- Visually inspect the engine area. Chances are you don't check the fluids and other basics that keep your vehicle running well when it would require shivering in the cold 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. While you're at it, check your battery terminals for corrosion. It can be cleaned off 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. Wear gloves and wash your hands afterward; acid and skin are a painful combination. It isn't a bad idea to perform a basic soap-and-water cleaning on the rest of the engine area. Check belts and hoses too. Order replacements for 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 your tire tread. If there is less than 4/32 of tread depth on any of them, it's time for replacements. Also, make sure all of your tires are inflated to their maximum level — and don't forget the spare. Changes in cold and warm weather can play with air pressure. In the winter, leaving tires ever-so-slightly underinflated provides more traction on icy roads. But when warm weather returns, you will get up to 10 percent more gas mileage if you have fully inflated tires. Furthermore, 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. Come in to Christian Brothers Automotive and we can help you out with this step.
- Replace your windshield wipers. If you reside in or traveled through an area with icy winter weather, 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 when you should start that rotation.
- Clean up the cabin. Clutter tends to pile up during the cold months, when you would rather run from your vehicle to your house than bring soda cups and candy wrappers with you. As you conduct spring cleaning this month, don't forget your car. A once-over vacuuming job and overall tidying up will help you maintain pride in your ride. For extra credit, spring for a professional detailing job. You spend a lot of your life in your car; the cleaner your view from the driver's seat, the better you will feel in general.
- Wash and wax your vehicle. Salt residue from icy roads can do major damage to cars if it's left on long-term. And now that the world is a warmer place, it's time to restore the shine to your car. While you're at it, make sure 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 you can't or would prefer not to take care of on your own, or come across larger fixes that need attention, call Christian Brothers Automotive and talk to one of our skilled technicians.