When the weather is cold, it's easy to let little automotive maintenance errands fall by the wayside. No one prefers to top off their oil in a blizzard. Now that it's going to be a little easier to be outside, take a little time to check in on your car's wellness in a few basic ways. You can also do a basic visual inspection for potentially bigger issues that we might be able to help you with.
- Visually check the engine area. Chances are you don't check the fluids and other basics that keep your car operating well when it would require shivering in the cold and fumbling with freezing lids. 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 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 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. Check out your tire tread. If there is less than 4/32 of tread depth on any of them, buy new ones. In addition, make sure all of your tires are inflated to their ideal level — including the spare. Changes in cold and warm weather can play with air pressure. In the winter, leaving tires slightly underinflated can give you more traction on icy roads. But once warm weather hits again, you will get noticeably more gas mileage on completely inflated tires. Furthermore, they take longer to lose their tread. It's also a good idea to check your alignment and suspension, and see if your tires need to be rotated. Visit us at Christian Brothers Automotive and we can help you out with this step.
- Replace your windshield wiper blades. If your automobile had to deal with ice this winter, 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 habit.
- Clean up the cabin. Mess tends to stack up during the cold months, when no one wants to spend extra time out in the weather, cleaning out their car. If you'll be spring cleaning this March, include your car. A once-over dusting job and general tidying up will help you maintain pride in your ride. Better yet, pay for a professional detailing service. You spend a great deal of time in your vehicle; the more orderly it is, the better you will feel in general.
- Wash and wax your vehicle. Leftover salt splash from icy roads can do major damage to vehicles if it's left to sit. And now that the world is a warmer place, it's time to restore the shine to your car. While you're at it, check that the head and tail lights are all functioning properly, 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 tasks that you can't or would prefer not to take care of on your own, or detect bigger fixes that need attention, call Christian Brothers Automotive and schedule an appointment.