It’s been a summer of fun and now the fall foliage (and cider and donuts) beckons you to take a drive.
First, spend a few minutes giving your vehicle some tender loving care, so you don’t face the prospect of unexpectedly spending a bunch of minutes on the side of the road waiting for a service truck.
Still, plenty of us fuel our automotive passion with a hands-on attitude. So here’s a checklist to make sure your car, truck or SUV is in fine shape for fall and winter:
- Fluids: Under the hood, check the levels for engine oil, coolant, brake and washer fluid. Are they between the minimum and maximum marks? Is it time for an oil change?
- Filters: How dirty is the engine air filter? Dust from pervasive road construction can mean it’s time for a change. Also, check the cabin air filter to keep things fresh for you and your passengers. Take a moment to clean out any leaves or other debris that have collected in the plenum at the base of the windshield, that is where fresh air for the cabin is drawn into the vehicle.
- Wiper blades: Check each blade for any nicks or tears that can lead to streaking when using the wipers. If there are several or the material is getting stiff, replace the wiper blades. Don’t forget the rear wiper, if your vehicle has one. Also, a good glass cleaning, inside and out, gives you clearer vision in rainy weather.
- Lights: Turn on the headlights and walk around the outside of the vehicle to make sure all are working. Have a friend help by stepping on the brake pedal and activating the turn signals while you stand outside checking the bulbs.
- Tires: Crouch down and take a close look at your tires, both the sidewalls and the tread. Look for any cuts or bulges in the sidewalls. Lightly run your hands over the tread surface to feel for any potential objects that could cause a puncture. Be aware that cooler temperatures can reduce tire pressure, triggering the low tire pressure warning. Don’t ignore the warning. Bring your tires up to the recommended pressure (found on the sticker on the driver’s door jamb) as soon as possible.
That’s it. With just a few minutes of time, your vehicle is prepared for what lies ahead.