- Fill up your fluids. Chances are you don't check the fluids and other routine maintenance tasks that keep your car operating smoothly when it would require shivering in the cold 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 cleaned off 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 perform a basic soap-and-water cleaning on the remainder of the engine area. Check belts and hoses too. Order replacements for anything with cracks, especially belts. Putting off small fixes can be disastrous and expensive in the long run.
- Kick the tires. Check out the tread of your tires. If there is less than 4/32 of tread depth on any of them, buy new ones. Also, make sure all of your tires are inflated to their optimal level — and don't forget the spare. Changes in temperature can play with air pressure. In the winter, leaving tires ever-so-slightly underinflated provides more traction on icy roads. But once warm weather returns, you will get measurably more fuel efficiency if you have completely inflated tires. As if that weren't enough, they take longer to wear down. It's also a good idea to check your alignment and suspension, and see if your tires need to be rotated. Come in to Christian Brothers Automotive and we can help you out with this step.
- Change your windshield wiper blades. If your automobile had to contend with ice this winter, your windshield wipers took a shredding from scraping it off. Since they should be changed at least once a year anyway for maximum efficacy, now is the best possible time to start that habit.
- Clean up the cabin. Trash tends to pile up during the cold months, when no one wants to spend extra time out in the weather, cleaning out their car. As you conduct spring cleaning this March, don't forget your car. A quick dusting job and general tidying up will help you maintain pride in your ride. For extra credit, you could even pay for a professional detailing job. You spend a great deal of time in your car; the more orderly your view from the driver's seat, the better you will feel in general.
- 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 vehicle shiny again. While you're at it, 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 come across bigger fixes that need attention, call Christian Brothers Automotive and talk to one of our skilled technicians.