October is Fall Car Care Month, which makes it an ideal time to take a proactive approach to getting your car ready for winter. Taking the time now to make sure your car is running in top shape can help ensure safety, reliability and lead to fewer unexpected repairs when winter weather strikes. Whether you do it yourself or take your car to a professional, these 10 basic car maintenance procedures can help keep your vehicle operating at its best.
1. Check your windshield wipers in both front and back to make sure there is no dry rot or smearing. Replace the blades if necessary.
2. Walk around the car and make sure that all lighting including headlights, taillights, reverse lights, turn signals and your hazards are in working order. Replace any burned out bulbs. In addition, check the interior lighting as well.
3. Check all four tires, paying attention to the tire pressure and the tread. If you notice any uneven wear, it’s usually a sign that it is time for a wheel alignment. Each tire should also be closely inspected for any bald spots and bulges. Do the same for your spare tire if your car has one. If you have a flat tire kit instead, make sure the emergency flat tire sealant can is full and has not been used, and that the inflator is in working order.
4. Have the brake pads, brake lining, rotors and drums checked at each scheduled oil change. The vehicle’s brake system should be checked on an annual basis. If you’ve not yet had it checked, go ahead and do so.
5. Check and top off all engine fluids including the engine oil, transmission fluid, coolant, power steering, and brake fluid. Don’t forget to check windshield washer fluid as well.
6. Inspect all hoses and belts to make sure they are not cracked, frayed, brittle, loose or showing signs of excessive wear.
7. Check the charge on your battery and replace if necessary. Also be sure to check that the connection is clean, tight and corrosion-free. If you have a battery that requires water, it’s a good idea to check and make sure none is needed. If it does need water, remember to only use distilled water.
8. Have the exhaust system inspected for any leaks, damage or broken supports or hangers – especially if you notice an unusual noise. Exhaust leaks can be dangerous and must be corrected immediately.
9. Inspect the HVAC system (heating, ventilating and air conditioning) since heating and cooling is critical for safety reasons such as defrosting, and for comfort.
10. Check the steering and suspension system including the shocks and struts, and inspect the chassis parts such as ball joints, tie rods and other related parts.
Following these 10 basic car maintenance procedures not only helps ensure your comfort and safety, but it also can save you a bundle in any possible future repairs that would have to be made due to neglect. Although many of these basic car maintenance procedures you can do yourself, if you are not comfortable doing so, take your vehicle to your dealership. There a professional car technician can help ensure your car is ready to face the upcoming Winter. Many dealerships, such as Greenbrier Motor Company, will even offer online service deals and coupons to help save you money.