Road with blurred car passing, autumn trees and leaves all around. Travel and nature concepts together in this image.
Now that Fall recently began, colder weather is most certainly on the way. It’s the perfect time of year to prepare your car for Winter and ensure it runs safely and reliably when you need it most. Cold weather puts a strain on your car in many ways – including making it more difficult for your tires to maintain grip. Your windshield is also more prone to cracks.
- Check the Belts and Hoses. Look for cracks, leaks, and wears in the belts and hoses. You want to ensure there are no signs of splitting, fraying, or glazing. One major problem with faulty belts and hoses is overheating. Although this usually occurs in the Summer, it can occur anytime of the year, including during the colder months. If you notice any problems with these components, you should take your vehicle to your local mechanic.
- Check the Fluid Levels. It is crucial to replace your car’s fluid levels, as necessary. This includes windshield washer fluids, transmission fluids, coolant, brake fluids, and power steering fluids. All are very important for ensuring your car runs smoothly. Washer fluid is important for maintaining visibility. Transmission fluid is important for cooling. Coolant regulates the engine’s temperature, while brake fluid serves as a lubricant, preventing corrosion. Power steering fluid is crucial for operating your vehicle.
- Check the Tires. Check the tread, inflation, and overall condition of your tires. Rotate your tires, so they wear evenly. Make sure your tires contain the appropriate amount of air. Maintaining proper tire pressure is very important, because cold weather causes tires to lose air quickly. Also: Make sure you have the proper tires. Temporarily switching over to snow tires can make a lot of sense.
- Prepare for the Cold Weather. Getting stranded on the side of the road any time of the year is not fun, particularly if you have a client in the car. As the weather turns cooler, you need to be extra prepared for a roadside emergency – so it’s important stock your vehicle with the following items:
- Ice scraper
- First aid kit
- Jumper cables
- Check the Oil. Always change your oil at the recommended interval. Consult your car’s manual, as it may vary by manufacturer and driving habits. It used to be recommended to change your oil every 3,000 miles, but this has changed due to the construction of modern engines and the use of synthetic oil.
- Check Your Heat. Check to make sure your heat is working properly. You do not want to be without it when cold weather hits. Make sure the defroster works, as well. Driving with a fogged-up windshield is unwise and unsafe. If either of these components are in need of repair, take your vehicle to your local repair shop.
- Check the Brakes. It is important to get your brakes checked before getting well into the Fall and Winter seasons. Brakes are crucial for safe driving. Cold weather heightens brake problems, since roads can potentially become slippery from snow and ice. Listen for unusual noises that may point to failing brake pads.
- Install All-Weather Floor Mats. Consider investing in long-lasting, all-weather floor mats, which protect your car’s floors against water, snow, dirt, and grime. They will even shield your car from stains and spills and hold up well against general wear and tear. You can use them all year long, not just in colder months.
- Check the Lights. Take a walk around the exterior of your vehicle. Check to make sure all your lights – including headlights, taillights, brake lights, and flashers – are working as they should. If needed, replace a broken or blown-out bulb. These lights ensure other drivers see you on the road, even in bad weather or other conditions where visibility is low.
- Check the Battery. Check the battery for charge and signs of corrosion. You can even take your vehicle to a local auto parts store for diagnosis. Most of the time, this is at no cost to you. If your car needs a new battery, get it replaced. The battery is critical for starting your vehicle.
Source: National Dispatch