7 Fall Vehicle Maintenance Tips & Checklist
Well, it’s no surprise that winter is on its way. Though it’s still been fairly warm at times, the cold and snow will be here to stay soon. And the best time to prepare your vehicle for winter driving is now, while the weather is still amenable to being outdoors for maintenance and things like snow tires are not yet needed. Nothing is worse than putting off changing your tires and getting caught in an unexpected snowfall!
To help you get prepared for winter, we’ve compiled a list of fall vehicle maintenance items you should complete before the temperature dips below 7 degrees.
- Manage your tires. Before switching to your winter tires, check your summer or all season tires to ensure that they are in good repair before storing them for the winter. Ensure you still have more than 5/32” tread left and that they have not sustained any damage throughout use. Look for cracks and bulges, as well as tears or punctures and ensure any debris is removed.
When you see the forecast slip below 7 degrees, it’s a good time to contact us to change your tires over for the winter weather. If you have also purchased separate rims for each set of tires, we’ll change your tires over and ensure your wheels are well aligned. If you are using the same rims for summer and winter, you’ll need to have them dismounted and the winters mounted and balanced. We highly recommend purchasing a set of rims per set of tires. Chat with your technician about the reason this is more beneficial for you.
- Check your wiper blades. Wipers need to be replaced every 1-2 years and winter can be rough on them. If you notice any cracks or flaking, it’s time for new ones and now is the best time to take care of that.
- Test your brakes. You can check your brake pads yourself, but for the most accurate opinion, please drive into one of our service bays to have a licensed technician take a peek. As winter approaches, you need to rely on your brakes more than ever, so it’s a good time to ensure they are in tip top shape before you need to rely on them.
- Check your battery and lights. Test your battery at home or bring it by for one of our techs to test its strength for you. Batteries last about 5 years and it’s a good idea to check your yearly to ensure it doesn’t quit on you when you need it most!
On the same note, you’ll be using your lights more often now that it’s getting dark earlier. Test each of your lights – headlights, fog lights, brake lights, signal lights, tail lights and interior lights to ensure they are all in good working order. If any are burnt out, make sure to replace them.
- Ensure your heat and defrost are working properly. Chances are, you probably haven’t used your vehicle’s heater since last spring so make sure to test that every vent is blowing hot air. Also check your front and rear defroster to ensure that they are working. If either one is not working, you can bring your vehicle in to get it fixed before the colder weather arrives.
- Get your oil changed. If you haven’t had a regularly scheduled oil change recently, it’s a good idea to pop in for a refresh while you’re doing the rest of your fall maintenance tasks.
- Give your vehicle a good cleaning. Winter weather can be hard on your vehicle, and it’s harder to clean when the weather outside is cold. Clean your mirrors and windows, vacuum your seats and floor mats and wipe down all of the surfaces. It’ll feel great to have a clean car and the streak-free glass will come in handy when dealing with winter glare.
Many people like to take care of their fall vehicle maintenance at home, so here is a reminder of what you should be looking for and that now is the best time to get started. If you’d prefer, you can also bring your vehicle into your local Ford Dealership and our Ford Service department where you can have our friendly and knowledgeable technicians handle the whole list for you!