Do It Yourself Car Maintenance: Fall Auto Maintenance Checklist
The weather is changing and summer is slowly turning into fall. This means that it time to give your car a comprehensive check in time before you head into winter in a few months. This way, by doing it now your car as well as you will be safe and sound when the colder months roll around.
Follow this fall auto maintenance checklist to be properly prepared!
- Tires – Make sure that your tires are properly inflated. Any gas station has air pumps to fill them more if they are not. Check the tread on your tires as well. If they are low, get new tires before winter starts as it can be extremely dangerous to drive with bald tires in the winter.
- Battery – Check your car battery with a voltmeter. If you don’t own one or know how to use one, usually your local car maintenance shop will check your battery for free.
- Oil – Check your oil. You can do this by turning your car off and lifting the hood. Take out the oil dipstick and wipe it clean. Inset the dipstick back into its tube all the way. Take it out and check the level at which it hits the stick. If it is low, fill more oil into your car, making sure that you choose the right oil.
- Engine coolant – Check your coolant reservoir to see if it is up to the full line. Add coolant if not. While it might seem weird that you need coolant in the winter when it is already cold, it isn’t! Your engine can heat up any time of the year.
- Windshield wipers – Check your windshield wipers. You will usually know if you need new ones when you turn them on and there is streaking left on your window or if they make a weird noise. If new ones are needed, buy the correct size, remove the old wiper, line up the new wiper blade correctly, and pull it on tight. There is a more detailed description on how to install here. Also, make sure that your windshield wiper fluid is full.
- Belts and hoses – Check all of your belts and hoses. Do this by looking for splits or cracks on the top cover, glazing on the sides, or missing groves, etc.
- Emergency kit – Auto maintenance isn't always enough. Sometimes situations happen where you still might find yourself in a place you don't want to be. Always keep an emergency kit on hand in your car. Especially in winter months, it isn’t fun to be stranded without all the tools and items that you need. If you don’t have one, make one just in case and store it in your trunk. Items should include energy bars, sports drinks, non-perishable snacks, water, flashlight, extra batteries, blanket or sleeping bag, duct tape, knife, light sticks, first aid kit, some cash, jumper cables, tire gauge, and an windshield ice scraper. You will be happy the next time you need one of these things that you decided to take the time to pack them!
While this auto maintenance checklist is a great way to make sure your car is running and ready to go, it is also important to take it to an auto shop occasionally for a full check and tune up.