This is Part 2 of Maintenance Schmaintenance. View part 1 of this article here…
Fall Maintenance Tips – Part 2
Battery – Batteries typically last three to five years, and wintertime failures are common due to increase cold-starting electrical loads. The best way to identify a weak battery is with professional test equipment. Routine care can help make your battery last longer. Clean corrosion from posts and cable connections; wipe away dirt and oil deposits on the battery, and make sure all connections and hold down hardware are secure. If the battery caps are removable, check the fluid level monthly. Wear eye protection and rubber gloves when working with batteries, and avoid contact with corrosive deposits and battery acid.
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Lights – Inspect all lights and replace any burned out bulbs. Periodically clean dirt and insects from all lenses. To prevent scratching, never use a dry rag. Badly weathered plastic headlight lenses can be restored by professional services or using do-it-yourself kits available at auto parts stores.
Exhaust System – Engine exhaust contains deadly carbon monoxide gas that should not be allowed to enter the passenger compartment. Have your vehicle’s exhaust system examined for leaks, and the trunk and floorboards inspected for small holes.
Tires – Have your tires rotated every 5,000 to 7,500 miles. Check the tire pressure once a month when the tires are cold. Don’t forget to check your spare as well, and make sure the jack is in good condition. Examine tires for tread depth, uneven wear, and cupping; check the sidewalls for cuts and nicks. Uneven tread wear or a car that pulls to one side could indicate the need for a wheel alignment. Tires with minimal tread depth perform very poorly on snow and ice. If you live in a harsh winter environment consider a set of dedicated snow tires for maximum traction and safety.
Carry Emergency Gear – gloves, boots, blankets, flares, a small shovel, sand or kitty litter, tire chains, and a flashlight. Put a few “high-energy” snacks in your glove box.