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October perfect (no excuses, please) for car check

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author photo by Nora Carter October 2007

October is an opportunity to take a breather between the back-to-school chaos and the pre-holiday madness that begins right after Halloween.

The weather is usually beautiful.

It's a good time to finish those summer projects, rake leaves, plant a few bulbs and make preparations for the rainy season.

It's also the perfect time to devote some attention to the family car, truck or sport-utility vehicle.

You depend on your vehicle to get you everywhere. Don't you think it's a good idea to give it a thorough check before winter's weather and busy pace gobble up your time and money?

October happens to be one of my favorite months because it is National Car Care Month. The Car Care Council stresses the importance of vehicle maintenance. The Car Care Council's Web site (www.carcarecouncil.org) is loaded with consumer-friendly tips.

In the states that participated in National Car Care Month's check lanes in 2000, 77 percent of the vehicles inspected needed repair or maintenance.

Here's how you can get your vehicle ready for the upcoming season. Turn it into a family project that will teach everybody the importance of keeping your vehicle safe and well maintained.

Take some time this week and make a checklist. Be sure to put the date on it so you will have a record of when it was done. Write down each individual item: exterior lights, front and rear; interior lights — dash, dome and courtesy; wipers — operation, blades and washers; heat; air conditioning; defroster; horn; mirrors; seats; windows; door locks; seat belts; tires; brakes; unusual noises, smells and vibrations.

Use three simple category columns, "good," "bad" and "get repaired," with space for a check mark and comment.

Assign everyone a task. Maybe the younger kids could be light watchers or horn honkers, while the older ones can check the tires and keep score.

It shouldn't take more than an hour at most and will be a welcome break from house and yard work.

If you feel inclined to do a little preparation homework, dig out your owner's manual. It makes a fascinating bedtime story for kids (they like the pictures), teens (should be required reading before getting ignition keys) and grown-ups (I've heard all of the excuses) alike.

Turn this month into a transportation discovery project.



© 2007 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
October perfect (no excuses, please) for car check - Autotrader