Fall Into Good Car Care Habits

With the summer solstice in our rear-view mirror, the temperatures are getting cooler and another harsh winter may soon be upon us.  Your car may have handled the heat like a pro, but how will it do in the cold?

“Autumn is a great time for automotive maintenance and repair,” says Amy Mattinat, car care expert and owner of Auto Craftsmen, an independent auto sales and service facility located in Montpelier, VT. “It gives us time to repair the wear and tear from all the extra miles put on in the summer, and allows us to prepare for those colder days ahead. Following a simple maintenance checklist will save drivers time and money by extending the life of their vehicle and ensuring safer operation.”

To ensure that your car keeps running at its peak performance, here are four big tips that Mattinat suggests you follow:

Tires: good pressure, little wear, and rotation

Proper tire pressure helps your car’s gas mileage. It’s even more important when the temperature drops because tires lose pressure each month. Monthly tire checks assure you that they are filled up to their recommended PSI rating (which can be found on the driver’s side door paneling, in the owner’s manual, or sometimes on the tires themselves).

A regular check of the tread is the key to avoid driving on excessively worn out tires. Make sure to rotate your tires every 5,000 miles to avoid the risk of having one tire wear more than the others.

Lastly, if the temperature in your neck of the woods consistently rests around freezing during the winter months, now is a good time to start looking around for winter tires.

Oil: switch to synthetic

The lower temperatures increase the stress on your engine. Prevent engine wear by changing your oil and oil filter as specified in your manual. Think about switching to synthetic oil, if you’re not using it already.

For example, Mobil 1 Extended Performance is a synthetic product specifically designed to help protect your engine in wide-ranging temperatures for up to 15,000 miles. It flows rapidly to critical engine parts during cold start-ups and helps provides outstanding wear protection to keep engines clean and running smoothly.

Cooling system: flush and refill

Always check the cooling system (radiator) for leaks and low levels. It should be flushed and refilled as recommended in the owner’s manual. When checking, remember never to remove the radiator cap until the engine has thoroughly cooled.

While coolant may mostly be associated with warmer weather, a vehicle’s coolant (or antifreeze) is just as important in the colder months to make sure the vehicle can withstand the temperatures. Mattinat usually recommends mixing together a 50/50 ratio of anti-freeze and distilled water.

Full engine tune-up: systems and fluid levels

Now is the perfect time to have your yearly recommended basic tune-up. The colder temperatures will only make any existing problems worse. A basic tune-up helps correct engine problems such as diminished power and/or stalling. It also ensures fluid levels (for brakes, transmission, windshield washer, etc.) are topped off or replaced as necessary.

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  1. King
    Oct 12, 2015 - 09:16 PM

    When you put that lift on and go for those 33 inch tires, you are almost comnitimg your jeep to the offroad. Why would you put gas sucking tires on a daily driver? If it is going to be mainly for off road use then it really doesn’t matter. The wider the rims, the more footprint of the tire gets put on the dirt. The narrower the rims the more the tires look like balloons and the less footprint goes in the dirt. Serious offroaders air down their tires anyway. Be sure to get the correct backspacing or dish to the rims so the wheels don’t rub the frame or other when turning. That is the main reason people change rims with bigger tires.The narrower the tire the better it handles all round. The wider the width of the tire the more your jeep will handle like a monster truck (which is not necessarily a good thing!).Let me clear the air in case you are unaware. The tire size 31 10.5 15 means that the tires are 31 inches tall, 10.5 inches across the tread (footprint of the tire) and that they fit on a 15 inch rim. Your Jeep factory rims were probably 15 inches indiameter and 8 inches across (where the tire seats). Larger width tires (>10.5 ) wide will fit on the stock (8 ) rims, but it is probably not reccomended. I would feel comfortable putting pretty much any size tire on a 10-10.5 rim.

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