- Visually check the engine area. No one enjoys topping off their oil in the freezing cold, so they fall behind on periodic checks. 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 corrosion. 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 are a painful combination. Better yet, don't stop there; perform a basic soap-and-water cleaning on the remainder of the engine area. Visually inspect all hoses and belts at the same time. Order replacements for anything that has cracks, especially belts. Putting off small fixes can be catastrophic and spendy in the long run.
- Kick the tires. Measure your tire tread. If there is less than 4/32 of tread depth on any of them, buy replacements. Additionally, check that 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 snowy roads. But once warm weather returns, you will get noticeably more fuel efficiency on fully inflated tires. As if that weren't enough, they take longer to lose their tread. It's also a good idea to check your suspension and alignment, and see if your tires need to be rotated. Come in to Christian Brothers Automotive and we can help you out with this step.
- Change your windshield wiper blades. If your vehicle had to deal with snow this winter, your windshield wipers took a beating from scraping it off. Since they should be changed at least once a year anyway for maximum safety, now is the best possible time to start that habit.
- Clean up the cabin. 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. If you'll be spring cleaning this March, don't forget your vehicle. A quick dusting job and overall tidying up go a long way toward maintaining pride in your ride. Better yet, spring for a professional detailing job. You spend a great deal of your life in your vehicle; the cleaner it is, the better you will feel overall.
- Wash and wax your car. Salt residue from icy roads can cause serious harm to vehicles if it's left to sit. And now that the big storms are over, it's time to make your vehicle shiny again. While you're at it, make sure the head and tail lights are all functioning properly, 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 needs that you can't or don't want to take care of yourself, or come across bigger fixes that need attention, call Christian Brothers Automotive and schedule an appointment.