As the cooler season approaches, there are a number of things you need to check in your car to make sure it functions optimally. Winter usually brings in sudden freezes, pouring rain, and snowfalls that result in limited visibility and slick streets. Car maintenance should be done early in the fall so you are well-prepared for these dangerous driving conditions.

Below is an auto body shop approved checklist for maintaining your car in the fall season.

1. Collision Repair

If you’ve been putting aside collision repair for a long time, fall is the best time to do it. Damages, regardless of their size, can get worse if you don’t have them repaired immediately. Call your trusted auto body shop and schedule a collision repair prior to your winter trip.

2. Oil and Oil Filter Change

Scheduling oil changes regularly help maintain a healthy car engine. Motor oil cools and lubricates the engine, so it can pick up different kinds of impurities. The oil and oil filter should be changed at the beginning of fall so your engine works smoothly all year round.

3. Tire Inspection

Auto Body Shop Approved Fall Maintenance ChecklistYour tires serve as the last line of defense between you and various types of road debris. Be sure to choose quality tires and always look at the tread depth. Also, you need to inspect tire pressure as this decreases when the temperatures dip.

4. Emergency Survival Kit

Not every step has to do with an auto body shop, and one of the important things for you to remember is to try and be prepared for any eventuality. Should you have car trouble in winter, you’d likely be stuck in the cold for quite a while before help arrives.

Make sure to keep a box in your car and stock it with these items before going on your trip: snacks, jumper cables, flares, rags, a flashlight, blankets, road salt, rain poncho, drinking water, first aid kit, and ice scrapers.

5. Battery Check

The last thing you’d want is your battery dying out while you’re in the middle of a snowy road without any sort of help nearby. Always get your battery tested. Winter can be hard on car batteries, so ensure that yours has a lot of power before hitting the road.

6. Brake Repair

Brakes should be inspected to make sure they are properly working. Never delay any repairs that might be necessary. Doing so can be dangerous for you and other drivers on the road, especially in extreme weather conditions. Putting off brake repair is also damaging to your rotors, which could be more costly to repair.

7. Heater Check

Your car’s cooling system includes the defroster and heater. When checking your radiator hose, be sure to take a look at the heater hoses too. Coolant on the floorboard indicates a leaking heater core so you need to have a professional fix it ASAP.

To prevent blowing your holiday vacation budget on unexpected repairs and ensure your safety, always inspect your car. Maintenance is best done by a professional who can keep your car updated on things that should be checked regularly. If you can find one connected to an auto body shop in your area, then so much the better.

Remember: only certified auto body shop technicians have the right equipment and expertise to help your car recover from the extreme summer heat and make sure it’s ready for the cold winter season.