When the weather is cold, it's easy to let little car maintenance chores lapse. No one takes joy in topping off their oil in a blizzard. Now that the weather is about to change, take a little time to check your car's wellness in a few basic ways. You can also do a basic visual inspection for potentially bigger issues for which you might need our help.
- Visually check the engine area. No one appreciates 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, brake and other fluid levels, and top off where needed. While you're at it, check your battery terminals for battery acid residue. It can be cleaned off with a mix 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 rest of the engine area. Visually inspect all belts and hoses too. Replace anything that has cracks, especially belts. Putting off small fixes can be disastrous 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, it's time for new ones. Additionally, make sure all of your tires are inflated to their maximum level — and don't forget the spare. Changes in temperature can play with air pressure. In the winter, leaving tires ever-so-slightly underinflated can give you more traction on icy roads. But once warm weather hits again, you will get measurably more fuel efficiency if you have completely inflated tires. Furthermore, they take longer to lose their tread. You should also 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.
- Replace your windshield wiper blades. If you reside in or traveled through a region with cold winter weather, your windshield wipers took a beating 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 rotation.
- Tidy up the cabin. Mess tends to stack up during the cold months, when you would rather sprint from your car to your house than tote soda cans and gum wrappers with you. If you'll be spring cleaning this month, include your car. A once-over dusting job and overall tidying up go a long way toward retaining pride in your ride. For extra credit, pay for a professional detailing job. You spend a great deal of time in your car; the cleaner your view from the driver's seat, the better you will feel overall.
- Wash and wax your car. 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, it's time to restore the shine to your vehicle. While you're at it, check that the head and tail lights are all working, 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 needs that you can't or don't want to take care of on your own, or come across bigger fixes that need tending, call Christian Brothers Automotive and schedule an appointment.