It may seem silly at first. You make a checklist to take care of all the “little things” as you get your car ready for a new school year. But you may be surprised at how these seemingly small matters can become a real problem if not dealt with ahead of time.
As the leaves start turning pretty colors, it’s only a matter of time before jack frost begins his frigid campaign of turning the Indiana landscape into a winter wonderland!
It’s Not a Problem…Until it Is
There’s nothing like procrastination to turn a little problem into a big one. During the summer, “when the livin’ is easy,” we are often lulled into a false sense of security. You might be able to get away with nearly bald tires, barely attached windshield wipers, and your fluid levels being less than perfect.
But we’ve all said this at some point in our lives as drivers… “Oh man, I meant to fix that.”
That’s why we’re here to make sure you never end up saying this again!
1. Check Those Tires
This is far more than a mere annoyance. In the summertime, bald tires can make it difficult to accelerate from a stop or can cause you to slide in rainy weather. But in the wintertime, snow and ice makes bald tires a real threat to your safety.
More than a bit of sliding around, if you lose traction on snow and ice, you could end up in an accident or slide off the road.
If your tires have plenty of tread, another thing you want to do is make sure your tire pressure is at the appropriate level. Overinflated tires can cause you to lose grip, and underinflated tires will wear and lose air quicker. The inside of your driver door has a sticker that shows the PSI for front and rear tires (it’s often different).
2. Do You Need Windshield Wipers?
Here’s a perfect item for this list. Windshield wipers are the epitome of something you neglect until it’s too late.
We’ve all been there. You’re just driving along on a cloudy day. Suddenly, little drops of water begin speckling your windshield. You wait as long as you can before flipping the wipers on. And then you get big, streaking smears all over the windshield. Or worse, the rubber is no longer completely attached to the wiper arm…
Don’t wait until your car is buried under a snow drift before taking care of this relatively minor maintenance task!
3. Liquid Gold – Check Wiper Fluid
You probably hear all the time about regularly changing your oil and making sure your coolant level isn’t too low. But come wintertime, there’s another fluid whose importance might catch you off guard.
That’s right. Wiper fluid does more than clean off bird droppings and dead bugs. It serves a vital function during the winter when ice, snow, and salt residue gum up your windshield and make it difficult to see.
If you find yourself in wild winter weather, you’ll be making liberal use of your wiper fluid. Make sure it’s full!
4. Take a Look at Your Belts & Hoses
There are certain parts of auto maintenance that get neglected due to the out-of-sight, out-of-mind nature of engine components. Belts and hoses, like windshield wipers, are another one of those things that you don’t know needs to be addressed until something goes wrong.
A little thinking ahead can fix this!
Belts and hoses are regular wear and tear items that need replaced every so often. You don’t want to wait till there’s a coolant leak or your alternator quits working to check the state of hoses and belts…
The easiest way to take care of this is to have them replaced at regular intervals at an auto repair in Lafayette, Indiana to prevent them going bad. But a visual inspection will show you if there are any cracks in these rubber parts. This is a sign of dry rot. Also, any tears will make it clear that they need replaced.
5. Put Together an Emergency Kit
Here’s something that perhaps has not occurred to you as a part of auto maintenance. This is especially important for students that go away for college. If you’re driving back and forth from school and home, it’s a good idea to put together an emergency kit for unforeseen accidents, breakdowns, or delays.
Smart things to put in your emergency kit include…
- A first-aid kit
- A shovel and kitty litter or sand (in case you get stuck in snow)
- A flashlight
- A jack
- Candy/Junk food (you’re having a bad day already—treat yourself!)
The idea is to be prepared to be stranded on the side of the road. Whatever you think you’ll need, you’ll want to include in your emergency kit.
Schedule Your Back to School Inspection Today!
As the new school year approaches, make sure your student’s car has all the little things—not just the big things—all set and ready for long drives and winter weather. Get in touch with Beck’s Auto Center in Lafayette, Indiana to have your student’s car fine-tuned for reliability!