Soon, winter will give up its ghost for another year and the flowers will bloom. The passing of seasons is the perfect reminder to check in on some basic automotive maintenance issues you might have been distracted from over the cold months.
- Fill up your fluids. Most likely you don't check the fluids and other basics that keep your automobile operating smoothly when it would require standing outside in the freezing air and fumbling with freezing lids. It's catch-up time. 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 removed with a mixture 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. It isn't a bad idea to take some soap and water to the remainder of the engine area. Check hoses and belts too. Replace anything with cracks, especially belts. Prevention is cheaper and safer than waiting for a moving part to break on the road.
- Kick the tires. Gauge the tread of your tires. If there is less than 4/32 of tread depth on any of them, buy replacements. In addition, 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 when warm weather returns, you will get up to 10 percent more fuel efficiency if you have completely inflated tires. Additionally, 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'll get you taken care of.
- Change your windshield wiper blades. If you reside in or traveled through a part of the country 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 effectiveness, now is the best possible time to start that habit.
- Clean up the cabin. Trash tends to stack up during the cold months, when you would rather run from your vehicle to your house than tote soda cups and candy wrappers with you. As you conduct spring cleaning this month, include your vehicle. A once-over dusting job and general tidying up go a long way toward maintaining pride in your ride. For extra credit, pay for a professional detailing service. You spend a great deal of time in your vehicle; the more orderly it is, the better you will feel in general.
- Wash and wax your vehicle. Leftover salt splash from icy roads can do major damage to vehicles if it's left on long-term. And now that the world is a warmer place, it's time to make your car shiny again. While you're at it, 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 find maintenance tasks that are outside your experience range, or come across larger fixes that need tending, call Christian Brothers Automotive and talk to one of our skilled technicians.