OKkk, so it may be the end of the month, but hey, it’s still October, and there’s still plenty of time before winter to care for your vehicle. This is a good thing for everyone to practice and make a yearly habit of, regardless of where you live. It is always a good idea to set aside time to take care of and maintain your vehicle.
“Take care of your machinery, and it will take care of you!” – Dad
I wanted to write and share this post with you because it is something I always do each year before winter. I have learned and created a habit of taking care of my car, but it wasn’t always like that for me. It was more of a struggle when I was younger, but I learned the importance of it as I’ve gotten older. My current car stands as proof that you really can get your money’s worth out of something as long as you put forth a little time and effort. My goal is to drive my vehicle to 300,000 miles! I plan to drive it until it no longer drives, then I’ll treat myself to an upgrade. October is the month right before winter when you have the last chance to work on your car before it gets too cold outside. All those that reside in the cold, wintry states know exactly what I’m referring to! When the temps start dropping, no one wants to be outside touching cold metal and freezing while working.…this has happened to me once or twice & I don’t recommend it! haha
I grew up with a dad that always said, “October is car care month!” Every year he’d say this, and also throughout the year as well. It has been engrained into who I am that it is a very important and responsible task as an adult and vehicle owner to maintain your machinery. I can actually hear him saying this right now as well as the quote above, that’s how much it’s engrained into my memory!! He cared SO much to teach and share his knowledge with us kids growing up, so that we would care enough about our and others’ personal property. He also taught us to ‘listen’ to our vehicles and know the sounds they make, as this can help indicate if there is a problem lurking. I really have the best dad!!
Here are the things I do and check to get my vehicle ready for the colder months –
- Top off all fluids // Brake, Power Steering, Coolant, Antifreeze. There is an optional test for the temperature of your antifreeze that you can do. This is more important if you have a leak and you add water. (if you opt for this test, make sure you’re in the range of -25 or better).
- Check the oil // This should be checked regularly anyways. Make a habit of this throughout the year and set your trip odometer to keep track between oil changes. I have an older car that uses oil, so I check this every time I get gas! I’m committed!! Haha
- Check your battery // How old is the battery? Check to make sure all connections are clean and tight. If it’s over five years old, and it cranks slower in the mornings, you may want to get it tested. When I say ‘crank’, I’m referring to the chemical reactions taking longer in the cold weather to start your car. If it does, this means your battery has less power, and is a sign that you may need to replace your battery soon.
- Check the tire pressure // This should be regularly checked every few months. Make sure the tires are properly inflated at the correct PSI (refer to manufacturer’s recommendation for your vehicle). This information is usually located on the driver’s side door frame. During the winter, it is advised that you put a few pounds of air over what is recommended, as your tires will lose air quicker in the cold weather.
- Check the condition of your tires // The condition of the tread should be where all the grooves are even as far as depth. There are tools like a tread wear indicator that you can use, but you can also test this with a penny (The Lincoln Penny Head Test). This test is simple. Place the penny (with Lincoln upside down) perpendicular to your tire between the tread grooves. You should not be able to see the top of Lincoln’s head. If you do, this is an indicator that you need new tires, and that you don’t have enough tread to channel water.
- Check the air filter // If the filter is too dirty, the engine doesn’t breathe as well, and this affects your fuel economy and can rob you of your gas mileage.
- Inspect brake pads // This is to make sure you have sufficient brake lining for winter.
- Check all lights // Make sure they are all working and there aren’t any that are burnt out. Don’t forget to check your high beams, brake/reverse lights, turn signals, headlights, and taillights.
- Wash and wax // This is important since it’s slightly difficult to wash your car effectively when it’s below freezing! Wax protects your car against the crazy amounts of road salt they dump all over the roads! I recommend this wax here. Apply the wax to a damp microfiber towel or cloth, let it dry, then go over and buff the surface with a different dry cloth.
- Wash windows // This may seem trivial, but it does make a significant difference. I also wash the inside of my windows, as there is a film that forms over time and makes your visibility less clear.
- Vacuum out the inside // Just as you would your home, you’d be surprised how much better your vehicle looks when it’s clean and all the mats don’t have a bunch of leaves and debris covering them.
- Polish your headlights // If need be. Fogged over and sun-dulled lenses restrict the amount of light emitted from your headlights, therefore reducing your visibility at night. Safety is key, people. I have an older car, so I do this. It just makes your car look cleaner and nicer.
If you have any questions at all, please send them my way. I’d be more than happy to help! I have also listed some of the items that I use to make it easier for you!
Happy Vehicle Maintenance!!