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Spring check 2016: How to check the technology of your car

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Spring Check 2016
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U ff, the days are getting longer again, the sun is shining more often the honor. Almost all authorized dealers, independent workshops and of course the large workshop chains offer spring checks in time for the start of spring. For usually less than 20 euros, the professionals promise to check the car for damage or wear and tear on the technology - paint and leather can also be prettied up at home or with the help of specialized companies.

These package deals usually include the inspection of lights, V-belts, windshield wipers, windshield washer system, engine oil, coolant, brake fluid and brake system, air conditioning, shock absorbers, exhaust system and tire condition. Given the low price, it should be clear to everyone: nothing is being repaired here; this is just about taking stock. After all, a workshop hour often costs 100 euros and more, depending on the region.

Flat rate only for the check in the workshop

If the mechanics find a defect during the small spring inspection, it will be rectified charged separately. Therefore, to be on the safe side, you should not place a blanket order, but only order the inexpensive spring check. Some points can be easily remedied later at low cost by yourself. The wiper blades, for example, suffer particularly in winter. Wiped once too often over the partly still iced window - they are already streaking or even torn. In the free trade, branded wipers are usually much cheaper than in authorized workshops, and replacing them is not much rocket science.

The same applies to filling the washer fluid tank (for cars with a rear wiper, think of the one for the rear window!): Now it's time to swap the washing water additive for the winter for a window cleaner for the summer. Its composition is different and makes it easier to remove insect corpses, for example.

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Much that the workshop checks during the spring check, you can easily check yourself.

Check operating fluid levels yourself

The coolant level is also checked quickly. When the engine is cold, simply unscrew the cover of the expansion tank, there is either a float or a mark in the opening that indicates shortages. In most cases, it is sufficient to fill up with tap water, but larger shortfalls should be compensated with a special coolant.

In the same way, you can check yourself whether there is enough hydraulic oil for the power steering or sufficient brake fluid. The brake fluid level drops automatically when the brake pads and the discs wear. A longer pedal travel can indicate this, but this does not have to be inevitable. Brake fluid is also hygroscopic, which means that it draws water from the ambient air. This water lowers the boiling point and can lead to a poor braking effect under high stress.

Do not take any risks

Shortages should only be filled with the quality prescribed by the manufacturer (for example DOT 5) , and if you have the slightest uncertainty, you should go to a workshop to avoid any functional risk. If the recommended change interval of two years is exceeded, a quality check is recommended anyway. Workshops use test strips or a refractometer for this purpose. This only costs around 25 euros, but it is probably not a worthwhile purchase for private use.

These things are all checked during the regular care services. Those who save themselves should make use of the workshops' check offers at least once a year. Because damage can be diagnosed on the lifting platform, which usually goes unnoticed during a do-it-yourself check. In this way, the specialist quickly recognizes under the jacked up car whether the wheel guide elements have been knocked out or whether shock absorbers have become leaky. Both can worsen driving behavior. Oil leaks in the engine, gearbox or steering can be identified just as quickly here as disconnected brake lines, battered exhaust systems or damaged protective sleeves on the drive shafts. Expensive consequential damage can be avoided with a manageable effort. However, anyone can check the lighting system without any tools. This can be done in the dark in front of a light-colored wall or a shop window. Here you can check all functions without getting out of the car - even those of the brake lights. However, adjusted headlights should be adjusted by the workshop.

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In the spring before the mating season, a very special enemy of motorists: the marten .

Protection against madmen - what really helps

In spring, before the mating season, male marten like to put scent marks under the Engine Hood. This scent attracts rivals who often bite into cables, hoses and insulation mats. We tell you what keeps martens away. The best protection against marten bites is still the garage. If you don't have one, you can have a network of contact plates installed in the engine compartment, which gives the marten small electrical surges and chases it away before it can cause damage. Access to the engine compartment is also made difficult by panels, they are often offered as underride protection. Stable cable sheaths protect cables and hoses.

This only protects for a short time

Ultrasound that is inaudible to humans drives away martens. However, the loudspeakers have to be installed in such a way that the marten crawls along them - and soon he is looking for new paths. Marten spray or scented discs overlay the animals odor, but their effect soon wears off - as does the wire mesh laid out under the car. It only disturbs the small rodents for a short time. Well thought out, but pointless is the spreading of dog hair in the engine compartment. He laughs at that, the stone marten. Even toilet stones, scented bags or mothballs do not prevent a marten from nibbling on rubber under the bonnet and paralyzing the car during the mating season.

Just in case: Is everything on board?

If you already have a car care day, it is worth taking a look at the things that should not be missing in an emergency. In the event of a breakdown, you can hardly repair anything on a modern car yourself, but a small basic set of emergency helpers belongs in every car - in addition to a tow rope, a set of reserve fuses and lamps for various functions. A flashlight is always helpful at night and increases safety, the warning triangle should be undamaged and easily fold out. Is the first-aid kit completely filled, is the contents not too old and does it comply with the current standard 13164? Safety vests are also mandatory - in Germany at least one.

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