Soon, winter will end its temporary reign and the flowers will bloom. The change of seasons is an excellent reminder to deal with some basic car maintenance issues you might have been distracted from over the cold months.
- 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. Then, check your battery terminals for corrosion. 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. Replace anything that has cracks, especially belts. Prevention is cheaper and safer than waiting for a moving part to break on the road.
- Inspect your tires. Gauge your tire tread. If there is less than 4/32 of tread depth on any of them, buy replacements. Furthermore, make sure all of your tires are inflated to their maximum level — and don't forget the spare. Changes in temperature can affect tire air pressure. In the winter, leaving tires a little bit underinflated can give you more grip on icy roads. But when warm weather hits again, you will get up to 10 percent more fuel efficiency on completely inflated tires. Additionally, they take longer to wear out. 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 reside in or traveled through an area 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 safety, now is the best possible time to start that rotation.
- Tidy up the interior. Clutter tends to stack up during the cold months, when you would rather sprint from your vehicle to your front door than bring soda cans and candy wrappers with you. As you conduct spring cleaning this March, include your car. A quick dusting job and overall tidying up go a long way toward retaining pride in your ride. Better yet, pay for a professional detailing job. You spend a lot of your life in your car; the more orderly your view from the driver's seat, the better you will feel in general.
- Wash and wax your car. Leftover salt splash from icy roads can do major damage to cars if it's left to sit. And now that the big storms are over, you might as well restore the shine to your car. At the same time, check that 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 you can't or would prefer not to take care of yourself, or come across larger fixes that need tending, call Christian Brothers Automotive and schedule an appointment.