End Of Summer Car Care

The vacations are over, the kids are back in school and cooler evenings have begun. Take advantage of the lull to prepare your vehicle for the winter ahead, that way you can avoid breakdowns!

First things first

Read your owner’s manual and follow the manufacturer’s recommended
service schedules. There are usually two schedules listed: normal and
severe.

Engine Performance

Have engine driveability problems (hard starts, rough idling, stalling,
diminished power, etc.) corrected at a good repair shop. Cold weather
will make existing problems worse. Replace dirty filtersair, fuel, PCV,
etc.

Fuel

Put a bottle of fuel de-icer in your tank once a month to help keep
moisture from freezing in the fuel line. Note, too, that a gas tank
that’s kept filled helps prevent moisture from forming in the first
place.

Oil

Change your oil and oil filter as specified in your manual more often
(every 3,000 miles or so) if your driving is mostly stop-and-go or
consists of frequent short trips.

Cooling System

The cooling system should be flushed and refilled as recommended. The
level, condition, and concentration of the coolant should be checked
periodically. (A 50/50 mix of anti-freeze and water is usually
recommended.) If you’re doing your own work, allow the radiator to cool
down completely before removing the cap. (Newer vehicles have coolant
reservoirs.) The tightness and condition of drive belts, clamps, and
hoses should be checked by a certified auto technician.

Heater/Defroster

The heater and defroster must be in good working condition for passenger comfort and driver visibility.

Windshield Wipers

Replace old blades. If your climate is harsh, purchase rubber-clad
(winter) blades to fight ice build-up. Stock up on windshield washer
solvent you’ll be surprised how much you use. Carry an ice-scraper.

Battery

The only accurate way to detect a weak battery is with professional
equipment. But do-it-yourselfers can do routine maintenance. Scrape away
corrosion from posts and cable connections; clean all surfaces;
re-tighten all connections. If battery caps are removable, check fluid
level monthly.

A word of caution:

Be sure to avoid contact with corrosive deposits and battery acid. Wear
eye protection and rubber gloves. Note too that removal of cables can
cause damage or loss of data/codes on some newer vehicles so refer to
your manual for instructions.

Lights

Inspect all lights and bulbs; replace burned out bulbs; periodically
clean road grime from all lenses with a moistened cloth or towel. To
prevent scratching, never use a dry rag.

Exhaust System

Your vehicle should be placed on a lift and the exhaust system examined
for leaks. The trunk and floorboards should be inspected for small
holes. Exhaust fumes can be deadly.

Tires

Worn tires will be of little use in winter weather. Examine tires for
remaining tread life, uneven wearing, and cupping; check the sidewalls
for cuts and nicks. Check tire pressure once a month. Let the tires
“cool down” before checking the pressure. Rotate as recommended. Don’t
forget your spare, and be sure the jack is in good condition.

Emergencies

Carry gloves, boots, blankets, flares, a small shovel, sand or kitty
litter, tire chains, a flashlight, and a cell phone. Put a few
“high-energy” snacks in your glove box.

The following two tabs change content below.

Bobbie

Bobbie is a handbag addict who has a passion for product reviews, tech, and food. Her first loves are her daughters, Dakotah and Alianna. Her second loves are bacon and coffee. Lots of bacon and coffee.

Author: Bobbie

Bobbie is a handbag addict who has a passion for product reviews, tech, and food. Her first loves are her daughters, Dakotah and Alianna. Her second loves are bacon and coffee. Lots of bacon and coffee.