When you think of autumn, I’m sure the things that come to mind are colorful leaves, sweaters, crisp, cool mornings, football, Halloween, Thanksgiving, pumpkins, and hay-rides. You are leaving out a big one, though. Car Maintenance. Yes, just like sweaters and pumpkin pie, car maintenance is an important part of autumn. In fact, October is Fall Car Care month.
Cars are machines that we count on everyday, but we also put them through extremes. Our cars see the heat of summer, the cold of winter, wet weather, dry weather, and everything in between. Each of these extremes presents a unique challenge to keeping a car in good shape, but winter is probably the hardest of them all. Fall is the time to make sure your car is up to snuff before you put it through the snow and slush.
Fall is the time to do basic maintenance including an oil change, top off fluids, and have a complete cooling system inspection done. Going into cold weather, most people don’t realize how critical the cooling system is. If the proper antifreeze mix isn’t in your cooling system, a freeze can cause severe damage to the engine and other components. As well, most cars rely on the cooling system to provide heat for the cabin. You certainly don’t want to discover a cooling system problem on a cold morning when you have a non-functional heater.
In addition to the cooling system, fall is the time to check, rotate, and possibly replace tires. Snow and ice require deep tread on the tires for traction and safety. Address the tires in the fall so you don’t end up stuck in the winter. Some high-performance vehicles come with summer-only or 3-season tires that won’t provide snow traction, even though they have sufficient tread depth. Fall is the time to switch those cars over to winter tires to maintain safety on cold pavement and snow. Don’t forget to check your spare tire to make sure it is aired-up and in safe condition.
A good fall inspection and service wouldn’t be complete without making sure the car has good windshield wipers and a winter washer fluid in the tank. Many washer fluids sold during the summer months will freeze at 32 degrees, so it is very important to make sure your washer fluid is designed for below-freezing winter temperatures. Some winter washer fluids even have de-icer in them to help remove frost in the mornings.
While you are taking care of the car, be sure to throw some water, a couple of blankets, and a couple of candles in the trunk. Many people travel more during the holidays, and should anything go wrong, the blankets, candles, and water can help keep you and your family warm and safe in the cold. Some other handy survival items to have would be a small first aid kit, a flashlight, reflective triangles, and road flares. Handy kits with all these items are available at most retailers for under $50. Keeping a few non-perishable snacks like granola bars are a great idea as well.
Make sure you stay safe this winter and get prepared ahead of time with fall car-care. October is “Fall Car Care Month,” and we are ready and waiting for you to stop by for your service and inspection. Don’t risk getting caught out in the cold, and don’t wait until the holidays have your schedule packed. Call us today to schedule your appointment!