When the weather is cold, it's easy to let little car maintenance errands fall by the wayside. No one wants to top off their oil in an ice storm. Now that it's going to be a little more enjoyable to be outside, take a few hours to check your car's wellness in a few rudimentary ways. You can also do a basic visual inspection for potentially more serious issues for which you might need our help.
- Fill up your fluids. We're betting you don't check the fluids and other basics that keep your car running well when it would require shivering in the cold and fumbling with freezing dip sticks. It's catch-up time. Check your oil, brake fluid and other fluid levels, and top off where needed. Then, check your battery cables 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 on hand, Coca-Cola does a decent job. Wear gloves and wash your hands afterward; acid and skin are a painful combination. It isn't a bad idea to take some soap and water to the remainder of the engine area. Check belts and hoses too. Order replacements for any items with cracks, especially belts. Putting off small fixes like these can be disastrous and expensive 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 replacements. Additionally, check that all of your tires are inflated to their maximum level — and don't forget the spare. Changes in cold and warm weather can play with air pressure. In the winter, leaving tires ever-so-slightly underinflated can give you more traction on snowy roads. But once warm weather returns, you will get up to 10 percent more gas mileage 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. Come in to Christian Brothers Automotive and we can help you out with this step.
- Replace your windshield wiper blades. If you live in or traveled through a region with freezing 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 effectiveness, now is the time you should start that habit.
- Tidy up the cabin. Trash tends to stack up during the cold months, when no one wants to spend extra time out in the weather, vacuuming out their car. If you'll be spring cleaning this month, don't forget your vehicle. A once-over dusting job and general tidying up will help you maintain pride in your ride. Better yet, spring for a professional detailing service. You spend a great deal of your life in your car; the cleaner it is, the better you will feel in general.
- Get a good car wash and wax job. Salt residue from icy roads can do major damage to cars if it's left on long-term. And now that the big storms are over, it's time to make your vehicle shiny again. While you're at it, check that the exterior lights are all in working order, 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 run into maintenance tasks that you can't or don't want to take care of on your own, or come across larger fixes that need tending, call Christian Brothers Automotive and schedule an appointment.