Basic Fall Car Care Tips Ensures Reliability.
It is important to complete basic car care and maintenance in the fall before the temperatures start to really drop. Although the temperatures in the Arizona winter are mild compared to many other areas, it is still a drastic change for your vehicle. This simple task can prevent emergency repairs during the winter or stressful breakdowns that can leave you stranded in colder weather.
Heaters, wipers and lights are vital systems in the coming months.
- Make sure your car’s heater is operating properly before you are caught out in a cold.
- Defrosters are also important as they help keep the windshield clear during storms and cold weather. A failure in the defrosters can make it difficult or impossible to drive when cold weather, or during a storm as visibility cannot be maintained.
- Wipers are equally important and for similar reasons. Wipers remove debris, water, and snow from the windshield so that you can maintain a clear view of the road and potential obstacles. If the wipers are unable to remove snow from the windshield and instead leave streaks of debris behind, they are not helping you maintain a clear view of the road, other vehicles, and potential hazards.
- If visiting the snow there are wipers available that are called winter wipers. This type of wiper wraps the frame in rubber to reduce the buildup of snow and ice on the wipers. These can be beneficial in areas that experience significant and frequent snowfalls.
- Washer fluid should also be filled with a winter cleaning solution. These solutions contain a form of antifreeze to prevent them from freezing when applied to the windshield. (Yes in Arizona they can freeze up)
- Headlights, taillights, brake lights, turn signals and emergency lights should all be checked. During storms and other harsh weather, these lights are often the only thing that can be seen by other drivers. In addition to this the headlights improve your ability to see during storms and drive safely.
Tires and brakes also require special attention during this season.
- The tread depth and pressure should be checked on all tires. The spare tire should also be checked so that it is ready in case one of the others becomes damaged. The tread and tire pressure affect the ability of the tires to grip the road, particularly during snowy, slick, and wet conditions. If the tire wear appears to be uneven this can be indicative of alignment, balance, or suspension issues that should be addressed to avoid further damage and improve the control that you have of the vehicle.
- The tire pressure is important to monitor biweekly because tire pressure drops as the temperature decreases.
- Brakes also need to be checked as the colder wet conditions of winter commonly result in more use of the brakes then in other months. If the brakes are already worn down it is possible that they will not respond to braking as well as they should which could result in an accident during these months.
Filters, gas, and oil should also be maintained at special levels in preparation for winter.
- It is typically best to keep the gas tank at least half full for the duration of the cold winter season. By keeping the gas tank at least half full you help prevent the formation of moisture in the gas lines which can lead to freezing and costly damage.
- The oil and filters should also be changed at recommended times. In colder areas it is sometimes necessary to use a lighter weight oil for quicker and more efficient lubrication.
- It is useful to check the air, fuel, and cabin filters at the same time so that one is not overlooked. This also makes it easier to remember when these filters were last changed. If light can be seen through a filter when it is held up to light then it is still able to work effectively. If light is completely blocked the filter needs to be replaced.
This is also a prime time to check charging, cooling and exhaust systems.
- Cold engines are harder to start, so your vehicle battery needs to be checked as well as the charging systems. Make sure that the terminals and cable ends of the battery are not covered in corrosion and that the connections are tight.
- The cooling system should be cleaned and have new antifreeze added. This is typically required at least every two years or 30,000 miles. The hoses should also be examined for any cracks, leaks, or loose connections. If a hose appears to be loose or brittle it should be replaced.
- This is also a crucial time to check the exhaust system for any cracks or damage that can result in carbon monoxide leaks. These leaks are dangerous during every season but are more hazardous in the colder months when the vehicles are often sealed more thoroughly and the windows are never down. The lack of outside air entering the vehicle makes these leaks more dangerous.
Check the vehicle for essential and emergency items
- If you plan on visiting Flagstaff or other northern areas, ice scrapers and snow brushes are essential items during these months and should be readily available in every vehicle.
- An emergency kit containing jumper cables, blankets, bottled water, extra clothes, and nonperishable food as well as a flashlight, first aid kit, and any essential medications should be assembled in each vehicle. In the event of a breakdown or potential stranding kits such as this can make it easier to survive cold and hazardous weather until help can arrive.
Fall is a great time to perform basic vehicle maintenance. The cold months to come are stressful on a number of systems that are vital to the operation of your motor vehicle and a few minutes to check these systems in the fall can prevent the need for expensive emergency repair during winter. This preventative maintenance can also improve your ability to safely operate the vehicle during the weather conditions that are common in winter as well as help you avoid stranding and breakdown events that can be stressful and terrifying during poor weather. These events are especially frightening if the emergency kit is not present in the vehicle and the motorist is left largely unprepared.
Call ToyoMotors 602-971-8137 today to schedule your vehicle’s Fall Car Care Inspection.