Colder months can be a brutal time of year for your car if you’re not proactive about vehicle maintenance. Neglecting the warning signs that your car needs some much needed attention could take a serious toll on your wallet. Here are ten fall maintenance tips that, if you use them, will help you live much more stress-free during the fall and winter months.

Replace your Wiper Blades

It’s an unfortunate reality, but a reality nonetheless. Wiper blades wear out after a while. In severe weather conditions consisting of heavy rainfall or snow, you’ll need wiper blades that are up to the task of providing you with clear visibility when you’re out on the road. Generally speaking, wiper blades should be replaced every six to twelve months.

Test Your Heater/Defroster

Having to drive a car that won’t heat itself properly isn’t fun, especially when temperatures are freezing. When you turn your heater/defroster on, check to see how effectively your car is defrosting itself. If it is taking longer than usual, it may be time to get it repaired or replaced.

Change Your Oil

Most cars today have built-in oil indicators that tell you just how much oil is left in your car. Whether you drive a newer car or are still trying to get those last few miles out of an older one, be sure to be mindful of when the last time you changed your oil was. If you wait too long, your car’s performance will suffer and you may be left with an expensive repair on your hands. Remember, being proactive about your vehicle maintenance can save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars.

Have Your Tires and Brakes Inspected

If your tires lack the proper amount of tread to grip road surfaces, and if your brakes fail on you, you’re leaving yourself at dangerous risks of peril when you’re behind the wheel. Not to mention if you have your loved ones in the car with you. Ask yourself, would you really want to put them at risk? Don’t do it.

Check Your Lights

This doesn’t take much time at all. Simply walk around your vehicle with your lights turned on. If you notice any cracks, breaks, or one or more of your lights not illuminating, you’ll want to take your car to a dealership or repair shop immediately. Not only is it dangerous to drive with malfunctioning or broken lights, but a police officer will certainly pull you over and issue you a ticket for driving your car without properly working lights.

Check Your Air Filter

Don’t know how to test your air filter? Don’t worry. Place your air filter in front of a 60-watt light bulb. If you can’t see through the filter, you know it’s time to replace it. If you don’t know how to replace the air filter yourself, contact a skilled technician to provide that service for you.

Have Your Battery Checked

Weather is getting colder. Pretty soon, it’ll become cold and treacherous. You don’t want to be in a situation where you’re stranded on the side of the road in freezing conditions because your car battery died on you. It’s better to get your battery looked at sooner rather than later. Batteries can also have loose wires and cable connections. Loose wires and wet conditions? No, thank you. Get a professional to take a look at your battery before it’s too late.

Top Off Your Fluids

How many fluids are there? Well, for starters, check that your washer fluid, transmission fluid, brake fluid, and power steering fluid are all topped off. This is especially important and needed in cold weather conditions.

Refill Your Cooling System

If your engine is overheated, you potentially have an expensive repair on your hands. Make sure your coolant is full with a 50/50 combination of water and coolant.

Check Under Your Hood

If you look under your hood, you’ll probably see some obvious signs of wear and tear. If signs of wear and tear are visible, take your car to a professional to have it inspected. They can tell you what needs to be repaired and/or replaced and how much everything will cost. A little rule of thumb is if you hear any strange noises or smell anything unusual underneath your hood, it’s time to have your car inspected.