Preventative vehicle maintenance is a must, regardless of the season, if you want to keep everything running in tip-top shape. Checking your tire pressure, getting routine oil changes and replacing wiper blades benefit you whether the weather is warm or cold, but when the temperatures start to shift there are specific care items that can really make a difference in how your car handles in cooler weather.
Here are some items to check off of your car maintenance to-do list for the fall:
1. Battery Test: One of the simplest checks to do before the weather gets cold is testing your battery. A battery tester can show whether or not there’s enough life left to start your vehicle in cooler weather. Also, make sure the connections look clean and secure. If your battery level reading is low, you may want to replace it before winter comes.
2. Brake Check: Have your brakes checked a couple times a year to make sure your brake pads have enough material to stop appropriately. It is recommended that your brake pads have at least 4 mm of material for safe stopping, especially when the rain and snow make their appearance. If your brake pads are under 4 mm thick, you should have your pads replaced and your discs either replaced or resurfaced.
3. Check the Heat: You’ve cruised through summer with the A/C on blast, but the time is nearing when that dial gets switched from blue to red. Test out your heat to make sure that things are running as intended. If you find that your car isn’t heating like it should, parts like your thermostat, water pump and heater core should be inspected and replaced if you find an issue.
4. Update Your Emergency Kit: It’s a wise move to have an emergency kit in your vehicle. Just like when you gave your vehicle a spring tune-up to prepare for warm weather, it’s now time to update your kit with cooler weather items. A blanket, hat and gloves and a jacket are all good items to keep on hand. Also, remember to re-check and replace your perishable items, like batteries, bottled water or food that have expired.
5. Light Check: Your headlights and taillights are a must for driving at night and with less daylight in the colder months, you’ll find yourself relying on them more. It’s easy to check to make sure all of your lights are working properly, including your brake and reverse lights. If you find that any of yours are out, it’s an easy fix. Simply replace the lightbulb. Also, consider replacing your bulbs in pairs (if one headlight is out, replace both headlights to keep the same brightness).
What other fall car maintenance do you do? Head to our Facebook page and leave your tip in the comments section.