With winter getting ready to place its frozen grip on every automobile, your ride needs to be checked out so that its ready for that inclement weather ahead.
While you should still bring it into your local dealer for a seasonal inspection, there's a few simple car maintenance projects that you can do yourself.1. Change the wiper blades
One of the most important, and most simple things to change on your vehicle are the wiper blades - both front and back, if applicable. It's been recommended that wipers should be replaced every fall because the ice and snow will only make a bad pair of wipers even worse. At a low cost, and with no tools required, it's something that won't take up a lot of your time, or money, to replace.
2. Check on that spare tire
The last thing anyone wants is to be stuck on the side of the road, in a blizzard, with a flat and no spare tire. So grab a tire pressure gauge, and make sure that spare is properly inflated (according to your vehicle's owner manual). With SUVs and pickup trucks, the spare is usually located underneath the vehicle on a cable - so before the snow starts to fall, lower it to make sure it works properly, and give it some rust penetrant like WD-40. If it's seized and not working, repair it as soon as possible.
3. Keep those fluids full
Windshield-washer fluid, among others, is one of the most important fluids to keep full during the winter months. Keep your vehicle full of the solvent, which can cost under $5 per gallon - depending on if it has antifreeze mixed in or not. Antifreeze is another important fluid to monitor. Typically less than $20, it goes into the coolant recovery reservoir - but be careful! Make sure to use the correct fluid, because green and orange antifreeze/coolant can't be mixed. Brake fluid is the other important one to check. At a price tag of under $30 per container, it's an important one to keep up with, especially if the brakes are getting worn down. If there's a big decrease, you might need to get it inspected because of a possible leak.
4. Replace the air filter
One of the more simpler things to replace, the engine air filter improves airflow, which helps the car's fuel economy, performance and emissions. While fairly inexpensive, it's recommended to replace them twice a year, with summer and winter being ideal times.
5. Check battery terminals and lights
Loose or corroded batter connections is the cause of many electrical and ignition problems. A brush will help get away the corrosion left on posts or cable connectors. Another thing to check out are the car's lights, because with the short days, they're going to be on a lot more than usual. Replacement bulbs are generally pretty inexpensive, but very necessary - especially with inclement weather
So whether you do it yourself, or take it in, make sure to get these fix-ups done to insure a safe ride for you and everyone else - both in the car, and on the road.
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