4 Essential Tasks for Safe Fall Driving
As the summer slowly falls into the rearview, the fall’s colder grasp suddenly takes hold. The long dog days have passed, and while a part of you is always waiting for next summer, you also have to get ready for the fall and winter that loom ahead. The same goes for your car. All summer long, your vehicle worked hard to get you to your destination. The least you can do to show your gratitude is to prep it for the fall. While winter is the natural enemy of vehicles, fall provides challenges of its own.
Update Your Emergency Kit
Fall weather in Detroit, Michigan, is notoriously unpredictable, so it’s always best to be prepared for anything, especially when you’re driving in inclement weather or cold. That’s why it’s in your best interest to update your emergency kit for cold weather, even if you already have one ready to go. These updates should include heavy blankets, a winter coat, gloves, hats, boots, some extra socks, and even a light jacket if it’s not oppressively cold.
If you don’t have an emergency kit and you’re putting one together, make sure to include:
- Nonperishable food items
- Bottled water
- A flat-tire repair ki
- Road flares
- Jumper cables
- Motor oil, windshield wiper fluid, and coolant
- A flashlight
- Spare cell phone batteries
With these items at your disposal, you can weather out even the worst storm.
Check Your Tire Pressure
Fall temperatures in Detroit can fall rapidly without much warning. While this makes it uncomfortable to go outdoors, it can also cause problems for your vehicle. When the temperature drops by 10 degrees, it can reduce your tire pressure by 1 psi (pounds per square inch). This causes the tire to become underinflated, which not only poses the risk of a blowout, but also a reduction in fuel economy.
Check your tire pressure at least once every two weeks during fall and winter to avoid any catastrophic situations. Use your owner’s manual to find the proper inflation rate, which usually hovers around 30 psi.
Replace Your Wiper Blades
Wiper blades typically last from six months to one year depending on their quality. However, fall has enough precipitation to create some vision problems if you have ripped or torn wiper blades. A visual inspection is often good enough to see if you need to replace your wiper blades, but if you aren’t an expert, turn your blades on and check for telltale signs of wear.
If you notice streaking, chattering, smearing, or squeaking, it’s time to slap on a new pair of wiper blades.
Top Off or Change Your Engine Fluids
When temperatures drop, it causes the fluids under the hood to become thicker, which impedes them from flowing through components at the proper rate. If that happens, it’s time for a flush and replacement of the fluid by a trusted mechanic. When you don’t have time to go to the mechanic or you don’t notice extra viscosity, make sure that your power steering fluid, oil, windshield wiper fluid, and transmission fluid are all topped off.
By following these tips, you can make sure that your vehicle can withstand the tough and rugged fall and winter seasons in Detroit.
Image via Flickr by illinigardner