Fall Car Care Month Checklist: Be Ready for Old Man Winter

October is Fall Car Care Month.

Now is the perfect time to go out and perform some basic maintenance on your vehicle before the cold weather sets in. Cold temperatures magnify existing problems, so it’s worth taking a little time now to ensure your vehicle is ready for trouble-free driving in the months ahead.

Here is a checklist for ensuring that your vehicle is cold weather ready:

 
Wipers: Check for proper function and blade condition. Wiper blades have a life span of about six months. If it’s time to replace, consider buying ones designed specifically for winter and switch to cold weather washer fluid.
 
Heater and defrosters: Run a test of your heater and all defrosters to ensure they are all working properly. These are vital to your safety and visibility on the road. If anything seems amiss, have the HVAC system professionally inspected.
 
Exterior lights: Check that all lights are working and that headlights are aimed properly. Consider headlight restoration to improve lighting on older vehicles. Cloudy headlights hinder night vision and can reduce their effectiveness by as much as 80% according to Consumer Reports. If you prefer to DIY, check out their ratings on restoration kits.
 
Tires: Check tread depth and pressure on all tires, including the spare. Bald tires are even more dangerous in snow and slush. If you use snow tires, they should be installed when the outdoor temperature is consistently below 40 degrees.
 
Battery: Check your battery and make sure the connection is clean, tight and corrosion-free. Have it tested and the charging system inspected. If your battery is more than three years old it’s probably past time for a replacement.
 
Gas tank: Begin routinely keeping your gas tank at least half full to prevent moisture from freezing in the gas lines.

Oil and filter: Be diligent about changing your oil and filter at the intervals recommended for your vehicle. The oil is considerably thicker in cold weather, putting additional stress on the filter when you start the engine.
 
Filters: Check the fuel, air, cabin air, and transmission filters and replace if necessary.
 
Fluids: Check all fluids, including engine oil, power steering, brake and transmission fluid, antifreeze/coolant and windshield washer fluid. We will check these as part of your courtesy inspection with every service. If you need help, we will be glad to show you how to check your fluids between services.
 
Emergency kit: Restock your year-round emergency kit and add in the winter essentials such as salt or kitty litter, an ice scraper, blankets, water, and non-perishable food. Don’t have an emergency kit? Start one today!
 
System checks: Bring your car to a certified mechanic for a complete inspection. Have your suspension, steering, and braking system inspected annually. Have the exhaust system tested for carbon monoxide leaks. Consider having the antifreeze replaced if it’s older than two years.
 
Be ready for wherever this winter takes you. If you need an appointment to have your systems checked, give us a call at 860-951-1083 or schedule online today.
 

Source: Car Care Council

Written by Hillside Automotive

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