Getting your vehicle ready for winter while temperatures are still mild is a proactive approach to preventive maintenance that helps ensure safety, reliability and fewer unexpected repairs when severe winter weather strikes. Whether you do it yourself or take your car to a professional service technician, the non-profit Car Care Council recommends 10 basic maintenance procedures during Fall Car Care Month in October to keep your vehicle operating at its best.
1. Check all fluids, including engine oil, power steering, brake and transmission as well as windshield washer solvent and antifreeze/coolant.
2. Check the hoses and belts to make sure they are not cracked, brittle, frayed, loose or showing signs of excessive wear.
3. Check the battery and replace if necessary. Make sure the connection is clean, tight and corrosion-free.
4. Check the brake system annually and have the brake linings, rotors and drums inspected at each oil change.
5. Inspect the exhaust system for leaks, damage and broken supports or hangers if there is an unusual noise. Exhaust leaks can be dangerous and must be corrected without delay.
6. Check engine performance to make sure it is delivering the best balance of power and fuel economy and producing the lowest level of emissions.
7. Check the heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) system as proper heating and cooling performance is critical for interior comfort and for safety reasons such as defrosting.
8. Inspect the steering and suspension system annually including shock absorbers, struts and chassis parts such as ball joints, tie rod ends and other related components.
9. Check the tires, including tire pressure and tread. Uneven wear indicates a need for wheel alignment. Tires should also be checked for bulges and bald spots.
10. Check the wipers and lighting so that you can see and be seen. Check that all interior and exterior lighting is working properly and replace worn wiper blades so you can see clearly when driving during precipitation.
Signing up for the Car Care Council’s free personalized schedule and email reminder service is a simple way to help you take better care of your vehicle now and throughout the year. It is an easy-to-use resource designed to help you drive smart, save money and make informed decisions.
The Car Care Council is the source of information for the “Be Car Care Aware” consumer education campaign promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers. For a free copy of the council’s popular Car Care Guide or for more information, visit www.carcare.org.