Important Post-Summer Service Tips for Your Vehicle
Summer driving takes a toll on vehicles, even if your vehicle was grounded most of the time during stay-at-home precautions. Small issues that may have been annoying during long summer days can become critical on long autumn nights.
For starters, the lower angle of the sun in fall makes it imperative to get a clear view while driving. It’s just as important other drivers can see your vehicle clearly.
Here’s our 8-point checklist for autumn visibility and driver safety:
1. Repair a damaged windshield. Did a gravel truck chip your windshield? Those small chips can turn into big problems if left unattended. Sometimes, window chips and cracks can be repaired instead of replacing the entire windshield.
Type, size, depth and location of the damage determines what kind of service is required. For example, a small ding or small crack in the lower right corner of your windshield may be fixed using a chip repair service.
Larger cracks and chips generally require windshield replacement. A vehicle windshield plays an integral role in airbag deployment, and replacement is paramount for crash safety.
“A broken windshield isn’t something you should put off fixing,” said Melina Metzger, public relations manager for Safelite AutoGlass. “Windshields are a major part of a vehicle’s structural integrity, and damaged glass reduces your visibility.”
2. Have your headlights inspected. Headlights can dim over time, so replacement before burnout is a great idea. Dim bulbs or cloudy lenses make reading road signs, spotting pedestrians and gauging distance much harder at night.
If you cannot remember the last time the headlights bulbs were changed, it may be time for replacements. Take your vehicle to your trusted service center to have the headlight bulbs and casing inspected.
3. Always replace headlights in pairs. It’s very important to replace headlights in sets of two. Since headlights dim over their lifetime, a new bulb paired with an old bulb will create an uneven field of vision for drivers, which can be a major distraction on the road.
4. Make sure your headlights are properly aimed. Service technicians can properly align your headlights, ensuring you get maximum visibility at night.
5. Check your tail lights. You might need to slam the brakes, it’s crucial that your brake lights operate properly to potentially avoid a rear-end collision. Replace these bulbs in pairs as well.
6. Replace your wiper blades. A long, hot summer has weathered your windshield wiper blades. Have they hardened and cracked?
Chances are they won’t properly sweep moisture away from your windshield.
Have your service center install a pair of rubber or synthetic-blend blades. Some wiper blades are dipped in a rain repellant. Simply let them run on a clean, dry windshield for two minutes for the coating to adhere to the glass. Once activated, the water repellent will last for months.
7. Apply a coat of rain repellent to the exterior and interior of your windshield. It helps keep both sides of the windshield moisture free for improved visibility even in harsh weather.
8. Use vehicle-specific window cleaner to remove haze from the inside surfaces. Particles inside the vehicle cabin--from materials inside the vehicle and contaminants from outdoors--adhere to glass surfaces. The haze turns those surfaces into glare that is especially pronounced in autumn. Use window cleaners designed for vehicles; others tend to cause streaking.