Q: How do I make sure that my car is ready for fall?
A: Address the following items to help ensure that your vehicle is prepped properly for fall driving:
Tires. Check your tires to ensure that they have sufficient tread for safe operation. As tires wear, elements of the tread that provide traction in snow and ice and on wet roads deteriorate. You may have heard of the penny test for tires: Place a penny headfirst into the grooves of your tire tread. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, it is time to replace your tires. Even if your tires are not worn this low, however, you might still experience reduced traction in inclement weather due to road conditions. So, have your tires checked by a professional on your next service visit.
Battery. Hot summer days can take a toll on your vehicle’s battery. When fall arrives and the weather turns colder, the demands on the battery increase as more power is required to start the vehicle. Get your battery tested by a professional who can use a battery analyzer to check your battery and provide a health report on its state of charge and remaining life.
Cooling system. Have your radiator and cooling system checked to ensure that the system is free of leaks and blockages and that the coolant mixture will provide sufficient freeze protection. Vehicle manufacturers recommend changing the engine’s coolant as part of scheduled maintenance. So, review the required maintenance in your vehicle’s owner’s manual, and have a coolant exchange performed if needed.
Wiper blades. Visibility is key to safe vehicle operation, and the windshield wiper blades and washer system are critical to good visibility. If your wiper blades do not properly clear the windshield within two passes or are making any abnormal noises while operating, get them checked. If the blades’ rubber material is worn or ripped, replace your blades to ensure proper operation and good visibility. Also, have your windshield washer system inspected to guarantee that it is operating properly. It should be filled with a winter-mix washer fluid and de-icer.
Lights. Have all exterior bulbs checked for operation, including brake lights, turn signals, marker lights, license plate lamps, headlights and fog lights. Also, have the lenses of all lights checked to make sure they are free of moisture and oxidation. A cloudy lens can reduce the distance your headlights illuminate and, as a result, jeopardize your safety.