October is Car Care Month, and AAA says with the weather still being mild, this is the perfect time to get your vehicle winter-ready and deal with any potentially costly repairs.

Vehicle maintenance is key, said Kathleen Zinszer, senior public affairs specialist at AAA Mid-Atlantic. She said to make sure you take your car to a trusted mechanic and make sure to read the maintenance requirements for your car, which can be found in the owner's manual. There is no longer a standard maintenance schedule for vehicle services, as in years past.

It used to be that you would take your car in for an oil change every few thousand miles. But vehicles are different now. You want to make sure you're not taking your car in to get an oil change too often, or not often enough, Zinszer said. Oil change intervals are now recommended at 5000 to 10,000 or more miles, transmission fluids are designed to last 100,000 miles and sealed batteries never need to have fluid added.

She said to inspect your brakes as recommended in your owner's manual. Zinszer said if you notice any pulsations or any noises while you're braking, you need to check them out.

Also, she said, if those in-vehicle maintenance reminders are lighting up on your dashboard, have them addressed immediately and do not ignore them.

"This is your car telling you what might be happening under the hood," Zinszer said.

The best time to find a reputable mechanic is before you actually need one, so shop around now and ask questions, Zinszer said. Ask if the facility has up-to-date equipment, get a written estimate, ask if the shop offers a nationwide warranty on parts and labor and check to see if the customer areas are clean, comfortable and well-organized.

Regular vehicle maintenance is a great way to save yourself some money, Zinszer sad. Some people actually put it off to save money but in the end, if you let problems go long enough, it's going to be that much more expensive to fix.

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