Fall is Here: Car Maintenance Checklist
It may seem like you just prepped your car for hot summer weather, but as cooler temperatures arrive and the daylight hours shorten, fall is on its way. Rather than waiting until the last minute, like many other drivers do when the snow and ice arrives, fall is a good time to get ready for another driving season. Having regularly scheduled maintenance, by either a trusted mechanic or yourself, done on your vehicle can prevent costly larger repairs. Additionally, when you have your vehicle inspected on a regular basis something like a faulty auto part, which can be a contributing factor in a car accident, is more likely to be identified and fixed. Want to get ahead of schedule this fall? Consider this checklist:
If you can’t remember the last time you checked your tire’s air pressure, it’s time to check to head to the gas station and see if you need more air in your tires. As the temperatures begin to drop, so does the pressure in your tires (about 1-2 pounds for every 10 degrees of temperature change) and when your tires get too low, a tire blowout it is more likely to occur. You can check the air pressure yourself and if you are unsure how much air should be in your tires, check out your car manual. Experts recommend checking your tire’s pressure about once a month, but more often as the weather gets colder and always pay attention to how your tires look. If they look too low, check the pressure.
It’s also important to have your tire tread checked out and replace your tires if needed, particularly before snow and ice arrives. Stick a penny in the tire tread and if Lincoln’s head is covered, you have good tread. If you’re unsure of what kind of tires to purchase, such as snow tires, consult a tire professional. Don’t forget to check out the quality of your spare and replace if necessary.
Wiper Blades & Washer Fluid
Most drivers don’t notice that their wiper blades need replacing until they either break or visibility is greatly reduced. Experts recommend replacing wiper blades every six months and inspect them on a regular basis. If you notice any cracking or wear and tear, your blades may need replacing and it’s easy enough to do on your own. Don’t forget to keep your washer fluid reservoir full to optimize your visibility.
Brakes, Batteries, & Fluids
Properly working brakes are crucial to your safety, particularly when inclement weather strikes or that driver in front of you, distracted by the fall foliage, stops suddenly to take a picture. It’s a good idea to learn and pay attention to how your car brakes. Once you get used to what is “normal”, you will be more alert to potential issues.
The health of your car’s battery will keep you from getting stranded as the temperatures drop. Make sure the battery posts and connecting cables are free from corrosion and are securely connected (you can do this yourself). When you visit your mechanic for a vehicle checkup, make sure that he or she checks your car’s fluids and be sure to have them topped off.