- Inspect under the hood. Most likely you don't check the fluids and other routine maintenance tasks that keep your car running smoothly when it would require standing outside in the freezing air and fumbling with freezing dip sticks. Now is the time to get back into the habit. Check your oil, antifreeze and other fluid levels, and top off where needed. Then, check your battery terminals for corrosion. It can be removed 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. It isn't a bad idea to perform a basic soap-and-water cleaning on the rest of the engine area. Visually inspect all belts and hoses at the same time. Replace anything with cracks, especially belts. Putting off small fixes can be dangerous and spendy in the long run.
- Kick the tires. Measure your tire tread. If there is less than 4/32 of tread depth on any of them, buy replacements. In addition, check that 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 ever-so-slightly underinflated provides more grip on icy roads. But once warm weather returns, you will get measurably more fuel efficiency if you have completely inflated tires. As if that weren't enough, they take longer to wear out. It's also a good idea to check your alignment and suspension, and see if your tires need to be rotated. Come in to Christian Brothers Automotive and we can help you out with this step.
- Change your windshield wipers. If you reside in or traveled through a region 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 habit.
- Tidy up the cabin. 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. As you conduct spring cleaning this month, include your vehicle. A quick dusting job and overall tidying up will help you maintain pride in your ride. Better yet, pay for a professional detailing service. You spend a great deal of your life in your vehicle; the cleaner 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, it's time to restore the shine to your car. At the same time, check that the exterior 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 needs that are outside your experience range, or detect bigger fixes that need tending, call Christian Brothers Automotive and schedule an appointment.