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(BPT) - Families across the country have returned from their carefree summer road trips and are already back to the grind of daily school commutes. With such a heavy reliance on the family vehicle, fall car care should be at the top of every driver's fall priority list.

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Fall and winter driving challenges

Americans hold on to their vehicles longer than ever before, keeping the same car for an average of more than seven years, according to a recent national study. With motorists racking up thousands of miles to a car's odometer each year, the vehicle takes on wear and tear simply from normal usage. Whether your car is brand new or a seasoned veteran of the road, it's vital to properly maintain your vehicle so it can remain dependable while transporting your most precious cargo.

Completing a simple seasonal vehicle checkup this fall can mean the difference between a well-running and reliable vehicle versus spending excessive time and money to fix avoidable and preventable issues.

Here are a few simple tips to help you arrive safely at your destination:

Always be prepared:

Pack an emergency kit and keep it on hand, before you end up needing it. Essential items to have easily accessible in your vehicle include water bottles, a cell phone charger, a spare tire that is properly inflated, an air pressure gauge and a first aid kit.

Adding the name and number of your nearest Goodyear Auto Service Center to your contacts in your cell phone can help put you in control in the event of a vehicle breakdown.

Steer clear of sharp objects:

Avoid sharp objects on the roads as much as possible. Objects like bolts, nails, stones and other hazardous items cause punctures resulting in flat tires. Next time you have a flat tire, bring your vehicle to a company owned Goodyear Auto Service Center that now offer free flat tire repairs for most cars. Visit to find the nearest Goodyear Auto Service Center for complete details.

Under pressure:

As the temperatures change, so does tire pressure. Proper tire inflation is essential for automotive safety and significant cost savings including better fuel mileage. Tires should be inflated to the vehicle manufacturer's recommendations printed on the vehicle door placard or in the owner's manual.

Gain traction:

Drivers should check their vehicle's tread before embarking on a fall drive to ensure proper traction. The simple penny test is an easy indicator to see if your tread is low. Insert the penny into the tread, and if you can see the top of Lincoln's head, you need to start looking to new tires. For those in need of new tires, consider an all-season tire such as the Assurance TripleTred All-Season, a premium tire featuring three unique tread zones providing motorists with confident handling in any weather condition.

Steer clear of fallen leaves:

Fallen leaves are a sure sign of autumn, but they can also pose a risk to drivers by creating potentially dangerous driving conditions. Leaves that accumulate can become wet and turn the road into slippery surface for drivers to navigate.

Check your oil:

Motor oil is essential to your engine, and keeps your vehicle running as smooth as possible while fighting the excessive heat and friction that can do substantial damage if the engine is left unlubricated. Every vehicle is different and each manufacturer requires the oil to be changed at different intervals or mileage points, so check your owner's manual for your vehicle's maintenance schedule.

Visibility is key:

Inspect your wiper blades and look out for cracks, tears and cuts on the blades or streaks left behind on your windshield, which are all signals your blades have reached the end of their lifespan. Ninety percent of your driving decisions are based on vision, so make sure you replace your cars wiper blades if they are not up to standards.

Enjoy the fresh air:

Though you may be reveling in the cool, crisp fall air, your car could be choking on the pollen, dust and sand it sucked in throughout the summer months. Replacing your air filter improves airflow to the engine and increases engine performance.

For more helpful car care advice or information on tires for cars, light trucks, SUVs and more, visit your local Goodyear retailer or go online to




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