Updated March 17th, 2017

Leesburg, Virginia - The fall season has arrived, and during this time of transitional weather it's always a good idea to keep preventative maintenance in mind for the winter months in order to prevent any unexpected repair expenses in the middle of the coldest time of the year. According to the Car Care Council, there are 10 basic driving safely car care tips you should check off your list during Fall Car Care Month in October; be sure to schedule these important procedures as soon as possible in order to keep your vehicle in tip-top shape for the winter.

1. Check all hoses and belts for signs of excessive wear, including fraying, splitting and cracking.

2. Check all fluids, including your engine oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, and power steering fluid. Also, don't forget to check your engine coolant/antifreeze level and your windshield washer fluid.


3. Check your brakes and make sure that the rotors, pads and drums are in good condition. This can typically be done any time you go to get an oil change.


4. Check your battery. Having a strong battery is even more important during the winter months, because it takes more of an effort for the battery to draw a current when starting your vehicle in cold temperatures. Also double check the cables and connections to make sure everything is tight and free from corrosion.


5. Check engine performance to ensure that you're getting the best fuel efficiency you can.

6. Check the exhaust system for damage, leaks or any kind of broken support points. Also make sure that your exhaust system is free from any unusual noises (e.g., rattling, excessive vibration, etc.). If a leak is detected, take your vehicle in for repairs as soon as possible, as this could be a very serious safety hazard.

7. Check the tires for adequate tread and acceptable air pressure. If you spot any uneven wear, you may need to get a front end alignment. Also check for bald spots and/or bulges.

8. Check the vehicle's HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system and ensure that it's working properly. The last thing you would want is to be without heat in the dead of winter, or to be unable to defrost your windshield while you're on the road.

9. Check your windshield wipers to ensure that they're in good condition, and be sure that all of your interior and exterior lights are working.

10. Check your suspension and steering system. Make sure that your shocks, struts, ball joints, tie rod ends, etc., are in good shape and functioning adequately.

If this list seems like a tall order, don't feel like you have to do it all yourself. The best route to go is to take your vehicle to an auto repair shop and have a certified auto technician take care of these details. Save yourself the headache and leave it in the hands of the professionals.

*Always check your owner’s manual for your vehicle model’s specific instructions before attempting any type of repair. Copyright Hogan & Sons Tire and Auto 2017