How to Prepare Your Car for Fall and Winter

With the September heat wave arriving right on schedule, getting your car ready for fall and winter is probably the last thing on your mind. But it’s true, even vehicle owners in Southern California need a car checkup as the seasons change. Regular routine maintenance can improve your gas mileage, reduce pollution, and catch minor issues before they become big problems. The holidays will be here before you know it, and the last thing you want is to be stranded on the side of the road.

To avoid a dangerous (and expensive) situation, follow these tips for preparing your car for fall and winter:

Replace dirty filters

Because the air filter on your car can get clogged with pollen, dirt, dust and other contaminants, it’s recommended to change it at least twice per year. Why not take care of it now? While you’re at it, replace your fuel and PCV filters to keep the engine running smoothly and to improve your fuel efficiency.

Get your oil changed

Check your owner’s manual and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for how often you should be getting an oil change and what type of oil is recommended for your car. If it’s getting close to the recommended change time, you might as well get your oil and filter changed before the craziness of the holidays arrives.

Flush your cooling system

In San Diego, your cooling system rarely gets a break. Consider a coolant flush and system inspection this fall to remove rust, dirt, sludge, and dirty coolant from your car’s radiator, water hoses, water pump, and the engine’s internal passages. Coolant prevents your engine from overheating, which can save you extremely expensive repairs down the road.

Replace wiper blades

We don’t get much precipitation here in Southern California, but that’s no excuse not to replace your wiper blades. Being close to the ocean means sand and salt can abrade your windshield wipers and quickly wear them down. If your wiper blades are rough or torn, be sure to replace them before winter and the upcoming travel season.

Have your battery checked

The last thing you want to happen on a holiday road trip is for your car battery to die. While the only way to detect a weak battery is with professional equipment, you can perform routine care by scraping away corrosion, cleaning all surfaces and retightening all connections. Always be sure to wear eye protection and gloves when working under the hood.

Examine your tires

Heading off to the mountains this winter? Don’t leave until you’re sure your tires can handle the change in weather. Winter driving requires excellent traction in snow and ice, and cold temperatures can mess with your tire’s inflation pressure. Replace your tires if they appear worn, and inflate your tires according to the recommended PSI.

Have your brakes checked

Your brakes are the most important feature of your vehicle, so you don’t need an excuse to get them checked. However, braking can be particularly difficult in icy conditions, so it’s essential to get them inspected if you plan on trekking north this season. At QWIK Auto Center, we offer a free brake inspection when you make an appointment. 

Maximize your safety on the road

In many parts of the country, Mother Nature sends a chilly reminder to vehicle owners that their cars need a checkup before winter strikes. But here in San Diego, where it’s always sunny and warm, we often forget that our cars need yearly maintenance. Don’t let this happen to you!

Now is a great time to bring your car into QWIK Auto Center to make sure everything is running smoothly. Give us a call or stop by our shop in Pacific Beach to have your vehicle inspected by one of our trusted technicians.