10 Tips to Prepare Your Vehicle for Fall

Fall Car Maintenance

Summer is coming to an end, and Autumn is arriving soon.  It is time for Fall seasonal vehicle maintenance. Now that the weather is changing, our weekend events will be changing as well.  Cooler days and cold nights are coming… so is the mess of winter weather.  Here are the steps I take to shift my car from the lazy, hazy days of summer – to the cooler crisp days of Fall.  Summer to Fall seasonal change is a perfect time to refresh, restock, and prepare.


1. Clean

The seasonal change is a good time to clean out the car. Check those doors, pockets, and other nooks and crannies in which you’ve managed to tuck and hide things over the summer. Find those errant brochures, lone seashells, and pretty rocks you tossed into the car weeks ago. And that snack one of the kids ate and hid from discovery, probably under the front seat.  Rediscover the lost flip flop from that last beach trip.  Vacuum those floors and dust the console.

2. All-Weather floor mats

If you do not use all weather mats on the floors for your vehicle during summer, now is the time to bring these mats out of storage and get them ready to be installed in the car.  Leaves, snow (and eventually salt) will be pulled into the car by everyone’s shoes for the next several months. Protect those rugs.

3. Check Fluids, Belts and Hoses

Have your vehicle’s fluids, belts, and hoses inspected during this season.  The next time the oil is changed, ask to have an inspection of your belts, hoses, guilds (and if possible, brakes, and tires).

4. Check Tires

Inspect your tires and ensure they are still safe to drive. Use the coin test to see if the tread is still good, and check the tire pressure. I check the air pressure before every major driving trip (100+ miles). But if you haven’t check your tires in a few weeks, stop by and get the pressure checked and corrected. The change in temperatures will affect the tires. Now might also be a good time to rotate the tires.

5. Change Filters

The next time you change your oil, now is a good time to change the car’s air filter and the (interior) cabin air filter.

6. Check Lights

With the diminished daylight hours, you will be using your vehicle’s lights more.  While you still have the warm glow you summer, check all of your exterior lights.  If one of your bulbs are out (or dim), replace the pair at the same time.  Also check your interior lights, including the safety lights on all of your car doors are still working.

7. Check Battery

Inspect your battery. Look for corrosion.  If I ask, my mechanic will visually inspect my battery during one of my service visits (e.g., oil change).  Local automotive stores may also provide a free battery check as well.
Tip: when you purchase a new battery, enter the purchase date, warranty, and life-span of your battery in a calendar so you know how old it is and when it is due for replacing.

8. Check Wipers

Are your wipers still performing well? Do they show signs of cracks? If you tug gently, do they feel secure? This is the time to replace, if needed.  Although I try to plan a wiper replacement during my Spring maintenance, I check them now – before the snow starts.  If your winters are snow-heavy, plan to replace your normal wipers with heavier, snow & ice wipers.

9. Check Heat and Defrosters

On a cool evening or early morning, check that your heat is working properly. Check that the defrosters work for both the front and rear windows.  If necessary, have your car’s heating unit serviced before the cold weather strikes.

10. Check Brakes

Have your brakes checked.  Safety is crucial, and the upcoming weather will add increased risks.  Ensure your brakes (and tires) are ready for the seasonal change.

Winter Shopping List

Now is also the time to get your winter inventory shopping list organized. Start picking up some of your winter-weather needs over the coming weeks. You\’ll be winter ready in no time!

Prepare yourself for colder weather

With the passing of the seasons, I will start removing the Summer items I keep stocked. I don’t do it right away, as there are still several weeks of warm nights and fun weekends. As I find the summer-only items and remove them, I\’ll start to replace with cold weather / winter items. Essentially, I start to slowly prepare my car\’s inventory for winter during the entire fall season.  Lazy like.  😉

Personal Seasonal Shift:

  • Inspect and refresh your car inventory, such as the first aid kit, wet wipes, notepad, pens, fem hygiene products, etc.
  • Add lap throws and shawls to the car for cooler evenings and lap coverings. These are great for kids who fall asleep in the back of the car
  • If you have COLD evenings, add extra socks, gloves, scarves, and wool caps
  • Restock your lip moisturizing inventory. Grab a few spares for traveling guests!
  • Update fragrance in vehicle. Bring on the fall fragrances!
  • Add hand lotion
What are your preparations and organization for Fall? Share your tips and suggestions!

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