Spring Thaw: Time to Take Care of Your Auto

  • Visually check the engine area. Nobody appreciates 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 battery acid residue. It can be cleaned off with a combination 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; take some soap and water to the remainder of the engine area. Visually inspect all hoses and belts at the same time. Order replacements for any item that has cracks, especially belts. Putting off small fixes can be dangerous 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 replacements. In addition, check that all of your tires are inflated to their ideal level — and don't forget the spare. Changes in temperature can play with air pressure. In the winter, leaving tires a little bit underinflated can give you more grip on icy roads. But once warm weather returns, you will get measurably more gas mileage if you have fully inflated tires. Not to mention, 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 wiper blades. If your car had to deal with snow this winter, your windshield wipers took a shredding from scraping it off. Since they should be changed at least once a year anyway for maximum safety, now is when you should start that rotation.
  • Tidy up the cabin. Trash tends to stack up during the cold months, when you would rather run from your vehicle to your front door than tote soda cups and candy wrappers with you. As you conduct spring cleaning this month, include your car. A once-over dusting job and overall tidying up go a long way toward maintaining pride in your ride. Better yet, pay 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 overall.
  • 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 sun will be coming out more, it's time to make your car shiny again. While you're at it, make sure the exterior lights are all in working order, 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 are outside your expertise, or come across larger fixes that need tending, call Christian Brothers Automotive and talk to one of our skilled technicians.