Fall and Winter Car Care Checklist
Battery and Charging System – Starting an engine in cold weather will overwhelm a weak battery. Ask a trained technician to test yours and replace it if necessary.
Battery Cables and Terminals – Make sure the battery terminals and cable ends are free from corrosion and the connections are tight.
Drive Belts – Inspect the underside of accessory drive belts for cracks or fraying. Many newer multi-rib “serpentine” belts do not show obvious signs of wear; replace these belts at 60,000-mile intervals.
Engine Hoses – Inspect cooling system hoses for leaks, cracks or loose clamps. Also, replace hoses that feel brittle or excessively spongy.
Tire Type and Tread – Uneven tire wear can indicate misalignment, wheel imbalance or suspension problems.
Tire Pressure – Check tire inflation pressure on all four tires and the spare more frequently in fall and winter. As the average temperature drops, so will tire pressures – typically by one PSI for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Look for proper tire pressure levels can be found in the owner’s manual or on a sticker typically located on the driver’s side door jamb.
Air Filter – Check the engine air filter by holding it up to a 60-watt light bulb. If you see light can be seen through much of the filter, it is still clean enough to work effectively. However, if light is blocked by most of the filter, replace it.
Coolant Levels – Check the coolant level in the overflow tank when the engine is cold. If the level is low, add a 50/50 solution of coolant and water to maintain the necessary antifreeze capability. Test the antifreeze protection level annually with an inexpensive tester available at any auto parts store.
Lights – Check the operation of all headlights, taillights, brake lights, turn signals, emergency flashers and back-up lights. Replace burnt bulbs.
Wiper Blades – The blades should completely clear the glass with each swipe. Replace any blade that leaves streaks or misses spots. In areas with snowfall, consider installing winter wiper blades that wrap the blade frame in a rubber boot to reduce ice and snow buildup that can prevent good contact between the blade and the glass.
Washer Fluid – Fill the windshield washer fluid reservoir with a winter cleaning solution that has antifreeze components to prevent it from freezing.
Brakes – If you suspect a brake problem, ask a certified technician to inspect all components.
Transmission, Brake and Power Steering Fluids – Check all fluids to ensure they are at or above the minimum safe levels.
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