As the summer sun sets earlier and earlier, we may find ourselves feeling a little sluggish in cooler temperatures and shorter days. Your car is no different. The change of seasons brings with it a shift in the conditions under which your car will operate. Look into the performance of necessary systems, take this chance to conduct regular maintenance, and examine the components of your vehicle that are crucial to optimum operation in autumn.
As temperatures drop, batteries are more likely to be a little finicky - engines are more difficult to start in the cold and batteries likewise can’t produce their full amount of energy. Get a jump on chilly weather - especially if you live where cold comes early - and make sure our battery is in tip top shape. You’ll be thankful your car starts when you’re enjoying the last of the fall foliage, shopping for the holidays, or driving to visit family this season.
While you’re at it, take a moment to check your tire pressure, and fill your tires with air if need be. Low pressure in your tires can lead to a decrease in performance (read: less miles to the gallon and more money out of your wallet). You’ll also want to check the tread (those little rubber hairs) on your vehicle’s tires
Dust off those windshield wipers from their summer vacation. Autumn is a great time to clean the wipers - and the windshield - to prepare for more driving in inclement weather and darkness. To clean your windshield wiper blades, lift them from the glass and, using a rag and either washer fluid or hot soapy water, wipe the edge of the blade until no dirt or dust remains. Then wipe with a small amount of alcohol to remove any remaining residue. You may also opt for brand new windshield wipers, as they’re only meant to last for a few years. Check that you’re stocked up on windshield washer fluid, as you’ll likely be using a lot more of it in the rain and the snow.
It’s a relatively simple fix, yet can add a lovely boost in performance for your automobile. Your car’s engine uses air to run properly, but a dirty or clogged air filter will prevent your engine from running it’s best. Typically, it’s recommended to replace your air filter every year or 10,000 - 15,000 miles. But if you live and drive somewhere that your filter might be picking up extra debris - such as from dirt roads or traffic congestion - you may want to change it more often.
Regular oil changes are a must to keep your car functioning it’s best. Take a look to see how long ago you last oil change was (and consult your car owner’s manual for recommendations on how often to get the oil changed). Of course, you can also consider the type of driving you do to decide if you’re better off getting your oil changed more or less frequently. If you drive under “severe” conditions (stop and go, short trips, rough or dusty terrain, etc.) you’ll likely want to change your oil more frequently. Drivers whose cars operate under “mild” conditions (smooth, longer trips on paved highways and the like) can likely wait a few miles longer to change the oil.
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