I don’t want to be the bearer of bad news here, but I am sad to inform everyone that summer is quickly coming to an end. That’s right, as the days grow shorter and kids prepare to go back to school, fall is just around the corner. The change of season is the perfect time to put on your favourite sweater, drink a pumpkin spice latte, and show your car a little love with some maintenance.
Following these tips can help assure safe travels for you and everyone else on the road.
Check your brakes and tires
Whether you like it or not, living on the Island = rain. Rain causes the roads to get slick due to oil from a hot summer; this means the need to be able to stop on the drop of a dime is essential for avoiding accidents. When wear bars start to show, it’s time to give your tires a change. Checking the tire pressure is also a good idea since tire pressure drops when temperatures become cooler.
Check your lights
Having functional lights is crucial. For this reason, it is a good idea to give your car a walk around to triple check that all your lights are operational. Headlights, taillights, parking lights, brake lights, and emergency flashers all need to be in working order. If they’re not, it’s time to get them replaced.
Replace wiper blades
While you may have forgotten about Vancouver Island’s rainy days, I assure you they are coming. If your wiper blades are cracked or worn they won’t be able to do their job and you won’t be able to see (yikes). Checking the blade’s rubber and operating them to see that they clear the glass is a good idea.
Get your battery checked
Your battery needs to be in tip-top shape if you want to be able to start your car on cooler mornings. Having it inspected by a certified technician who can replace if it need be is a smart idea before hitting the roads this fall.
Pop open the hood
Be sure to take a look under your hood for any signs of wear and tear. Things such as leaks, cracks, loose clamps, or fraying on the underside of drive belts need to be noted and replaced. The sound that your engine is making is also a good indication. Sputtering or other engine problems mean it’s time to take it to a trained mechanic for a thorough inspection.
Assure that your heater/defroster are in proper working condition
Operating a vehicle with a malfunctioning heater isn’t safe (or warm). Fogged-up windows = potential accidents. Also, check the front and rear window defrosters to ensure proper working condition.
Check oil/air filters
Check the oil in your car to ensure it isn’t dirty. If it is, or you are at your recommended oil change time, make sure to take it in. Checking the air filter is also a must to make sure that it is clean enough to allow for proper operation.
Check all fluid levels
Note the car’s level of washer fluid, transmission, brake, and power steering fluids and your cooling system. It is recommended that you check your coolant level in the overflow tank when the engine is cold. If the level turns out to be too low, adding a 50/50 solution of water and coolant will allow proper antifreeze function. It may also be necessary to refill the cooling system.