While you should keep your car up-to-date on maintenance year-round, November is a particularly important month because all the prep you do now will set your car up for impending harsh winter weather.
Nobody wants to be stranded on the way to a holiday party or family dinner, so do yourself and anyone who rides in your car a favor by following this checklist of fall care tips.
Car Care 101: Read your owner’s manual and follow the recommended maintenance schedule
While it may seem obvious to read your owner’s manual, many of us admittedly don’t. Your owner’s manual will let you know when you need to check your car’s tires, brakes, filters, and fluids. If you’re still confused, just visit us! We have recommendations for the best time and mileage intervals.
Oil and air filter changes are especially important for keeping your MPG high and your engine humming along. Most modern vehicles only need an oil change every 5,000 miles, while older vehicles may need an oil change every 3,000 miles.
Ensure your tires are in good condition
The weather here in Amarillo changes in the blink of an eye, especially in the fall and winter. We might get snow one day and 80-degree weather the next. As a result, our tires literally weather a lot.
In order for your car to survive an Amarillo winter, you will have to make sure your tires can take the chill. When tires are cool, check their pressure as well as the pressure of the spare. See if your jack is in good working condition.
Keep your tires properly inflated, since underinflated tires will make the engine work harder and eat up more gas. They will also be susceptible to road hazards (which increase in winter) and heat damage.
Simply look at the sticker on your door jamb to see the manufacturer’s recommended pressure.
If you come to the shop, have a tire tread depth inspection done with each oil change or before winter hits.
Have your battery tested and correct engine performance problems
Have you ever trudged through snow to your car on a dark winter morning, only to turn the key and feel your heart drop as you hear the dreaded click click click? Very hot summer weather can damage a battery, but this damage will not be noticeable until a big temperature change occurs. Because of this, the cooler months are the source of many a dead battery. Have a technician check your battery’s health during the fall. Your technician may clean away corrosion and re-tighten connections.
Just as you’re more likely to get sick during the winter, cold weather can cause and aggravate engine problems. Correct drivability problems like stalling and idling at the shop. Fixing engine problems will give you better fuel mileage along with more reliability.
Keep your gas tank filled
Ice crystals look gorgeous outdoors, but are less desirable when they’re in your fuel. To ensure you don’t end up with a fuel popsicle, keep your gas tank filled.
Make sure your cooling and heating systems are running smoothly
Check the condition, level, and concentration of your coolant.
We recommend a BG Cooling System Service every 2 years or 30,000 miles. At our shop we check the coolant level with every oil change, as well as your belts and hoses.
Get your heater checked in the fall so you can avoid the long lines of people waiting to get their heaters fixed in the winter. After all, the heater will be one of your most prized possessions when it’s 17 degrees outside and you still have an hour to go before you get home.
Extra Tip: Don’t forget an emergency kit!
Make an uncomfortable situation a bit more bearable by packing necessities like a flashlight, tire chains, boots, blankets, a shovel, gloves, and snacks.
Wishing you and your family a safe fall and a wonderful holiday season,
Aardvark Automotive owner and ASE-certified Master Technician
For more driving tips or questions about your car, feel free to contact us at (806) 242-1073 or visit our website.