Autumn means shorter days and picturesque foliage, but with the seasons changes also come changes in driving conditions. As temperatures drop, and many parts of the country start to witness an increase in rain and ice on the roads. With the onset of such challenging conditions, the last thing you want is your car acting up due to the change in weather. Even those who experience a milder fall need to prepare their vehicles, as a drop in temperatures can expose any problems your car may have. A little preparation can prevent a costly repair bill and ensure your car will make it through this season unscathed.
Here are 7 ways to make sure that your car is ready for the fall:
The onset of fall brings with it bad lighting and driving with dodgy lights is a sure way to get into an accident. Not only does it compromise your ability to see clearly at night, but it also reduces your car’s visibility to other road users. Checking if your lights are working properly is a simple process and is particularly important during fall when the daylight hours become shorter.
You’ll need to check the following lights:
Headlights (high and low beam) – Check that both headlights are operating properly and are equally as bright. Whilst you are at it, check that your front lights are focusing on the right spot that gives you optimal visibility from the driver’s seat.
Fog lights – Fog lights are useful in situations of greatly reduced visibility, although they’re not used often, you need them functional when the need to use them arises.
Daytime running lights (if applicable) – Please note, older cars won’t have daytime running lights as these are a new feature fitted on newer models and greatly improve visibility to other road users. If your car is fitted with daytime running lights, they should illuminate automatically when you switch your car on.
Taillights – Check all bulbs are lighting up and are equally bright. A single broken taillight makes it difficult for drivers behind you to see you.
Brake lights – you will need a friend to help you check these. You will need to get them to stand behind the vehicle while you apply the brakes and confirm if both brake lights are work properly.
Turn signals – Apply both left and right turn signals and check both front and rear are working. Be sure not to forget to check your hazard lights as well.
Registration plate bulbs – These are not necessarily a safety concern but are a requirement by law, you could be stopped and given a ticket if your rear registration plate is out.
Reverse lights – reverse lights tend to be tricky as if they go out, a driver has no way of knowing. To check these, have a friend stand a safe distance away from the rear of the vehicle while you shift your vehicle into reverse.
2- Windshield Wiper Blades
These are important as they greatly affect your visibility. If your wiper blades are not clearing water off your windshield it is time to change them, Another sign that wiper blades need replacing is if they make a screeching noise as they drag across the windshield. Running your finger along the edge of the rubber wiper blade will confirm if it has damage usually in the form of cracks, or splits.
The battery in your vehicle has the responsibility of providing your vehicle with the energy needed to crank the starter motor and forms part of a vehicle’s electrical system. Unfortunately, it is also the component that is most likely to fail. Colder weather is challenging for the battery as a vehicle requires more energy to start in lower temperatures. This puts substantially more drain on the battery. If your battery is old you will need to get it checked by a professional testing kit.
Tires provide the only contact between your vehicle and the road surface. How well your car handles, turns, and stops are relative to the condition of your tires. With wet conditions, there is diminished tire performance, and if the tread is worn your stopping distance is greatly affected. It’s easy to check the health of your tires yourself by inspecting the tread depth. Be sure to make sure the correct pressure is set, guidelines of recommended pressures are normally found on a sticker on the inside of your driver side door
The worst time to find out your brakes need attention is when you need them during hazardous conditions. Fall brings with it standing water on the road and this increases the distance a car needs to come to a halt. If your brake pads are worn out, the effectiveness of your brakes is dramatically reduced, increasing the risk of an accident. Get your brakes inspected by a mechanic and they will also check if the brake fluid needs changing as well as other components of your braking system. These measures will ensure you have optimal stopping power on slippery roads come fall.
6- Air Conditioner
If your AC system isn’t functioning, your car’s heater and windshield defroster will be ineffective and this can greatly affect your visibility. It is advisable to get this checked before the temperature starts to drop.
Check and Change Your Fluids
As temperatures drop, it’s ideal to make sure that all of your car’s fluids are topped off. When temperatures drop, the fluids in your car can become thicker – which may cause them to move inefficiently through the engine. It is advisable to drain and replace your coolant if you live in areas that experience extreme temperature differences from summer to fall and into winter.
Make sure you only buy your automotive or car accessories and parts from trusted hardware sellers.
Also, minimize the risk of breakdown before the temperature starts to drop by having a mechanic give your car a thorough inspection to prevent most mechanical issues before they start, and allow you to travel with your loved ones with peace of mind.