide down the road. Old tires are the most susceptible to this, as the tire tread wears down over time.
Check the quality of your tires before the season begins. All you need to do is grab a quarter and insert it upside down into your tire tread. The results are as follows:
If the top of Washington’s head is covered, your tires are fine
If the top of Washington’s head is exposed, you should consider replacing your tires
Most importantly, SLOW DOWN. If you’re on somebody’s tail, if you’re speeding to work or trying to make it home before rush hour, your chances of getting into an accident rise! Be careful, your tires could be less capable than you think they are. Stay back from other cars, and drive cautiously.
This seems a little ridiculous, considering the rain will essentially wash your car for you. But when you get your car washed, you’re protecting it from paint damage or damage from dirt and grime sitting on the surface.
A great tip would be to dry and wax your vehicle, either yourself or at a car wash. Any dirt or debris in the air won’t stick to your car, and rainwater will runoff quicker with a wax seal.
Wash it frequently. One wash per season won’t cut it, and the wax layer from that first wash will eventually dissipate, leaving your car exposed to airborne dirt and water damage. Letting rainwater sit on your car for too long can damage the paint. Wash it, either yourself or at a car wash, at least once every two weeks.
Removing rainwater from the inside of the car is much more difficult than helping it roll off the outside, especially if the inside of your vehicle is carpeted. Ensure that any openings, a crack in the windshield or the rubber linings on the doors, are sealed before a major rainstorm.
Grease hinges to make sure the doors can be sealed shut when they’re closed. Get a crack sealed or any damage fixed in time for the season.
A surefire way of protecting the interior is a decent rain cover. A cover will protect debris from flying onto your car, and protect anything from getting inside of your vehicle. Mudguards will protect the underside of your vehicle.
If you can park indoors, that would be the most protective method. But if this is not an option for you, a car cover and mudguards are the most effective way of keeping your vehicle safe.
Do your windshield wipers sound like a door creaking shut? Do they release a piercing shriek when in use? Maybe it’s time to replace your wipers.
Wipers should be replaced every 6 months to a year, depending on the quality of the wipers. Over time, their quality can deteriorate, leading to streaky wiping and a dirty windshield. Good quality wipers are essential in the rainy months, and will keep your windshield clear and your drive easy.
To extend the lifetime of your wipers, clean your windshield often. Whenever you fill up gas, clean your windshield while you’re waiting for the tank to fill. It may seem unnecessary, but it’ll pay off in the long run.
Sometimes, even after all of the preparation you do to your vehicle, accidents happen. Hydroplaning could happen unexpectedly, or another car could rear end yours. It’s impossible to get comfortable with a scary situation like that, but preparing yourself mentally for the possibility will reduce any trauma from the potential accident.
Bottom line, be careful. Preparation can involve taking all of these steps, but they also require preparing yourself. Make sure you’re awake and alert before driving, never drink and drive, and take precautions. Your future self will thank you.