Chicago is one of the country’s most populous cities. So, when the bustling summer is over, it’s time to prepare for the cooler months. Of course, preparing for cooler temperatures and getting ready to rake leaves are just some of the things you need to do for fall. But what about that old car you've been holding onto?
The change in seasons means that there will be a change in road conditions. There will be falling leaves on the road, often wet thanks to rainfall.
Here's a quick guide to some of the things you need to do to prepare your old car for fall in Chicago, IL.
Check Your Tires
Fall is a perfect time to switch those tires out for all-season or winter tires if you use summer tires. If you already have all-season tires, you should check the tire pressure, since the air pressure can fluctuate due to the temperature change.
Whether you're keeping your tires or changing them, you should check the condition of your tires, including checking the tread of your tires. In addition, as the temperature continues to drop (and they can reach below freezing temps in Chicago fall), it would be beneficial to check your tires each month.
Chicago is known for its shorter but more intense rainfall that can lead to flooding. So, ensuring that your tires are in optimal condition is crucial.
Check Your Exterior Lights
As cars age, a foggy build-up can occur on your lights. The fog will make it difficult for your car to be visible in extreme snowstorm conditions or at night. You'll want to clean them with a home kit designed to remove fog or clean the lights professionally.
Check Your Wiper Blades
Wiper blades consist of material that can crack in the extreme heat of summer. You'll want to make sure your blades clear your windshield when snow falls, so replace them if necessary. There are winter blades designed to endure colder temperatures better so they can do their job better.
Do a Fluid Check
Your mechanic will typically do this when he or she does a service. However, it doesn't hurt to make sure your fluid levels are where you need them to be if you're between services. Fluids to checkinclude:
- Windshield washer fluid: Keep the tank full and store a bottle in your trunk so you can easily refill when needed.
- Engine oil: It's essential to check your engine oil level after summer. Engine oil can evaporate in extreme heat, so you may have to top it up.
- Coolant: Engine coolant loses its ability to handle colder temperatures over time, so you may want to do a coolant flush.
- Brake fluid
- Transmission fluid
- Power steering fluid
Test Your Battery
The fall is a perfect time to test your battery and make sure that it can make it through the winter. Chicago temperatures can drop to the mid-50s, and even the 40s, during the fall, and the last thing you want is to be stranded on a night like that.
Test the Features You Haven't Used All Summer
You don't want to wait until the first cold morning to find out your heat doesn't work. Instead, check to make sure the car's heat and defroster work so you can get it fixed before you need to use either one.
Check Belts and Hoses
It would be best if you inspect your belts and hoses for cracks and leaks. If you leave cracks or leaks untreated, they could cause damage that requires costly repairs, so it's better to be safe than sorry.
Give Your Car a Proper Detail
You want to protect your car from the beating it will take with the snow and the road salt. So you're going to want to give it a clean that removes rail dust, tree sap, and environmental debris that like to stick to the clear coat.
Once you have a clean surface, you can apply wax to it. Polymer-based wax protects your paint longer than other kinds of wax. The good news is that there are quality waxes that you can buy that give you a professional-grade ceramic wax that is easy to use and long-lasting. You'll appreciate the durability since you want that wax to last through a Chicago winter.
Check Your Brakes
With the wet roads and leaves that can become slippery, you want good tires, but you also want good brakes. So make sure your brakes are in good enough condition to get you through the winter.
Install All-Weather Floor Mats
Floor mats are great to have year-round but a necessity as we prepare to head into winter. You want to protect your interior from the salt and snow that you're bound to bring into the car with you.
Pack an Emergency Kit
Here's a list of some items for your emergency kit:
- Road flares
- First-aid kit
- Jumper cables
With all that said, Chicago is a big place, so you have plenty of options available for a new ride.
If you've been thinking that it may be time to let go of your old car instead of preparing to winterize it, check out Chicago junk cars service.