As the seasons change, so do our vehicle maintenance schedules. How prepared is your vehicle for the coming months?
We have compiled 10 practical tips to help prepare you to get your car ready for the fall.
Check the brakes and tires.
Change in weather can affect road conditions and other hazards. Do you have good stopping power on your side? Tires and brakes in excellent working order and condition can make the all the difference in the world when you are behind the wheel.
If the tires have wear bars showing it is definitely time to replace the tires. Most good brake and tire shops will inspect the brakes and tires at no charge. Also, be sure to check your tire pressure. When temperatures drop outside – so do tire pressures. Keep the pressure at levels recommended by the vehicle manufacturer for best results.
Check the lights.
Take the time to walk around the outside of the car and inspect the operation of all lights: headlights, taillights, parking lights, brake lights and emergency flashers. All cracked/broken bulbs and those that have stopped working should be replaced. Make sure all lights are clean for optimal visibility at night.
Replace wiper blades.
The purpose of wiper blades are to completely clear the windshield. Cracked or worn blades won’t do an adequate job. Check the blade’s rubber to ensure it is flexible and operate the wipers to see that the blades clear the glass.
Make sure heater/defroster work.
Driving with an improperly working heater isn’t fun or safe. If you drive with fogged-up windows you are setting yourself up for an accident waiting to happen. Check front and rear window defrosters to ensure proper working condition
Have the battery checked.
A fully charged battery is necessary to start the car in cold weather. Have the battery and charging system inspected by a trained technician who can replace it if necessary. If you see signs of corrosion on the battery terminals, or spot loose connections, your battery needs attention.
Inspect under the hood.
Looking under the hood will allow you to identify any obvious signs of wear or items that need replacing or fixing. Look for leaks, cracks or loose clamps in the cooling system and squeeze the hoses and replace any that are spongy-feeling or brittle. Inspect the underside of drive belts for fraying and replace if necessary. If you’ve noticed any engine noises, experienced sputtering or other engine problems, have a licensed mechanic thoroughly inspect the engine and make any necessary repairs.
Change oil and air filter.
If the oil is dirty or you’re at your recommended oil change time, change the oil. Also check the air filter to ensure that it is clean enough to allow for proper operation. If you can’t see light through it when you hold it up to a 60-watt bulb, it’s time to replace the air filter.
Refill cooling system.
Experts, such as AAA®, recommend checking the coolant level in the overflow tank when the engine is cold. If the level is too low, add a 50/50 solution of water and coolant to allow proper antifreeze capability. It may be necessary to refill the cooling system.
Check all fluid levels.
This includes washer fluid, along with transmission, brake and power steering fluids. Make sure they are all at or above minimum safe levels and refill as necessary.
Get a good car wash/detail.
It may sound crazy, spiffing up your car with an extra-special wash or even a detail, but when your vehicle is clean, it’s easier to spot any potential problems. It also provides protection to your paint, keeping your vehicle looking new.
For more information, contact a Martin Auto Color location near you. Our staff can help you find just the right PPGTM Refinish product for your shop’s project.
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