Home > Ask Gary > It’s the first week of autumn, why did my tire pressure light come on and what else do I need to check during this season?

It’s the first week of autumn, why did my tire pressure light come on and what else do I need to check during this season?

Toyota in fallWhile statistically the most fatal accidents occur in August, the most fatalities occur during the autumn and winter months based on miles driven, particularly with less daylight hours, causing greater fatigue. So it’s important to make sure your vehicle has been properly serviced.

Tire pressure—The weather plays a big part on the pressure in your tires. Though it may not be very cold yet, with the drop in overnight and morning temperatures, cold weather may cause your tires to be dangerously underinflated. Most newer model cars have a tire pressure monitor built in that measure the inflation of that tire. A deviation from the recommended tire pressure will cause the Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) to be activated. Your owner’s manual will indicate your recommended cold tire inflation PSI.

tirepressuregaugeMost tires are inflated with air, although some dealers are now using nitrogen because the nitrogen molecules are larger than oxygen molecules. In the fall, the colder weather will significantly lower your tire pressure. If your tire pressure is appropriate for the hot summer months, the first major cold wave will cause the air to contract inside your tire, lowering the pressure and setting off your TPMS. Also, cars that sit outside all night will be affected more by the colder weather than those kept in a garage. Expect to lose about 2 pounds of pressure for every 10 degree drop in the temperature.

Running on underinflated tires will also negatively affect gas mileage and will increase tire wear, as well as resulting in poor, dangerous handling. To learn to check your tire pressure, feel free to connect to my You Tube Video. It one of the easiest things to do and you can buy the pressure gauge for a couple of dollars.

Belts and Hoses—Engine drive belts operate important parts attached to your engine, such as the alternator, water pump and air conditioner compressor. Belts should be checked for cracks, dry rot, glazing, uneven wear or frayed edges, and replaced if needed. The condition of the timing belt is also important, because if the timing belt breaks, it could cause immediate and potentially expensive engine damage. Be sure to check the serpentine belts and hoses.

Lights—As daylight is shorter and headlights are on longer, it is important to make sure all of your vehicle lights are in good working order. Be sure to check the headlights, taillights, turn signals, fog lights and brake lights.

Exhaust System—Be sure your system is working properly and is free from leaks.

Coolant—Prior to winter’s arrival, check the antifreeze (also known as engine coolant) for both the boiling and freezing point. If the vehicle’s coolant hasn’t been changed for more than three to four years, it would be wise to have the cooling system flushed and new coolant installed. Keep in mind that the wind chill going through the radiator is actually colder than the outside temperature, which means the coolant can freeze.

Stay awake in those dark after work hours, but cracking open the window and turning up the music! Let’s make this the safest autumn ever. And by the way, drive carefully and slow down when approaching those wet leaf-covered roads that will be here soon enough.

If you’d like to get your car in shape for the autumn season, give our Service Department at Jaffarian Volvo Toyota Scion the opportunity to give your car a thorough check-up. “Dare to Compare” our prices to other franchise or service centers. You can even schedule online. Our service advisors and certified technicians will keep your vehicle running smoothly during these crisp autumn days and frosty nights.

Enjoy this beautiful time in New England!

Ask Gary Jaffarian

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