Five Fall Car Care Tips to Do Now

Not many people actually take on a special spring cleaning project anymore but in the past, that was a convenient time to do those once a year home maintenance items. The fall is the perfect time to not only prepare for rough winter months but to also give your car a little love and attention. It works hard for you all year and needs some routine maintenance in order to continue working well for years to come.

During the fall season, car dealerships and oil change facilities advertise special pricing for many of these items so keep your eye on the local newspaper for great deals on these car care tips.

The Tires

Winter isn’t a good time to have bald tires. If they’re completely worn out or don’t have a lot of tread left, it’s time to replace them. If they look good, have your tires rotated to extend their life. If you have to replace your tires, replace all four because your tires are only as good as the worst one.

Coolant/Antifreeze

We don’t put a lot of thought in to that odd smelling green stuff that cools our engines but over time it gets dirty and inefficient eventually damaging critical systems.  Ideally, your radiator should be flushed and refilled with fresh coolant once per year but most of us don’t do that. How long has it been since you’ve flushed your radiator? You might want to get that done with your next oil change.

Windshield Wipers

 If they aren’t doing a good job with rain, they’re definitely not going to do well with sleet, snow, salt, and dirt. An all-purpose wiper will normally do the job but for those living in regions with an extra helping of winter, buy a higher priced winter wiper.

Also don’t forget your washer fluid. The cheap, summer mixture will freeze just when you need it most so buy the higher quality washer fluid. Even better, purchase the winter mix that is guaranteed not to freeze.

Engine

Does your engine sound strange? Does it sound like something has taken up residence in your engine? If it’s bad in the summer it’s going to get worse in the winter and that’s not the time to break down. Get it checked out now. Also make sure to change all of the filters and make sure your oil is new.

Fuel

For those in a place where winter is quite the formidable foe, pour a bottle of fuel deicer in the tank one per month to keep moisture from freezing in your fuel line. If you have ever had to pay to repair a frozen fuel line you know that the small expense of a de-icing agent now can save you a lot of money later.

Bottom Line

The problem with maintenance is that we pay money and what we get back is the same thing that we had before. Our car isn’t any more luxurious with a new air filter but we’re stuck paying the bill. Much like insurance, we pay for maintenance because we know that in the end, it will save us a lot of money by making our car last longer. Stomp around and be mad for a minute but then head out and get all of  these car care tips taken care of.

Written by Tom Drake

Tom Drake is the owner and head writer of Canadian Finance Blog. While you’re here, consider signing up for the RSS feed or email subscription. Both deliver the latest articles directly to you everyday! Have a Twitter account? Then follow me for all the latest posts or to send me any comments or questions!

15 Responses to Five Fall Car Care Tips to Do Now

  1. Just took my car in last night because I need 2 new tires. One of them was leaking air slowly and I didn’t want to get stranded.

  2. Bill says:

    A few thoughts:

    1. When was the last time you replaced your battery? 5 years is probably an average lifespan. Think about having a load test done or replacing it.

    2. Most drivers should be capable of doing basic maintenance themselves. I changed my coolant on the weekend and was surprised how straightforward it was. $20 in supplies and I saved $100. Oil changes, wiper blades, battery are all within the capacity of someone who wants to do it (physical limitations notwithstanding). Google your car and DIY and you will probably find a step by step guide on how to do it.

    3. Winter tires can save you money. For a small investment you get the security of knowing you will probably avoid a fender bender (or worse). Even a small dent can save you the cost of the tires and the rims. Swap them yourself to save even more.

  3. I always try to do one last wash/wax before the long winter as well. Waxing has a small effect on mileage (reducing drag), but also really helps your paint job last which can be a huge expense. Plus, it really sucks to wash a car in the cold weather!

  4. Krantcents says:

    Maintenance is important because I want to make sure that my car will start and run when I need it.

  5. UltimateSmartMoney says:

    You can also use RainX if you don’t feel like changing your old windshield wipers. It helps!

    Regarding your car making a strange sound, my advice is also have it checked out immediately. If you leave it alone, the problem will eventually be much bigger and your engine will not start. Rule of thumb… Don’t ignore those odd sound.

  6. One really simple thing I’ve been slacking on is getting my oil changed. But I will make sure everything listed is checked, including my coolant/antifreeze. It was a pretty warm summer; want to make sure I don’t freeze in the winter.

  7. Evan says:

    I would add having your brakes checked out as to avoid running through your rotors.

  8. Andrea says:

    This is great information, I usually get an oil change every three months, but I will definitely prepare my car with some of the other things on the list before with winter gets here.

  9. mabu says:

    The interior are as essential as all the tips highlighted in case any of them failed you can be comfortable without the interuption of the wealther while help is sort.

  10. Glenn Cooke says:

    I’m surprised at how many people drive with crappy windshield wipers. A $15 part, and it makes such a huge difference.

    Now’s the time to buy rims if you’re planning on putting winter tires. Wait another month or two, and they can get sold out.

    And if you live where there’s snow, you’re almost crazy not to put on winter tires. And by winter tires – that means ICE tires, not M+S. The whole tire rating system is bizarre and inpenetrable to consumers (even defining winter tires), but it boils down to for most of us, ice tires are it. And they’re cheaper than paying for insurance when you sideswipe someone because you’re riding on all season tires.

    And this article makes me want to put studded tires (illegal only in ontario) on my family’s car:
    http://www.cbc.ca/marketplace/pre-2007/files/cars/tires/tirestud.html

  11. Potato says:

    Have you ever heard of anyone within the last ~10 years who had a fuel line freeze? Between ethanol additives and the antifreeze included by almost all winter gas blends, it’s just not something you need to worry about these days (unless you’ve got a summer sports car that has a tank of premium summer gas that’ll sit there all winter).

    Also, where did you hear that coolant needs to be flushed every year? On my Hondas, the change interval was every 3 years, and on the newer cars, the coolant is good for 5+.

    Think I’ll go block the grill now too, and check on my battery.

    +1 to InsureCan: proper winter tires are a must in almost all parts of the country.

  12. Diedra B says:

    I think I’ll also finally get a shovel for my trunk. And a blanket. I live just outside NYC but we have been having snowier winters and I’d like to be prepared if I get stuck somewhere.

  13. Motorolie says:

    Good and interesting post – thank you.

  14. Jasmine @ Volkswagen Norwich says:

    Car owners have to be very responsible with their car maintenance because carelessness can sometimes lead to accidents. And as much as possible we have to avoid it!

  15. Mini Cooper Repair says:

    Yes fall is the best time to maintain your car for winter. Usually we neglect routine maintenance that causes many problems to the vehicle. Beginning from tires to engine each and every part must be checked.As Christmas is ahead so it is better to service your car so that you can enjoy the festival without any problem

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