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6 Ways to Prepare Your Vehicle for Fall

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Prepare Your Vehicle for Fall with These 6 DIY Automotive Maintenance Tips

Can you believe that summer has already come to an end? Soon the temperatures will be dropping, and the leaves will begin revealing their glorious colors before falling from the trees. Jackets will be pulled from closets, and homes prepared for the change in weather. While preparing your home and family for the seasonal change, don’t forget to prepare your car as well. Here are 6 simple things to prepare your vehicle for fall.

However, if you are not comfortable with DIY car care, take your vehicle to a dealership or qualified mechanic who can help ensure your car is ready for all Fall has to offer.

Tools to Prepare Your Vehicle for Fall

Check and Replace Wiper Blades

As a rule, windshield wiper blades should be replaced at least once a year. Generally, your windshield wipers see more action in the fall and winter, so now is the perfect time to replace them. Luckily replacing your wipers is very easy and requires no tools. Just remember that some cars will require same-sized blades for the driver and passenger sides, while others will require a longer blade for the driver-side. Additionally, if you drive a hatchback, wagon, or SUV, you should change the back windshield wiper as well.

Check Your Tires

Changing temperatures can expand or condense the air in your tires. In fact, according to AAA, tire pressure drops one PSI, or pound per square inch, for every 10-degree drop in temperature. So as the temperatures outside begin to drop, so will your tire pressure. Make sure you check your tires on a weekly basis. And remember, the proper inflation pressure is usually listed either in your vehicle’s owner manual and/or on a sticker on the driver’s door jamb – not on the tire itself.

In addition to checking tire pressure, you should also inspect all tires for signs of wear, and make sure you are rotating and aligning them regularly. And don’t forget to check your spare tire’s pressure and tread as well.

Check the Battery, the Terminals and the Connector Cables

Another way to prepare your vehicle for fall is to check the battery. Your vehicle’s battery is its heart: without it, your car won’t have the power to do anything. That one battery manages a huge range of tasks and devices, from starting the engine to powering in-car computers. Therefore, checking your battery regularly, and replacing it when it is time is crucial.

Generally, although batteries can last for five years or more when properly cared for, most car batteries will become worn down and less efficient within three years of everyday, normal use. So, if it has been three or more years since you replaced your car’s battery, you should definitely consider a replacement. The longer you go past the three-year mark, the less reliable that battery will become.

Additionally, many electrical and ignition problems stem from loose connections or corrosion on your vehicle’s battery. Inspect your battery closely. Make sure everything is connected securely and that there is no corrosion on the posts or cable connectors. If you do notice corrosion, use an appropriate brush to remove it. Make sure you clean both posts completely and then reconnect everything snuggly and securely. Additionally, if it has been four years or longer since you replaced your battery, you need to go ahead and do so now.

Top Off Fluids

Autumn is also a good time to check the level of fluids in your vehicle, especially since some – like the antifreeze – may have become diluted during the summer months.

As the temperature becomes colder, a vehicle’s antifreeze becomes vital for operation. Antifreeze regulates your engine’s temperature and ensures it is running properly. Keep tabs on the level of antifreeze in the coolant recovery reservoir. Check to make sure the fluid level is not below the required minimum stamped onto the side of the opaque container. If it is, add the appropriate quantity of properly diluted fluid to the reservoir itself – not to the radiator.

Oil is basically the lifeblood of your vehicle’s engine. Although you should be having the oil changed on a regular basis, you should also check it at least once a month to make sure there is enough and that it isn’t contaminated. First, check the level on the dipstick. If the oil is below the minimum mark, you need to add oil. Check your owner’s manual for type. Also, check the oil’s color. It should be brown or black in color, and it should look smooth and glossy and somewhat transparent.

Another fluid you should keep tabs on is the brake fluid reservoir level. As you use your brakes, it is normal for the levels of brake fluid to get lower. If the level is low, top it off with the appropriate type of brake fluid. You can find the correct type in your driver’s manual.

Last, but not least, check your windshield-washer fluid. In the colder months of fall and winter, windshield-washer fluid needs to be replaced with a solvent that is suitable for use in cold weather.

Replace the Air Filter

Your vehicle’s engine air filter should be replaced at least twice a year. When an air filter reaches the point where it causes enough of a pressure drop to restrict airflow, your car’s fuel economy, emissions, and performance begin to deteriorate. They will also get progressively worse until the dirty filter is replaced. So, if you haven’t done so already, now is a perfect time. Luckily, replacing your car’s air filter is another simple job that requires no tools.

Wash and Wax

Although many people don’t consider washing and waxing car maintenance, taking care of the exterior of your car is just as important as taking care of the other parts. Tree sap, bird droppings, and bugs guts can all corrode your paint when left on your vehicle for too long. And for those who live in a cold climate where it snows in Fall, make sure you are rinsing your car regularly to remove any road salt. This salt easily gets into the nooks and crannies in your wheel wells and all over the undercarriage. It will slowly eat at your car’s frame causing a lot of damage if not removed.

Final Thoughts

Doing these six simple things will not only help prepare your vehicle for fall but will also save you money in the long run on more expensive auto repair bills. Additionally, they will help to ensure your car will continue to get you where you need to go reliably.

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