It can be hard sometimes to admit that the season is coming to a close. After all, the wild weather patterns in Colorado can sometimes make it seem like it’s never going to end. But even if you’re able to squeeze in another off-road run or two before the snow hits, don’t forget to make an appointment with your local Fort Collins auto shop for your end-of-season service.
Your vehicle has no doubt seen some great trail action over the summer, with all the amazing trails and playgrounds that this area has to offer. Unfortunately, with all that fun comes the risk of damage and wear on your off-road parts, and those should be checked and replaced often. Plus, it’s better to have everything serviced now than winding up unprepared when the nasty winter weather blows in. Here are a few items to add to your autumn vehicle check list:
Tires are generally not designed to withstand the bumps and squeezes of repeated four-wheel adventures. Not without regular maintenance that is. Over the summer, your tires have surely taken a beating and it’s time to take care of arguably one of the most important off-road parts on your car! A few things that sometimes get out of whack:
- Tire pressure: Always good to check before and after every trail outing, to monitor how well your tires are holding air. If you suspect a leak, take it to your licensed 4×4 mechanic.
- Tire tread/ wear: All that dirt and rock can rub down your rubber quick. Check your tread with a penny: insert it upside down in a tread groove. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, it’s time to purchase new tires!
- Tire alignment: A common problem for off-road enthusiasts is throwing their tires out of alignment. The sheer pressure and torque needed to pop you free from a tight spot may be all it takes. This is best left to the professionals to diagnose, but you may suspect misalignment if you feel a shake or wiggle while driving on flat road.
The heat and activity of the summer can suck up more fluids than you may realize, so autumn is the perfect time to refill and make sure everything is running smoothly. Take your truck to your local Fort Collins auto shop and ask them to check the following:
- Coolant: You may have drained much of this during the hot season, so it’s good to start fresh with new cooling fluid to keep corrosion at bay.
- Power steering fluid: On an off-road run, steering is a crucial skill and often-used to get you out of hard spots. Make sure you’ve topped off for smooth steering on the city streets as well.
- Brake fluid: Being able to stop on a dime is a critical thing when traversing both the mountains and highways during rush hour. It never hurts to make sure you’ve got enough fluid here.
- Transmission fluid: Transferring the power from your engine to your wheels is a pretty great thing, especially for anyone who loves to hit the trails. Just be sure to get a professional change and use fluid for manual transmissions and high-wear vehicles.
- Engine oil: The all-important oil change is something that’s easy for your mechanic to check off during a maintenance visit. Because of the increased pressure on off-road engines, you should change your oil often and always with a high performance product.
There are several other off-road parts that should be given the once-over at the end of the season:
- Battery: Batteries can be even more susceptible to corrosion if you regularly take your vehicle out in harsh conditions. Have your 4×4 mechanic look it over to keep things clean and safe.
- Filters: Your truck pulls through a lot of air to keep up with the demands of rocky and slippery routes. Because of this, you may need to replace your air filters more often.
- Tubes and hoses: The heat of your engine plus the heat of the summer sun can spell bad news for your rubber. Tubes and hoses often show wear after a season of 4×4 adventures and should be checked for stretching, warping, and leaks.
Autumn is the perfect time to take stock of any summer damage and give your ride the professional maintenance it needs. Before the weather turns too cold, head on over to your local licensed 4×4 mechanic and have any off-road parts replaced so your winter can be filled with more excitement and fewer headaches.