- Look under the hood. Chances are you don't check the fluids and other basics that keep your car operating well 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, antifreeze and other fluid levels, and top off where needed. Then, check your battery terminals 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 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 any item with cracks, especially belts. Putting off small fixes can be disastrous and expensive in the long run.
- Inspect your tires. Gauge the tread of your tires. If there is less than 4/32 of tread depth on any of them, it's time for new ones. Furthermore, check that all of your tires are inflated to their maximum level — including the spare. Changes in cold and warm weather can play with air pressure. In the winter, leaving tires ever-so-slightly underinflated can give you more grip on snowy roads. But once warm weather hits again, you will get measurably more fuel efficiency on completely inflated tires. As if that weren't enough, they take longer to wear down. You should also check your suspension and alignment, and see if your tires need to be rotated. Come in to Christian Brothers Automotive and we'll get you taken care of.
- Change your windshield wiper blades. If you reside in or traveled through a part of the country with icy 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 effectiveness, now is the best possible time to start that rotation.
- Clean up the cabin. Mess tends to pile up during the cold months, when you would rather run from your car to your front door than tote soda cups and candy wrappers with you. As you conduct spring cleaning this month, include your car. A once-over dusting job and general tidying up will help you retain pride in your ride. Better yet, pay for a professional detailing job. You spend a lot of your life in your car; the more orderly it is, 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 vehicles if it's left on long-term. And now that the big storms are over, you might as well make your car shiny again. At the same time, check that 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 needs that are outside your experience range, or come across bigger fixes that need attention, call Christian Brothers Automotive and schedule an appointment.