While we still may be reeling from those long stretches of 100 degree days, it’s time to think about the toll winter can take on your car and the last time your car had a maintenance service. With that in mind: Happy Fall Car Care Month!
With drought one year, and heavy rainfall the next, it’s hard to predict the fall and winter weather in Sacramento. A few things are certain though: there will be less daylight, it will be cold, and it will rain, all which mean you may be driving more and you’ll want your car safe and ready for winter weather.
Like the reasons described in our April 2017 blog, maintenance services are important in the winter as well. Performing regular maintenance services on your vehicle will:
- Give you peace of mind and let you know what is still in good working order. We text you photos of what is good, what may need work down the road, and what should be fixed. Even if you don’t want to do major repairs with us, we want you to have the peace of mind knowing what is in good shape and what needs work. Your safety is our priority.
- Prevent costly and lengthy repair work. Time, weather, how much you drive, and how you drive cause wear and tear on parts. It’s unavoidable. However, oftentimes, if caught early, you can avoid a big repair. For example, transmission fluid doesn’t get low like oil (unless there is a leak), but it gets cycled over and over through the transmission, picking up gunk and loose metal fragments along the way, which can wreak havoc on your transmission. Flushing old transmission fluid out and replacing it with fresh fluid prevents you from needing a costly transmission rebuild down the road.
In colder weather, there are few things that need special attention:
- Check the coolant - even when it’s cold! The term “coolant” can be misleading. If you look at the bottle, you’ll notice it is actually: coolant/antifreeze. Coolant doesn’t simply control your engine from running hot, it regulates engine temperature during colder weather as well. Depending how long the same coolant has been circulating in your car, or if you have a small leak, old coolant needs to be flushed out and replaced. A coolant flush should be done every three years/30,000 miles to prevent rust building up inside engine components. It also helps the components of your cooling system last longer.
- Check tire inflation. Air contracts when it gets colder, which may make your tires look flatter. Tire inflation levels are measured in pounds per square inch (psi). Air pressure can decrease up to 10 psi a month just through every day driving and may potentially drop 1 psi for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit temperature drop. Improper tire inflation can hurt gas mileage and cause incorrect wear and tear on your tires, thus shortening the life of your tires. At Paul’s we check and adjust your tire pressure for free!
- Windshield wipers, of course. A big tell-tale sign of winter weather in Sacramento is dusting off those windshield wipers after they have gotten little to no use over the summer. The life of windshield wipers is six months to one year. This seemingly simple item is also one of the most important safety items when it is raining, so make sure they are working properly and not coming apart. Another handy item we can apply to your windshield is Aquapel. This product is a long-lasting rain repellant that causes rain to bead up and roll right off your windshield.
The specific maintenance items needed to get your car ready for winter is based on several factors. We will be happy to go over with you the history of your vehicle and what you would need. The Car Care Guide is a useful resource to learn more.
I hope this helped you think about the importance of maintaining your car and your wintertime car care needs. Happy Car Care Month!