Winter and summer generally call for the most attention to car maintenance given the harsh weather conditions both of those seasons experience. But as the leaves change and that nip comes to the air, it's important to take a look at some vital parts of your vehicle to ensure that they are in good health.
Fall can often mean rainy weather and even snow, so you'll want to be certain that the parts of your car that are designed to deal with that kind of weather are all in proper working in order. A little drizzle can turn into a big problem if your windshield wipers or tires are in bad shape.
Pep Boys provided us with a list of four simple car care tips for the fall season. Take a read through and then perform these checks on your car. It should only take a few minutes and can end up saving you a big by mitigating problems that the season's iffy driving conditions can cause.
Look at tires for signs of uneven wear or other damage
Your tires play a vital -- and generally thankless -- role in keeping you safe on the road. They are, after all, the only point of physical contact between your car and the pavement.
Uneven wear on tires can point to a couple of potential safety problems. It could mean that one or more of your tires is underinflated, which can negatively affect your car's handling and fuel economy. It can mean that your tires are out of alignment, which can cause stress on your suspension and result in an uncomfortable ride. It can also mean that the tire is out of balance or the wheel is bent, which can result in a bumpy ride due to the wobbly tire or wheel.
Any of these issues can cause compromise the safety and comfort of your car. If you notice uneven tire wear, check into the cause of it as soon as possible.
Listen to and feel your brakesPay attention when braking to be sure they are not making scraping or grinding noises, or that the brake pedal does not feel soft or spongy when depressed. Either of these issues can make braking difficult, which is obviously something you don't want.
A soft or spongy brake pedal can point to a couple of possible problems, the most common of which is that there is too much air in the brake lines. You can fix the problem yourself by bleeding the brakes, but it's probably best to have your local mechanic take care of it for you.
If you hear your brakes making scraping sounds, it can mean that there is some kind of foreign particle stuck in them or that the wear indicator is rubbing against the rotor. If you hear a grinding sound, that means the friction material on your brakes has worn off and the only thing stopping your car is the metal backing plate. This will make stopping the car very difficult and can damage critical parts of your brakes.
Check your light bulbs and lenses for clarityGive your headlight, brake, fog and hi-beam bulbs and lenses a good check for clarity. It's starting to get dark much earlier, meaning your lights are going to be even more important than usual, since you'll be using them when there is heavier traffic flow.
There are a few home remedies to fixing cloudy lights, including using an aluminum polishing compound or even toothpaste.
Replace your windshield wipers if they are worn, cracked or streak when in useWhen it comes to driving, there's not much that is more infuriating than windshield wipers that don't work properly. Having your vision obscured by ineffective wipers that just spread the rain all over your windshield isn't only annoying, it's also dangerous.
Replacing windshield wipers is quick, easy and cheap. Simply go to your local auto parts store, get the wipers that are the right size for your car (they'll generally have a reference book there for you to use) and follow the installation instructions. Do this while it's still warm outside, because trying to pry off wipers with cold hands is torturous.