Car Care: Adapting your car for autumn

Use the change of season to give your vehicle a safety overhaul

This weeks Car Care looks at preparing your car for Autumn Driving.
This weeks Car Care looks at preparing your car for Autumn Driving.

As we officially move from summer to autumn this weekend, it's not only time to retire your barbecue but to focus on your car.

The change in season will see road surfaces change and your vehicle needs to be prepared for that. An increase in rain means your tyres will need to work harder while your lights will get a work out earlier in the day.

So here are steps you can take to ensure you and your car are ready for autumn.

Wiper blades

Over time and with the autumn months bringing wet weather, the wiper blades can suffer from wear and tear and must be replaced regularly.

Wiper blades can be purchased from all automotive specialist stores such as Repco and Supercheap Auto, and at service stations, and cost between $10 and $30. Check if you are unsure about sizes and remember to buy three if you have a rear window wiper.

They are easy to replace, just slide off the old ones and replace with new ones - and you'll have clear windows for winter.

Tyres

In autumn, our tyres should always have plenty of tread on them to cope with the changing conditions. If you notice your tyre tread wearing thin, it is time to replace them. Visit your local tyre specialist for a tyre check if you are unsure.

Check the spare or spacesaver too (if you have one).

For every 10 degree drop of temperature your tyre pressure can drop by one PSI (pound per square inch). Be sure to check your tyre pressure at least once a week. The proper inflation pressure will be listed in your car's owners manual, otherwise check with a professional.

Electrics

Car electrics can corrode and short-out due to colder temperatures, so checking these regularly is important.

Makes sure all your lights are working and that you are getting the right amount of light. It is worth having extra bulbs as backup as well. Check your battery terminals for rust and corrosion.

Air filter

Replacing your car's air filter before autumn is recommended. Grime, water and other nasties can take hold on a well-used filter, resulting in fuel economy, performance and cleaness of emissions being reduced. As there are many different types of filter, it is best to consult your owner's manual or a specialist as to which is best.

Fluids

In autumn, making sure you top up your car's vital fluids is important. This includes brake fluid, windscreen washer fluid and radiator coolant. All the necessary fluids can be bought from automotive specialists stores if they require a top up.

Defrost

With colder nights and mornings on their way, make sure your heater and de-mister is working well. Fogged up windows and a cold cabin can compromise safety and your well being, so make sure both are in working order.

Wash and wax

Giving your car a regular wash and wax will protect the metal surfaces from pitting and corroding. A thick coat of wax can also work well against wet weather and road grime.

Lights

Trips to the beach and on dirt roads can build up grime on your front and rear headlights. But as you turn your lights on earlier in the day in autumn it pays to have the plastic clear and ready to shine. Spend a few minutes washing all your lights with soapy water - and you'll be a bright spark on the road.

Plan your journey

Colder weather means the roads will be more congested on the daily commute, so leaving plenty of time for your journey and increasing your following distance by a second is wise.

- NZ Herald

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