Fall Car Care Tips

Wow!  Fall is in full force with winter nipping at our heels.  Maintenance matters in every season however fall maintenance is crucial for winter preparation and essential for safe driving in a dependable vehicle.  Fall car care begins with assessing primary focal areas such as tires, brakes/rotors, headlights, wiper blades, engine coolant, battery, hoses and finally belts.  I know it seems like a lot but believe me these are all vital components to a safe and dependable vehicle. 

Seasonal maintenance starts with a visual assessment so lets begin with tires.  When you assess tires you will obviously pay close attention to the tread or grooved areas that meet the road surface.  Use a lucky penny and position the penny head down inside the tread.  If you see the top of Abe's head in several tire tread across the tire, chances are your tread is worn and  tires should be replaced.    When viewing tread, look for uneven tread wear which could indicate the need of an alignment. Now, take a gander at the side wall and look for gouges or rubbed marks which could be a source of air leaks.  Lastly, make sure your tires are properly inflated.  You can look at the placard on the inside of the driver's door to view proper tire inflation measurements per your manufacturer.    If you found any signs of concerns during your tire assessment, give us a call. 

Moving on back to the brakes/rotors.  If you notice during a visual assessment increased brake dust to the rim or that your brake fluid is low then you should have your brakes and rotors assessed for possible replacement.  While driving, if you experience vibration with braking or an audible screeching than chances are your brakes/rotors are to blame.  Driving with these symptoms will lead to further damage, more expensive repairs and unsafe travel. 

Drive bright in the dark night with functioning, clear headlights.  Assessing headlights for cracked, glazed lenses, a collection of condensation or burned out bulbs is a good start.  There are several kits you can purchase to remove the glazed or cloudy appearance to your headlight lenses.   Crystal clear headlights make a huge difference in your night vision.   You also want to assess for dim headlights which could indicate the need to replace those bulbs or  reflect the status of your vehicle's battery.   When replacing your dim bulbs, replace both bulbs at the same time.  

Keeping the headlights on requires your battery to function properly.  The heat of summer and cold of winter are killers to batteries and with winter chomping at the bit, you don't want to be left stranded.  Starting with a basic visual assessment, make sure your battery connections are clean, tight and corrosion free.  Assess the battery for bulges, leaks and if noted, have the battery replaced immediately.  Make sure your battery is secured in place.  

DOUG HUNTER