Fall is finally here, and the cooling temperatures make the upcoming weeks a perfect time to give your ride a once-over in preparation for the first frosty forecast. October is Fall Car Care Month, and our experts at Caliber Collision have polished up a few maintenance tips to prep your ride for the unpredictable autumn weather. While temperatures are mild, try adding these small steps into your routine to save time and money down the road.
Rehydrate your Ride
Your car worked hard all summer, and we recommend first replenishing your vehicle’s fluids. When temperatures inevitably drop, liquids under the hood can thicken and move less efficiently through the engine. An oil change should be first on your list of maintenance to-dos, followed by checking your coolant. “Coolant” actually goes by another name: antifreeze – a vital part of any vehicle’s defense against winter weather. Your coolant is typically diluted with more water during the warmer months and will be less effective in cold weather. A maintenance professional should be able to conveniently check and replace these fluids and more in one fell swoop.
Stay Current on your Battery
Cold weather is notorious for the toll it takes on car batteries, but summer heat is the true culprit in most cases. High temperatures quicken the corrosion of internal cathode plates and vaporize the power-generating electrolytes. Car batteries typically go dead during the winter because of the added tax it creates in their already-weakened state. Nip the problem in the bud and take your car in to get professionally tested. But our do-it-yourself readers can do routine maintenance, like scraping away corrosion from posts and cable connections. Be sure to avoid direct contact with corrosion by always wearing eye protection and rubber gloves.
Don’t Tread Lightly
With icy roads on the horizon, your tires’ tread level is one thing you shouldn’t let slide. Luckily, there’s an incredibly easy way to gauge your tread: the penny test. Put a penny in your tire tread grooves with the top of Lincoln’s head facing down. If your tread doesn’t reach his head, then it’s time to replace that tire. Even with safe tread levels, cold weather can be hazardous because of reduced air pressure in your tires (you lose about 1 psi for every 10 degrees dropped). Keep an eye on your tire pressure before and after cold fronts so you can stay in the know and on the road this fall.
They may be small, but wiper blades make a world of difference when inclement weather kicks up. A smeared windshield due to a cracked or torn wiper blade is as frustrating as it is hazardous, and you can avoid it by getting into the habit of replacing your own every 6–8 months. If you live in a harsher climate, opt for rubber-clad blades to better combat ice buildup. As a final precaution, be sure to stock up on windshield washer solvent – your best solution to clearing the unforeseen ice and mud splashes that are sure to come.
In cold temperatures, even the smallest problems can snowball. Jack Frost isn’t known for playing fair on the road, and the right collision repair partner can help keep frosty mishaps from putting your ride on ice. No matter the season, our collision repair experts are always fired up to melt any obstacle when it comes to Restoring the Rhythm of Your Life®. As America's largest collision repair provider, we’ll make sure both you and your ride get back on the road in time to experience the season at its best.