Soon, winter will end its temporary reign and the flowers will bloom. The passing of seasons is a great reminder to check in on some basic vehicle maintenance issues you might have let lapse over the cold months.
- Pop the hood. We're betting you don't check the fluids and other routine maintenance tasks that keep your automobile operating 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 mix 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. Better yet, don't stop there; take some soap and water to the remainder of the engine area. Visually inspect all belts and hoses too. Replace anything with cracks, especially belts. Prevention is cheaper and safer than waiting for a moving part to break on the road.
- Inspect your tires. Gauge your tire tread. If there is less than 4/32 of tread depth on any of them, it's time for replacements. Additionally, make sure all of your tires are inflated to their optimal level — and don't forget the spare. Changes in cold and warm weather can affect tire air pressure. In the winter, leaving tires slightly underinflated can give you more grip on wet roads. But once warm weather returns, you will get noticeably more gas mileage if you have completely inflated tires. As if that weren't enough, they take longer to wear out. It's also a good idea to check your alignment and suspension, and see if your tires need to be rotated. Visit us at Christian Brothers Automotive and we'll get you taken care of.
- Replace your windshield wipers. If you reside in or traveled through a part of the country with cold winter weather, your windshield wipers took a shredding from sliding up against it. Since they should be changed at least once a year anyway for maximum safety, now is the best possible time to start that rotation.
- Clean up the cabin. Trash tends to stack up during the cold months, when no one wants to spend extra time out in the weather, cleaning out their car. If you'll be spring cleaning this month, include your car. A quick vacuuming job and general tidying up go a long way toward maintaining pride in your ride. Better yet, spring for a professional detailing service. You spend a lot of time in your vehicle; the more orderly it is, the better you will feel overall.
- Get a good car wash and wax job. Salt residue from icy roads can do major damage to cars if it's left to sit. And now that the big storms are over, it's time to restore the shine to your car. While you're at it, make sure the head and tail lights are all working, and that none of their compartments have clouded over.
With just a little maintenance, it will feel like your dirty old car is new again! If you find maintenance needs that are outside your expertise, or come across bigger fixes that need tending, call Christian Brothers Automotive and schedule an appointment.