Fall is finally here! The weather’s getting cooler, leaves are changing color, all signs that winter is not far behind. And while we may not be able to get you mentally ready for the change of the seasons, we can certainly help you prepare your car for fall and winter! Welcome to Fall Car Care Month at Midlands Toyota!
The Quintessential Fall Car Care Month Checklist
Fall is the perfect time to start checking up on your car. The weather isn’t entirely too cold yet, the Holidays are still a ways off, and you aren’t facing any severe weather conditions. The autumn season is prime for getting out in the garage or bringing your car to our service centers to get everything checked out before the real test of your car’s performance comes.
Now you may be asking yourself, why is it important to check up on your car before winter? Well, dealing with car problems when it’s cold out is just not a great time. And we want you to always have a good time driving your Toyota. And while these tips may seem like common sense, you’d be surprised just how often these can fly under the radar and end up causing much more serious problems down the line.
15 Tips to Prepare Your Car For Winter
- Checking and Refilling Fluids: All of your fluids play a crucial role in keeping your Toyota performing at its absolute best, and during the cooler months you don’t need anything less. Taking a look at your oil, power steering fluid, brake fluid, and transmission fluid and refilling or changing any that need it is a great way to prepare your car for the winter months ahead. Also, checking your antifreeze/coolant is an absolute must, as that will keep your engine from getting too cold should the temps drop.
- Change the Oil and Filters: While we’re on the topic of fluids, your oil is a big one that you should be up to date on. Ignoring an oil change, especially in winter is not a great idea. Old oil in your system greatly increases the risk of your engine overheating, severely damaging the engine. Check when your Toyota is due for its next oil change and make sure you get the filters changed as well. That way your brand-new oil stays new for as long as possible!
- Test the Heating/HVAC: Yes, your AC system may seem like an afterthought when it comes to having to prepare your car for winter and Fall car care. However, your HVAC is also responsible for filtering the air, dehumidifying your windshield, and heating your car. So making sure everything there is in working order before the weather gets too cold is probably a good idea.
- Tighten Your Hoses: Making sure your antifreeze and fluids are all topped off is great, but it won’t do you any good if it can’t reach your engine. If your hoses have any leaks or breaks, there’s a good chance you’ll overheat your engine when the cold weather hits and your engine has to work overtime to keep it warm. Be sure to give your hoses a good look over and tighten any that seem loose.
- Look at Your Belts: This actually goes hand in hand with your hoses. Hot summer months can severely degrade the belts in your engine. When checking under the hood, you should look for any signs of excessive wear, fraying, cracks, or looseness. If you do notice any of these, bring your Toyota over to Midlands Toyota and we’ll set you up with a new belt.
- Test Your Exhaust: Checking your exhaust system as part of your fall car care checklist could actually save your life. If there’s a leak in your exhaust, carbon monoxide could seep into your car. Not only that, but a damaged exhaust system can also result in lower mileage. Keep on the lookout for weird noises, smells, a vibrating gas pedal, or a rumble when your car is sitting still. All are signs that your exhaust system is damaged. Our Toyota-certified technicians will look for rust, holes, leaks, and other damage that may be present during our inspection.
- Check Your Brakes: You want to be able to stop when you need to stop right? Especially if the weather is giving you trouble, you don’t want your brakes to be something else to worry about. Bring your Toyota over to Midlands Toyota and our service team will make sure your brake system is in good working order. Replacing your brake pads and rotors is an essential part of your Fall car care and winter prep.
- Inspect All 4 Tires: The quality of your tires is just as important as that of your brakes. If your tires are worn down, they’re not going to do you much good in snow or rain. Make sure to not only check the tread but also their pressure. Tires tend to lose pressure when the temperature drops and changing a flat in 30-degree weather isn’t fun. If you really want to future-proof yourself, getting a good set of snow tires or all-season tires will be greatly beneficial.
- Pay Attention to Steering and Suspension: You want to be in complete control of your Toyota in the event of bad weather. Making sure your power steering and suspension are up to par is the best way to remain in control at all times. If you’re worried, our team can take a look at your shock absorbers, struts, and chassis to see if anything needs adjusting or replacing.
- Test The Battery: Bering able to rely on your battery during the winter months can be a huge weight off your shoulders. So be sure to check the charge and quality of your current battery. If it’s been more than three years, it may be time to replace the battery completely. Visit our service center and we’ll be able to set you up with a brand-new battery just in time for Winter.
- Replace Your Wipers: Did you know that the quality of your windshield wipers actually factors into your yearly inspection? That’s because if your wipers are leaving heavy streaks on your windshield, you will not have very good visibility. And visibility is essential in any type of winter weather.
- Wash Your Car: This may definitely seem unnecessary, but hear us out for a second. Cleaning your car of all the summer mildew and dirt can help prepare it for what’s coming. Waxing your car can also protect it from snow, ice, and salt. Furthermore, it’s a good idea to regularly clean your car after it snows. Icemelt and salt can accumulate and erode certain components of your undercarriage if left on for extended periods of time. While not as immediately important as other tips on your Fall car care list, it won’t hurt.
- Clean Your Headlights: Between dead bulbs and cloudy headlight covers, there’s enough to check to warrant this being on your Fall car care list. Your headlights do two things out on the road. They help you see what’s in front of you, and they help other drivers see you. Make sure both of these functions are unimpeded by checking your bulbs and cleaning your headlight covers.
- Pack Roadside Kit: If the unfortunate happens and you have car issues or slide on ice or snow, having a pack of supplies to fall back on is a great idea. Some things that should be in your roadside kit include an ice scraper, jumper cables, a flashlight, blankets, bottled water, non-perishable food, and a first aid kit. You can never be too careful.
- Get AAA/Roadside Assistance: No Fall car care list would be complete without roadside assistance. These guys can be literal life savers and save you from having to sit out in the cold waiting on a tow company and praying that they’re open. Companies like AAA offer 24/7 support and assistance so they’re always there when you need them.
Stay On Top of Your Fall Car Care
It may seem like a lot to keep track of, but if you follow this Fall car care checklist, you’ll be more than prepared for when the colder months roll around. And if there’s anything you need to replace or you can’t check out yourself, you can always make Midlands Toyota a part of your winter car prep by scheduling an appointment with our service center in Columbia. Make sure you prepare your car for winter right with Midlands Toyota!