• Kathy

Fall & Winter Vehicle Maintenance

Fall weather is great time of year for road trips & pumpkin picking. Before we know it the craziness of the holidays will soon be here, and our vehicle tend to be left to the last moment or just plain old forgotten until they break down and leave you stranded. Let’s face it most people just get in their vehicles and turn the key and go, no one’s thinking about preventive maintenance. Think about what an inconvenience it’s going to be if your vehicle can't get you where you need to go and not to mention the extra expense that goes along with a break down.

Let’s review some maintenance items to think about for fall & winter to avoid a costly repair or break down.

First things first we should all be changing our oil on a regular basis no matter what season it is.

Standard oil - every 3 months or 3,000 miles.

Synthetic oil every 6 months or 5,000 miles.

Fall/Winter Car Care Checklist:

Battery and Charging System – Have the battery and charging system checked. Most batteries have a life span of 3 to 5 years. In cold weather it takes a good strong battery to start your vehicle, a weak or old battery will without a doubt leave you stranded. Weak or old batteries does not always give you a warning that it’s going to fail. Also have the battery cables and terminals checked for corrosion.

Battery Tester

Battery with Corrosion

Drive Belts – Inspect belts for cracks or fraying. Don’t just look at the smooth top surface of the belt but turn it over and check the grooved underside where most belt wear occurs.

Belt Wear

Engine Hoses – Visually inspect the cooling system hoses for leaks, cracks or loose clamps. Also, squeeze the hoses to check for any that may be brittle or excessively spongy feeling and in need of replacement.


Hose Wear

Tire Type and Tread – In areas where there is a large amount of snow fall you might want to consider a snow tire. All season tires are fine for light to moderate snow fall. If any tire has less than 3/32-inches of tread, it should be replaced. Uneven wear on the tires can be signs of an alignment, suspension or wheel balance problem that should be addressed to prevent further wear to the tires.

Tire Pressure – Check tire pressure more frequently during winter months. As the temperature drops, so will the pressures in the tires—typically 1 PSI for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit. The proper tire pressure levels can be found on a sticker located on the driver’s side door jamb. And, don’t forget to check the spare!

Tire Wear

Air Filter – Check the engine’s air filter. A dirty air filter can affect fuel mileage.

Coolant Levels – Check your vehicle’s water to coolant ratio if the coolant is dirty have it flushed and replaced. Antifreeze is important because it is used to cool the car's engine, as well as protect it from freezing in cold weather. It also helps to provide heat inside the car’s cabin.

Lights – Check the operation of all headlights, taillights, emergency flashers, turn signals, brake lights and back-up lights. Replace any burnt out bulbs.

Wiper Blades – Blades should completely clear the glass with each swipe. Replace blades that leave streaks or miss spots. In areas with more severe winter conditions, you might want to install winter wiper blades that wrap the blade in a rubber boot to prevent ice and snow buildup.


Washer Fluid – This is just as important as good working wiper blades, not being able to clear a windshield is dangerous. You might want to fill the windshield washer fluid reservoir with fluid that has antifreeze components for the winter months.

Brakes – Have brakes inspected

Transmission, Brake and Power Steering Fluids – Check all fluids for replacement or maintenance.

Keep in mind that the average towing charge can cost $100.00 or more depending on the location and distance you need to travel to your mechanic.

Happy Motoring !


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