It’s that time of year again, the end of summer and the beginning of: “Oh, where did summer go?” October is Fall Car Care Month, so here are seven end-of-summer car care tips to keep you and your car safe and happy this fall and winter. Take a weekend afternoon to see if your car needs any of the following maintenance tasks performed.
You need lights to see and be seen, especially when rain, snow and fog reduce visibility. Check that all lights are functional, including marker lights, turn signals, hazard lights, brake lights, reverse lights, taillights, headlights and fog lights. If not equipped, perhaps now is a good time to think about installing aftermarket fog lights.
A good guideline is to replace wiper blades every six months, but they may wear sooner. Now is a good time to replace any wiper blades that streak, chatter or don’t clear the windshield properly. Don’t forget to stock up on winter washer fluid, too.
Don’t worry about snow tires yet, but check that your summer or all-season tires have at least 4/32 inches of tread depth remaining. Look for abnormal tread wear, which may indicate an alignment or suspension problem. Cooler weather causes tire pressure to drop, so inflate tires to the psi indicated by either the owner’s manual or the tire and loading label on the driver’s door jamb.
Summer is an easy time for the battery, but cold weather can tax it. First, look for corrosion on the battery terminals. This needs to be cleaned or repaired to eliminate resistance between the battery and the rest of the electrical system, such as the starter and blower. Then, have the battery load-tested — replace it if it’s too weak for a cold start.
The air conditioning system is essential for defogging your windshield and front windows. Functional or not, have its performance checked by your local NAPA AutoCare location to ensure year-long operation.
Check and adjust all fluid levels, including engine oil, engine coolant, power-steering fluid and transmission fluid. Check and adjust V-belts and serpentine belts and replace if needed.
Besides checking for coolant leaks, pay special attention to the pressure cap and the thermostat. True, you can’t see the thermostat, but you can watch the temperature gauge or the OBDII ECT (engine coolant temperature) reading. Whether it’s hot or cold outside, the ECT should steadily rise to the thermostat opening temperature, usually 175–200 degrees F. If the ECT can’t reach stable temperature, then it could indicate a broken thermostat.
As most weekend warriors will tell you, abrasions, grime and dirt just aren’t fun, and dirty, grimy abrasions are the absolute worst. Work gloves keep cuts, abrasions, heat and dirt at bay, so don’t forget to grab a pair. The spandex and elastic back and cuff are comfortable, while the Clarino palms and fingers let you handle the toughest jobs without affecting dexterity.
With these end-of-summer car care tips, your car will be ready for everything winter has to throw at it — just don’t put on the snow tires quite yet.
Looking for a deal? Click here to check out what end-of-summer car care products are on sale this month at NAPA.
Check out all the maintenance parts available on NAPA Online or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA AutoCare locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information on end-of-summer car care, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS store.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.
Ben has been taking things apart since he was 5, and putting them back together again since he was 8. After dabbling in DIY repairs at home and on the farm, he found his calling in the CGCC Automobile Repair program. After he held his ASE CMAT for 10 years, Ben decided he needed a change. Now, he writes on automotive topics across the web and around the world, including new automotive technology, transportation legislation, emissions, fuel economy and auto repair.