Fall Maintenance in 5 Essential Steps

This fall season is unlike any other due to that second wave of COVID-19, but car care and maintenance is something that should never change.

Indeed, now is not the time to lose our good habits and neglect our rides. But what exactly does fall maintenance entail? Here are a few reminders and recommendations courtesy of The Car Guide

1. Rustproofing

Before winter’s dreaded mix of salt and road grime returns, you should seriously consider giving your vehicle a good and thorough rustproofing treatment—especially if you plan to keep it for a long period of time.

True, modern cars and SUVs are less prone to rust, but fixing the body and/or paintwork is still one of the most expensive repairs for owners. And don’t forget about all those parts under the vehicle that are directly exposed to the nasty stuff on the road.

Of course, rustproofing treatments have varying degrees of effectiveness. Click here to learn more.

2. Brakes

Fall is a perfect time for a good brake job, because these components will be severely put to the test during winter. At your next scheduled visit to the dealership or repair shop (probably to have your winter tires installed), ask the mechanic to check your car’s braking system.

Photo: Laurent St-Onge

A proper cleaning and lubrication is recommended, even though it will cost you extra money. This is a sure-fire way to increase the longevity of your brakes.

3. Dead Leaves

True fact: You need to quickly remove dead leaves and samaras that fall on your vehicle so they won’t damage the paint. The sooner the better, actually. Just like tree sap, leaves can stain the car’s body. They can also block water flow channels or rot in air intakes when they accumulate beneath the windshield. Hot tip: A properly waxed car will be better protected against dead leaves.

4. Interior Cleaning

Let’s face it: summer is over. Time to get rid of that beach sand, dirt, crumbs and other messy stuff your car or truck is still carrying—be it on the floor, inside the various storage compartments or between the seat cushions. A thorough cleaning come October is a nice way to make a fresh start and be prepared for the cold season.

Don’t forget the trunk! You don’t need that camping gear or summer equipment anymore. Take them out and replace them with the usual winter arsenal—an ice scraper and snow brush, an emergency kit, a flashlight, traction aids and boosting cables, a compact shovel, deicing salt or other thawing agent, a blanket and warm clothes, paper towels, plus a few snacks and water bottles.

Photo: Porsche AG

5. Vehicle Walkaround

A few more inspections are helpful to prepare your car for winter. Inspect belts and hoses for bulges, cracks or leaks that may be aggravated by temperature changes. Ensure that the alternator is in good condition, as well as its battery, because electrical circuits will be more in demand during winter. The block heater must also be examined using a device designed for this purpose (its wire and power supply must be free of any cracks). 

Finally, polish your vehicle’s headlights if they’ve withstood the ravages of time (proper lighting on those dark days is vital), replace the wiper blades as soon as they show signs of wear that makes them less effective (there’s typically more rain during fall) and get windshield washer fluid designed for winter temperatures. 

Take good care of your car and drive safe!

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