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Fall is officially in full swing, and this newfound cooler weather makes for the perfect time to get out and witness the leaves don their seasonal fiery reds and oranges. But, before you go, our experts at Caliber have raked up a list to make sure both you and your car are ready for the changing weather.

Under the Hood

First things first, we want to make sure there’s nothing out of the ordinary with your car’s inner workings. Cold weather can do a number on the things we count on most, like our battery. The only way to accurately measure a battery’s lifespan is with professional equipment, but for all the do-it-yourselfers out there, a quick once-over will do the trick in between tune-ups. Check for blue-white, powdery corrosion built up around the connectors and posts, and scrape what you can away, making sure to fasten your connectors back on securely.

Batteries aren’t the only juice that matters in the colder months though, which is why we recommend checking up on your oil and fluid levels. If your driving consists of frequent short commutes, an oil change should be your main priority roughly every 3,000 miles. As far as other fluids go, warm and cool temperatures will once again battle it out in these fall months, and your best defense is a well-maintained heating and cooling system. At your next oil change, ask your maintenance engineer to check your car’s antifreeze and freon levels to keep you in-the-know and out of the cold.

Eyes on the Road

It’s never until the first morning frost that you truly understand the importance of your windshield fluid and wipers. We recommend replacing those old blades ASAP, and for those of us living where winter runs a bit harsher, be sure to pick up rubber-clad blades to fight icy build up. Keeping your line of site clear not only keeps you safe, but keeps others on the road safe as well, especially when less-than-optimal driving conditions strike.

Next, your headlights take the spotlight. They’ll be guiding your way as the nights grow longer, so inspect them all, brake and signal lights included, making sure to replace any burned out bulbs. You’d also be surprised at how much road grime sticks to your lenses, especially with the salt and sand soon to hit roads when icy weather hits. It’s a bright idea to periodically wipe down your lenses with a moistened cloth, making sure to never use a dry rag to prevent scratching.

Don’t Tread Lightly

It goes without saying that tire care is important, but we can’t emphasize just how important it is in the colder months. Worn tires are even less useful in the winter, and can exacerbate existing problems like low tread, leaks, and low internal pressure. Measure your tire pressure when they’re “cold,” or haven’t been driven on in at least an hour, for an accurate reading. Tread is equally important, and can be easily tested with the Penny Method. Simply place a penny between the gap in tread, and if Honest Abe’s entire head is visible, then the truth is it might be time to trade out those tires.

Of course, we know accidents can happen no matter how much preparation you put in beforehand. Carrying a few key items, like a functioning tire jack, windshield scraper, flashlight and blankets will help offset whatever trouble may come your way. However, if the worst happens to befall your vehicle this fall, know that we’ll be right here for you with the expertise to restore the rhythm of your life.