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Getting your home and car ready for fall

Natalie Thomas, reporter
September 26, 2012 — Now that fall is officially here, there are a number of things you can do to get your house and car ready. I spoke with the experts and put together this to-do list.

Check your tire pressure to maintain good traction
Check your tire pressure to maintain good traction

From packing away summer clothes to cleaning out the eavestrough, chores can seem never-ending this time of year.

We've put together a fall checklist to help you on your way.

Change your home's furnace filters. "People don't realize there is a lot of mold and mildew that builds up during downtime," says Jeff Tate, a category marketing manager at Wal-Mart.

Switching to a new filter makes sure that your family is breathing in clean air. Tate recommends refreshing your furnace filter every 30 days or so.

Seal your home's doors and windows. Make sure both are properly caulked. You should aim to patch up cracks and holes now, before cold temperatures set in.

Seed your grass. Believe it or not, the best time to seed your grass isn't during the spring. Seeding during the fall will ensure that your lawn comes back greener than before.

Now is the time to start thinking about winter tires
Now is the time to start thinking about winter tires

Check your car's windshield wipers. "Windshield wipers are critical at this time of year, particularly when you start getting into winter and we get some very messy roads," says Ian Law of ILR Car Control School. "Your vision out through that windshield is absolutely critical to your safety."

Maintain tire pressure. As temperatures drop, so does your tire pressure. Keeping your tire pressure in check helps maintain traction and can prevent a blow-out.

To check your pressure, remove the valve stem cap, take your tire pressure gauge and apply it to the valve stem. From there, you can read the pressure. 

When in doubt, check with your owner's manual. "Every vehicle has an owner's manual that has a recommended tire pressure, and you need to make sure that that tire pressure is at or above what the manufacturer recommends," Law says.

Start thinking about winter tires. Winter tires should be installed when temperatures are consistently below seven degrees.

If you're going to be taking a few trips up to ski country this winter or expect to be driving in extreme conditions, Law recommends a snow tire, which has a more "aggressive" tread pattern.

An ice radial tire has better traction in slush, and may be better for city driving.

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