- Visually inspect the engine area. We're betting you don't check the fluids and other basics that keep your vehicle running well when it would require shivering in the cold and fumbling with freezing lids. 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 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 are a painful combination. Better yet, don't stop there; perform a basic soap-and-water cleaning on the remainder of the engine area. Visually inspect all hoses and belts at the same time. Replace anything that has cracks, especially belts. Putting off small fixes can be disastrous 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 new ones. Furthermore, check that all of your tires are inflated to their maximum level — including the spare. Changes in temperature can affect tire air pressure. In the winter, leaving tires a little bit underinflated can give you more grip on icy roads. But when warm weather hits again, you will get noticeably more fuel efficiency on fully inflated tires. Furthermore, they take longer to lose their tread. You should also check your alignment and suspension, 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 automobile had to contend with snow this winter, your windshield wipers took a beating from scraping it off. Since they should be changed at least once a year anyway for maximum efficacy, now is when you should start that rotation.
- Clean up the interior. Clutter tends to pile up during the cold months, when you would rather run from your vehicle to your house than tote soda cans and candy wrappers with you. As you conduct spring cleaning this month, include your car. A quick dusting job and general tidying up will help you maintain pride in your ride. For extra credit, pay for a professional detailing job. You spend a great deal of time in your vehicle; the cleaner 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 cause serious harm to cars if it's left on long-term. And now that the sun will be coming out more, you might as well restore the shine to your car. At the same time, check that the exterior lights are all in working order, 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 run into maintenance needs that are outside your expertise, or detect bigger fixes that need tending, call Christian Brothers Automotive and schedule an appointment.