Madison, WI,
01
August
2014
|
12:30 AM
America/Chicago

Don't ‘Fall’ Behind on Car Maintenance

Keep your car running at its best.

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Fall marks the change in seasons as summer’s heat and humidity give way to inspiring colors and crisp air. Fall also signals winter is just around the corner, meaning it's time to give your car a little extra attention to keep it running safely and at peak efficiency.

Maintaining your car properly does more than keep it running smoothly. It saves money by giving you the best possible fuel economy, and it could prevent costly repairs down the road. No matter how old your car is, give it the scheduled maintenance it was designed to receive. Always check your owner’s manual for scheduled fluid changes, tune-ups, etc.

What you can do

Here are some simple maintenance items you can do yourself.

  • Check tire pressure and inflate to manufacturers specifications. For every 10-degree change in temperature, your tires will gain or lose one PSI. Improperly inflated tires wear out faster and cause your car to use more gas. Also look for excessive wear, nicks or cuts, and make sure the spare and jack are in good condition.
  • Replace worn windshield wiper blades.
  • Fill your windshield washer reservoir with a winter-grade solvent.
  • Replace a dirty air filter.
  • Check lights and turn signals. Replace any bulbs that are burned out.
  • Check your radiator and hoses for cracks or leaks. A greenish-yellow wet spot under your car is also a sign of a leak.
  • Listen to your engine for problems like hard starting and rough idling. Take your car to a mechanic to have any engine problems diagnosed and repaired.
  • Check the brake-fluid reservoir. If the level is low, top it off with brake fluid designed for your car.
  • Look for excess wear, thinning or cracking in belts.

If you’re not comfortable doing these checks, have a trusted mechanic do them for you.

What your mechanic can do

In addition to inspections you can do, have a trained mechanic inspect and repair the more complex, difficult or hard to repair components of your car.

  • Change oil according to the manufacturer’s specifications.
  • Replace worn or damaged tires.
  • Replace dirty fuel, oil and PCV filters.
  • Test the battery to make sure it will start your car in cold weather. Replace a weak battery.
  • Get a tune-up as outlined in your owner’s manual.
  • Examine your brakes.
  • Inspect shock absorbers and struts to improve vehicle handling, extend tire life, and improve ride control and comfort for the driver.

Most of these items can be handled quickly and easily. If checking out your car isn’t your thing, a trusted mechanic or dealership can do these services for a nominal cost.

Check out these related resources:

Pack an Emergency Kit

Tire Care

Winter Driving Tips