Fall is a season that many of us love. It’s usually not too hot, not too cold and the fall foliage in and around Olathe is usually stunning (and it certainly is this year.)
October is also, for many, a month to get things done in and around the house before the winter arrives. Leaves need to be raked, outdoor plumbing fixtures have to be drained and winterized, gutters need to be cleaned and much more.
While you are busy with all of those tasks though you should not forget about your car. You’ll be relying on it all winter long to get you from A to B and back again in what may often be rather challenging weather conditions, so now is the time to ensure that it is up to the job. The last thing any driver wants or needs is to break down in bad weather, and so taking the time to read through our simple Fall Car Care Checklist, and then take action accordingly is one of the best things you can do to help ensure that’s not the case for you this year:
Check that your heating system is functioning correctly. It hasn’t been called into action for months now and things can go wrong while any mechanical system is idle. It’s especially important to ensure your windshield defrosters are functioning as they should and will be up to the job of keeping your windshields frost free when the temperatures begin to drop.
Efficient windshield wipers are another essential tool for safe winter driving. Ideally wiper blades should be replaced every six months, so if you have not done so so far this year then now is the, even if the existing set still look ‘OK’. You may even want to consider making use of the ‘winter wipers’ that are available these days as they are a little hardier and better suited to use in harsh cold weather than their standard all-purpose peers.
We’re sure you’d have noticed if one of your vehicle’s exterior lights was out, but have you checked to make sure that they are shining at their brightest? Grime and dust can form an opaque film on the surface of your car’s lights that dull them far more than you imagine. A simple trip through the automatic car wash does not always get your lights – especially your headlights – as clean as they could be, so to help ensure your winter driving safety devote a little extra time to cleaning and polishing them by hand.
Check the tread on all of your tires, including the spare, and consider swapping out the tires you have been riding on all summer with hardier winter radials. Many people do wonder if they really need snow tires, but as the NTSB’s advice is that if winter temperatures in your area regularly dip under 45F in the winter – which is normally true of our area – then they are a sensible investment.
Your vehicle’s brakes really do have to be in tip top condition for the safest possible winter driving. Rather than risk disaster now is the time to get them checked professionally and replaced as necessary as your safety, and that of your passengers, is not something to mess around with for the sake of saving a few dollars.
The cold winter months are extremely tough on vehicle batteries. While even a new battery can be affected by very cold weather if it is in good shape to begin with you’ll stand a better chance that it won’t fail you at seven o’clock on a freezing winter morning when you are trying to get to work.
You may also want to consider investing in a standalone portable battery charger if you don’t have one. Having jumper cables in the car is handy, but they are pretty useless if you are facing a dead battery situation and there isn’t another vehicle to be seen in miles!
Gas, Oil and Filters
Dirty oil can spell big trouble in the winter, so now is also a good time to get an oil change, even if you don’t quite need one yet, and all of your other fluids and filters should be checked out at the same time. And when it comes to gas, try never to let your fuel gauge fall below half a tank in the winter, to prevent gas lines from becoming filled with moisture and freezing.
Finally, make sure that you have a basic winter emergency kit ready to go in your trunk. At a minimum this should consist of a shovel (for snow), sand or ashes (for getting a better grip if you get stuck on ice) an ice scraper, a snow brush, blankets and a small stock of non-perishable food, a basic first aid kit and the number of a good local tow company, just in case.
Visit our Contact Us page to find out how and where to reach us.
We can also give you a free online estimate. Click here to give us the details of your car repair needs.
We work with all insurance companies and we can guarantee the quality of our work every time.