- Fill up your fluids. Chances are you don't check the fluids and other routine maintenance tasks that keep your car running well when it would require shivering in the cold and fumbling with freezing lids. Now is the time to get back into the habit. Check your oil, brake and other fluid levels, and top off where needed. Then, 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 on hand, Coca-Cola does a decent job. Be careful; acid and skin are a painful combination. Better yet, don't stop there; perform a basic soap-and-water cleaning on the remainder of the engine area. Check hoses and belts at the same time. Replace anything with cracks, especially belts. Prevention is cheaper and safer than waiting for a moving part to break on the road.
- 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. Also, make sure all of your tires are inflated to their optimal level — and don't forget the spare. Changes in temperature can play with air pressure. In the winter, leaving tires a little bit underinflated provides more traction on snowy roads. But when warm weather returns, you will get noticeably more fuel efficiency if you have fully 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. Visit us at Christian Brothers Automotive and we can help you out with this step.
- Change your windshield wiper blades. 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 safety, now is the best possible time to start that rotation.
- Clean up the interior. Trash tends to pile up during the cold months, when you would rather sprint from your car to your front door than tote soda cups and gum wrappers with you. As you conduct spring cleaning this March, include your vehicle. A quick vacuuming job and overall tidying up can go a long way toward maintaining pride in your ride. For extra credit, pay for a professional detailing service. You spend a lot of time 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. Salt residue from icy roads can do major damage to vehicles if it's left on long-term. And now that the big storms are over, 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 find maintenance needs that are outside your experience range, or come across bigger fixes that need tending, call Christian Brothers Automotive and talk to one of our skilled technicians.