- Visually check the engine area. We're betting you don't check the fluids and other basics that keep your car running smoothly when it would require standing outside in the freezing air and fumbling with freezing lids. Now is the time to get back into the habit. Check your oil, brake and other fluid levels, and top off where needed. While you're at it, check your battery terminals 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 handy, 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 any item that has cracks, especially belts. Prevention is cheaper and safer than waiting for a moving part to break on the road.
- Kick the tires. Gauge your tire tread. If there is less than 4/32 of tread depth on any of them, it's time for replacements. Additionally, make sure all of your tires are inflated to their ideal level — and don't forget the spare. Changes in cold and warm weather can affect tire air pressure. In the winter, leaving tires slightly underinflated provides more traction on wet roads. But when warm weather returns, you will get up to 10 percent more fuel efficiency if you have completely 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. Come in to Christian Brothers Automotive and we'll get you taken care of.
- Replace your windshield wiper blades. If you live in or traveled through an area with icy 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 effectiveness, now is the best possible time to start that rotation.
- Tidy up the cabin. Trash tends to stack up during the cold months, when you would rather sprint from your car to your front door than pack soda cans and gum 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, spring for a professional detailing job. You spend a great deal of your life in your car; the less chaotic your view from the driver's seat, the better you will feel overall.
- Get a good car wash and wax job. Leftover salt splash from icy roads can cause serious harm to cars if it's left to sit. And now that the world is a warmer place, you might as well restore the shine to your car. At the same time, make sure the exterior lights are all in working order, 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 are outside your expertise, or detect larger fixes that need attention, call Christian Brothers Automotive and schedule an appointment.