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Is your ride road ready?

Fall is finally here and we are ready. But, is your car?

Get your car ready for the season with this checklist for fall and winter car maintenance. You can do many of these tasks at home in less than an hour. But, a certified technician should check others.

Battery and charging system

A fully charged battery in good condition is required to start an engine in cold weather. CAA Members can request a visit from a CAA Mobile Battery Service technician who can test batteries. If needed, a CAA trusted technician can replace your battery on-site.

Battery cables and terminals

Make sure the battery terminals and cable ends are free from corrosion and the connections are tight.

Drive belts

Inspect the underside of accessory drive belts for cracks or fraying. Many newer multi-rib “serpentine” belts are made of materials that do not show obvious signs of wear.

Engine hoses

Inspect cooling system hoses for leaks, cracks or loose clamps. Also, squeeze the hoses and replace any that are brittle or have an excessively spongy feeling.

Tire type and tread

Make sure your tires are winter ready. In areas with heavy winter weather, installing snow tires on all four wheels will provide the best winter traction. All-season tires work well in light-to-moderate snow conditions, if they have adequate tread depth.

Tire pressure

Check tire inflation pressure on all four tires and the spare. Proper tire pressure levels can be found in your owner’s manual or on a sticker typically located on the driver’s side door frame.

Woman ahnding car keys over the a mechanic for regular car maintenance

Air filter

Check the engine air filter by holding it up to a 60-watt light bulb. If light can be seen through much of the filter, it’s clean enough to work effectively. If light is blocked, you need to replace the filter.

Wiper blades

Your wiper blades should completely clear the glass with each swipe. It is best to replace any blade that leaves streaks or misses spots.

Washer fluid

Your wiper blades should completely clear the glass with each swipe. It is best to replace any blade that leaves streaks or misses spots.


Check the operation of all headlights, tail lights, brake lights, turn signals, emergency flashers and backup lights. Then replace any burnt-out bulbs.


If there is any indication of a brake problem, then you must have the system inspected by a certified technician to ensure all components are in good working order. Keep up on your regular car maintenance to help catch problems quickly.

Coolant levels

Check the coolant level in the overflow tank when the engine is cold. If the level is low, add a 50/50 solution of coolant and water to maintain the necessary antifreeze capability.

Transmission, brake and power steering fluids

Check all fluids to ensure they are at or above the minimum safe levels. Then top up any lower fluids.

Be winter ready with CAA

CAA Members get access to Roadside Assistance and so much more. Don’t be left out in the cold this winter. 

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