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Fall Car Care
Fall Car Care Tips
Regular, routine maintenance can help improve your gasoline mileage, reduce pollution, and catch minor problems before they become big headaches.
Battery — The only accurate way to detect a weak battery is with professional equipment. Routine care: Scrape away corrosion from posts and cable connections; clean all surfaces; re-tighten all connections. If battery caps are removable, check fluid level monthly. A word of caution: Removal of cables can cause damage or loss of data/codes on some newer vehicles. Check your manual. Be sure to avoid contact with corrosive deposits and battery acid. Wear eye protection and rubber gloves.
Lights — Inspect all lights and bulbs; replace burned out bulbs; periodically clean road grime from all lenses. To prevent scratching, never use a dry rag.
Exhaust System — Your vehicle should be placed on a lift and the exhaust system examined for leaks. The trunk and floorboards should be inspected for small holes. Exhaust fumes can be deadly.
Tires — Worn tires will be of little use in winter weather. Examine tires for remaining tread life, uneven wearing, and cupping; check the sidewalls for cuts and nicks. Check tire pressure once a month. Let the tires “cool down” before checking the pressure. Rotate as recommended. Don’t forget your spare, and be sure the jack is in good condition. Under-inflated tires or poorly aligned wheels makes your engine work harder and thus use excess gasoline. Also have your brakes checked periodically for safety and to prevent costly repairs that can be caused by neglect.
Transmission — Often neglected until a major failure, routine checks and fluid changes at prescribed intervals can prevent very costly repairs down the line.
Emergencies — Carry gloves, boots, blankets, flares, a small shovel, sand or kitty litter, tire chains, a flashlight, and a cell phone. Put a few “high-energy” snacks in your glove box.