At K & M Auto Service, we want you to be aware of how the seasons can affect your car and what steps you can take to ensure your car is prepared.
Before we begin with seasonal recommendations, there are a few that apply to all weather conditions and should be done every couple of months, regardless of which season it is. Tire checks should be done every month to ensure adequate air pressure and that a safe amount of tread is still left. Then check your brakes, so you can feel confident in your car’s stopping ability. Your oil should be checked around every 3,000 miles and replaced based on manufacturer’s recommendations or sooner if it becomes dark or gunky. During the winter months, we’re likely to experience an onslaught of weather changes. From snow and ice to wind and rain, we might never know what to expect. Preparing your car for winter can be done in just a few easy steps. First, you’ll want to ensure your windshield wipers are in good shape; if not, replace them. You don’t want to be caught in a heavy rain or snowstorm with wipers that can’t effectively clear your windshield. To deal with the hazards on the road, studded tires should be installed for greater traction. Check your antifreeze levels regularly to keep your engine from freezing as the temperature drops. An emergency road kit is a great way to stay safe in case you ever become stranded. This should include things like flares, a flashlight, oil, antifreeze, blankets, drinking water, food and warm clothes. As winter turns to spring, it usually starts to warm up, but the rain tends to keep things pretty wet and unpredictable. You’ll want to start by checking your windshield wipers again; the harsh wetness of winter can cause them to break easily. A high-quality gas treatment can help clean your fuel injection system and improve your gas mileage. Checking your belts in the spring is a good idea since the cold temperature can cause them to shrink, which in turn causes them to be pulled tighter than normal. Shocks and struts tend to take a lot of abuse during the cold months, so inspect them to ensure they are still in good shape. When spring transitions to summer, you’ll want to make sure your car is ready for the heat. Check your air conditioning system so you can be confident it will work when you need it. You don’t want to be stuck in traffic on a 100° day when you realize you’re A/C isn’t working. If you have any windows stuck in the up position, you’ll want to get them fixed as well. Having your radiator flushed prior to summer is a great way to keep if free of corrosion and to make sure you have enough coolant to keep the car from overheating. When fall comes around and the weather starts to cool off, it’s time to make sure you’re ready for the colder weather again. This is a great time to check your spare tire. Spare tires are often overlooked, but are life savers when you need them. Check the air pressure and make sure you have all the tools you’ll need to change it on the side of the road. Check your heater and defroster so you are confident they’ll work when you need them. Your air filter, battery and headlights should all be inspected as well. We know this can seem a little overwhelming, but taking the time to inspect your vehicle and having it maintained at regular intervals can go a long way in preventing accidents and unexpected problems.
By Matt Stewart