Fall Car Maintenance Checklist

Question: Do cars require special maintenance for fall driving?

Answer: No. But, smart drivers know it’s better to get ready for cold weather long before the snow flies.

In Battle Ground, Hockinson and other areas around Clark County, winter sometimes comes early and with little warning. Pouring rain, sudden freezes and snow make for slick streets and limited visibility.

Fall car maintenance

Your vehicle needs to be in top shape during winter. Getting stuck by the side of the road is always the pits. Being stranded in the cold rain is even worse.

Fall Car Maintenance Checklist

Here’s what to do now, while the weather’s still nice, to get your car ready for winter.

Antifreeze and Other Fluids: The car’s radiator needs the right mix of water and antifreeze. If the ratio is off, the water in the radiator could freeze. Check the other fluids in your vehicle, including windshield cleaning fluid, transmission fluid and power steering fluid.

Oil: Check the engine oil. Add oil or change if necessary. Be sure to use oil that’s formulated for winter temperatures. Not sure how often to change the oil? When you bring your car in for an oil change in Battle Ground, we’ll follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for your car. After that first visit, we’ll send you a reminder when it’s time for your next service.

Tires: Inflate, balance and rotate tires. Get new tires if you need them. All-weather tires are usually adequate for driving in Clark County. Keep traction devices in your car over the winter.

Brakes: No matter what the weather, you need good brakes. Brakes should be inspected and maintained on a regular schedule. Have your brakes inspected when you get your tires rotated, or as recommended by your mechanic.

Windshield: Winter rain is pretty much incessant in the Vancouver-metro area. Now’s the time to repair windshield chips and install new windshield wipers. Cut down on streaks and improve visibility with our windshield rain repellent treatment.

Battery: Get your battery tested. Winter is hard on car batteries, so make sure yours still has plenty of power.

Wax: Care for your ride’s finish with a high-quality wax. Do this yourself or bring it into our shop. The Clean Machine Car Wash in Battle Ground offers great package deals that not only remove the mud and muck but also protect your car from the weather.

Winter survival kit: Be prepared for the unexpected. If you have car trouble in winter, you could be stuck in the cold for several hours before help arrives. Get a bag or box and keep these things in your vehicle: rags, flares, blankets, snacks, a flashlight, jumper cables, ice scrapers, road salt, rain poncho, first aid kit and drinking water.

Inspection: Modern automobiles don’t necessarily need a tune-up, but they still need regular inspections. Do a visual check of the belts and hoses in your car and note any that show wear. Take a look at the spark plugs, wires, distributor cap and rotor. If you spot trouble, visit our shop.

If you’d just as soon stick a finger in your eye as look under the hood, no worries. We’ll take care of your car’s maintenance for you. Drive into our Battle Ground shop, and don’t forget to treat your car to a professional cleaning next door at The Clean Machine Car Wash.