- Take a look under the hood. No one enjoys topping off their fluids in icy temperatures, 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 corrosion. It can be removed 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. Be careful; acid and skin are a painful combination. It isn't a bad idea to take some soap and water to the rest of the engine area. Check hoses and belts at the same time. Replace anything that has cracks, especially belts. Prevention is cheaper and safer than waiting for a moving part to break on the road.
- Kick the tires. Look at your tire tread. If there is less than 4/32 of tread depth on any of them, buy 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 ever-so-slightly underinflated can give you more traction on icy roads. But once warm weather hits again, you will get measurably more gas mileage on completely inflated tires. Furthermore, they take longer to wear down. You should also check your alignment and suspension, and see if your tires need to be rotated. Visit us at Christian Brothers Automotive and we can help you out with this step.
- Replace your windshield wipers. If you reside in or traveled through a part of the country with icy winter weather, your windshield wipers took a beating 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.
- Tidy up the cabin. Clutter tends to pile up during the cold months, when you would rather sprint from your vehicle to your home than bring soda cans and gum wrappers with you. If you'll be spring cleaning this month, don't forget your vehicle. A quick vacuuming job and general tidying up will help you maintain pride in your ride. For extra credit, pay for a professional detailing job. You spend a great deal of your life in your vehicle; the cleaner 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 vehicles if it's left to sit. And now that the big storms are over, you might as well restore the shine to your vehicle. 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 run into maintenance tasks that you can't or would prefer not to take care of yourself, or come across bigger fixes that need attention, call Christian Brothers Automotive and schedule an appointment.