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Autumn means shorter days, colorful foliage, football season, and shaking one’s head in disbelief at stores putting up their Christmas displays in October. And with the change in seasons come changes in driving conditions – temperatures drop, and many parts of the country start to see an increase in rain, ice on the roads, and even a bit of snow. Here are three ways to make sure that your car is ready for the fall.
Fall Car Maintenance Tips
- Check your wiper blades
- Check and freshen fluids
- Check tire tread and balance
Check your wiper blades.
It’s easy to take your wiper blades for granted, but they’re one of the most-used pieces of equipment on your car. Windshield wiper blades do wear down with use and age – and even if you don’t use them very often, hot, dry weather can actually speed up wear. Autumn is a good time to replace them; your new blades will get you through the fall, winter, spring and summer. Knowing when to replace them is relatively easy: they’ll streak or even leave large patches of moisture when used, and they may even “chatter” as they move across your windshield. The blades themselves are made of rubber or silicon, and they can wear down to the point at which the hard plastic or metal of the wiper arm is making contact with glass. And that can cause damage to the windshield. Replacing the blades is a simple process; your local auto parts store will carry a wide range of blades, and will be able to help you find the blades that will fit your your car.
Check and Change Your Fluids.
As temperatures cool, it’s a good time to make sure that all of your car’s fluids are clean and topped off. When temperatures drop, the fluids in your car can become more viscous, or thicker – which may cause them to move more slowly through the engine. It’s especially good to drain and replace your coolant if you live in areas that experience extreme temperature swings from summer to fall and into winter. Coolant isn’t JUST coolant – there’s water added to it, and that ratio of water to coolant will typically be higher in the summer. In the winter, the ratio of water to coolant should be 40:60 (or 40% water, 60% coolant).
Check Your Tires.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: your tires are perhaps the most important part of your car. As you head into icy road season, you should make sure that the tread on your tires is still up to par. There’s an easy way to do this: all you need is a penny. Insert the penny with Lincoln’s head upside down and facing you into your tire’s tread groove. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, it’s time to replace that tire – the tread is less than 2/32 of an inch, and the tire is not safe to drive on. Don’t be surprised if your tires start to look a bit deflated. As temperatures drop, so does the the air pressure inside your tire – the pressure inside your tire will drop about 1 psi (pound per square inch) for every 10 degrees that the outside air temp drops.
These three quick fixes will go a long way in keeping you safe on the road this fall.
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As the weather starts to cool down, you have the perfect opportunity to clean up summer messes and prepare your home for colder days. Use this time to get these fall maintenance and renovation projects done before it’s too late!
Upgrade Your Old Furnace
Check On Important Insulation
Seal Any Air Leaks in the Attic
Clean Out Your Gutters
Replace Old Single-Pane Windows
Spread Mulch to Protect Perennials
Replace Missing Shingles
Prepare Your Fireplace
Switch Your Ceiling Fan Direction
Hibernate Outdoor AC Units
Clean Up Your Lawnmower and Other Yard Tools
Clean and Cover Your Grill
Winterize Irrigation Systems
Trim Problem Bushes and Trees
Virtual tours can provide a safe alternative to traditional home showings and open houses during the pandemic.
Purchasing a new home can be stressful even during the best of times. But navigating the process during a global pandemic is a whole new challenge. Buyers and sellers are still making it happen, however, with help from smart adaptations like virtual home tours. This alternative to traditional showings and open houses allows you to view a prospective home through a live video from the comfort of your own home.
Real estate agents and sellers can use video calling apps such as FaceTime or Zoom on their phone to give you a walk-through of the home. It’s a great option for potential buyers in areas where in-person showings are currently restricted or for those who aren’t comfortable entering someone else’s home right now. During the tour, the agent will virtually guide you through each space, pointing out specific features and answering questions as you go along. “You’re going to get so much more information with a guided tour than you could ever get from a rendering or by taking a virtual tour by yourself,” says Rachel Stults, a housing expert at Realtor.com.
Participating in a virtual home showing isn’t as simple as taking a virtual museum tour, for example, where you can just sit back and enjoy the view. There are a few things you should know ahead of time, including how to prepare and what to look for during the tour. These expert tips will help you make the most of your virtual home tour so your socially distanced homebuying experience runs as smoothly as possible.
1. Write down a list of must-haves.
As with a traditional home showing, knowing what you want going in can help ensure a successful tour. Scott Campbell, a real estate agent with RE/MAX United, suggests writing down a list of wants and needs beforehand. “That way, the agent can get through those concerns first, and you don’t have to worry about forgetting anything during the tour,” says Campbell. Your list could include requirements for the layout, such as a finished basement or a first-floor laundry room, as well as more cosmetic features you love like crown molding or hardwood floors.
2. Have a floor plan handy.
Trying to tour a new space via video can be confusing, as it’s often difficult to discern how rooms are oriented and connect. To help keep things straight, Stults suggests having a floor plan of the home handy so you can follow along during the tour. If available, the plan can also provide a reference for each room’s size and ceiling height. Consider printing out the floor plan ahead of time so you can make notes on the home’s layout if needed.