One can almost smell it in the air: Fall is here! The leaves have changed, the kids are back in school, and many of our neighbors are settling their holiday season travel and family-hosting plans!
Soon we will have snow, then sun, then snow, then perhaps hail, then a bit of rain – you know what I am saying, you live here! As the winds of change creep up on our weather, we want to ensure that you have the information needed to not only transition your life to Fall, but your vehicle as well. Your team at Perkins Motors wants you, your family, and everyone in Southern Colorado to be prepared this Fall, so we collected a few easy tips for you to consider to make your time driving up and down the Front Range safe(er) and sound(er)!
1. OIL! Change it the right way – good to do this month. This is key, so don’t put it off. It’s too easy to do and simple to accomplish! Your vehicle will smile at you (well you know what we mean). Please, please and more please: when you arrive at the shop, be sure to ask your car technician to use the right viscosity, or thickness, for your vehicle at this time of year when the temps can quickly dip into the 20s, 30s & 40s. Oil tends to thicken as it gets colder, and if it’s too thick it won’t do the best job of keeping your engine lubricated. We have a great many people at Perkins who can advise you, then implement the best plan for your car’s oil needs. Seasonal change can be a pest on your vehicle, so the best place to start is to re-fresh its oil!
2. Embrace the newness of your wiper blades! Seriously, when WAS the last time you replaced your windshield wiper blades? Experts (like us) typically say wipers work effectively for about one year, so be sure to invest in some new ones if you’re due. In addition, be sure to always fill up your windshield washer system with fresh windshield washer fluid. Don’t be fooled by what some folks say: “Washer fluid is like water, so save money with water.” That is a HUGE no-no, as it will FREEZE, mainly in the Winter, but as we all know, Winter can pop up here in The Springs in October! Also, when you buy the new blades, also be sure to ask your technician to evaluate your heater and defroster to make sure they are working properly so you can keep the windshield nice and clear.
3. Love your battery, love it! Late Fall and early Winter is the perfect time to make sure your battery is corrosion-free and that your battery has all the water it needs. If you think that your battery is more than three years old, have us take a look. That is the time most batteries begin to fizzle out. Be sure to also have jumper cables with you, but when the weather is 35 degrees (we all know during Fall season, temps dip this low) you don’t want to be outside looking for a ‘jump’. Best to have confidence in your battery while also having jumper cables as you never know when you may leave your car lights on while picking the kids up at practice.
4. Pressure and tires? You know this, right? Tires must be properly inflated to ensure you’ll have the best possible traction as you drive through Colorado Springs. Tire traction is often severely jeopardized in wet, snowy, or icy conditions. The air pressure in your tires has likely dropped as the temperature begins to get colder. As you know, the cold rushes in swiftly around here even in the Fall, so it’s important to see where things stand now. Your owner’s manual and/or your tires will tell you what your target tire pressure should be. We will check them for you and/or teach you how to do it yourself!
5. Do you have four-wheel or all-wheel drive? Let’s be honest, most of us do in The Springs. How can we get up to the good skiing without it, right? Therefore, it is important to check the status of your four-wheel/all-wheel drive system and be sure it’s working correctly — especially because we don’t use it nearly as much in Summer.
6. Lights, Camera, Safety: Seeing and being seen is important in nasty weather. Have a family member or friend stand outside the car to make sure all the vehicle lights work: headlights, fog lamps, tail lamps, and turn signals. If they don’t work, replace them immediately. Besides the safety factor, don’t forget law enforcement will want to have a say too if they’re not working.
7. Don’t take a break from your brakes: When roads are coated with whatever our weather throws at us, it becomes much harder to STOP quickly. Have your breaks checked by an expert. Make sure they are ready for Colorado’s wild Fall/Winter seasons, where road conditions can change from hour to hour.
8. Emergency kit: You never know when you may break down and slide off the road. In that emergency, a time when it could take a few minutes for people to find you, consider keeping these things in your car: blankets, water, first aid kit, and a candle. Yup, a candle, per our friends in New England who have LONG and chilly Fall seasons too. This is one of the only ways to create predictable heat if your car turns off. You can light the candle and put a blanket over yourself to generate a quick source of heat.
Have a great Fall season – and love your vehicle
-Crystal Johnston, Perkins Motors Director of Marketing.