When the world is iced over, it's easy to let small vehicle maintenance tasks fall by the wayside. No one appreciates topping off their oil in a snowstorm. Now that the weather is about to change, take a little time to check your car's health in a few rudimentary ways. You can also do a basic visual inspection for potentially bigger issues for which you might need our help.
- Top off your fluids. 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, antifreeze and other fluid levels, and top off where needed. While you're at it, check your battery terminals 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 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. Visually inspect all hoses and belts at the same time. Order replacements for any item with cracks, especially belts. Prevention is cheaper and safer than waiting for a moving part to break on the road.
- Inspect your tires. Measure your tire tread. If there is less than 4/32 of tread depth on any of them, buy new ones. Furthermore, 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 slightly underinflated can give you more traction on wet roads. But once warm weather hits again, you will get up to 10 percent more fuel efficiency if you have completely inflated tires. Not to mention, they take longer to wear down. 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 you live in or traveled through a part of the country with icy 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 rotation.
- Tidy up the cabin. Mess tends to pile up during the cold months, when no one wants to spend extra time out in the weather, cleaning out their car. As you conduct spring cleaning this month, include your car. A once-over vacuuming job and overall tidying up go a long way toward retaining pride in your ride. For extra credit, spring for a professional detailing job. 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.
- Get a good car wash and wax job. Salt residue from icy roads can cause serious harm to cars if it's left on long-term. And now that the sun will be coming out more, you might as well make your car shiny again. At the same time, make sure the exterior lights are all working, and that none of their compartments have clouded over.
With just a little maintenance, it will feel like your dirty old car is new again! If you find maintenance needs that are outside your experience range, or come across bigger fixes that need tending, call Christian Brothers Automotive and schedule an appointment.