- Visually check the engine area. Nobody enjoys topping off their fluids in icy temperatures, 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 cables 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 handy, Coca-Cola does a decent job. Be careful; acid and skin are a painful combination. It isn't a bad idea to perform a basic soap-and-water cleaning on the remainder of the engine area. Check belts and hoses at the same time. Replace any item with cracks, especially belts. Putting off small fixes can be catastrophic and spendy in the long run.
- Kick the tires. Check out your tire tread. If there is less than 4/32 of tread depth on any of them, buy new ones. Also, check that all of your tires are inflated to their ideal level, and don't forget the spare. Changes in temperature can play with air pressure. In the winter, leaving tires a little bit underinflated provides more traction on icy roads. But when warm weather returns, you will get measurably more fuel efficiency if you have completely inflated tires. Furthermore, they take longer to lose their tread. It's also a good idea to check your suspension and alignment, 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 car had to deal with snow 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 safety, now is when you should start that habit.
- Clean up the cabin. Clutter tends to stack up during the cold months, when you would rather run from your vehicle to your front door than tote soda cans and gum wrappers with you. If you'll be spring cleaning this month, don't forget your vehicle. A once-over vacuuming 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 time in your car; the cleaner your view from the driver's seat, the better you will feel in general.
- Get a good car wash and wax job. Leftover salt splash from icy roads can cause serious harm to vehicles if it's left to sit. And now that the big storms are over, it's time to restore the shine to your vehicle. While you're at it, make sure the exterior lights are all working, 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 find maintenance tasks that you can't or don't want to take care of on your own, or come across bigger fixes that need attention, call Christian Brothers Automotive and talk to one of our skilled technicians.