Soon, winter will end its temporary reign and the world will wake up again. The change of seasons is a great reminder to address some basic automotive maintenance issues you may have let lapse over the winter months.
- Take a look under the hood. No one likes topping off their fluids in the freezing cold, so they fall behind on periodic checks. It's catch-up time. Check your oil, brake and other fluid levels, and top off where needed. While you're at it, check your battery cables for battery acid residue. It can be removed with a mix 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. Better yet, don't stop there; take some soap and water to the remainder of the engine area. Check belts and hoses at the same time. Replace any item that has cracks, especially belts. Putting off small fixes like these can be disastrous and spendy in the long run.
- Kick the tires. Look at your tire tread. If there is less than 4/32 of tread depth on any of them, it's time for replacements. Also, check that all of your tires are inflated to their optimal level — including the spare. Changes in temperature can affect tire air pressure. In the winter, leaving tires slightly underinflated can give you more grip on snowy roads. But once warm weather returns, you will get up to 10 percent more gas mileage on completely inflated tires. Additionally, 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 can help you out with this step.
- Replace your windshield wiper blades. If you reside in or traveled through an area 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 efficacy, now is when you should start that rotation.
- Tidy up the interior. Trash tends to pile 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, include your car. A once-over vacuuming job and overall tidying up go a long way toward maintaining pride in your ride. Better yet, pay for a professional detailing service. You spend a lot of time in your vehicle; 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 on long-term. 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.
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 would prefer not to take care of on your own, or detect larger fixes that need tending, call Christian Brothers Automotive and schedule an appointment.