October is Fall Car Care Month and there’s good reason why. The heat and dust of summer is hard wear for vehicles. Now that the temperatures are cooling off, it’s time to get your car tuned up and ready to go. Before you know it, the harsh winter season will be upon us.
We have put together a 12-point inspection guideline to make things easier. Here are the top car care tips for the end of the summer.
1. Check the Brakes
Because it’s such an important component for the safety of drivers and passengers, vehicle maintenance should always include a brake check. You should have the brake system looked at annually. This includes the linings, drums rotors and brake pads.
2. Replace the Lights
As the days get shorter in the fall, that means that we spend more time driving in the dark. Plus, seasonal weather changes – including fog, rain and snow – further reduce visibility. Make sure that all the lights on your car are in good working order and replace any bulbs that are burnt out. Specifically, test the headlights, fog lamps, turn indicators, hazard lights, brake lights, taillights and reverse lights.
3. Install New Wiper Blades
With seasonal rains in the forecast, it’s a good idea to change out the windshield wiper blades. Automotive experts advise replacing them every six months, but the summer heat and sun are especially damaging to the rubber. If they streak or squeak, that’s a good sign that the wipers are worn out. Knowing that Pennsylvania winters are rough, you should also consider replacing them with rubber-clad wipers.
4. Rotate the Tires
After all the great summer road trips, it’s time to take a look at the condition of the tires. Check the tread level on your summer or all-season tires using the penny test. If the tires are bald or worn down, it’s time to replace them. When you rotate the tires, look for signs of uneven wear; this may indicate a problem with the suspension or wheel alignment. Tire pressure falls with cooler outdoor temperatures, so this is a good time to inflate them.
5. Assess the Steering & Suspension
Steering is essential this season when drivers in Pennsylvania have to deal with deer, leaves and other fall hazards. You should have your car’s steering and suspension systems inspected each year. A reliable mechanic will look at the shocks, struts and chassis to make sure that you’re good to go.
6. Look at the Battery
Winter is a hard time for a car battery. Check yours now so that you won’t be left out in the cold. You, or your mechanic, should look for signs of rust around the battery terminals and verify that the connections are tight.
7. Test the Heating & Air Conditioning
You’re going to need the heat and defrost settings to work properly this season. If you notice that the air output or temperature is not optimal, have your mechanic take a look.
8. Fill up the Fluids
As you look over your car at the end of the summer, check the fluid levels. This includes the engine coolant, power steering fluid, brake fluid, and transmission fluid. You should also top of the windshield detergent.
9. Change the Oil
With high-quality engine oil, it’s no longer necessary to change it every 3,000 miles. Nowadays, cars can go from 5,000 to 10,000 miles before needing an oil change.
10. Check the Hoses & Belts
Take the time to inspect the hoses and belts to confirm that they aren’t loose, worn out, cracked or brittle.
11. Flush the Cooling System
Check your owner’s manual for the car manufacturer’s recommendation, but generally, mechanics say that you should flush the cooling system every 30,000 miles or five years. If it hasn’t been that long, wait for the radiator to cool down, then check the condition and level of the coolant. If the coolant level is low, go ahead and top it off.
12. Inspect the Exhaust System
As part of your seasonal inspection, your car should be lifted so that the mechanic can look for leaks in the exhaust system or damaged supports. This is important because exhaust leaks can be very dangerous.
Be prepared with the bad weather and snow hit this winter. Read our seasonal safe driving tips: Are You Prepared to Drive in Unsafe Road Conditions?
Prepare Your Car for Every Season
Keep your car tuned up and drive safe, all year around. We want to help drivers prevent accidents whenever possible. When you do need collision repair, however, Badell’s is here to help.