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Getting Your Car Ready for Fall: The Time is Now!
Car Care

icon/user/avatar/20 Created with Sketch. By Travis Triggs

As the leaves start to change color and the air gets a bit chillier, it's a clear sign that fall is upon us. For car owners, especially our dedicated military personnel who might be juggling busy schedules, this season is an important time to ensure your vehicle is in top shape. Why? Because taking a little time now to prepare your car can save you a lot of trouble (and potentially money) down the road. Let's dive into some key tips to get your car fall-ready!

1. Check Your Tires
Traction is crucial as roads get slippery from wet leaves or early frost. Check your tire tread depth – it should be more than 2/32 of an inch. If you're stationed in an area with heavy fall and winter weather, consider investing in winter tires. Also, remember to check tire pressure; cooler temperatures can cause the pressure to drop.

2. Test Your Battery
Cold weather can be tough on your car's battery. A battery that's weak now may not make it through colder months. Get it tested and replaced if necessary. This is especially important for those who might be deployed and leaving their vehicle behind – you don't want to return to a car that won't start.

3. Replace Wiper Blades and Fill Washer Fluid
Fall brings more rain and debris on your windshield. Ensure your wiper blades are in good condition and replace them if they are worn out. Also, top off your washer fluid with a winter blend that won't freeze in lower temperatures.

4. Check Your Lights
As daylight hours decrease, you'll rely more on your vehicle's lights. Check that all your lights – headlights, taillights, brake lights, and turn signals – are functioning properly. Visibility is key to safe driving.

5. Inspect Brakes
Your vehicle's brakes are critical, especially on wet or icy roads. If you hear any strange noises or feel unusual vibrations when braking, have them checked out immediately.

6. Examine Belts and Hoses
Changing temperatures can affect the wear and tear on belts and hoses. Check for any cracks, leaks, or loose connections. These are relatively inexpensive to replace but can cause major issues if they fail.

7. Change Oil and Check Fluids
Regular oil changes are vital for your vehicle's health. If you're due, get it done before the weather turns. Also, check other fluids like the coolant, brake fluid, and power steering fluid.

8. Emergency Kit Update
If you don't already have an emergency kit in your car, now is the time to assemble one. Include items like blankets, a first-aid kit, a flashlight, jumper cables, and non-perishable snacks. For those in colder regions, add in a snow brush, ice scraper, and perhaps some sand or cat litter for traction if you get stuck.

9. Consider a Professional Inspection
If you're not comfortable checking these items yourself, or if you’re preparing for a deployment and want peace of mind, consider getting a professional fall maintenance check-up.

Final Thoughts
For our military families, your vehicle is often an essential part of your daily life. Taking these steps to prepare your car for fall can not only ensure your safety but also help maintain your vehicle's longevity. Remember, while this advice is here to guide you, it’s always wise to consult with a professional for specific concerns. Stay safe and enjoy the beautiful fall season!

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