Fall Car Care Checklist

Fall Car Care Checklist

Is Your Car Prepared for Winter?

Unlike other areas of the country, Northern Virginia is subjected to seasonal changes. Along with the changes our communities experience, our vehicles are being affected too. While automotive maintenance and repair might not be at the top of your list coming into the holiday months, seasonal maintenance is integral to a vehicle’s health. Fall is the perfect time to prepare our cars and trucks for the upcoming winter weather and busy travel months. For those reasons, Casey’s team in Sterling, VA, is here to make sure you are prepared!

Below, we will provide you a list of the essential fall automotive maintenance services you should be scheduling this season before the hustle-bustle of the holidays consume you.

Have Your Battery Tested

Leaving the comfort of your warm home to head out to work isn’t always a comfortable feat, but that can be extra grueling if your vehicle won’t start because your battery is dead. Batteries have a lifespan of about 4-6 years, depending on the driver and the vehicle. Given the chemical make-up of a battery, temperature changes can cause some issues. Summer heat is damaging to the battery’s internals as the heat increases the electrolyte’s vaporization, so having it checked as we head into the cooler months is important. Along with checking its exterior, a diagnostic test can properly gauge the battery’s life. 

Regularly Check Your Tires

First and foremost, do a visual check of the tires every day, and learn what the manufacturer’s recommended tire pressure is for your vehicle. The information can be found either on a sticker in your door jam or the owner’s manual. You see, tires gradually lose air pressure over time, but this is especially true when outdoor temperatures drop in the evenings. The colder seasons can affect PSI readings because pressure decreases every 1-2 pounds for every 10 degrees of temperature change. The best course of action is to check it regularly with a tire pressure gauge. Some gas stations’ air machines even include one!

The next item to keep in mind upon visual inspection is tire tread. Make sure the tread has enough depth to tackle icy/wet road conditions. If it can pass the penny test as seen here, you are good. Uneven tire tread is typically a symptom of a bigger issue such as improper alignment, worn out suspension, or under/overinflation. Healthy tires are crucial for road safety, so checking them regularly can save you a headache later.

Have Your Brakes Inspected

Icy road conditions in the Sterling, VA, area lead to salted terrain, and salt can cause uneven wear in your brake system. Normally, your brakes’ overall wear is determined by how you drive, which means not all brakes services are equal for all drivers. The brake system is one of your vehicle’s most important elements, and you need to know where they stand. For instance, if you tend to brake hard regularly, your brakes will be more worn. Going into the season of salted roads, you’ll want a brake system that can manage the extra abuse. When you come into Casey’s Automotive in Sterling, VA, a brake inspection is included in our courtesy check for any service. If your digital inspection report includes warning about your brakes pads, rotors, calipers, or hydraulic fluid, make sure you have those repairs taken care of right away. 

Ensure the Windshield Wipers are Healthy

When snow or sleet are pouring down on our commute, we need to assist our visibility while driving as much as possible. One thing many might not be aware of is the availability of winter wiper blades. They are stronger and more durable than your typical wiper blades and help remove heavy snow and ice. Unlike the summer blades, which are prone to break in the cooler weather and harsh conditions. Consider having a fresh set installed for the season.

Inspect the Heating and Cooling System

Besides needing heat for the colder temperatures, it is also important to have a heating system to defrost your vehicle. Having the air conditioning and heating system checked in your vehicle will include an inspection of the engine coolant levels and fluid condition, the heating, and defrosting elements. After all, nobody wants to be shivering from a lack of heat while commuting. Ensure the coolant fluid is at a perfect 50/50 mixture to avoid having the engine block freeze in the middle of the evening. 

Make Sure all Lights are Healthy

With the longer nights ahead of us, having healthy headlights and taillights is essential for road safety. Those little bulbs can vary in lifespan from 2-6 years depending on the vehicle, and you don’t want to get caught with a busted bulb on your drive. Having bright headlights help keep you and other drivers safe, as well as properly functioning brake lights.

Fall Season Automotive Maintenance and Repair Services in Sterling, Virginia

Keeping up with routine maintenance will help you avoid costly repairs in the future. When you come into Casey’s Automotive for auto maintenance services in Sterling, VA, we will provide you with a digital inspection report. Our complimentary courtesy inspection covers over 40 areas both in and outside your vehicle and is text directly to your phone. The report includes photos, and detailed descriptions of any issues spotted so that you know where the vehicle’s health stands. Having your vehicle checked routinely will decrease the number of times you need to bring your vehicle in to the shop, giving you peace of mind and saving you more money in the long run. Contact us to set up your fall maintenance service today!