6 Car Care Items to Pay Attention to This Autumn

October is National Car Care Month, and as the warmer months fade, it’s important to take the time to ensure that your vehicle is ready to take on the cooler weather!

AAMCO  | 09/22/2020
Vehicle Maintenance

Autumn - Car Care

As the leaves brighten to fiery hues and the days shorten, many drivers trade windows-down rides for heated seats and dialed up cabin climate. However, simply keeping your windows rolled up and icy slush off your vehicle’s tires isn’t enough to truly keep your vehicle in top shape for its meeting with Jack Frost. 

AAMCO’s put together this list of our top six tips for October National Car Care Month that can help give your vehicle some much-needed TLC this fall to increase its reliability and safety on the road.

6 Car Care Tips for Autumn

1. Consider Your Regular Maintenance Schedule

The best tip for autumn car care is to follow your vehicle’s regular manufacturer-recommended maintenance schedule. Many drivers put quite a bit of mileage and wear on your car during summer months, so it is probably time to pay a visit to your local AAMCO. 

A certified Technician can look over your vehicle for issues and help ensure that your car is ready for autumn and winter driving. Catching problems early can save you money and hopefully prevent any potential breakdowns. Regular maintenance can help a vehicle's performance and pave the way to a longer-lasting vehicle relationship. 

2. Check Your Tires & Brakes

Autumn and winter weather can do a number on a vehicle’s tires and brakes. The colder air can cause tires to lose pressure causing tire wear and decreasing road control, and an increase in road treatment chemicals and salt can degrade and damage your brake’s pads, rotors, and calipers. It is important to make sure these components are in great condition going into harsher months.

Have your technician do a visual inspection to ensure that the current tire tread is rated for winter weather and the vehicle’s brake pads, rotors & calipers are in good shape; if not, get these parts replaced before the weather turns icy.

3. Replace Your Fluids

Autumn is a great time to check all your vehicle’s fluids, as those fluids are essential in protecting your engine, transmission, and other important driveline components during inclement and chilly weather. Follow the vehicle’s manual and follow the instructions step by step when checking and replacing all the necessary fluids:

  • Oil
  • Brake Fluid
  • Window Washer Fluid
  • Radiator Coolant and Antifreeze Fluid
  • Transmission Fluid
  • Power Steering Fluid 
  • Air Conditioning Coolant
  • Differential Fluids
  • Transfer case Fluids on AWD Vehicles

4. Test Battery & Lights

An especially critical part of your vehicle is to check its battery and lights. The cold air can make it harder for car batteries to deliver power to the electrical computers, ignition system, and other vehicle’s electrical parts — especially if the vehicle sits outside in the harsh weather.  If the battery is weak and the headlights dim, covered in dirt and grime, or have burnt out bulbs, you may put yourself at risk when traveling in adverse weather conditions that diminish visibility. Days are shorter in autumn and winter, so having a healthy battery and properly working lights is paramount to your safety during travel.

5. Build a Winter Emergency Kit

The cold air and unexpected weather of wintertime can lead to emergency conditions such as engine or transmission failure that can leave you stranded and exposed to the frigid climate. While you can’t plan for every emergency, you can plan to have an emergency kit in your vehicle.

According to the National Safety Council, your car emergency kit should contain:

  • A properly inflated spare tire, wheel wrench, and jack
  • Jumper cables
  • Tool kit or multipurpose tool
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First aid kit with gauze, tape, bandages, antibiotic ointment, aspirin, and a blanket
  • Nonperishable, high-energy foods
  • Drinking water
  • A fully charged cell phone

Additional items to consider for a cold-weather emergency kit could include warm clothes and winter accessories for adults and children, a foldable shovel, blankets, heat packs, a snow brush and scraper, kitty litter (for tire traction), and even a winter sleeping bag (or two!).

6. Brush Up on Your Driving Technique

While this may not be a car maintenance tip, driving responsibly is a great way to ensure that your car continues to operate at its full potential. Driving in the fall and winter months with leaves and icy snow on the ground can be trickier than the hot summer ones, so it can be beneficial to complete an audit on your driving habits and knowledge base:

  • Do you know the appropriate speeds when driving on various roads in colder, icier weather conditions?
  • Are you trained on how and when to use your low and high beams?
  • As school starts back up, are you aware of school zones and high-foot traffic streets?
  • Are you staying aware of an increase in autumn animal activity — such as deer?
  • Have your summer driving habits resulted in a lead foot on the gas or brake pedals?
  • How is your night driving as the days continue to shorten? 

Enjoy the Winter in A Car Ready for It All

Your vehicle is a powerful piece of machinery built to stand up against a variety of weather conditions. However, as the weather turns colder and the roads pile up with salt, slush, and treatment chemicals, it is vital that you take the time to make sure that you and your vehicle are ready to keep up. 

As National Car Care Month, October is a great time to give some tender love and care to your automobile. Pick a day or two in October to pamper your vehicle. Taking the time to work through these car care tips each autumn, you can ride through the winter comfortably and safely!

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