Great Rule of Thumb: Twice a year vehicle maintenance inspection helps immensely to avoid breakdowns and resulting expensive repairs…ideally Spring and Fall. Fall especially…because who wants to get stranded in a snow or rain storm.
Here are several car maintenance checkup essentials for Fall to help keep you cozy and safe…inside your vehicle, instead of outside seeking help after a breakdown:
- Battery: Though failure of your battery often takes place during cold Winter temperatures, the actual damage that caused it probably took place during Summer. Heat is a battery’s worst enemy. During your battery inspection, be sure all connections are secure and all terminal corrosion removed. Any worn or frayed cables should be replaced. Consider replacing any battery older than four years.
- Fluids: Top Off or Replace: Engine oil, brake fluid, transmission fluid and power-steering fluid are all vital. Check coolant and antifreeze levels, and top off the windshield-washer fluid.
- Belts & Hoses: Especially important is the drive belt…aka the serpentine belt, which powers the air conditioner, power steering and alternator…and often in many vehicles… the water pump. Signs of wear include surface cracks or missing chunks of rubber. Hoses control movement of antifreeze and coolant…playing a crucial role in helping to prevent the engine from overheating. If you notice the hoses are bulging, breaking, cracking or separating, it’s a sign that something is amiss. Replace belts and hoses as needed.
- Tires: If you live in the snow belt… a set of four winter tires will provide the traction needed to keep you on the road. Sufficient tread and correct pressure re always mandatory…all year long. If your tires are properly maintained in this way, it will help you avoid a blowout, and it will also optimize your car’s handling and fuel economy. Rotate your tires as needed, and perform a wheel alignment if you notice uneven wear. Don’t forget to check the spare.
- Wiper Blades: Though wiper blades could last up to a year… they should be replaced if appearing frayed, cracked or if the rubber has split off the blade. Bad wipers mean you’ll have a hard time getting a clear view of the road in wet or snowy weather…that’s a danger you don’t want to face during a storm. If your blades don’t leave your windshield streak-free…new ones are cheap insurance for good road vision.
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