While Austin does get cold, it's not quite as cold as some places further north. However, the temperature does affect some of the systems on your vehicle, including the battery and oil. You should always have seasonal maintenance completed in the fall and spring. We list out what to include during your check.
One of the most valuable tips for car maintenance is to check the battery. While it may seem like the battery is working just fine, that may not always be so during the winter. Cold tends to drain the battery, so if the battery is older, there's a chance that the amount of drainage it suffers on a cold night could render it useless. During the fall, have the battery checked. If it's close to the end of the warranty period, it's a good idea to change the battery in the fall so you won't be left stranded.
Check the tire pressure at least once every month during the fall and winter seasons. Driving warms the air inside the tire up and will give you an inaccurate reading so check it after the car has been sitting for a bit. In the fall, check the tread. While you may safely drive on tires until the tread wear meets the wear bars (about 2/32 of an inch), it is better to replace the tires if they have less than 5/32 of an inch. The thicker tread also helps when the roads are slick from rain. If the tire tread is not even all the way across each tire and you notice strange wear patterns, you may need an alignment or suspension repair.
The brake system, including pads, shoes if applicable, rotors, calipers, wheel cylinders if applicable, hoses and the master cylinder should be checked every few months and definitely in the fall. You should also have vacuum lines checked since most brake systems use a vacuum. If you let the pads get too worn, they'll damage the brake rotors and will eventually overextend the calipers, which means they would also need to be replaced.
Check all fluid levels throughout the winter, including brake fluid, power steering fluid, oil, transmission fluid if applicable, coolant and windshield washer fluid. When checking the coolant, the vehicle should be cold.
Heating and Cooling
The last thing you want to do is drive even a mile with no heat in the car when it's below 50 degrees. Check the complete HVAC unit to ensure the heat and air conditioning are working and to ensure that the controls, heater core, blower motor resistor and fans are all working.
Lights are something that should be checked often, not just in the fall. However, with the shorter days, you will spend more time driving in the dark. Make sure all of your lights are working; this includes brake lights, tail lights, blinkers, headlights, fog and running lights.
Contact Auto Tek
Need a tune-up? Contact us at Auto Tek to schedule an appointment to have all of your vehicle's systems checked before the cooler weather arrives.