Preparing Your Car for Fall

prepareforfallNow that summer has come and gone, fall is here and right behind that, the colder months are approaching.  Just like you switch out summer clothes to winter clothes, this is a good time to prepare your car for the cooler weather and make sure it is in tip-top shape!  So without further ado, we’ve provided a checklist to ensure that you don’t miss a thing!

  • Replace your windshield wiper blades.  We recommend a fresh pair of wiper blades for your car every six months.  In addition, you’ll want to make sure your windshield washer fluid is full.  This is the time of year you will want to replace it with the wiper fluid with added antifreeze if you drive in colder-climate areas.
  • Check your tires. Check the tread and tire pressure of your tires. Fall brings with it slippery roads as the result of fallen leaves combined with rain (and in some areas, even snow). Make sure that you have a safe amount of tread left on your tires and that your tires are inflated to the optimal level. It is always a good idea to have your tires rotated on a regular basis to ensure even wear.  Check your spare tire as well to make sure that it is functional in the event that you need it.
  • Check your fluids. To keep your car running smoothly, check all of the fluids and have a complete oil change when necessary. Today’s cars actually have indicators to alert you to when your oil needs changing; but if you have an older car, a good rule-of-thumb is to change your oil every 3,000 miles or so.  Fluids to check include coolant/antifreeze, brake, transmission, power steering, and, of course, windshield washer fluid!  Top off any fluids that are low.
  • Check your brakes. In many cars, brake pads can be checked by looking through the wheel. If you can, inspect each brake pad, and if any look thin- it is time to replace them.  Another way to know they are in need of replacement is to listen. Brakes make noise as an early warning that it is time for replacement. Replace your brake pads before it’s too late; if you wait too long, poor wearing on the surface of the brake pad can damage the rotors which leads to a bigger expense and a more difficult job.  If you aren’t sure about your breaks, take the car to a professional mechanic who can do an inspection of the brake pads and rotors and advice you as to their condition.  Some mechanics even do this as part of an oil change service.
  • Check your battery. Batteries work harder in the colder weather, so you’ll want to make sure your battery is fully-charged and has plenty of life left! Check your connections and make sure they are clean and free of corrosion. Many battery and auto stores will do a free battery check to determine when it’s time for a new battery and even clean-up any corrosion or debris on the terminals.
  • Check your heater and defroster. Lastly, you’ll want to check your heater and defroster. As the weather gets colder, your defroster and heater are essential to keep you moving on a daily basis. If either of these is not working properly, it is best to have a mechanic take a look.

Don’t be left unprepared. Let the colorful scenery of the change of leaves be an indicator that it’s time to check and service your car. If we didn’t mention something that you feel should be on our checklist, feel leave us a comment below.  Wishing you and your car a safe, healthy fall season.