Fall is a season filled with food, cooler temperatures and changing colors on the leaves as they fall from the trees. It also means that winter is soon approaching. With fall and winter come riskier driving conditions as it gets dark sooner and weather conditions change. For both safety and convenience, follow these tips to prepare your vehicle for the upcoming changes.
1. Check the engine coolant. Also known as antifreeze, the coolant should be changed every three to four years to stay fresh. It’s important that the coolant is able to withstand freezing and even below freezing temperatures in colder climates. Keep in mind that the temperature can be lower under the hood than it is outside due to wind chill.
2. Check the various hoses and serpentine belt. A belt or hose that goes to the heater or radiator can cause you to break down and leave you stranded. Look for cracks, leaks and bulges that indicate the hose needs replaced.
3. Check the oil and transmission fluid. Oil should be changed every 3,000 miles. Transmission fluid should be a pinkish red color. If it is brown, consider taking the vehicle in to be serviced before winter arrives to prevent damage to the transmission and associated components.
4. Change your wiper blades from summer to winter. Summer weather includes rain and dirt, but the fall and winter months include sleet and slush. Winter blades are specially designed to remove this material without leaving behind streaks on the windshield, which can make it difficult to see. You may also want to check and change your washer fluid to something that can withstand freezing and below freezing conditions. Water will freeze, so choose something designed specifically for the drop in temperature.
5. Conduct a complete lights check to ensure you don’t need to replace any bulbs. Check your brake lights, turning signals, market lights, flashers and both high and low beam headlights.
Take the time to properly prepare your car during the fall months for the upcoming weather changes. You will be prepared for anything that can happen by being proactive.