Fall Car Care Tips - Get Your Vehicle Ready For the Winter
Your vehicle made it through summer, but don't pat yourself on the back just yet - winter's coming! Whether it's a matter of repairing the wear and tear of summer or getting ready for those colder days ahead, autumn is the ideal time for automotive maintenance and repair.
Here are some tips from the pros at the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) about getting your vehicle ready for winter.
- Read your owner's manual and follow the manufacturer's service intervals.
- Replace worn wiper blades and keep plenty of washer fluid on hand to fight road salt, grit and other grime.
- Replace worn tires with all-season radials or snow tires, as conditions warrant. Don't forget to check the spare tire and the tire jack.
- If you are not a do-it-yourselfer, find a repair shop with a courteous staff, qualified technicians and modern equipment. Look for repair facilities that employ ASE-certified automotive technicians to do those jobs you cannot or do not want to perform.
- Engine performance problems such as rough idling, poor acceleration or hard starts should be corrected before cold weather sets in. (You'll get better gasoline mileage, too.)
- Have a qualified auto technician check the condition of your battery and cables, plus the radiator, and all hoses and belts.
- The cooling system/radiator should be completely flushed and refilled as recommended. The level, condition and concentration of the coolant/antifreeze should be checked periodically. (Never remove the radiator cap until the engine has thoroughly cooled!)
- Make certain the heater and defroster are in good working condition; have the exhaust system examined for leaks, a potentially deadly condition in closed vehicles.
- Carry emergency gear: flares, boots, gloves, ice scraper, high-energy snacks, a blanket, shovel, flashlight, tire chains, a few tools and a cell phone.