FALL CAR CARE TIPS FOR THE BUSY MOM
Between ballet, soccer and Halloween costume shopping, fall car care is probably not at the top of your to-do list. Skimp on the setup of a seasonal car maintenance schedule, and you may just find yourself with the kids at the local mechanic's shop paying dearly for the oversight. Embrace these car care tips, and your ride will hopefully make the transition from summer to winter without a hitch.
- Engine tune-up. Head to your trusted mechanic for a full engine tune-up. Since cold weather makes engine problems only worse, now is the time to figure out why it is difficult to start the car, why the idle seems too rough, and why there are times when acceleration seems to take forever.
- Cooling system flush and oil change. Did you know that the folks who change your oil frequently also offer to do a cooling system flush? It does not hurt to drive into fall with new engine oil and a new filter. Having the cooling system flushed and the mix of anti-freeze and water inspected and topped off is a good idea as well. Make this the first item on your to-do list to keep the engine from taking too long to cool down.
- Tire inspection. How did the tires fare this summer? If you took the grocery getter on an extended trip through rough terrain, add this inspection to your car maintenance schedule. If you live in a climate where rain or snow marks the approach of winter, you cannot afford to have bald spots. Get the tires rotated or replaced. By the way, if you do decide to get a set of new tires, make sure you ask if you need an alignment. After all, you do not want to start wearing the tires unevenly as soon as you leave the shop. Do not forget to include the spare tire in your car maintenance checklist.
- Emergency kit. You do have a first aid kit, right? How about an emergency kit? Since your kids have grown and probably discovered new needs since you last checked, it is time to update the kit. Include warm clothes and blankets, switch out the water and emergency food rations, and replace any items you have taken from the first aid kit. If your youngest ones are still in diapers, be sure to have some on hand that are the right size. This is also the time to add tire chains, boots, gloves and a collapsible snow shovel to your emergency kit.