Car Advice from Tommy…

Hi everyone. Where did summer go? We say the same thing every year. I just wanted to remind everyone October is Fall Car Care Month and here are some car care tips to keep you safe and happy this fall and early winter. Take a weekend afternoon to see if your car needs any of the following maintenance tasks performed.

Lights:   You need lights to see and be seen, especially when rain, snow and fog reduce visibility. Check that all lights are functional, including marker lights, turn signals, hazard lights, brake lights, reverse lights, taillights, headlights and fog lights. If your headlights are cloudy and don’t seem to be as bright as they were before now is a good time for headlight restoration or replacement.

Wipers:   A good guideline is to replace standard wiper blades every six months and constant pressure blades every 12 months, but they may wear sooner. Now is a good time to replace any wiper blades that streak, chatter or don’t clear the windshield properly. We usually have more rain in the fall because of hurricanes. Don’t forget to check the washer fluid level too.

Tires:   Don’t put the snow tires on yet, but check that your tires have at least 4/32 inches of tread depth remaining, Pennsylvania requires only 2/32 inches to pass safety inspection.  Rain and wet leaves reduce traction and can cause hydro planning with tires with low tread. Look for abnormal tread wear, which may indicate an alignment or suspension problem. Cooler weather also causes tire pressure to drop, so inflate tires to the pressure indicated on the tire and loading label on the driver’s door jamb.

Battery:   Hot summer weather is hard on batteries, but when it gets cold outside that is when a bad battery shows itself. First, look for corrosion on the battery terminals. This needs to be cleaned or repaired to eliminate resistance between the battery and the rest of the electrical system, such as the starter. Have the battery load-tested and replace it if it tests low or weak.

Air Conditioning:   I bet you didn’t know but your cars air conditioning runs during the winter. The air conditioning system is used for defogging the inside of the windshield and front windows. When the inside of the car gets wet from snow or rain the air conditioning system helps dry it out and rid the car of excess humidity.

Fluids and Belts:   Check and top all fluid levels, including engine oil, engine coolant, power-steering fluid and transmission fluid. Check and adjust V-belts and serpentine belts and replace if needed. These fluids do need to be periodically changed, but more on that later.

Cooling System:   Besides checking for coolant leaks, pay special attention to the pressure cap and the thermostat. True, you can’t see the thermostat, but you can watch the temperature gauge. Whether it’s hot or cold outside, the coolant gauge should steadily rise to the thermostat opening temperate. If the gauge doesn’t reach the midway point on the gauge, then it could indicate a broken thermostat. A bad radiator cap can also cause issues buy allowing the coolant/antifreeze to boil out of the cooling system.

If you are having trouble checking any of these items yourself just stop by or give us a call. We can help you stay out of trouble this fall.