At Mopar, we love to drive. Just a little bit of regular maintenance helps make sure your ride feels as good today as when you first drove it off the dealer’s lot.

This is part 2 (read part 1 here) of our look at car care items for the fall, getting things ready for the cold, the rain, the wind and the white icy stuff that’s going to be here soon enough. This time we’re going to get down to where the rubber meets the road.

Take note: Tires, brakes and suspensions are critical components for ride comfort and safety. They’re not something to be messed with by novices. The Mopar Service specialists at your Chrysler Group dealership have the tools, parts and training to make sure everything is in factory spec.

The maintenance may not cost as much as you think. Check out the virtual coupon library for offers specific to your vehicle. And you can keep track of the last time you had service work performed if you register your vehicle at the Mopar Owner Connect.

Also, if you’re not quite sure what parts we’re talking about, check out the Interactive Vehicle Maintenance Guide for illustrations that will up your automotive IQ in no time.

OK, let’s get rolling.

  1. Tires. Aside from engine oil, tires take the brunt of your car’s daily use. First, just give them a close inspection. Watch out for any uneven wear patterns in the tread or on the tire shoulders. Then, regularly check the air pressure in the tires. It’s best to do this first thing in the morning when the tires are cold. A tire pressure gauge is a good thing to keep in your glove box or center console and they don’t cost much. You’ll find the recommended pressure for your car’s tires in the owner’s manual and on a sticker affixed to the driver’s door opening. Also, many newer cars are equipped with a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) that will trigger a warning light in the instrument cluster if the pressure in a tire is low. Don’t ignore this warning. Many times it just takes some cold weather for a tire that is already marginally low on air pressure to trigger the TPMS warning light.
  2. Brakes. Bringing your car to a stop safely and quickly is paramount, especially in an emergency situation. Regular inspections will keep your brake system in top shape. For most people this inspection is best performed by an experienced technician. But be aware of warning signs that the brake system needs attention:
  • Do you hear a squealing noise when applying the brakes? This can be caused by a wear sensor on the brake pad. It’s warning you that the pads have worn to the point that they need to be replaced.
  • Do you notice that your car pulls to one side or the other when the brakes are applied?
  • Do you feel a vibration, especially in the steering wheel, when the brakes are applied?

A trained service technician will check the thickness of brake pads and shoes to see if they need to be replaced. He’ll also check the brake rotors or drums of signs of scoring or warping. Damaged rotors or drums may need to be replaced.

3.  Shock absorbers and struts. Potholes are no longer a season road hazard. Shocks and struts help soften the blow of a pothole, as well as the important function of keeping your car’s tires in proper contact with the road. Worn shocks and struts and also affect your car’s handling, particularly in emergency maneuvers. Original equipment replacements for shocks and struts keep your car riding just as it did the day you drove it off the new car lot.

In our next post, we have just a few more things to check to make sure your vehicle is road-ready for fall and winter.

Are you happy with the way your car, truck or SUV rides?