People knock Houston for its heat and humidity. They often forget that the same humidity can make cooler temperatures feel colder than what thermometers dictate, and on occasion winter nights can get downright chilly in the Space City!
Your car feels the effects of the weather changes just like you do, and if your car is an older model, you need to take some extra care with it as the seasons begin to change. And let’s face it - if you’re driving an older car, some of these things probably apply to you:
- You have an attachment to the vehicle
- It’s got more than a few miles on it
- It has its peculiar tics that only you know about
- It can be finicky, especially when the weather changes
Let’s take a look at some things you should check on and do for your car in the fall when the days start getting shorter and the air gets a little cooler. Well, in Houston, it at least gets less unbearably hot.
Step One: Gasoline
Especially in the wake of COVID-19, your car may have sat for some time. While it’s unlikely your gasoline went bad, older cars can tend to have some sediment in their fuel tanks. Unless it’s a considerable amount, you combat that sediment by not letting your tank go below one-quarter full.
But since your older car may have sat for some time (and even if it hasn’t), you’ll want to fill up the tank as you prepare for fall driving. Doing this will fight the sediment build-up, and as a bonus, will help when fall turns to winter, as full tanks are less likely to allow water in, which can ice up in the fuel pump.
One thing you haven’t thought of? Your older car might have a gas gauge that’s less than accurate.
Parts of Houston are prone to flooding in October and November during the latter days of Southeast Texas' wet season. When the gauge says you had half a tank, you don't want to find yourself suddenly out of gas when you're trying to move your car to higher ground, right?
Step Two: Tires
Air up your tires. For every ten degrees the air temperature drops, you can lose a pound per square inch of pressure in your tires. Since it was egg-frying temperature all summer, your tires had plenty of pressure then, but as the air cools, your tires will lose pressure (also, remember that slow leaks are present in a lot of tires long before we notice them),
Driving around in the fall on underinflated tires will cause unnecessary wear and tear on them and have you in the tire store spending money sooner than you’d planned. Also, though you’ll never need snow tires in H-Town, you probably want to rotate your tires at the end of the summer.
Step Three: Under the Hood
So much can go wrong under here, especially on an older car. The advantage, of course, is that with an older car, you don’t need degrees in engineering and computer programming to make some repairs.
Top off your fluids (antifreeze and wiper fluid), check your oil and transmission fluid levels, check your belts and hoses, as the temperature fluctuations are a little tough on them, and they may have developed cracks or have some fraying.
Finally, check your battery. The colder it is outside, the harder your battery needs to work, so be sure it’s up to par while it’s cool outside, or risk having to replace it in 30-degree weather.
Step Four: The Heater
None of your friends outside of Houston will believe you, but you do run the heater in your car from time to time. Check before you need it. Warm up the car, then kick on the heater. Wait for it, and don’t let yourself just imagine that the air blowing out seems warm. If there’s any question, take it in for repair now.
Stage Five: Be Prepared
You’re already being responsible and making sure your old car is ready for the fall and, soon, the winter. While you’re at it, put together that cold-weather emergency kit you’ll be glad you have when you need it. Cards on the table: your car is old. There’s a chance you’ll need it. In it, make sure you have:
- A blanket
- An ice scraper<
- Jumper cables
The cables should be in the trunk no matter the weather, by the way. You might also consider adding to your kit a first aid kit, some roadside flares, and a flashlight.
These are simple steps to take, and prevention can save you a headache. And with your older car, don’t take any chances. You love that thing, right? Even if you hate it, it’s still your car, and if something goes wrong with it because you didn’t check this or that, unhappiness ensues.
If the worst unhappiness ensues and it’s time to junk your beloved land yacht, Junk Car Medics can make saying goodbye easier. With our quick and clean process, it's easier to grieve over your old vehicle by using our Houston junk cars service.