By Molly Daly
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – In spring, a lot of folks clean their houses from top to bottom. Automotive experts recommend you do the same for your vehicle.
Frank Sauer of 11th Street Auto Repair has working on cars since 1972, so he speaks from experience.
“You just want to do safety checks: tires, brakes, belts and hoses, changing fluids, wiper blades; that’s another big one that a lot of times gets forgotten. Get ready for air conditioning season; you want to service that air conditioner to make sure it’s ready when that heat comes in,” says Sauer.
That list hasn’t changed, but Sauer says he’s noticed a disturbing trend over the past five years.
“Steel brake lines that are just rotting away, they’re rusting through, causing braking problems. Power steering hoses, the metal portions of those lines are rusted,” he says.
Sauer suspects it has to do with road treatment before winter storms.
“It seems like all this started when they started using that brine. We used to do maybe two or three steel brake lines a year. We probably do two or three a month. We just finished one this morning,” he explains.
Sauer recommends having your mechanic check your car from top to bottom, using a lift.
“It should always be a thorough look. Get it up in the air where you can see underneath and see the start of a potential problem,” says Sauer.
Although you can’t control how the roads are treated, Sauer says there is something you can do to lessen the risk to your car.
“Lately I’ve been telling people to use the car washes that have the water that sprays from the bottom, just to wash that salt, that residue, off the bottom of the car,” he says.
The veteran mechanic says one key part of your car is often forgotten: the spare tire.
“It should absolutely be checked every time that car is serviced, every time without fail. Because that one time you need it, and it’s flat, you’ll never forget it,” he explains.
Sauer says even if everything seems okay with your car, it’s still a smart idea to get a post-winter checkup.
“It’s like the guy walking down the street who says ‘Everything is okay,’ and then he falls over because his cholesterol is so high he blew the back of his heart out. Don’t wait till then, it’s a little late. That’s what the doctor says to me, so I passed that same advice (about car care) on to the doctor,” says Sauer.