Contributing Editor
Walter W. Pickut

Fall, Autumn, Harvest Season or Heating Season – call this time of year whatever you like, but it is an important turning point in our annual calendar.

The weather changes in fall, temperatures start to drop, and leaves pile up on the street the way snow drifts and ice will soon.

As a result, fall is back with its usual checklist:

  • Start warming up your home.
  • Stop dressing like it’s still summer.
  • Tune up your old Model-T for the b-r-r-r-isker weather that’s coming.

That’s why I’m talking about that ‘horsepower pedal” (AKA gas pedal), in your car this week. It’s a dangerous thing in Fall. But in case you forgot, wet leaves can be as hazardous as black ice. As a matter of fact, insurance adjusters say autumn is a busier time for car crashes than winter.

So, if you are a horsepower addict, watch out for those slippery-slick streets this fall. You might be safer with less horsepower. Consider Santa for example. A healthy reindeer tops out at 7 horsepower, and Santa covers the whole planet with only eight of them in one night. He’s never had an accident that we know of. Of course, they fly and they’re magical, but let’s not be picky. Santa winterizes, and so should we.

October is Fall Car Care month. That’s why this week your Jamestown Gazette brings you special features and ads for autumn car care. It’s real and it’s important for prolonging the life of your car, truck, or van and especially everybody in it.

In October, it’s good to remember the summer months. They may have been great for you, fun for your family and friends, and cross town, cross county, and cross-country trips and visits, too—but remember who took you there? Your car.

Summer was good for you, but maybe it was harder on your car. Autumn, then, is your car’s chance to rest up, clean up, and fix up.

But even if you’re a snow bird heading south to escape the arctic blasts, if you leave a car here, October car care can set it up for a safe and secure hibernation, ready to turn the key when you get back in spring.

On the other hand, for escapees taking that long drive south, October car care will make your journey safer, probably more comfortable, and most likely more economical.

And if autumn car care seems like an unnecessary complication, reflect for a moment on how much easier it is today than winterizing your steed in the age of horses and buggies.

Tire pressures and windshield wipers are easier to check than treating equine conditions like strangles, heaves, and re-shoeing to fix hoof grab. And could you decide whether your horse was to be snow-shod or un-shod, turned out or stabled, blanketed or not, and when to do which?

I love horses, but I’ll buy a tank-full of winterized 87-octane only when my gas gauge says I need it, instead of daily winter-fueling my horse with 10 or 15 pounds of hay, wondering if it should be long stem or chopped, forage-cubes, alfalfa- or clover-hay, or some other custom menu based on careful manure inspection and barn smells. A gas gauge is easier.

Animal husbandry is a wonderful thing, but for most of us today, car care is what we need more. That’s the kind of horsepower October Car Care is all about.

Find out more in this edition of your Jamestown Gazette, and of course, as always, enjoy the read.

Walt Pickut
Contributing Editor

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Walt Pickut’s writing career began with publishing medical research in1971 while working at the Jersey City Medical Center and the NYU Hospital and School of Medicine. Walt holds board registries in respiratory care and sleep technology as well as bachelor's degrees in biology and communication, and a master's degrees in physiology from Fairleigh-Dickinson University in New Jersey, with additional graduate work in mass communication completed at SUNY Amherst. He currently teaches Presentational Speaking in the Houghton College PACE program at JCC and holds memberships in the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He lives in Jamestown with his wife Nancy, an MSW social worker, and has three children: Dr. Cait Lamberton in Pittsburgh, Bill Pickut, a marketing executive in Chicago, and Rev. Matt Pickut in Plymouth, IN.