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Fall Vehicle Maintenance Checklist

It’s that time of year again. Leaves are falling, temperatures are dropping (a little). If you’re in Texas, fall can feel like summer and not fully kick off till mid-November. Nevertheless, everyone is ready for turkey and football festivities to begin.

Change of season is a perfect reminder to make sure vehicles are running properly and to avoid any mishaps that could be right around the corner.

  1. Check tire pressure & tread depth

Proper inflation of tires is critical to the safety of your vehicle. A simple way to check tire tread depth is to use a penny. First, insert penny into tire’s tread groove with Lincoln’s head upside down and facing you. If you can see the top of his head, new tires are needed. Be sure to check multiple points on the tire. For tire pressure, most newer vehicles have an indicator light that shows on the dash. Be sure to attend to your tires if the tire pressure light comes on.  

  • Replace windshield wipers & check fluid

The general rule is to replace wiper blades every 8-12 months. But, if you drive in a climate where it snows or rains a lot, your wipers may need to be replaced more frequently. Replacing windshield wipers usually gets put off until “next time”. Wipers need replacing before they breakdown because you don’t want to get caught in a bad rainstorm with them working at half capacity. Never use them to scrape ice off your windshield. If wipers are bent, making unusual noises, squeaking, or creating uneven patterns, these are signs it’s time to replace. Keep washer fluid handy and top off before winter months begin.

  • Check your lights: brake, turn, reverse

With the days getting shorter and the nights getting long, make sure vehicle lights are replaced if they are out. This includes brake lights, blinkers, reverse lights, and headlights. If any of these are not working, it could spell disaster or a costly ticket.

  • Stock vehicle with supplies

Always keep extra supplies handy in-case of an emergency. Keep small orange hazard cones in the trunk. These will keep you safe and visible if you get stranded on the side of the road. Other supplies that are recommended: water, phone charger, blanket, first aid kit, flashlight, and jumper cables.

  • Take vehicle in for regular maintenance

Preventative maintenance should be done when recommended. Check the user manual for your specific make/model year guidelines. Oil changes are usually recommended every 5,000-7,500 miles depending on driving conditions and age/mileage of the car. Luckily, newer vehicles come with an oil sensor that indicates when it’s time for an oil change. Maintenance that requires prompt attention: tire rotations, transmission fluid change, tune-up, and timing belt. Since we all have busy schedules, it’s a good idea to setup pm reminders. Create a spreadsheet and notate repairs/date/mileage. 

Often, vehicles can be a lot to keep up with. If keeping up with preventative maintenance has become overwhelming, it may be time to incorporate a maintenance management solution. Maintenance management software replaces the manual process, offers comprehensive reporting on total cost of ownership, and sends automatic pm reminders. All of this helps to lower costs. With maintenance software in place, vehicles are better taken care of. Regular maintenance keeps your vehicles running smoothly with less downtime, protects your vehicle’s major mechanical components from breaking down, and lengthens the life of the vehicle. A well-maintained car=longevity and stronger resale value.