Fall - the season of changing leaves, apple-picking, football, and, who could forget? Pumpkin spiced lattes! Before you start layering up in cozy flannel and begin your pumpkin-based diet, you’ll want to make sure that your car will continue to run well through the change in seasons (if only to get to the Starbucks drive-through). Some routine maintenance on your vehicle will help it run more smoothly through the colder seasons.

There’s no time like the present to get your car up to speed for fall weather. Cross fall car maintenance preparation off your to-do list now so you can drive around worry-free.

Check Your Brakes

With a change in seasons comes a change in weather patterns. For many areas in the US, temperatures will drop and the fall will be stormier than summer. Children will be heading back to school and daily traffic across the country will increase. Having your brakes in good working order is essential for safely navigating changing weather and more people on the roads.

You should be checking your brake pads every 12,000 miles and checking your brake fluid about as often as you get your oil changed to keep them in good condition. It’s especially important that your brakes are in good shape when the fall weather hits, so add an additional check for this season.

Check Your Tires

Fall rain and wet leaves can make for very slippery roads. After the summer sunshine, you may be feeling confident in your driving abilities, but changing conditions can throw off your game. Ensure that your tires are in good shape to handle fall weather.

Do a visual check of your tires for wear. Look for bumps and worn spots, and if you have any consider changing your tires. Also be sure to check the tread on your tires. According to TODAY, a simple way to do this is to use a quarter and insert it into the groove upside down. If you can see above Washington’s head, it’s time for new tires. If you need new tires, keep in mind they should always go on the back axle.

Low tire pressure can also lead to slipping on wet roads. Make sure your tires have the right amount of pressure, which can be found in your car’s owner's manual, by regularly checking that they are at the recommended amount. You’ll want to do this when your tires are cold and keep in mind that changing temps can affect your tire pressure, too.

Check Your Lights

The days will grow darker during the fall. Check on your car’s lights to make sure that you will be able to see and be seen out on the road to avoid accidents. Walk around your car to do a visual inspection of all of your lights to make sure they are working and are clean. With deer darting around in the dark during the fall mating season, you’ll want working, bright lights!

Replace Wiper Blades

Did you know your blades should be replaced every six months? They could be working overtime with this fall and winter, so now is a good time to check to see if new ones are necessary for your vehicle. Look for wear, discoloration or cracks and replace them if they show any of these signs.

If your blades are in good shape, give them a cleaning before the crazy weather comes. Keeping your wiper blades clean can help them work more efficiently and last longer.

When checking on your wiper blades, also think about your washer fluid. Don’t forget to change it out for a winter-ready kind that won’t freeze when temperatures drop.

Turn Up the Heat

It’s smart to check on your heat and defroster before temperatures drop so you’re not literally left out in the cold. Turn yours up to make sure they’re in working order before you need them! You don’t want to get caught in a fog during fall weather.

Are you due for usual maintenance?

Routine maintenance is essential to keeping your car running smoothly (and also important in avoiding denied auto insurance claims). Having a professional check on your car is especially helpful in the fall, when the weather starts to change and you’ll want to get your car prepared for winter.

When you take your car in, get your oil changed if necessary and have someone take a look at your car’s battery. Cold weather can be hard on your battery. Ensure yours is in good working order before the temperature drops.

Don’t forget to check under the hood before winter hits. Make sure everything is in the right place and running well.

Where will you drive off to this fall? Follow these tips to make sure your car runs smoothly all season long.