In domino fashion, failing to plan for maintenance can turn small problems into larger ones, putting a serious dent in your automotive budget. The penalties of procrastinating on vehicle maintenance range from an a/c that blows hot to a battery that won't start the car. Take care of your car's seasonal services immediately and make plans to get ahead of the game next year. An early visit to your repair facility provides the opportunity to budget for unanticipated repairs. Here’s a checklist:
A poorly maintained engine is hard to start in cold weather, if it starts at all. It may run rough and lose power. Have fuel, ignition and emission control systems checked, necessary components replaced and adjustments made.
Battery and electrical system
How old is your battery? If it's three or more years old, it should be tested and replaced if necessary. Clean and tighten battery terminals, as loose or corroded connections can cause symptoms of a weak or dead battery.
Oil and filter
Change both as recommended in the owner's manual, generally at 3,000-mile intervals for severe conditions and cold weather operation, especially when most driving is stop-and-go traffic.
Replace old wiper blades and be sure your washers are working. Carry spare washer solvent in your vehicle.
Flush the cooling system every 24 months. Have the system pressure tested for leaks and check hoses and drive belt(s) for tension and condition.
Inspect, balance, check inflation and rotate tires. Check inflation on the spare and make sure the jack is in place.
Check all lights and replace burned out bulbs
Have the vehicle put on a lift for an inspection of the exhaust system. Leaking exhaust fumes can be deadly.