Keep your car running at its best.
Fall marks the change in seasons as the summer's heat and humidity give way to changing colors and crisp air. Fall also signals winter is just around the corner, meaning it's time to give your car a little extra attention to keep it running safely and at peak efficiency.
Maintaining your car properly does more than keep it running smoothly, it saves money by giving you the best possible fuel economy, and it can help prevent costly repairs down the road. No matter how old your car is, give it the scheduled maintenance it was designed to receive. Remember to always check your owner's manual for scheduled fluid changes, tune-ups, etc.
Here are some simple maintenance tips you can do yourself.
- Check your tire pressure and inflate tires to the manufactures specifications. For every 10-degree change in temperature, your tires will gain or lose one PSI. Improperly inflated tires wear out faster and cause your car to use more gas. Also look for excessive wear, nicks or cuts, and make sure the spare and jack are in good condition.
- Replace worn windshield wiper blades.
- Fill your windshield washer reservoir with a winter-grade fluid.
- Replace a dirty air filter.
- Check your lights and turn signals. Replace the bulbs if they are burned out.
- Check your radiator and hoses for cracks or leaks. If you find a greenish-yellow wet spot under your car, this is a sign of a leak.
- Listen to your engine for problems like hard starting or rough idling. Take your car to a mechanic to have any engine problems diagnosed and repaired.
- Check the brake-fluid reservoir. If the level is low, top it off with brake fluid designed for your car.
- Look for excess wear, thinning or cracking in belts.
If you are not comfortable doing these checks, have a trusted mechanic do them for you.
Have a trained mechanic inspect and repair the more complex, difficult or hard to repair components of your car.
- Change oil according to the manufacturer's specifications.
- Replace worn or damaged tires.
- Replace dirty fuel, oil and PCV filters.
- Test the battery to make sure it will start your car in cold weather. Replace a weak battery.
- Get a tune-up as outlined in your owner's manual.
- Examine your brakes.
- Inspect shock absorbers and struts to improve your car's handling, extend tire life and improve ride control and comfort for the drive.
Most of these items can be handled quickly and easily. If checking out your car isn't your thing, a trusted mechanic or dealership can do these services for a nominal cost.