The cool weather in autumn makes it the perfect time of year to enjoy your vehicle on road trips or simply taking it out for a spin – especially if you can see some fall colors. As summer fades away and winter is just around the corner, it’s also the perfect time to make sure your vehicle is in great shape and ready for what’s to come. But before you start anxiously searching for Ford service near you, you should recognize that there are quite a few things you can do without professional assistance.
With all of that said, we at Kings Ford Quick Lane thought we’d put together a little list of some of the things you should consider and take a look at to make sure your vehicle is ready to get you through autumn and the winter ahead. While this might not include everything, it’s a great place to start. And of course, if you’re still not sure about how best to care for your vehicle, give us a call or drop by our Cincinnati location, and we’ll be happy to help.
Check Your Fluids
This is a bit of a catch-all because your vehicle has a lot of different fluids in it: washer fluids, transmission fluid, brake fluid, oil, etc. While you might need to check or refill the fluids in your vehicle throughout the year, it often helps to have one time where you make sure they’re all in great shape – and autumn is the perfect time for it. In a lot of cases, you can simply top off anything that’s low, like your oil or washer fluid.
If you find that your oil is particularly low or looks really dark, then it may be time for a full oil change rather than just a refill. You should be sure to follow your set schedule for maintenance and oil changes, but if anything seems off, then come in and have it checked. We can check your brake fluid and perform a similar service while we’re at it.
Check Your Battery
A dead battery can leave you stranded and in need of assistance, so make sure you have it checked fairly regularly. Autumn is a great time to pop the hood on your vehicle and have a look at your battery to make sure all of your connections are good and free of corrosion or dirt. You should also check the charge on your battery to make sure it’s strong, and replace it if necessary. The last thing you want is a dead battery when you’re in an empty parking lot in the middle of winter or stuck on the side of the road.
Test Your Heater and Defroster
As the weather starts to get cooler, take it as an opportunity to get ready for the colder months that are just around the corner. Check your vehicle’s heater and window defrosters now, so you can see if they need to be serviced or repaired in any way. You’re better off finding out now when you have a few weeks or months to have work done than to find that your heater doesn’t work in the middle of winter.
Check or Replace Your Wiper Blades
The wiper blades on your windshield are one of those things that are easy to forget about and not think of until you need them. Since they are made of rubber, however, they’ll break down over time, and they are quite easily damaged. Before the weather really gets nasty, and with summer storms behind you, check your wiper blades to make sure they’re still making good contact with your windshield, and they’re free of damage. Replacing your wipers is easy and inexpensive, so if you notice streaking or other issues, be sure to get new ones.
Check Your Brakes
In addition to having your brake fluid checked, go ahead and do a few brake road tests to make sure they feel as responsive as they should. Be sure that there are no other vehicles around you when you do this, to ensure you’re safe and not endangering yourself or anyone else. Accelerate to a safe speed, then apply some sudden pressure to your brakes to see how responsive they are – just don’t go overboard and send yourself into a skid.
You want to know that your brakes are quick to respond and feel like they can stop you in an emergency. If they feel squishy at all, or they don’t respond as fast as they should, then have them checked out immediately. You’re much better off testing them now than finding out your brakes are not great on a snowy road.
Check Your Tires
While you’re at it, be sure to check out your tires and see that they’re in good condition. You want to look them over thoroughly to see that they are free of any visible damage and check to see that they are wearing evenly – uneven wear can mean you have an issue with your alignment or suspension. Use a penny to test the depth of the tread on your tires – if you can see all of the President’s head when inserted with his head facing downward, then it’s time for new tires.
Be sure to replace your tires on a regular schedule, even if they seem alright. Rubber breaks down over time, and degraded rubber can be dangerous to drive on. If your tires are over five years old, then you should consider getting them replaced. This is also a great time to have your tires rotated if they’re in great shape, to ensure they wear evenly over the next year. If you live in an area with particularly rough winters, then it might be a good idea to have winter tires placed on your vehicle for the months ahead.
Check and Clean Your Lights
Check the lights on the front and rear of your vehicle to make sure they are all illuminating properly. You want to see that they not only work but that they are bright and clearly visible when turned on. Dirt and pollution can cloud the areas covering them, which may diminish the visibility of working lights. So take a moment to clean this area off so that your lights are clearly visible to other drivers on the road. If any of your lights are not working or seem dim, then replace them right away to avoid a ticket or dangerous collision.
Check and Update Your Emergency Supplies
While you’re going over everything else, take a moment to check on the emergency supplies you keep in your vehicle, and update or replace anything as needed. You should have a first aid kit in your car – make sure everything is in it, and replace anything that might have expired over the last year. This will ensure you’re ready for anything that might happen.
You should also have some bottles of water, non-perishable food, and other supplies in an emergency kit in your vehicle. As you’re heading into winter, always have a blanket or two, just in case. It’s also a good idea to keep a change of shoes, socks, and some warm clothes such as a sweater or jacket always in your vehicle. This way, even if you break down and have to spend the night in your car waiting for help, you’ll stay warm and hydrated.
Come In for an Inspection and Service
While there are a lot of things you can do to your vehicle to care for it properly, you might need a hand with some maintenance items. In that case, call or visit us at Kings Ford Quick Lane in Cincinnati, OH, to make sure your vehicle is serviced and ready for another year of fun. No matter what your car needs, we can take care of it.