by Tom Batchelor

I'm sure that many of us were wondering if the snow would ever end this year especially after the last meeting! But after a reasonably good week of weather I think it's safe to say that spring is on its way and we should start thinking about getting prepared for the coming season. Pre-season safety checks are necessary and beneficial to both you and the tech people at the track. Items that should be looked at every season. Brakes, Suspension, Wheels and Tires. A thorough check of the braking system - Check all brake lines and hoses for signs of deterioration, abrasion and leakage at connections. Replace the brake fluid and bleed the brakes (brake fluid has an affinity for moisture, and condensation created by temperature changes can contaminate the fluid during storage) After bleeding the brakes check the pedal feel, making sure that it's firm (a spongy pedal can indicate the presence of air or brake hoses that are swelling on application) Check for master cylinder leakage by holding constant pressure on the pedal and check for pedal drop. Remove all wheels and check the condition of your brake linings and drums/rotors. Look for signs of overheating (discoloration and lining breakdown) that could indicate the stock brakes are being overworked. Check lining thickness and replace if less than 1/3 Of the original thickness. Don't run linings that are too thin they can't dissipate enough heat and will fail prematurely.
While the wheels are off, check the condition of your wheel studs and ask yourself - when was the last time the studs were changed? Always use a torque wrench to tighten your wheel studs this prevents the studs from being overtightened! Check the suspension for loose, broken and worn components especially the front end. Cars with four link and ladder bar suspensions should have a thorough inspection of welds and rod ends -to check for cracks. Check your wheels for cracks, missing balance weights (duct tape will help keep them in place) and missing bead lock screws. Tires should be inspected for weather checks, sidewall condition, cuts and tread depth.