Any minute, winter will release its icy grip on much of the country and the world will wake up again. The passing of seasons is a great reminder to deal with some basic automotive maintenance issues you may have let lapse over the winter months.
- Fill up your fluids. Most likely you don’t check the fluids and other basics that keep your car running smoothly when it would require shivering in the cold and fumbling with freezing dip sticks. It’s catch-up time. Check your oil, antifreeze and other fluid levels, and top off where needed. Then, check your battery cables for battery acid residue. 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. Be careful; acid and skin don’t mix. It isn’t a bad idea to take some soap and water to the remainder of the engine area. Check hoses and belts too. Order replacements for anything with cracks, especially belts. Putting off small fixes like these can be dangerous and expensive 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, buy replacements. In addition, make sure all of your tires are inflated to their ideal level — including the spare. Changes in cold and warm weather can affect tire air pressure. In the winter, leaving tires ever-so-slightly underinflated provides more traction on icy roads. But when warm weather returns, you will get noticeably more fuel efficiency on fully inflated tires. As if that weren’t enough, 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’ll get you taken care of.
- Replace your windshield wiper blades. If you live in or traveled through a part of the country with cold winter weather, your windshield wipers took a shredding from scraping it off. Since they should be changed at least once a year anyway for maximum safety, now is the best possible time to start that habit.
- Clean up the cabin. Clutter tends to pile up during the cold months, when you would rather sprint from your car to your front door than bring soda cans and gum wrappers with you. If you’ll be spring cleaning this March, don’t forget your vehicle. A once-over dusting job and overall tidying up will help you maintain pride in your ride. Better yet, pay for a professional detailing job. You spend a lot 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 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 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 needs that are outside your expertise, or come across bigger fixes that need attention, call Christian Brothers Automotive and schedule an appointment.