Winter hasn’t quite let go of us at this time of the year, and automotive maintenance might not always be top of mind, but soon you’ll be making plans to enjoy warmer weather. Depending on where you live, you may have been experiencing unseasonably warm trends that set new buds on the trees, only to be followed by a storm blowing in and subjecting you to a few days of freezing temperatures and snow. Your car will likely be just as relieved as you will be once the mercury finally stays above the freezing point.
Road trips and other automotive adventures are beckoning. And with sunnier days just over the horizon, now’s the time to ensure your vehicle will be ready and able to hit the pavement running on the next warm and sunny day.
One of the best ways to get started is to give your car or truck a thorough cleaning inside and out. You’ll want to be sure the vehicle’s undercarriage and wheel wells are given particular attention to clear such spots of residual salt and muck that may have accumulated over the last few months. Automotive maintenance and repair isn’t always an obvious fix. Give your car’s interior a good vacuuming to prevent ground in dirt from causing undue wear and tear to carpeting and upholstery. Spot-shampoo the interior as needed, using a household rug-cleaning spray-foam. Wipe down dusty windows and consoles, and remove any sticky spills from cup holders.
Make sure your car’s battery has survived the rigors of cranking a cold engine throughout the year’s coldest weeks. Check the fluid level by ether removing the battery caps or by peering through the small “window” provided for this purpose. If the fluid level is low, top it off with distilled water. Use a soft wire brush dipped in ammonia or baking soda to clean battery contracts if they’re becoming corroded.
Even better, stop by and have a Brakes Plus technician test the vehicle’s battery to determine how well it holds a charge. If the battery is several years old, consider replacing it now as a precautionary measure to avoid being stranded later with a car that won’t start.
Have the vehicle’s oil and filter changed. Consult the owner’s manual for the recommended fluid-change interval, but at the least it’s prudent to have this accomplished in the spring and fall to prepare for the climactic extremes of summer and winter driving.
Have a mechanic check the car’s other fluids, including radiator coolant and brake, transmission and power steering fluid, topping them off as necessary or changing them according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Have the engine’s belts checked for looseness and condition.
Have a automotive maintenance specialist check the car’s air filter – it’s usually located under a plastic cover to one side of the engine – to ensure that the engine is “breathing freely.”
This is also a good time to replace the windshield wipers, which tend to take a beating from snow, ice and road grit over the course of a long winter. Don’t forget to refill the windshield washing fluid reservoir and keep an extra jug in the trunk.
Check your car’s tires are properly inflated to the manufacturer’s recommendation via a good quality air pressure gauge. A tire’s air pressure can fluctuate by 1-2 pounds for every 10 degrees of temperature change. Under-inflation can adversely affect a car’s handling and its fuel economy.
Now is a great time to bring in your car for filters, fluids and general maintenance. Enjoy our free shuttle service and free Wi-Fi and stay out of the cold while we do the work.
Looking to save some money on car service with seasonal coupons and specials? Be sure to check out www.brakesplus.com/coupons – we provide year-round useful auto service and automotive maintenance coupons.
Brakes Plus operates in Colorado, Wyoming, Arizona, Texas, Nebraska and Iowa, stands ready to provide you with great car service: brakes, maintenance, automotive repairs and more.