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Seven transitional car care tasks for the fall

Helpful tips from Don’s Pro Tech Automotive

Just like spring, fall provides a welcome transition between the significant temperature variations during summer and winter. Temperature extremes are tough on any vehicle, affecting the way it starts and operates. Now is the time to have your mechanic prepare your car for colder weather by completing the following transitional car care tasks.

Start with the lights

Late model cars have more lights included than ever. There is a chance one or more bulbs has burned out since the car was last inspected. Check the interior lights in addition to certain exterior lights, including the headlamps, turn signals and brake lights. Many of your vehicle’s bulbs are fairly easy to replace.

Inspect the tires

Tires should be rotated on a schedule as outlined in the owner’s manual. Each tire will be inspected for wear – if the tread wear indicators are showing, the tires should be replaced in pairs or in sets to ensure even wear. If replacing only two tires, the new set always mounts to the rear axle. According to Tire Review, new tires should always go in the back because the rear tires provide the vehicle stability, and if they have little tread, then stability is lost. Make sure your mechanic has checked the condition of your spare and also ensures equipment for changing a tire is in place.

Replace worn wiper blades

Wiper blades are prone to streaking or hazing when it rains or snows. If you’re having difficulty seeing the road, it’s time for new ones.

Examine your brakes

Excessive brake dust on your wheels is one sign your brake pads are worn and need replacement. Another sign is squealing brakes. Alert your mechanic if you hear any noises that are out of the ordinary. Your brakes should be inspected with every oil change and tire rotation.

Lift the hood

Check all fluids to verify sufficient levels and cleanliness. Change the motor oil and oil filter as needed – likewise with the transmission and brake fluids.

Make sure your mechanic inspects the cooling system during the complimentary inspection which is conducted when your vehicle’s oil and filter is serviced. If the hoses are cracked, swollen or dry, replace as needed. The coolant system is also flushed at regular intervals per your owner’s manual recommendations.

Test the battery

Check the battery. Your car’s battery supplies electric energy to your vehicle. When it’s working, your car will start, enabling you to drive. However, during a cold snap, your battery may not turn over, especially if it’s on the older side. A poorly functioning battery can harm your car’s charging system or starter, further exacerbating a problem. Proactively testing it (or making sure your mechanic does) twice a year will help reduce your chances of failure. When your vehicle is not running, fully charged automotive batteries should measure at 12.6 volts or above. When the engine is running, this measurement should be 13.7 to 14.7 volts. Your mechanic typically does this with a multimeter. Also request that your mechanic verify that the connections and cables are clean and tight and replace as needed.

Finish with the heater and defroster

Crank up the heater to ensure a blast of warm air is flowing through the vents. Set the system on defrost to confirm whether the windows are receiving enough air to be cleared. If the front defroster isn’t working there could be any number of problems present, including a stuck button, a blocked fresh air intake or vent, insufficient anti-freeze, a faulty thermostat or a defective heater core. Separately, check the rear defroster – if it isn’t working, then the grid or tabs may have broken or a fuse may need replacement.

Get ready for winter

Once your mechanic has completed these seven transitional car care tasks, you have one final matter to handle: the condition of your car’s emergency kit. Verify that everything is present, including jumper cables, flares, tools and replenish individual items as needed.

Have your oil change and fall safety inspection handled by one of the knowledgeable mechanics at Don’s Pro Technology Automotive Repair. To make an appointment or chat with one of the knowledgeable service advisors or technicians at Don’s Pro Technology Automotive Repair, visit the shop at 230 E. Tehachapi Blvd. or call (661) 822-1600.