- Fill up your fluids. Chances are you don't check the fluids and other basics that keep your automobile running well when it would require standing outside in the freezing air and fumbling with freezing lids. 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 cables for corrosion. It can be cleaned off 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 don't mix. Better yet, don't stop there; perform a basic soap-and-water cleaning on the rest of the engine area. Check hoses and belts at the same time. Replace anything with cracks, especially belts. Putting off small fixes can be dangerous and expensive in the long run.
- 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 new ones. Furthermore, check that all of your tires are inflated to their maximum level — and don't forget the spare. Changes in cold and warm weather can play with air pressure. In the winter, leaving tires slightly underinflated can give you more grip on icy roads. But when warm weather hits again, you will get up to 10 percent more fuel efficiency on completely inflated tires. As if that weren't enough, they take longer to wear out. 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.
- Change your windshield wiper blades. If you live in or traveled through an area with icy winter weather, your windshield wipers took a shredding from sliding up against it. Since they should be changed at least once a year anyway for maximum efficacy, now is when you should start that rotation.
- Tidy up the interior. Clutter tends to stack up during the cold months, when you would rather run from your vehicle to your home than tote soda cans and candy wrappers with you. As you conduct spring cleaning this March, don't forget your vehicle. A once-over dusting job and general tidying up will help you retain pride in your ride. Better yet, pay for a professional detailing service. You spend a great deal of time in your car; the more orderly it is, the better you will feel overall.
- Wash and wax your car. Salt residue from icy roads can do major damage 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 vehicle. At the same time, check that the head and tail lights are all functioning properly, 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 you can't or don't want to take care of yourself, or detect larger fixes that need attention, call Christian Brothers Automotive and schedule an appointment.