- Visually check the engine area. Chances are you don't check the fluids and other routine maintenance tasks that keep your automobile running well when it would require standing outside in the freezing air and fumbling with freezing dip sticks. Now is the time to get back into the habit. Check your oil, antifreeze and other fluid levels, and top off where needed. Then, check your battery terminals for battery acid residue. It can be removed with a combination of water and baking soda, and a stiff brush. If you don't have baking soda handy, Coca-Cola does a decent job. Be careful; acid and skin don't mix. It isn't a bad idea to take some soap and water to the remainder of the engine area. Visually inspect all belts and hoses too. Replace anything that has cracks, especially belts. Prevention is cheaper and safer than waiting for a moving part to break on the road.
- Inspect your tires. Check out the tread of your tires. If there is less than 4/32 of tread depth on any of them, it's time for new ones. Additionally, check that all of your tires are inflated to their maximum level — including the spare. Changes in temperature can affect tire air pressure. In the winter, leaving tires slightly underinflated provides more traction on icy roads. But once warm weather hits again, you will get measurably more gas mileage if you have fully inflated tires. Furthermore, they take longer to wear down. It's also a good idea to check your suspension and alignment, and see if your tires need to be rotated. Visit us at Christian Brothers Automotive and we can help you out with this step.
- Replace your windshield wiper blades. If your car had to contend with snow this winter, your windshield wipers took a shredding from scraping it off. Since they should be changed at least once a year anyway for maximum efficacy, now is the best possible time to start that habit.
- Tidy up the interior. Trash tends to pile up during the cold months, when no one wants to spend extra time out in the weather, vacuuming out their car. As you conduct spring cleaning this month, don't forget your car. A quick vacuuming job and overall tidying up go a long way toward retaining pride in your ride. For extra credit, pay for a professional detailing job. You spend a great deal of time in your vehicle; the more orderly your view from the driver's seat, the better you will feel overall.
- Wash and wax your vehicle. Salt residue from icy roads can do major damage to cars if it's left to sit. And now that the sun will be coming out more, you might as well make your vehicle shiny again. At the same time, check that the exterior lights are all working, and that none of their compartments have clouded over.
Now your vehicle is all shiny and new-ish again, not to mention ready for a summer road trip! If you run into maintenance tasks that are outside your expertise, or come across bigger fixes that need tending, call Christian Brothers Automotive and schedule an appointment.