Live in Oklahoma? Here’s Your Fall Maintenance Checklist
Car maintenance is one of those chores that you have to do if you have a car. If you don’t, you’ll ultimately end up carless (if not permanently, at least for a few days while it recovers in the shop).
Chances are many of you reading this found this out the hard way when you were a greener car owner – maybe you let your tires get a little too worn down, or perhaps you neglected to change the air filter and noticed your car acting progressively worse. And while we all probably claim to know about the need for oil changes, even some of you likely let the oil go in an old car and had some serious issues down the line.
Whatever the case, if you’re here now you’re past the point of letting your car go over time. You’re committed to keeping your car road-ready and like new, and you know that starts with regular maintenance. But did you know that for your safety and the safety of your car, there are seasonal tune-ups you should do? Some of these are things you can do yourself, while others are things you will need to trust a trained mechanic to do.
At Zeck Chevy in Oklahoma, we’re committed to keeping your car on the road.
Here are some of our top car maintenance tricks for this time of year.
1. Check Your Fluids
As well as making sure that your oil is topped off and running clear, make sure your other fluids are doing well. If it has been a while since your last fluid flush, check with your mechanic. They will be able to tell if your car is ready for a fluid exchange, and it is much easier and cheaper to get this done before it gets too cold.
2. Change Out Your Wiper Blades
Fall tends to be a bit rainier, and it only leads up to cloudier and more drizzly weather. Having dull wiper blades on your vehicle is dangerous, and can really let you down when you’re least expecting it. Wiper blades should be changed twice a year, and if you haven’t changed yours yet this year – now is the time. To extend the life of your wiper blades, make sure to thoroughly clean your windshield each time you stop to get gas.
3. Check and Rotate Your Tires
Tires are what connects your car to the road. We’re all aware of the dangers of balding tires, but did you know that the way tire tread wears can sometimes indicate that there is more wrong with your car than just regular wear and tear? Tread wear can denote alignment issues, tire pressure issues, and more. To make sure that you’re on top of all the problems in your car, check the tire pressure regularly. You can purchase a tire pressure gauge at any automotive store, and your tire should indicate the optimal weight for your tires.
4. Clean Your Battery
Cleaning your battery doesn’t take much effort, and it will prevent breakdowns during nasty fall weather. Ensuring the car is off, take the battery cables off the battery. Clean them using a baking soda paste or a battery terminal cleaner, and rinse them clean. Making sure they are dry, apply a lubricant like vaseline to the terminal. Reattach your cables, and your battery should be good as new!
5. Clean Out & Detail Your Car Interior
Car interiors might not seem like a huge deal, but they are essential to the resale value of the car. Once a year, take your vehicle in to get its interior detailed. Not only will it extend the life of your vehicle and make your ride more comfortable, but it will improve the air quality. If you spend a lot of time in your car, this is very important and could help you fend off colds and allergies. Cleaning out your car (including washing the windshield) also helps increase visibility and keeps your focus on the road.
6. Check the Heat Before it Gets Too Cold
Many of us have been in a situation where we’re running a bit late for work in the morning but come to find a ton of frost on our windshield. Forget getting to work on time if your defrost isn’t working.
Checking the heat should happen before it starts to get too cold. If you wait for too long, you’ll wind up on a waitlist of people who also didn’t check their heat before it was too late.
7. Give Your Exterior Some Attention
Often, the exterior of our cars goes woefully unnoticed. Forgetting to wash your car is not as innocuous as it might seem, however. When dirt, bugs, and other airborne pollutants make contact with your vehicle, it can ultimately take a toll on the resale value of the car, as well as the paint overall. After a buggy summer, we highly recommend washing your car and giving it a wax to prevent any lasting damage to the paint. Additionally, check the exterior of the vehicle for any dings or dents that have broken through the paint. This ultimately can cause moisture to reach the body of the car and will require extensive work to fix. Get these little dings and nicks touched up before the snow flies and your car (and wallet) will thank you.
8. Get Your Brakes Serviced
Brakes are critical and should be tested at least once a year, if not more. Pay attention to your mileage and make sure that you are getting your brake pads and shoes replaced, your brake rotors replaced, your brake calipers replaced, and your brake fluids flushed as often as your car’s manual suggests.
9. Make Sure You Have Emergency Supplies in Your Car
Finally, it’s crucial that when you’re considering these maintenance tips, you don’t forget about keeping yourself safe. Every car should have a vehicle emergency kit with flares, roadside cones, and jumper cables. We’d also recommend the following:
- A blanket
- A quart of motor oil
- A gallon of coolant
- A flashlight
- A fully-stocked first aid kit
- Extra washer fluid
- An ice scraper
- A spare tire
- A tool kit
- A tire patch kit
- Chains for your tires (if you live somewhere where snow happens)
- Extra water if you get stranded
- Granola bars/energy bars
- Pen and paper, in case of emergency
Get these things in your car before driving becomes dangerous in winter. It’s always better safe than sorry.