- Fill up your fluids. Chances are 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. It's catch-up time. 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 cleaned off with a mixture of water and baking soda, and a stiff brush. If you don't have baking soda on hand, 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 rest of the engine area. Check hoses and belts too. Order replacements for any item 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 new ones. Additionally, check that all of your tires are inflated to their optimal level — including the spare. Changes in temperature can play with air pressure. In the winter, leaving tires a little bit underinflated can give you more traction on icy roads. But when warm weather hits again, you will get measurably more gas mileage if you have fully inflated tires. Furthermore, 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'll get you taken care of.
- Replace your windshield wipers. If you live in or traveled through a region with freezing winter weather, your windshield wipers took a beating from scraping it off. Since they should be changed at least once a year anyway for maximum effectiveness, now is the best possible time to start that habit.
- Clean up the interior. Clutter tends to pile up during the cold months, when you would rather run from your car to your house than tote soda cups and candy wrappers with you. If you'll be spring cleaning this month, include your vehicle. A quick dusting job and overall tidying up will help you retain pride in your ride. For extra credit, spring for a professional detailing job. You spend a lot of time in your car; the less chaotic your view from the driver's seat, the better you will feel in general.
- Get a good car wash and wax job. Leftover salt splash from icy roads can do major damage to vehicles if it's left to sit. And now that the world is a warmer place, you might as well restore the shine to your vehicle. 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 you can't or don't want to take care of on your own, or come across larger fixes that need tending, call Christian Brothers Automotive and schedule an appointment.