October is Fall Car Care Month and the perfect time for a seasonal checkup on your vehicle.
Most people only think to prepare their vehicle for winter, but as we transition into fall we'll have shorter days, leaves falling, and increased chances of rain and fog. Not to mention, we're now entering the holiday season when more people will be planning trips to visit friends and family and it's important that your vehicle is prepared for wherever the road might take you.
Here are a few basic maintenance tips to help you get ready for the season change.
1. Check all fluids. Check all fluids including engine oil, power steering, brake and transmission as well as windshield washer solvent and antifreeze/coolant.
2. Check all belts and hoses on your vehicle for signs of wear and tear. It's important to check to make sure they are not cracked, brittle, frayed, loose or showing signs of excessive wear. The damage to your vehicle can be much more serious if these issues are not addressed properly.
3. Check your battery and replace if necessary. Make sure the connection is clean, tight, and corrosion-free. Also, don't forget to carry jumper cables in your vehicle in case your battery fails.
4. Check the brake system on your vehicle. It's important that you're able to come to a complete stop properly to avoid accidents.
5. Inspect the exhaust system for leaks or damage. Inspect the exhaust system for leaks, damage and broken supports or hangers if there is an unusual noise. Exhaust leaks can be dangerous if they aren't taken care of, especially for you and your passengers.
6. Check the engine performance to ensure you're getting the best power and fuel efficiency. Check the engine to make sure it is delivering the best balance of power and fuel economy and producing the lowest level of emissions.
7. Check the HVAC system to ensure it's working properly. This is important as the weather starts to get colder, and you might need to defrost your vehicle. Check the heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) system as proper heating and cooling performance is critical for interior comfort and safety reasons, such as defrosting.
8. Inspect the steering and suspension system. Inspect the steering and suspension system annually, including shock absorbers, struts, and chassis parts such as ball joints, tie rod ends and other related components. Worn suspension components may reduce the stability of your vehicle making it harder to control, and causes a much bumpier ride. Driving in comfort is important to you and your passengers.
9. Check the tires on your vehicle, including tire pressure and thread. Uneven wear indicates a need for wheel alignment. Tires should also be checked for bulges and bald spots. Going for a drive when the leaves are changing is a perk of the season, but if you have poor tires and run into rain and wet leaves it can be extremely dangerous.
10. Check your wipers and lighting (interior and exterior) so you can see and be seen. As the season changes we'll have shorter days, leaves falling, and increased rain and fog, and you'll want your lights and wipers working properly.
Basic car care maintenance will go a long way, taking the time now to take care of your vehicle will help you avoid headaches and costly repairs down the road. Schedule an appointment for your vehicle's seasonal checkup.
“October Is Fall Car Care Month: A Little Auto Care Goes A Long Way.” Be Car Care Aware, 6 Oct. 2016, www.carcare.org/october-fall-car-care-month-little-auto-care-goes-long-way/.