Cold temperatures, snowy and icy road conditions and road salt all can be extremely hard on the many different systems of your automobile. While this mild winter may not have been severe enough to push some of these systems into failure, perhaps they are right on the edge. They may be vulnerable to the first hot spell that's sure to come our way.
Cold and heat are equally hard on components such as batteries and electrical systems, belts and hoses, gaskets and water pumps. Our wonderful roads tear up the shocks, struts and other suspension-related components.
As you drive around, pay attention to the sounds your car is making; it might be trying to tell you something.
If you hear a squeaking or growling sound coming from the engine compartment, you may have a water pump, belt or another accessory bearing going bad. A screeching sound while rolling or braking could be an indication that you need to replace your brakes or perhaps a wheel bearing is on the way out. A clunking sound over bumps may be an indication of a broken sway bar link or a bad ball joint or bushing.
Sometimes you won't be aware of these noises until the first time you drive with your window down.
It may be possible to head off a breakdown by taking a pit stop now and have the family truckster or your commuter vehicle given a thorough once over by your service professional, before the weather really starts to crank up.