Preparing Your Vehicle for Fall Driving

Posted Friday, Mar 25, 2022

As we get nearer to October, you know that cooler weather is finally on its way. While we may not get very cold temperatures here in the valley, your vehicle can still be negatively affected by lower temperatures in many ways.

Cold weather makes it more difficult for your tires to maintain grip and makes the windshield more prone to cracks. If you’re planning on any road trips up north to enjoy the snow, you’ll definitely want to be sure you check certain parts of your vehicle.

What can you do to prepare your vehicle for the drop in temperatures? Here are 10 tips to help you prepare your vehicle for cooler weather:

1. Check the Belts and Hoses.

When visually inspecting your belts and hoses, keep an eye out for cracks, leaks, and excessive wear. You want to ensure that there are no signs of splitting, fraying, or glazing.

One major problem with faulty belts and hoses is overheating. Many people attribute overheating to summertime but it can occur any time of the year, including during the colder months.

If a belt snaps, gets stuck or operates incorrectly, it can turn into a very serious problem.

If you notice any problems with these car components, then you should take your vehicle to your local mechanic.

2. Check the Fluid Levels.

It is crucial to replace your car’s fluid levels, as necessary. As necessary is the key indicator here.

Many people assume that fluids should be swapped out on a regular basis or topped off frequently. Doing this to the transmission or other components could actually cause harm to the parts being serviced.

Make sure to read up on how frequently different fluids need changing.

This would include windshield washer fluids, transmission fluids, coolant, brake fluids, power steering fluids, and engine oil. All are very important for ensuring that your car runs smoothly.

Washer fluid is important for maintaining visibility. Transmission fluid is important for maintaining the transmission properly lubricated and shifting between gears. Coolant regulates the engine’s temperature, while brake fluid serves as a lubricant, preventing corrosion. Power steering fluid is crucial for keeping your steering smooth. Without power steering fluid, your steering wheel will feel as stiff as a tree branch.

3. Check the Tires.

Know what could happen when you’re going 70 miles per hour and your tire blows out? Keeping your tires in good condition is crucial to ensuring your safety, as well as those your drive around as well.

Check the tread, inflation, and overall condition of your tires. Rotate your tires, so that your tires wear evenly. Make sure your tires contain the appropriate amount of air.

Don’t forget that you also have a spare tire! The last thing you want is to have to change a tire and realize that your spare is also damaged.

Maintaining proper tire pressure is very important because cold weather causes tires to lose air quickly. Make sure you have the proper tires for the weather.

This time of year comes with the potential of snow and ice. If you live in an area that gets a lot of this, consider replacing your tires with snow tires. Don’t get rid of your old ones, though, keep them for when the season changes!

4. Prepare for the Cold Weather.

Getting stranded on the side of the road any time of the year is not fun, but it is especially difficult if you’re visiting a snowy region of our state.

Most of us would be able to tough out some hot weather, with the exception of extreme conditions. However, the cold can be fatal!

As the weather turns cooler, you especially need to be prepared for a roadside emergency.

Be prepared if a situation like this were to occur. Stock your vehicle with things such as gloves, an ice scraper, a few blankets, a first aid kit, jumper cables, and a flashlight, just in case of an emergency.

5. Check the Oil.

This goes hand in hand with making sure your fluids are frequently changed, however, we feel it deserves its own section.

Change your oil at the recommended oil change interval.

Consult your car’s manual to determine the recommended oil interval, as it may vary by manufacturer, type of oil used, and driving habits.

In the past, it was recommended to change your oil every 3,000 miles. However, this has changed due to the construction of modern engines and the use of synthetic oil. Many cars can last 8,000 miles or more now, so make sure you refer to your manual.

If your car has an oil-monitoring system, you can use this device as a guide, but don’t depend on it completely.

6. Check your Heat.

Imagine driving around at 0 degrees with your heater not working properly in your car. I don’t know about you, but we sure as hell wouldn’t try.

Prior to temperatures getting cold, check to make sure your heat is working properly. You do not want to be without it when cold weather hits.

To top this off, don’t forget about your front and rear defrosters as well. Driving with a fogged-up windshield is unwise and unsafe.

If either of these components is in need of repair, take your vehicle to your local auto repair shop.

7. Check the Brakes.

This may seem like common sense and we should make sure our brakes are working properly all year round, but winter can be especially dangerous.

Cold weather heightens brake problems since the roads have the potential of becoming slippery from snow and ice.

It is important to get your brakes checked before getting well into the Fall and Winter seasons as brakes are crucial for safe driving.

Always keep an ear out for unusual noises that may point to failing brake pads or sinking brakes.

8. Install All-Weather Floor Mats.

Consider investing in all-weather floor mats. They are not much more expensive than regular floor mats but provide many more benefits.

These mats are built to last and protect your car’s floors against water, snow, dirt, and grime. Not only that, they preserve the carpet of your vehicle from tears and even shield your car from stains and spills.

They also do a good job of holding up against general wear and tear and you can use them all year long, not just in the colder months.

Did we mention how much easier they are to clean as well?

9. Check the Lights.

Take a walk around the exterior of your vehicle. Check to make sure that all your lights, including headlights, taillights, brake lights, and flashers, are working as they should.

If needed, replace a broken or blown-out bulb. These lights ensure that other drivers see you on the road, even in bad weather or other conditions where visibility is low.

We also recommend that you keep a spare set of bulbs within your car in case one of your bulbs blows out while driving.

10. Check the Battery.

In cool climates, a batteries’ current is significantly reduced and causes them to die quicker than usual.

You don’t want to get stuck in a cold climate because your vehicle won’t start due to a weak or dead battery.

Check the battery for charge and signs of corrosion. You can even take your vehicle to most local auto parts stores for diagnosis which provides this service at no cost to you.

If your car needs a new battery, take your car to a mechanic to get your battery replaced. The battery is critical to start your vehicle.

No matter what the season, you can rely on us to perform an inspection to ensure your vehicle is ready for the cooler weather. Give us a call or visit our online scheduling service anytime to set up your appointment!

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