Temperatures across the country are starting to drop after one of the hottest summers in years. With it, auto owners are reminded to prepare for the road ahead and consider getting their cars checked before the weather turns even more dreary. Whether you're bringing the car to a tailgate, driving back to school or just cruising around watching the leaves change, drivers are encouraged to perform some maintenance tasks before hitting the road. Preventative car care can keep the machine operating smoothly, especially with winter not too far down the road.

Regular maintenance on any vehicle can improve gas mileage, reduce pollution and hopefully save money by catching little problems early. First and foremost, it is important to follow the car's manual on servicing.

Flush and fill cooling system
It is easy to flush and fill an engine. It also a cheap way to provide extra insurance against engine failure. Many people believe simply flushing the radiator will do the trick, but this is a common misconception. A radiator requires a specific flush product that will really cut into the rust, grease and grime that water would not be able to cover. It is recommended to change out your antifreeze every two years because although it may appear to be 'the right color,' many do not know that sediments have infiltrated the tank, rendering it useless against freezing and corrosion.

Replace radiator hose and clampsIt is suggested to replace hoses if they appear weak or are bulging certain areas and if they are more than four years old. It is much easier to play it safe and change hoses out before they break and create numerous problems for your vehicle. Clamps are often overlooked and shouldn't be considering they fight leaks and pressure loss.

Change oil and filter
Again, consult your driver's manual on proper oil change scheduling. Oil and filter changes are one of the most common ways to neglect a vehicle and can be detrimental to engine performance. Keeping on a regular schedule can improve fuel economy and is essential to automotive care.

Care for your batteryA battery will need to be taken to a local automotive shop for proper assessment, but there is preventative maintenance that can be done every so often to ensure things don't go haywire under the hood. Periodically scrape off corrosion from the battery's posts and connections, clean all surfaces and be sure to keep connections tightened.