In the near future, winter will give way to spring and spring fever will set in. The change of seasons is the perfect reminder to deal with some basic vehicle maintenance issues you might have neglected over the winter months.
- Top off your fluids. Nobody enjoys topping off their oil in the freezing cold, so they fall behind on periodic checks. It’s catch-up time. Check your oil, antifreeze and other fluid levels, and top off where needed. Then, 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 on hand, Coca-Cola does a decent job. Wear gloves and wash your hands afterward; acid and skin don’t mix. It isn’t a bad idea to take some soap and water to the remainder of the engine area. Check belts and hoses at the same time. Replace any item with cracks, especially belts. Putting off small fixes like these can be catastrophic and expensive in the long run.
- Kick the tires. Check out your tire tread. If there is less than 4/32 of tread depth on any of them, buy replacements. Additionally, check that all of your tires are inflated to their optimal level — including the spare. Changes in cold and warm weather can affect tire air pressure. In the winter, leaving tires slightly underinflated can give you more traction on wet roads. But once warm weather returns, you will get measurably more gas mileage if you have fully inflated tires. Not to mention, they take longer to wear out. It’s also a good idea to check your suspension and alignment, and see if your tires need to be rotated. Visit us at Christian Brothers Automotive and we can help you out with this step.
- Change your windshield wipers. If your car had to contend with ice this winter, your windshield wipers took a shredding 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 habit.
- Clean up the cabin. Trash tends to stack 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 March, include your car. A once-over vacuuming job and general tidying up go a long way toward retaining pride in your ride. For extra credit, spring for a professional detailing service. You spend a great deal of your life in your vehicle; the more orderly it is, 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, you might as well restore the shine to your car. At the same time, make sure the exterior lights are all working, 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 on your own, or detect bigger fixes that need attention, call Christian Brothers Automotive and schedule an appointment.