- Inspect under the hood. We're betting you don't check the fluids and other routine maintenance tasks that keep your car operating smoothly when it would require standing outside in the freezing air and fumbling with freezing lids. It's catch-up time. Check your oil, antifreeze and other fluid levels, and top off where needed. While you're at it, check your battery terminals for corrosion. It can be removed with a mix of water and baking soda, and a stiff brush. If you don't have baking soda on hand, Coca-Cola does a decent job. Be careful; 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 that has cracks, especially belts. Putting off small fixes like these can be dangerous and spendy in the long run.
- Inspect your tires. Check out 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. In addition, make sure all of your tires are inflated to their ideal level — including the spare. Changes in cold and warm weather can affect tire air pressure. In the winter, leaving tires slightly underinflated provides more grip on snowy roads. But once warm weather returns, you will get noticeably more fuel efficiency if you have fully inflated tires. Furthermore, they take longer to lose their tread. 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'll get you taken care of.
- Change your windshield wipers. If you live in or traveled through a part of the country with cold 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 efficacy, now is when you should start that habit.
- Tidy up the cabin. Mess tends to stack up during the cold months, when you would rather sprint from your vehicle to your front door than bring soda cans and gum wrappers with you. If you'll be spring cleaning this month, don't forget your vehicle. A quick dusting job and overall tidying up will help you retain pride in your ride. Better yet, pay for a professional detailing job. You spend a great deal of time in your car; the more orderly it is, the better you will feel overall.
- Get a good car wash and wax job. Salt residue from icy roads can cause serious harm to cars if it's left on long-term. And now that the world is a warmer place, it's time to restore the shine to your car. At the same time, check that the head and tail lights are all working, and that none of their compartments have clouded over.
Now your vehicle is all shiny and new-ish again, not to mention ready for a summer road trip! If you find maintenance tasks that you can't or don't want to take care of yourself, or detect larger fixes that need tending, call Christian Brothers Automotive and talk to one of our skilled technicians.