Now that fall is finally upon us, The Pep Boys - Manny, Moe & Jack (NYSE: "PBY"), the nation's leading automotive aftermarket service and retail chain, reminds all motorists of the importance of inspecting their vehicles in preparation for the changing weather ahead.
Fall weather can vary wildly across different regions of the United States. For some, fall means warm evening winds, fire season and the necessity of protecting their car’s finish from the damaging effects of ash fallout. In other places, the changing of the leaves brings cooler temperatures and the threat of snow and rain, making headlight, tire and windshield care important.
No matter what region of the U.S. you live in, fall provides an excellent annual opportunity to perform regular maintenance and inspect common wear areas of your car. Making sure your tires are properly inflated and in good working order, windshield wiper blades are clean and the rubber is in good shape, headlights are clear and properly functioning and your vehicle’s brakes, shocks and struts are performing as they should, will make driving this fall and winter safer and more enjoyable.
Pep Boys recommends owners pay special attention to the following areas and look for the following warning signs.
- TIRES AND ALIGNMENT – Make sure your tires are inflated to the vehicle manufacturers specified guidelines found inside the vehicle owner’s manual. Inspect tires for signs of uneven wear, rot or other damage like blistering; any of these can signal serious problems that will need to be fixed ahead of your next road trip. Similarly, make sure the tires on your car are properly aligned. Sure signs of a vehicle that is out of alignment include a vehicle that drifts left or right when you take your hands off the steering wheel and uneven wear on your tires.
- BRAKES – Maintaining your brakes is an important part of staying safe on the road whatever the season. Inspect your brake system, including all brake linings, hardware and hydraulics, or have them inspected by trained technicians, to make sure you’re as safe as possible. The following are some common indicators of a potential problem:
- A brake system warning lamp that stays illuminated.
- Scraping or grinding noises coming from the brakes.
- Brake pedal feel that’s soft or spongy when the pedal is depressed.
- A vehicle that pulls to one side when the brakes are applied.
- Low brake fluid level in the master cylinder.
- A brake fluid test indicating a copper content of 200 ppm or greater.
- SHOCK AND STRUT WARNING SIGNS – Fall and winter potholes that appear because of seasonal rain can be especially tough on your vehicle’s shocks and struts. If your shocks and/or struts exhibit any of the following warning signs, they may be damaged or worn out and in need of replacement:
- Fluid is visibly leaking out of the shock or strut body.
- Your tires have a cupped appearance or uneven tire wear.
- Your vehicle unnecessarily sways or leans in turns, "nose dives" when you apply the brakes or bounces excessively after hitting a road bump.
- Vehicle ride is noticeably and abnormally harsh, bumpy or shaky.
- VISIBILITY – According to the Motor Vehicle Lighting Council, an estimated 2.8 million accidents are the result of poor visibility. Many of these accidents can be avoided with a few simple, yet important visibility safety checks.
- Headlights – Walk around your vehicle with the lights on. Check for any burnt out headlight, brake, fog and hi-beam bulbs and replace immediately.
- Headlight Restoration – Restore dull, cloudy, yellowed and hazy headlights, which are dangerous for nighttime driving.
- Windshield Wipers – Check your vehicle’s windshield wipers. If they are worn, cracked or streak when in use, it’s time to change them.
- VEHICLE EXTERIOR – In addition to inspecting the mechanical and wear areas of your car, the onset of fall is a great time to treat the exterior of your car to a little TLC, prepping it for the weather ahead. Make sure you wash your car with a detergent meant specifically for automotive duty. Never use dish soap as it can strip away your car’s protective finish. After the car is clean and free of residue apply a protective coat of wax to help seal the paint from the damaging effects of acid rain and fallout.
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