5 Car Maintenance Tips for Fall

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From the colorful leaves to the pumpkin spice everything, there’s a lot to be excited about when it comes to fall. Just remember—just because you’re ready for the change in season, doesn’t mean your car is.
Car maintenance becomes especially important as the weather gets colder, which means you’ll need to prepare your car for the transition. Here are five helpful car maintenance tips for the changing weather.
closeup of a black car on a wet street with fall-colored leaves
Get your car in top condition for fall weather.

Car maintenance tip #1: Check your tires

Changing weather conditions always put a bit of extra pressure on your tires—consider all the fallen leaves you’ll be driving over! With this in mind, now is a good time to make sure your tires are in good condition.
First, you should check your tire tread depth. Carparts recommends replacing any tires with a tread depth of 2/23” or less. You should also check if your tire pressure is high or low, and adjust accordingly. According to Continental Tire, every 10 degree drop in temperature means a loss of one pound of pressure, so it’s best to be thinking about tire pressure before the cold weather hits.
Now is also a good time to start thinking about winter tires. I know, I know—it’s technically still summer, and winter feels like a lifetime away. Keep in mind, however, that fall can sometimes bring snow, and while you might not need winter tires right away, you don’t want to be caught in a surprise snowstorm without them.
Moreover, according to Continental Tire, as soon as temperatures fall below 45 degrees, your tires can lose their grip on the road, so it’s best to act fast.

Car maintenance tip #2: As the weather changes, prepare against visibility loss

Fall means that it gets dark quicker and for longer, which can be a challenge for visibility. Be sure to check that all your lights are still working, since soon, you may be commuting home in the dark every day.
Remember to check all your car’s lights, including brake lights and reverse lights. If any bulbs have burnt out, you should replace them immediately.
Increased rain and snow pose another visibility risk. Check that your wiper blades are still fully functional, and consider investing in season-specific wiper fluid. You can find winter blends, which stay in fluid form even in freezing temperatures. This may prove useful in the coming months, and will protect against an ice-covered windshield.

Car maintenance tip #3: Make sure your heating system is in good condition

Car heaters can be finicky, and according to Carparts, there is a whole list of reasons why they might stop working.
If this has happened to your heater, you don’t want to find out the hard way—i.e., while you’re stuck in traffic and it’s 20 degrees below zero. Likely, you haven’t turned on your heater since last winter, so before temperatures start to seriously drop, you should test it out.
It may seem contradictory, but it’s also imperative to check that your AC remains in good condition. According to Continental Tire, having a working ventilation system helps with defrosting, which may prove useful as temperatures cool.

Car maintenance tip #4: Check your brakes

This tip should go without saying. In fact, Carparts recommends checking your brakes at least twice a year.
Fall is the perfect time to get your brakes checked out, or to do it yourself. Snow hasn’t begun piling up quite yet, but it will soon—and when faced with icy roads, your brakes will need to be in top condition.
According to Carparts, a thorough brake-check should include testing for worn-out brake pads and faulty front brake discs. Continental Tire adds that you should confirm that the brake linings, rotors, and drums are all in top condition.

Car maintenance tip #5: Keep cozy

This one is optional, but it definitely makes fall maintenance more fun! If you’re a sucker for warm sweaters and fuzzy blankets, then you can imagine how much nicer your car will feel with a cozy interior.
This fall, spruce up your car with some fall-themed decor. You may want to invest in some new floor mats or seat covers if your old ones are wearing thin, or even choose from a range of cozy car accessories. Pumpkin spice air freshener, anyone?

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