iReporter
 
Lindsay Reynolds – Guest Contributor
Oct 11 2012
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October is National Fall Car Care Month and the perfect time to prepare your car for winter which can be rough on vehicles. With forecasts calling for a colder than usual winter and the likelihood of snow in North Texas, now’s the time to make sure your car is running smoothly. Basic car care goes a long way to improving your car’s safety, dependability and longevity, and it also makes good financial sense. If you do the necessary preventative maintenance now, you are less likely to have to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars down the road on repairs. Brandon Miller, an instructor at Universal Technical Institute’s Dallas campus, offers five easy tips to ensure your car is in tip-top shape.

Check out the essentials. Check all fluids, including engine oil, brake and transmission fluid and windshield wiper fluid to make sure they are full. Take a look at all hoses and belts to make sure they don’t have excessive wear, and check your battery to make sure it’s corrosion free and not running low as a hot summer like we just experienced can severely deplete your battery power. Test your windshield wipers and interior and exterior lights to make sure they are all functioning properly. Also make sure your heater and defroster are in proper working order.

Inspect your tires. Check air pressure on all tires (including your spare tire) as tires that are not properly inflated could be costing you gas mileage. Also check the tread and inspect each tire for bulges and bald spots.

Check for necessary winter equipment. This time of year, it’s a good idea to keep certain supplies in the car just in case of emergency. For example, make sure you have a properly inflated spare tire, wheel wrench and tripod-type jack. It’s also a good idea to make sure you have jumper cables in case your battery does go out. Other supplies to keep handy in the winter include an ice scraper and snow brush, a blanket and a working flashlight in case you get stranded at night.  

Clean your vehicle inside and out. Vacuum the carpets and clean all the glass in the car. You’ll be surprised at how much dust and haze is removed and how much better you’ll be able to see, especially at night and in inclement weather. Remove excessive weight from your car like boxes or books you may have stacked up. Extra weight can decrease gas mileage by 1% to 2% for every 100 pounds.

Inspect your brakes. During winter, snow-covered, slushy or slippery wet roads are sometimes unavoidable. Make sure to get your brakes inspected before winter weather hits to ensure you have maximum stopping power. If you don’t know how to check to make sure your brakes are working properly, have a professional automotive technician inspect the brake linings, rotors and drums. An easy rule to remember is to have your brakes looked at each time you get an oil change.

By following the steps above you can keep your car running smoothly and avoid costly repairs down the road. And if you’re not a car person, don’t worry. Have a licensed automotive technician take a look at your vehicle.

About Universal Technical Institute, Inc.:
Headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona, Universal Technical Institute, Inc. (NYSE: UTI) is the leading provider of post-secondary education for students seeking careers as professional automotive, diesel, collision repair, motorcycle and marine technicians. With more than 160,000 graduates in its 47-year history, UTI offers undergraduate degree, diploma and certificate programs at 11 campuses across the United States, as well as manufacturer-specific training programs at dedicated training centers. Through its campus-based school system, UTI provides specialized post-secondary education programs under the banner of several well-known brands, including Universal Technical Institute (UTI), Motorcycle Mechanics Institute and Marine Mechanics Institute (MMI) and NASCAR Technical Institute (NASCAR Tech). To learn more about UTI and its training services, log on to
www.uti.edu.