5 Preventative Maintenance Tips For The Changing Seasons in Fairview Heights, IL!
As the season’s change, so do the demands on your car. Fairview Heights, Illinois, swings from cold and snowy winters to warm and wet summers, and every season puts strain on vehicles that can lead to costly damage over time. These five preventative maintenance tips can keep your car running well, spot problems before they begin, and keep your car in top shape for the changing seasons you have to drive through.
Regular wheel alignment and balancing, along with seasonal tire changes, can be one of the most productive things you do to get your car ready for the road as the seasons change. The roads around Fairview Heights, IL, see snow, ice, and slush every winter, and they can get slippery with the frequent rain every summer. Many local drivers switch between winter and summer tires to keep their cars handling well and stay safe in the highly seasonal climate of the I-64 corridor.
Even if you have all-weather tires installed, it’s still worth your while to get them inspected and rotated every time the season’s change. Tires wear unevenly, and rotating them on a regular basis evens out that wear and extend the life of the tires. Periodic alignment also helps keep the steering straight and prevents skids. Tire rotation is also an excellent time for a brake technician to have a look at your equipment and make sure everything is okay.
Heat and cold put different demands on the oil you use in your engine, and it’s a really good idea to change out your oil with the seasons. In your car’s motor, oil gets pumped up out of the oil pan and circulated around the engine to keep things lubricated and reduce the friction of the engine parts. Old or dirty oil doesn’t do this well, so annual oil changes are called for regardless of the state of the weather. In seasonal climates, it’s worth switching to a heavier grade of oil in winter anyway, since it can handle the chill better and stay fluid at lower temperatures.
Coming into summer, you should consider switching back to a lighter grade, or just getting another oil change anyway. This is because the spring mud and summer dust get taken up into the engine compartment and stick to the oil you’ve had in since fall, reducing its effectiveness. Your car is also likely to be losing a bit of oil anyway, which makes a seasonal top-off helpful even if you’re keeping to a single grade throughout the year.
Brake inspections are absolutely vital to making sure your car can operate safely on wet and icy roads. Even in the dry months, old brake equipment is a hazard that has to be fixed. Semi-annual preventative maintenance on your brakes consists of a visual inspection, replacement of pads, shoes, and rotors, and a check of the brake calipers to make sure they move properly. This is often done as part of a tire alignment and wheel balancing appointment, but it deserves to be done even if your tires don’t need work themselves.
Remember that summer grit and fall debris on the road can grind away at brake systems to make them less effective, while extremes of heat and cold cause flex in the fluid system and accelerate leaks. Seasonal maintenance on the brake system keeps you ahead of all of these issues.
Heating and AC Inspection
Inefficient or ineffective heaters aren’t a major cause for concern during the warm summer months, and you probably don’t run your air conditioner during the winter. Switch those around, however, and driving through even a mild heat wave or cold snap can become very uncomfortable. Every spring and fall see car owners lining up for a heater check or air conditioner recharge, so it’s not a bad idea to get your appointment in a little early. Even if you’re replacing the coolant in your car’s AC in February and checking the heating coils in August, the work you have done should hold up for a few months until it’s needed.
Every car needs a tune-up now and again, and this can be worked into your seasonal preventative maintenance routine. A typical tune-up starts with a general inspection of the car’s systems to spot issues before they turn into problems. Technicians check the start-up codes, ignition, electrical systems, battery, alternator, lights, and other bits and pieces that can get quirky in seasonal weather.
There’s no fixed rule for what gets checked or fixed in a tune-up, but the technicians at Full Circle Auto Service are qualified to work on every part of your car with the skill of professionals. We are a full-service auto shop serving the Fairview Heights, IL, area. Before the seasons change, give us a call at (618) 624-2272 to schedule your next round of preventative maintenance and keep your car running great.