Spring Thaw: Time to Take Care of Your Car
- Look under the hood. Nobody appreciates topping off their oil in icy temperatures, so they fall behind on periodic checks. It's catch-up time. 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 combination 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 take some soap and water to the rest of the engine area. Check hoses and belts too. Replace anything with cracks, especially belts. Prevention is cheaper and safer than waiting for a moving part to break on the road.
- Inspect your tires. Gauge your tire tread. If there is less than 4/32 of tread depth on any of them, it's time for replacements. Furthermore, make sure all of your tires are inflated to their ideal level — and don't forget the spare. Changes in temperature can affect tire air pressure. In the winter, leaving tires a little bit underinflated provides more traction on icy roads. But once warm weather returns, you will get up to 10 percent more fuel efficiency if you have completely inflated tires. Not to mention, they take longer to lose their tread. 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 wipers. If you live in or traveled through a part of the country with freezing 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.
- Tidy up the cabin. Clutter tends to pile up during the cold months, when no one wants to spend extra time out in the weather, vacuuming out their car. If you'll be spring cleaning this month, include your vehicle. A once-over dusting job and overall tidying up will help you maintain pride in your ride. Better yet, spring for a professional detailing job. You spend a great deal of time 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 on long-term. And now that the big storms are over, it's time to make your car shiny again. While you're at it, check that the head and tail 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 find maintenance tasks that you can't or would prefer not to take care of yourself, or detect bigger fixes that need tending, call Christian Brothers Automotive and talk to one of our skilled technicians.