With the holidays rounding the bend, you’re probably running through your Christmas gift list, crossing off items one by one as they arrive at your front door. However, there may be a more important checklist to pay attention to: Your winter car maintenance checklist. Before even loading your Hyundai Santa Fe with Santa’s bounty, make sure you’ve checked off these important auto maintenance tasks to guarantee a safe trip.
Check & Change Your Fluids
How often should you change your car’s fluids? It’s an important question to ask, especially before heading over the river and through the woods, to Grandmother’s house you go. Here’s a list of general fluid-change intervals to follow:
- Motor Oil– Synthetic blends of oil should usually be changed every 7,500 miles.Full-synthetic oil should be changed every 10,000 miles. Conventional oil, which is usually found in older cars, should be changed every 3,000 to 5,000 miles.(When changing your oil, our Olathe shop will also replace your fuel filter to improve your vehicle’s fuel efficiency.)
- Transmission Oil – Older vehicles may require new transmission fluid every 30,000 miles.Newer cars and Hyundai models can usually go about 60,000 miles before needing a transmission oil change. Some transmissions are qualified as “lifetime fill,”which means new transmission fluid isn’t usually needed until passing the 100,000-mile mark.
- Antifreeze/Coolant– Ah, the most overlooked car fluid running through your vehicle’s veins!If your car has the green (conventional) antifreeze, a full coolant flush is recommended every 2 to 3 years, or 30,000 miles. Some new vehicles with modern orange coolant will only require an antifreeze flush after 100,000-plus miles—if at all. (That’s just one more reason to upgrade to a new Hyundai!)
- Brake Fluid – Unless you drive a racing car – which requires you to change your brake fluid every season – your vehicle should be okay with a brake fluid change every 2 to 3 years miles. A great rule of thumb is to change your brake fluid when installing new brake parts (pads and rotors, mostly).
- Power Steering Fluid – Modern electric steering systems don’t require you to change your power steering fluid, but older vehicles will need this service done every 30,000 miles.
- Windshield Washing Fluid – If your washer reservoir is empty, fill it up with anti freeze windshield fluid that can withstand negative temperatures. Install new wiper blades, while you’re at it.
Important note: Always refer to your vehicle’s manual for recommended care and fluid change intervals.
Inspect Your Tires
Did you know that tire pressure is reduced by 1 PSI for every 10-degree drop in air temperature? Under inflated tires make it difficult to gain traction on icy roads, and you’ll also find that they’re more prone to going flat. If you’ve ever tried changing a tire in the snow, you know how problematic it can be. Reduce that risk by checking your tire PSI and inflating them to the proper level as indicated in your vehicle’s manual, door jamb, or on the tires themselves. Do the same for your spare tire!
If your tires have been turning for over 50,000 miles, you’ll also want a certified mechanic to inspect the tread depth. If they’re all under 4/32”, you may want to consider buying a new set of tires before you take your holiday road trip. Simply stop by our Hyundai tire shop in Olathe to order a new set.
Get a Tire Rotation
As you visit your mechanic or Hyundai service center, be sure to ask for a tire rotation. Rotating those wheels is both an affordable and quick maintenance task that any auto repair shop can perform. A good tire rotation, paired with your routine oil change, will help reduce excessive tread wear and the possibility of slipping on black ice. For proper tire rotation service in the Kansas City area, you can make a tire service appointment online.
Test Your Lights
During a snowstorm, headlights can make a huge difference, improving visibility for both you and other drivers. Prior to your Christmas road trip, check your headlights, tail lights, and turn signals; a friend or family member can make this task easier. If you need to replace a bulb or fuse, you can do it yourself or simply seek out the services of a local mechanic or dealership repair shop.
Replace Your Car Battery
When’s the last time you remember installing a new battery? If it’s been longer than 5 years, you’re due for an upgrade. In the winter, even new car batteries can crank power at just 50% of the recommended level, and that inefficiency only gets worse with age. A new battery can usually be purchased and installed for under $200, which is a paltry price to pay for peace of mind. Ask your local auto parts shop near you for advice on choosing the right vehicle battery for your specific make and model.
Follow Your Hyundai Maintenance Schedule
To get the most out of your Hyundai before and after your Christmas travels, it’s imperative that you follow the recommended Hyundai maintenance schedule for your particular model. Better yet, let us do it for you! When you visit our Olathe Hyundai service shop at 681 N Rawhide Dr for seasonal maintenance, we’ll alert you to up coming service per OEM recommendations. (We can even email or give you a call when it’s time to come back in!)
Contact us at 913-324-7355 or schedule an auto service appointment online before visiting family this holiday. We hope you have a very safe journey!