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Here in east Texas, we’re fortunate to have mild winters compared to most of the country.  However, each change of season does bring present special challenges to your vehicle’s condition, which you should be aware of.  So here are some car maintenance tips for the end of the winter season:

1. Check out the wipers – Even occasional snow or sleet can cause blades to crack or break apart.  So look them over carefully for signs of damage.  You can clean them yourself with a rag and some water mixed with white vinegar.  Look for loose screws as well.  If the wipers have seen their better days, we’ll be glad to change them out for you.

2. Don’t forget the battery – Just a few cold mornings can be all it takes to wear your battery out prematurely.  Plus, cold and moisture can form corrosion on the cables that should be removed.  And unless you have a sealed battery, the water levels may need to be topped off.  These are all things you can do yourself, or we’ll be happy to handle them for you.  We can also check your battery’s charge, to make sure it’s still in top shape.  If it’s not, we’ll be happy to install a new one that will give you years of great service.

3. Tires – Here in San Antonio, few of us ever use snow tires.  However, the decreased visibility of short winter days can cause us to hit more potholes or do other things that affect tire performance.  Giving the tread a visual inspection and checking the air pressure once a month are good habits to get into.  If you see anything that causes you concern, such as dips or uneven wear, give us a call.

4. Belts and hoses – Imagine this: you’re 300 miles from home on your annual vacation.  Suddenly you hear a sound from under the hood, and your vehicle either stops running or overheats.  When you look at the engine, you see that the alternator belt has snapped or a radiator hose has burst.  Don’t let this happen to you.  Give all your belts and hoses a careful, regular look-see, or have us examine them and replace any that are worn.

5. Fluid levels – Not just engine oil, but also coolant, transmission fluid, power steering liquids, and even windshield wiper cleaning compounds should be kept fresh and at the proper level.  Winter can be especially tough on each of these, so it pays to keep an eye on them as the weather changes.

6. Air conditioning – If you’ve ever been in East Texas during July or August, then you know just how important this system is.  Potential problems can range from low Freon levels to loose belts or even internal compressor issues.  So don’t find yourself roasting to death while stuck in traffic.  We’ll give the AC a thorough inspection and correct any problems before they become too serious, so you can keep your cool all summer long.

7. Check your brakes – Did you find yourself slamming on your brakes during last winter’s “blizzard” to avoid hitting the person who stopped short in front of you?  Or did you go a little too fast on slick roads, and stomp on the pedal to keep from going into a ditch?  Don’t worry, we won’t tell.  But the fact is, winter can be hard on your brake pads or linings.  So if your brakes are making grinding or squealing noises, or if you can’t stop as well as you once could, bring your vehicle in and have us look it over.  It’s important both for your own safety and that of other drivers.

Since 1989, Brake Works has been serving the good folks of San Antonio and East Texas by providing top-notch auto care.  We’re glad to go the extra mile for our customers—getting them a lift home, offering car maintenance tips, or staying in the shop after regular hours to finish up an important job.  So when you need vehicle maintenance or repair, come see us; we look forward to helping you!

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