How do your car's "accessories" look?

Have you outfitted your vehicle with the right "boots" for the upcoming winter? If not, read my article from last month on winter tires and/or give your auto-home a call so they can assist you with finding the right ones. If your "boots" are ready to go, let's press on and talk about accessorizing! Many times people think about the big, important things on a vehicle and don't consider the little things. That's like putting on a plain, black dress and then realizing when you see pictures that you forgot to accessorize! Just like the right accessories "make the outfit," thinking about the smaller things or things "unseen" will keep your vehicle in optimal health for the winter months to come.

Check your glasses!

Whether you are getting a cute pair of sunglasses or a fashionable pair of prescription lenses, it's key to find a pair that are functional and look good, right? Likewise, it's important that you consider the things that affect the "glasses" of your vehicle. Your wipers, your washer fluid and your headlights all fall under this category.

A good set of wiper blades last about a year. When was the last time yours were replaced? Do you tend to buy the cheaper ones just to get by? That could save you money up front, but they wear out much faster and they may not "hug" the glass and do the best job while you do have them. Consider a nice pair to get your winter started.

How about your washer fluid? Does your auto-home fill it for you when you go for regular oil changes? Or do you add it yourself? What kind are you adding? Do you know there are different kinds - even though they may be the same color? Are you using the fluid that will not freeze? This is important to check before the cold weather hits because even if your washer fluid is full, if it's going to freeze, you'll still be out of luck.

Are any bulbs in your headlights or rear lights burnt out? Does your auto-home check this for you as a courtesy? Headlights are one of those things that you need to keep up on. Perhaps one of your lights is out and you think "oh well, I still have the other one. Besides getting a ticket, what's the worst that can happen?" Hmmm, well, have you considered what will happen if your other headlight goes out? You won't be able to see and others won't see you coming! When you know you have a light out, replace it as soon as possible.

What about foggy glasses? It would be a shame if you were looking darn cute in your black dress but you were stumbling over yourself because you couldn't see out of your glasses! Think of the mess you could get yourself in with a foggy windshield. Fully defrost it before you begin every journey. Do you notice your defrost is not working well? Why is that? Could it be that your cabin air filter is dirty and it is hindering the defrost rate? My experienced tech, Dave, says overlooking the cabin air filter is a common mistake that can lead to increased defrost time. Or could it be your recirculate button is still on from the summer? Most vehicles automatically turn off the recirculate button when the heat or defrost system is activated. However, Cas, my lead master technician, pointed out that some foreign cars do not offer this feature so you must manually turn it off. Both Dave and Cas stress the importance of this because keeping this button on keeps moisture in the vehicle and this greatly hinders defrosting.

Fancy, sparkly belts!

Belts are in! Meaning, they are fashionable. You can wear one at any height of your waist - they can be thin, thick, colorful or really sparkly. Belts are great accessories. Thankfully, you don't have to decide on a color or shape/size for belts on your car because you don't see them on a regular basis. But belts and hoses are of great importance. Even if your vehicle is newer, cold weather can wreak havoc on them! During an inspection, your auto-home will tell you the condition of your belts and hoses and notate wear and tear, if any. But it's also important to have regularly scheduled maintenance done. Your owner's manual or auto-home will tell you when your belts and hoses should be replaced as a precaution. Even if it doesn't look visibly worn externally, the internal condition cannot be seen. So it's quite important that you take the maintenance schedule seriously. If one of them breaks, you will be way more disappointed than if you forget about your sparkly belt with an outfit.

Earrings and necklaces and bracelets, oh my!

Jewelry is key to a great outfit! I shop at Savers a lot for great deals on clothing. And then I take my cute finds to the next level with jewelry! You can transform a plain, boring outfit magnificently with the right bling! What can transform your vehicle in much the same way? The battery! Let's face it, it's not pretty, there is no bling. But your vehicle, no matter what it looks like, cannot serve you well unless your battery is in good shape - and that includes the look and age of it. Be sure you look at the connections. Are they corrosion-free? Or do they need a little TLC? When was the last time it was tested? Having a battery in good working order will "make the outfit" this coming winter, getting you well on your way from one place to another.

These are just a few key things to check to be sure your vehicle is "looking good" for the upcoming winter. Next month we will have a chat about one of the most forgotten parts of a car … join me again to find out what it is!

By Jeana Babcock

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