Another change of season is upon us. Not only does fall signal a time to check the batteries in your smoke detector and make sure the windows and doors of your home are sealed tight, it's an important time of year for car maintenance.
If you don't take precautions, the cold months ahead can really take their toll on your vehicle, especially if you live in a northern climate where ice and snow is prevalent. But car preventative maintenance taken now can keep your car both working and looking good.
Here are 10 vehicle maintenance tips the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) recommends you take care of before the weather changes for the worse.
1. Have a qualified auto technician give your car a complete inspection to make sure the battery, radiator, hoses and belts are all in good condition. Your auto maintenance manual is a good place to find a list of items needing to be checked.
2. Get worn out wiper blades replaced.
3. Have the cooling system and radiator completely flushed and refilled.
4. Make sure the heater and defroster are in good working condition.
5. Have the exhaust system examined for leaks.
6. Have the engine inspected. If it is starting rough now, cold weather will only make existing problems worse.
7. Request that all lights and bulbs be checked to make sure none are burned out.
8. Make sure the heater and defroster are in good working condition for passenger comfort and driver visibility.
9. Worn tires will be of little use in winter weather. Examine tires for remaining tread life, uneven wearing, and cupping; check the sidewalls for cuts and nicks.
10. Make sure you have an emergency kit in case you break down or get into an accident. Edmunds.com recommends the kit you put together include a cell phone, 12-foot jumper cables, four 15-minute roadside flares, two quarts of oil, a gallon of antifreeze, a first-aid kit (including an assortment of bandages, gauze, adhesive tape, antiseptic cream, instant ice and heat compresses, scissors and aspirin), a blanket and flashlight with extra batteries.