- Pop the hood. No one likes topping off their fluids in the freezing cold, so they fall behind on periodic checks. Now is the time to get back into the habit. Check your oil, antifreeze 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 mixture 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. Visually inspect all belts and hoses at the same time. Order replacements for any item that has cracks, especially belts. Putting off small fixes can be catastrophic and spendy in the long run.
- Inspect your tires. Measure your tire tread. If there is less than 4/32 of tread depth on any of them, buy replacements. Additionally, make sure all of your tires are inflated to their maximum level – including 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 snowy roads. But when warm weather returns, you will get measurably more gas mileage on completely inflated tires. As if that weren't enough, they take longer to lose their tread. It's also a good idea to 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.
- Replace your windshield wipers. If your vehicle had to deal 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 safety, now is when you should start that habit.
- Clean 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 pack soda cups and candy wrappers with you. As you conduct spring cleaning this month, include your vehicle. A once-over vacuuming job and overall tidying up go a long way toward maintaining pride in your ride. Better yet, 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 overall.
- Get a good car wash and wax job. 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 make your car shiny again. 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 run into maintenance needs that are outside your experience range, or come across larger fixes that need tending, call Christian Brothers Automotive and talk to one of our skilled technicians.