Now that November is finally here, it’s time to pull your hands from over your eyes and come to terms with the one thing we don’t all don’t want to admit: Winter is just around the corner.
(Sidenote: can we all stop saying “Winter is coming?” It’s been seven years, guys, let it die. Just like Ned.)
But the upshot of November is that it’s still technically Fall. Which means you still have some time to get in a few last, but incredibly important, do-it-yourself services that will go a long way towards protecting your investment until Spring. If you can’t do them yourself, simply book a service appointment at your nearest Go Auto location.
Without further ado, here are 10 annual Fall Car Maintenance Tips. They’re quick, fairly easy, and best of all, inexpensive.
Easy Fall Car Maintenance Tips
1. Replace Your Wiper Blades. We all want our blades to last longer than they do. But, inevitably, they wear down, crack, and are rendered useless. Heavy rain and snow are on the way, so check your blades to make sure they’re flexible and still able to clean your windshield. If they’re not, or if they don’t, replace your blades with new ones. Luckily, blades are pretty inexpensive, and you can get a decent set for $30 or $40.
2. Test Your Heater/Defroster. Now is the perfect time to do this. Temperatures have started dropping in Edmonton, and there have even been a few frost-filled mornings. When this happens, check to see how well your car is defrosting itself. Check to see how much heat you’re getting. If it’s taking too long, consider getting your heater and defroster systems repaired. You’ll thank yourself in January.
3. Change Your Oil. If you’re at your recommended oil change time (check your owner’s manual), change your oil. If your oil is looking dirty, change your oil (see below for an example). Without the proper amount of engine oil, your engine will start to break down and cause you untold problems in the future. And those repairs are expensive as hell.
A Few Simple Checks
4. Check Your Brakes and Tires. This one is a no-brainer, right? Right? Your tires and brakes are two of the most important parts of your vehicle, but we’re all guilty of taking them for granted. Please, please don’t. Check your stopping power. Check to see how your car stops in rainy weather. Do your tires have noticeable wear? How’s your tire pressure? Luckily, most dealerships will inspect your brakes and tires free of charge.
5. Check Your Lights. This one’s easy. Just walk around your vehicle with your lights turned on. Check the headlights, taillights, parking lights, brake lights, and emergency flashers. If there are any broken bulbs, simply replace them at your dealership. If they are all in working order, make sure your lights are clean. Have you complained about poor visibility in the past? Check to see if you have sealed-beam headlamps. If so, you might want to consider switching those out for halogen lamps. Your visibility will be instantly improved, and you’ll feel a lot safer during those Fall/Winter storms.
6. Check Your Air Filter. If you know how to check your own air filter, here’s an easy way to test whether or not you need to replace it. Simply place it in front of a 60-watt bulb. If you can’t see through the filter, it’s time to replace it. If you’re not sure how to remove your air filter, just book an appointment and have a trained and certified tech do it for you. It’s an inexpensive service.
Under The Hood Maintenance
7. Have Your Battery Checked. It’s about to get cold. So much colder than you even remember. So cold that you’ll hate your life, your city, and the fact that you chose a job that makes you ever leave your house. Make sure your car will be able to start throughout the oncoming winter. If not, you’re about to suffer more than you’re comfortable with. Get a tech to check your battery for you, and if necessary, replace it. This is about more than just a dying battery. Many batteries are corroded, many have loose cable connections. You won’t know these things until it’s too late. Get them checked now, while you still can.
8. Check Your Fluids. Check your washer fluid, transmission fluid, brake fluid, and power steering fluid. Have them topped up if they’re not at or above minimum safety requirements.
9. Refill Your Cooling System. Check your coolant level in the overflow tank when your engine is COLD. Please keep that in mind. If the level is low, add a 50/50 combination of water and coolant. If your car is a bit older, it might even be necessary to refill the cooling system.
10. Check Under Your Hood. Check for any obvious signs of wear, or anything that looks like it might need replacing. This means checking for cracks, leaks, or anything that’s loose. Squeeze your hoses: if they are spongy or brittle, they need to be replaced. Check your belts for signs of fraying. Are there strange noises while you’re driving? Any sputtering? If this is all a bit intimidating, take it to a licensed mechanic to make sure you’re A-OK this fall and winter in Edmonton.