Fall Vehicle Maintenance & Service Tips for Kansas City
There’s no place like the heartland, especially in the fall. The trees alongside the byways make their turn from crisp green to different shades of reds, oranges, and yellows. Fields filled with autumn flowers seem to glow under the warm sun and are particularly beautiful in the crisp air. Kansas is also known for its agriculture, and fall is harvest time! Pumpkin patches and apple orchards open up their gates, and corn mazes delight the imaginations of children and adults alike.
But the fall also means another thing – preparing yourself and everything you own for winter. It’s no small task. From getting the house weathered, pulling out your seasonal clothing, and even starting your Christmas shopping, there’s a seemingly endless list of things that can hinder your ability to enjoy the fall and everything it offers. There’s no doubt you’ve thought about putting some of these seasonal chores off. But if there’s one thing you should not put off, it’s fall vehicle maintenance. Keeping your car ready for everything that the end of the year throws at it will not only save you time and money in the long run, but it will keep you and your family safe.
Zeck’s Fall Maintenance & Service Tips
Start With Your Battery
Your battery is essentially the most important part of the car, but it rarely gets the attention that it needs. The summer can be especially hard on a battery, as the air gets dry, hot, and dusty and whips around under the hood as you drive. Do all battery maintenance with your car completely off. Check your battery terminals for signs of corrosion or dirt, and if any is visible clean them off with baking soda or an appropriate terminal cleaner, wipe them down and dry them off. Then, lubricate the terminals using petroleum jelly or a suitable terminal lubricant. Then, reattach the cables.
Inspect Your Headlights
Days get shorter in the fall, which means the time you’ll spend with your headlights on will be a lot longer. First and foremost, check and make sure that all of your lights, including brake lights and blinkers, work and are complete. Replace any dead bulbs, and consider replacing cracked or broken plastic covers to prevent long-term mechanical damage caused by snow and moisture. Then, consider cleaning the headlights so they are clear. The clearer the plastic covering, the better light you’ll get.
Tune Up Your Heating Elements
This seems like a fundamental issue, but many people don’t notice that the heat is out in their car until it is too late. Make sure that both your heat and your air conditioning work. If they don’t, if the temperature seems weak, or if any strange smells linger after turning the heat on — take the car into a shop immediately.
Put The Brakes On
When the weather gets colder, and the chance of snow gets greater, brakes will become even more essential to your safety. Check your brakes in different places and conditions, and note how long it takes your car to stop. Brakes should be replaced every 50,000 at the max. However, if your car takes a while to slow down, you should also have a qualified mechanic take a look at the integrity of your brakes regardless of the mileage on your car.
Give Your Tires Some Attention
Good tires are another must as roads get icy. Inspect the tread on your tires using a penny. Your tires are fine if you can only see below Honest Abe’s browline. If you can see the top of his head, this is a sign that you need to take your car into service. Balding tires may not always be just from wear. Therefore, it is essential to always take your vehicle in for service if you notice the tread on your tires wearing — especially if it is wearing unevenly.
Additionally, fall is a great time to get your tires rotated and even changed out for winter tires. At a bare minimum, tires and brakes should be among the top things to check on your car before the snow flies.
Change Out Your Wiper Blades
Most car owners are guilty of letting their wiper blades go as long as possible before replacing them. However, in the fall, when the rain starts to increase and the chance of snow is still possible, having wiper blades that actually work is essential. Always replace your wiper blades at the first sign of wear.
Wash & Wax Your Car
Got all these other maintenance tasks done and still have some time on your hands? We recommend washing and waxing your car in the fall. The change in temperature, humidity, and other elements relating to the change in weather can take a significant toll on the exterior of your car. To prevent rust, which often starts in fall and winter months, take time to wash the summer dust off your vehicle and apply a layer of protective wax. Not only will your car look great, but you won’t have to worry about having to repaint it in the near future.
Why Do These Maintenance Tasks?
Maintenance can seem like a waste of time, but it can ultimately improve the life of your car and the amount of money in your wallet. Even something as simple as a spark plug can impact your gas mileage, and many of the items listed (such as tire tread and fluid levels) can significantly affect how many miles you are getting per gallon. Additionally, significant issues like the quality of your bakes and the amount of tread on your tire can be indicators that something dangerous is wrong with your car. Better safe than sorry, and the best way to be safe is to keep up with your vehicle’s essential maintenance each season. Many of these maintenance items are doable yourself, but unless you are entirely comfortable with doing a necessary maintenance task, it is best to check in with an expert first.
Whether you have a Ford or any other type of vehicle, you can trust the qualified mechanics at Zeck Ford in Leavenworth to assist you with all your fall maintenance needs. To schedule a maintenance appointment, call (913) 364-2871 or fill in our online service appointment form.