Getting a vehicle maintenance check before winter hits is normal for most car buyers, but you should also be doing this when the cool crisp air of fall hits.
Driving around in a vehicle that is poorly maintained is hazardous in winter, but what most people don't know is there is a whole checklist of maintenance tips you should look over before taking your car for a drive on a fall day. Routine maintenance checks should be done every few months, and especially when the weather starts changing. Doing so can help:
- Improve your gasoline mileage
- Reduce pollution from your car
- Catch minor issues before they become major issues
- Safer driving experience
While it's been noted that gas prices are going to drop soon, they haven't yet, and no one wants to break the bank when they are filling up at the gas station. Keeping your vehicle in good running condition can really help you keep some extra cash in your pockets this fall between less fill-ups and less repairs. Let's face the facts, the more gasoline and oil your car is burning, the more pollution our kids are breathing in as they play outside. Getting regular maintenance done can help keep the air cleaner and our kids healthier!
Things to Check In the Early Fall Months
The first thing you should always do is to read your owner's manual and get familiar with your car and how it works. In the early fall before the cider mills open and the pumpkin picking begins, you should do a routine check up on your vehicle. This includes:
- A tune-up - get a full engine tune-up as it is outlined in your manual
- Brake check - if it's been a while since you've had your brakes looked at or changed we recommend you do so before the snow starts falling. If you're hearing them squeak every time you press the pedal, chances are they are getting old.
- Changing your oil - Your vehicle's engine need oil to run just as we need blood to live. If you got cheap oil put in your car the last time you got an oil change you may want to consider getting synthetic oil now. This will help keep your vehicle running longer, and you will be able to go a little longer between changes.
These are easy checks that you can mostly do at home or at a friend's garage if you're mechanically savvy, and they should be done more often than just once a year.
What to Look for in Mid to Late Fall
The cold weather is quickly approaching and so are the holiday seasons. Before you start your shopping for everyone else in your life, be sure to give yourself the biggest present of all - a healthy car. You've now hit mid-fall and you should be checking:
- Your battery - Car batteries are made to work for a number of years, and we all are guilty of putting off replacing it for as long as possible because it's expensive. But the reality is, a lot of batteries don't do well in cold weather after about four years. If you know it's been at least that long since you've gotten a new one, test it and if replace it if needed. You'll be kicking yourself later when you're stuck in a parking lot because you can't start your car.
- Filters, coolants, and hoses - If you replaced your oil filter in the early fall at your oil change you should be good to go with that, but that's not the only filter in your car. Make sure that your air and gas filters are clean as well. Hoses take a beating over the years and wear and tear is normal. Before it gets too cold out check for any leaks or softness in the hoses and get them replaced if they need it. Your coolant is usually good for up to two years, unless you have recently leased or financed a new vehicle, in which case it should be good for five years. But give them a once over to be sure.
- Get an Emergency Kit together - Snow, ice and slush are bound to hit soon, and you don't want to be broken down on the side of the road with nothing but your coat. Put together an emergency kit containing hats, gloves, extra coat, blanket, flares, a small shovel, sand (to get traction on ice), and a flash light. Be sure to add anything else you can think of that you may want with you if you were stranded.
Doing these checks and getting an emergency kit together could be a life-saver in the near future. Don't push these things aside, and end up regretting it later.
Winter is Almost Here: How to Prepare Your Vehicle
We're now at the end of the season, and we're all stuffed on Halloween candy and Thanksgiving turkey, but it's not time to rest just yet. It's time to get your car ready for the wintry months ahead. Remember to put snow tires on your vehicle before you head out shopping like it's your job for the holiday season; it would be terrible to have your car broken down just a mile from the store offering the best deal. Here's a list of things to check for as fall comes to an end:
- Tire pressure - Check all of your tires for too much wear and under inflation. If they're bald or you notice you have had to put air in the same tire over and over, it's time to buy a new one. Having the correct air pressure will help with gas mileage and help your tires wear the same.
- Icy windows and locks - Be sure to stock your car with window scrapers and de-icing windshield washer fluid. While you're prepping to de-ice your windshield check to make sure your wipers are up-to-par and can handle the job.
- Driving conditions - While snow shouldn't be falling for a couple more weeks, you can never predict the weather. Before pulling out into that busy street by your house check the road conditions. If it seems to be wet, slushy, or icy drive slower. It may take a few extra minutes to get to work, but it's better than crashing your vehicle and injuring yourself or others.
- Warm up your vehicle - Your vehicle needs adequate time to warm up before taking off. Allowing the engine to get warm will help lubrication and oil flow, which helps your engine and transmission stay healthier for longer.
As We See It
Most people tend to do vehicle maintenance checks when winter hits, but why wait until you can barely open the hood of your car because your fingers are numb? Give yourself a break this winter and start your maintenance tips early. The fall is the perfect time of the year to get your car in great running condition and ready to beat the crowds on Black Friday.
If you're not sure your car, truck, or SUV is even going to make it to December you can apply online with Auto Credit Express to get a new auto loan. Whether you have good credit or bad you can get approved for an affordable auto loan with us. We've been helping consumer's with problem credit find a dealership in their area that will get them back on the road for over two decades. Apply today using our safe and secure application, and you could be on the road tomorrow!