October is National Car Care Month! Hooray? Ok, it’s not the most exciting thing on your calendar. I don’t think there’s a Hallmark card for the occasion. Nonetheless, it could be one of the most important times of the year for your car or truck. A well cared for car or truck is a happy car or truck. And a happy car or truck means a happy driver, or at least a reasonably-satisfied-with-their-ride-to-work driver.

If you’d like to fall into this category, October is a great time to take advantage of all the hype and get your vehicle some well deserved maintenance or repair work taken care of.

What type of work should you be doing or getting done this time of year?  Early fall is a great time to get your car ready for cold temperatures. The cool mornings are enough to remind you winter is coming but it’s still warm enough to spend some time with a cold wrench in your hand. But even if you don’t live in an area that gets winter weather it’s a great time for maintenance. In colder climates, there are lots of things to think about.

Here are some things that you can get done in celebration of National Car Care Month.

  1.  Add some winter air to your tires. What exactly is “winter air?” Isn’t air the same no matter what time of year it is? Actually no. Well, yes, but also no. Without getting into the full description here, suffice to say that you need to add a little air at the beginning of the winter season.
    You can read more here.
  2.  Check, check and check. There are numerous checks to do on your vehicle regularly. Some people think that with all of the warning lights and computer diagnostics that are constantly running, the days of physically checking levels of things like coolant, brake fluid, power steering fluid and oil are over. While these monitoring systems are able to alert you when there is a serious issue, some of them don’t activate until you are at point blank. For instance, if your low coolant light comes on, many vehicles’ warning systems tell the driver to stop the engine immediately. This avoids costly damage to the engine, sure, but you’re left sitting in a parking lot or (even worse) on the side of the road trying to figure out how to get some coolant into the engine. Checking these levels on your own can help avoid delays as well as breakdowns.
  3.  Think about safety. Car Care Month may conjure images of oil changes and brake pads, but you probably aren’t thinking of bottled water or winter blankets. Just like Daylight Savings Time is the perfect random point on the calendar to replace the batteries in your smoke detector, National Car Care Month is a great time to check and replace your emergency preparedness supplies. If you live in an area that sees winter weather, this is even more important. You never know for sure when you may find yourself temporarily stranded. Be prepared.

National Car Care Month was created by AAA back in the 1980s to promote safety and efficiency in vehicles and emphasize the responsibility of car owners in maintaining their vehicles. AAA has launched a number of effective safety and efficiency campaigns over the years in a continuing effort to help drivers live more responsibly and affordably with their cars and trucks. My vote for best AAA service goes to roadside assistance, but National Car Care Month was a worthwhile creation, too.