5 Essential Autumn Car Care Tips
Depending on where you are in the country, you are feeling the crisp autumn air and maybe even have some snow on the ground. It is time to pull out the sweaters and scarves and prepare yourself for winter. It is also time to prepare your vehicle for the weather changes. We have put together the most important seasonal car care tasks to keep your vehicle running great in cold weather.
• Inspect Your Tires
Tires play an important role in the performance and safety of your vehicle. The condition of your tires can affect braking, handling, fuel efficiency, and overall performance and safety. Follow these steps to inspect your tires before the winter weather arrives:
Check tread depth using a gauge. Measure at three different points on the tire. If your tread measures less than 4/32”, it is time to replace your tires.
Check tire pressure with a gauge. Locate the manufacturer specifications for tire pressure inside the door jamb and fill to specification.
Inspect tires for any weaknesses in the sidewall or debris puncturing the tread.
• Test Your Lights
Daylight savings and the changing season mean that long summer days are over. You will likely be driving more often during dark or dusk hours and your lights are important. Ask a friend or family member to help you test all of your vehicle lights including:
Replace any bulbs that are not illuminating. Refer to the owner’s manual if you need help or allow your local service shop to change it for you.
• Check All Fluids
Each fluid in your vehicle has its own important role. Take some time to check your fluids to make sure they have not deteriorated and are at the proper level. Be sure to check:
Automatic transmission fluid
Power steering fluid
Windshield wiper fluid
Also, consider taking your vehicle to a service shop to have the differential and transfer case fluids checks.
• Inspect the Condition of Your Brakes
Although it should be obvious how important your brakes are, it is shocking how many people neglect brake service for their vehicle. Check your brakes at least twice per year to make sure that there is at least 4mm of friction material remaining on your brake pads. At the first sign of squeaking or change in braking, have your vehicle’s brakes serviced.
• Test Your Heater
Chances are, it has been months since you last turned on your heater. Don’t wait for that chilly morning to discover that your heater isn’t working. Vehicle heating systems can experience a few common problems including:
Stuck or faulty thermostats
Faulty water pumps
Heater core issues
Additionally, without regular maintenance, your heater may emit a foul smell into your vehicle when turned on. Tackle these concerns before you need your heat.
Once you address these five important areas of concern, take care of any known problems or maintenance issues. When small issues are left unaddressed, they oftentimes become bigger, more expensive problems. Plus, no one wants to be stranded in the snow waiting for a tow truck.