We all know the importance of routine car maintenance, but one frequently overlooked type is seasonal care. As summer starts to slip into fall, here are some simple ways to make sure your vehicle stays in perfect health.
Check your tires
With wet leaves littering the road and the threat of snow around the corner, keeping your tires in good shape is more important than ever. Continental.com suggests that the first thing you should do is check the pressure in every tire, including the spare, as they can “lose one pound of pressure for every drop of 10 degrees Fahrenheit.” Next, they say to make sure that the tread isn’t worn down to a dangerous level. The easiest way to do this is to do the “penny test” — a simple process of slotting the coin into a few grooves. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, it’s time for a new set of tires. Finally, it’s a good idea to inspect them for signs of wear and tear like cracks or bald spots.
Top off the fluids
The moderate temperature of autumn is a great time to check all of your car’s essential fluids. Make sure you’re not running low on radiator fluid, engine lubricant, brake line fluid and power steering fluid. You should also top off your windshield wiper fluid regularly, as it’s instrumental in maintaining a clear view of the road.
Don’t forget the heater
Your vehicle’s heater may seem like more of a convenience feature than something that keeps you safe, but Farm and Fleet writer Lauren Piek says it’s a vital component in cooler weather. Not only can it be a life-saver if you get stuck in the cold, it's how you’ll be able to defrost and defog your windshield on the go. A quick diagnostic from a service expert will be able to identify any problems and right them so you can drive into autumn with confidence.
Make sure your brakes are in working order
It’s impossible to drive safely in the fall if your brakes are in bad health. If you’ve felt any grinding or noticed your car slowing less efficiently, you should take it to a professional for an inspection of the whole system, including the rotors, pads, fluid and lines. If any part is showing its age, make sure to have it replaced before the weather turns.
Take a look at the wipers
As fall approaches, it’s vital that you don’t take your windshield wipers for granted. According to iDriveSafely.com, the silicone on the part that touches the glass breaks down with age, and the summer heat can accelerate that process. That means autumn is the ideal time for a new set, as “your new blades will get you through the fall, winter, spring and summer.” They say to watch out for excessive streaking on the glass, chatter — where the blade skitters across the surface rather than sliding smoothly — and smearing. If you see any of these issues, its time to install a new pair of wipers.
Fall is a wonderful time of year, and these simple car care tips will help you enjoy it in comfort and safety.