October is Fall Car Care Month. Why not take a little time to be car care aware and be sure your vehicle is prepared for the harsh winter weather ahead? Taking a few simple steps now can help you save the headaches and cost of an emergency breakdown later, says the Car Care Council.
Whether you do it yourself or take your car to a professional service technician, the Car Care Council recommends five proactive steps to make certain your car is prepared for winter driving.
1. Battery – Keep the battery connections corrosion, neat and tight-free. Freezing weather is hard on batteries, so it’s wise to check the battery and charging system. It is advisable to replace batteries that are greater than three years old, because batteries don’t always give signs before they fail.
2. Wiper, Defrosters and Heater Blades – Check that the air, ventilating and heating conditioning (HVAC) system are working properly as heating and cooling performance is critical for interior comfort as well as for safety reasons, such as defrosting. Fall can be another great time to confirm your air filters. Wiper blades which can be torn, cracked or don’t properly clean your windshield should be replaced. As a general rule, wiper blades should be replaced every six months. When changing the blades, be sure to also check the fluid level from the windshield washer reservoir.
3. Tires – Check the tires, including the tire pressure and tread depth. Uneven wear indicates a desire for wheel alignment. Tires should also be checked for bulges and bald spots. Consider special tires built to grip slick roads if snow and ice are a problem in your area. During winter, tire pressure ought to be checked weekly as tires lose pressure when temperatures drop.
4. Brakes – Have the brake system checked, including brake linings, rotors and drums. Brakes are critical to vehicle safety and particularly important when driving on icy or snow-covered roads.
5. Free personalized schedule and email reminder service – Registering for the Car Care Council’s free personalized schedule and email reminder service is a simple way to help you take better proper care of your vehicle now and all through the year. It is an easy-to-use resource designed to help you drive smart, spend less and make informed decisions.
“Getting your vehicle ready for winter while temperatures are still mild is a proactive approach to preventive maintenance which helps ensure reliability, safety and fewer unexpected repairs when severe winter weather strikes,” said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council.