Gearing Up for Cold: 6 Fall Car Care Tips
Updated: Jan 15
Fall is an idyllic time for long drives through the mountains or forests. You want to enjoy the changing leaves and beautiful scenery before winter comes.
Before you take that joy ride though, you need to check your car from roof to tires to make sure it stays in the best shape through the coming seasons.
How to Prep Your Car for Cold Weather
Start with the Tires
Worn tires with low pressure are one of the top reasons for spin outs and crashes on icy and wet roads. Tire pressure is also known to drop with the temperature, so keep a regular schedule of tire pressure maintenance this season. Make sure to check your tire tread depth, and look for signs of wear and tear like bulging or bald spots. When you’re sure the tires are ready for the season, check your tire pressure and be sure the PSI matches your owner’s manual recommendations.
Give the Lights a Once-Over
With the time change, lights are most important during fall and winter, as many people are going to and from work in partial darkness. Make sure to check out all your bulbs — headlights, brake lights, fog lights, and hi-beams — and give the covers a quick polish to keep them as bright as they can be.
Cloudy lights make it harder for you to see and harder for others to see you from a safe distance. You can use a store-bought cleaning solution or try a quick toothpaste refresh!
Inspect the Battery
Harsh winters can be especially hard on the battery, so you want to make sure your battery and charging system are good to go before the winter season hits. Be sure to check that your battery connections are tight, clear, and free of corrosion.
If you don’t have them already, put a pair of jumper cables in your car for emergencies.
Check HVAC and Wiper Blades
You won’t need the air conditioner for comfort but you’ll want the HVAC system working properly for your safety! Make sure your heater is working properly to defrost your windshield and windows. This will improve your visibility in colder months and avoid scraping ice every morning. Wiper blades should be replaced on average every six months, so you should likely replace these now, especially if they’re cracked, torn, or leaving streaks. To improve their lifespan, avoid using your wipers to help defrost your windshield.
Top Off Any Fluids
While you’re checking wiper blades, check your fluids! Each kind of fluid is important for the fuel economy and longevity of your car.
The six most important fluids to check are your engine oil, coolant, power steering fluid, brake fluid, transmission fluid, and windshield wiper fluid.
Stop and Look at the Brakes
One of the most important safety features in your car, your brake pads should only be replaced every 50,000 miles on average. That average can vary, with replacement being necessary as soon as 25,000 miles or as long as 70,000 miles. Your owner’s manual will give you a better understanding of when your brake pads should be replaced for optimal safety.
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