Tackle These 6 Fall Car Care Tips Before Traveling

yellow leaves fallen on a white car windshieldSummer has come and gone. The kids are back in school. Each breeze seems to get colder and colder. Winter is on its way!

That means it’s Fall Car Care Month once again. Time to get your vehicle ready for tailgating, road trips to cheer for your favorite team, and, yes, colder temperatures.

The attention you show your car now will help you ride out even the worst winter months with confidence. In car care, as in football, preparation goes a long way!

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Here’s your playbook of six tips to prepare your car for its annual grudge match against Jack Frost.

1. Dig in.

Cleats are an underappreciated part of the football player’s uniform. After all, you can’t make a winning play if you’re slipping and sliding around the field. Likewise, your car doesn’t stand a chance in snow and ice unless its grip on the road is secure. The best move you can make is to put winter tires on your car. The research says so!

“Our evaluations conclusively showed that using winter tires matters more than having all-wheel drive in many situations, and that the difference on snow and ice can be significant,” notes Consumer Reports.

2. Be ready for a quick start.

Winter weather can make it tough to start your car. That’s because lower temperatures force your car battery to work harder by slowing down its chemical reactions. Is your battery ready to go head-to-head with winter?

Determine the strength of your car battery with a voltmeter. Don’t have one? They’re available for purchase online for about $20. To avoid the expense, head to Firestone Complete Auto Care for a free battery checkup. In a minute or less our battery test can predict the high or low temperature that may cause your battery to fail.

3. Take in the entire field of play.

Wiper blades help you see the road and all of your surroundings. Unfortunately, they take a beating year-round from the elements.

While a true winter test isn’t possible without, well, winter, waiting can put you in a tricky situation. Instead, consider:

  • Replacing your wiper blades at the earliest signs of wear.
  • Using wiper blades for no more than six months.
  • Cleaning your wiper blades or replacing them if streaks remain on your windshield during or after use.

4. Focus on the game.

Test the car heater before you need it! Turn it on during a nice fall day and see how well it’s working. Is the air coming out warm? How long does it take for the cabin to reach a comfortable temperature? A blocked heater core or faulty thermostat can both cause problems. You’ll want an expert to tackle these issues, no question.

5. Be prepared to pivot.

A great football team responds quickly to changing conditions on the field. The same goes for your car. You won’t be ready to “pivot” if your brakes are faulty. Screeching, poor responsiveness, jerking—all are signs that you need brake service immediately, especially before the taxing winter months!

6. Stay hydrated.

Your car doesn’t work as well without the right fluids. Motor oil is the lifeblood of your car’s engine. Cold temperatures thicken motor oil, which cramps performance and makes it more difficult to start your car. Look for motor oil marked with a “5W.” Better yet, speak to a qualified technician about the best motor oil for winter.

Put yourself in a position to win.

Visit your local Firestone Complete Auto Care for all of your fall car care needs. We’ll start with a free vehicle inspection to see where your car is running strong, and where it may need a little extra TLC before the colder months. This prep work will have you ready to face the worst that winter can offer!

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