- Visually check the engine area. No one enjoys topping off their oil in icy temperatures, so they fall behind on periodic checks. It's catch-up time. Check your oil, brake and other fluid levels, and top off where needed. While you're at it, check your battery cables for corrosion. 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. Wear gloves and wash your hands afterward; acid and skin don't mix. Better yet, don't stop there; perform a basic soap-and-water cleaning on the remainder of the engine area. Visually inspect all belts and hoses at the same time. Order replacements for anything with cracks, especially belts. Putting off small fixes can be catastrophic and spendy in the long run.
- Inspect your tires. Gauge the tread of your tires. If there is less than 4/32 of tread depth on any of them, buy new ones. In addition, check that all of your tires are inflated to their optimal level — and don't forget the spare. Changes in temperature can affect tire air pressure. In the winter, leaving tires a little bit underinflated provides more grip on wet roads. But once warm weather returns, you will get noticeably more gas mileage if you have completely inflated tires. Furthermore, they take longer to wear down. 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 freezing 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 efficacy, now is the best possible time to start that habit.
- Tidy up the interior. Mess 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 March, don't forget your vehicle. A quick dusting job and general tidying up will help you retain pride in your ride. Better yet, pay for a professional detailing service. You spend a lot of your life in your car; the less chaotic your view from the driver's seat, the better you will feel in general.
- Wash and wax your vehicle. Leftover salt splash from icy roads can cause serious harm to vehicles if it's left to sit. And now that the big storms are over, you might as well restore the shine to your vehicle. At the same time, check that the exterior 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 tasks that are outside your expertise, or come across bigger fixes that need attention, call Christian Brothers Automotive and talk to one of our skilled technicians.