Autumn is here and the days are beginning to get shorter, the nights longer and the mercury takes a dip. Before the weather gets too nasty, it’s a good idea to get a few routine car maintenance tasks done so your vehicle will be ready for the coming winter weather.
To be sure you don’t forget anything important, like having your radiator flushed, it’s a good idea to set up a car maintenance schedule to handle the more difficult tasks you can’t, or don’t want to, do yourself.
In the meantime, here are five simple Autumn car care tips you can do yourself to get your car ready for winter:
1) Check your battery
Many seemingly-serious electrical and ignition problems are caused by bad battery connections. If your car is experiencing electrical problems, before you go and do a car search for a new vehicle, inspect the battery for a white fungus-looking growth on the battery posts or cable terminals. If present, mix two tablespoons of baking soap in a cup of lukewarm water, apply the solution to the terminals with a wire brush and scrub lightly. Once clean, try to wiggle the terminals; if there is any movement loosen the terminal bolts with wrench and repeat the cleaning process. Replace the terminals and tighten until snug.
2) Air filters
At a minimum, your air filters should be replaced every six months, before they reach the point where the lack of oxygen reaching your engine causes a drop in fuel economy and performance. Fortunately, replacing your engine’s air filters is a simple job you can do without tools and replacement filters costs only a few dollars. Consult your owner’s manual for instructions.
3) Wiper blades
One of the best Autumn season safety tips is to replace your wiper blades. Once the weather changes, and stopping distances increase, it is oh-so important to be sure you can see clearly. If you live in part of Australia that experiences heavy snowfall, it is cheap insurance to invest in a pair of “winter” blades, which have a specially-designed boot that prevents snow and ice from building on the blade. Don’t neglect this easy task, as you generally use your wipers much more during the Autumn and winter.
Before Winter starts it’s always good to perform a quick inspection of your tyres to see if you need a new set, or if your current ones will make it a while longer. Tyres are ready to be replaced when the tread has worn down to 1.6mm, and it is easy to know when that is by checking the “wear bars.” These indicators are narrow strips of smooth rubber running across the width of the tyre. The wear bars don’t show until the tyre has reached the end of its life.
5) Headlights and tail lights
Visually inspect your lights for any cracks in the lenses and burned out bulbs. If you find any out, car lights are typically easy to replace, without tools, by following the instructions in your vehicle owner’s manual. You can easily and professionally clean cloudy lenses yourself with one of several off-the-shelf cleaning kits.
Do you have any other tips to add to this list? Please share in the comments below.
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