When planning a road trip, most vehicle owners understand they have to give their car a good tune-up, but after returning home, many drivers don’t give their car the TLC it deserves. Taking good care of your car before and following long trips is crucial if you want to extend the life of your vehicle and ensure it runs smoothly. Planning on hitting the beach today? Hitting the woods? You shouldn’t end up lost. Ensure your car is road trip ready before setting out on your vacation to prevent a failure or other car problems from spoiling your trip. Get your vehicle road-ready with the help of our handy maintenance checklist:
Lift the Hood and Fill Up the Engine’s Oil and Coolant if Necessary
Check the level of your brake fluid and the water in your windshield washer reservoir.
Be Sure to Check the Battery in Your Car
Take notice of any red flags, like a sluggish car start or an illuminated engine warning light. If you notice any leakages or if the battery appears swollen, it’s time to get a new one for your car.
Check Your Wipers
Have you checked to see if your windshield wipers (both front and rear) have any of the 4 S’s displayed on them? Improve your visibility on the road with new blades if the old ones are streaking, skipping, slipping, or squeaking. Cleaning up the windows before driving at night is a good idea because dirt makes headlights and taillights more reflective and increases the likelihood that your windows will fog up. Similarly, glare from oncoming vehicles can be reflected off of dirty mirrors and into your eyes, so keep them clean.
Check Your Tyre Pressure
Inflate your car’s tires to the suggested pressure (you can find this information on the driver’s side door panel or close to the gas tank). Also, make sure that your tires have adequate tread. South African law requires a tyre tread depth of at least 1 millimeter throughout the entire rim. Be sure to inspect the spare tire as well.
Check Your Lights
Make sure all of your car’s lights, from the dashboard to the exterior, are on and functioning properly. All of your lights, such as turn signals, high beams, and hazard flashers, count toward this.
Please Don’t Put Too Much Stuff in the Car
There is a maximum load that can be safely transported in your vehicle. Going over the weight limit is dangerous because it makes the vehicle less stable and harder to control. Vehicles that are too heavy to move quickly or stop effectively are a safety hazard. The vehicle’s weight limit is displayed on the driver’s door.
There are certain things you should always have in your car in case of an emergency, such as a dead battery or a breakdown. View our checklist of must-haves for your automobile.
Ensure That You Understand Your Way Around
Before hitting the road, it’s a good idea to study a detailed map of your route. The N3, N1, and N2 leading to Cape Town see significantly more traffic during the school break than they do during the rest of the year. A backup plan should always be in place, and you should monitor road and traffic conditions regularly. After a long drive, it’s a good idea to perform some routine maintenance on your car to make sure it continues to run smoothly and avoid expensive repairs in the future.
Here Are Five Things to Check After Returning From a Road Trip
Oil Levels Should Be Checked or Changed Regularly
Checking the oil level just after the trip is essential, even if the manufacturer’s recommended oil change intervals still apply. If it’s low, you should change the oil or add more right away. Maintaining the proper oil levels is essential to your vehicle’s smooth operation.
Service for Tyres
Even though it’s advised that you inspect your tyre pressure monthly, doing so immediately following a lengthy drive is crucial. It’s not unusual to discover that you must add some air to your tyres after a long drive because of the additional weight and mileage.
Take a look at the tyres and see how they are doing in general. Be on the lookout for bald spots and cracks in the tyres, as well as tread wear. You should think about rotating your tyres if you’ve driven a long distance. Wear and tear is distributed more uniformly this way.
Get Your Brakes Inspected by a Pro
I’m sure your car’s brakes got a workout on that long trip. Since brakes are not as easily accessible as tires, we suggest having a professional inspect them on your behalf. Brake fluid levels and brakes themselves need to be inspected. A good maintenance plan covers the cost of certain wear and tear components and grants you access to highly trained motor technicians.
Care for the Car’s Outside by Cleaning It Regularly
Cleaning the outside of the car comes after giving the inside thorough vacuuming and washing. Thoroughly clean the exterior and pat it dry with some towels. The appearance of your car can be enhanced by buffing out any blemishes, such as dings and scratches. Next, a ceramic coating may be applied to the exterior of the vehicle to safeguard it from additional harm and to give it a high-quality shine and finish.
Investigate Your Cars Lights
Last but not least, ensure nothing is wrong by checking the car’s interior lights. Even if your car ran smoothly throughout the trip, the stress that you endured on the road may have triggered some serious mechanical problems that need urgent attention. You should get in touch with your mechanic as soon as possible if you see any warning lights come on, such as the check engine light.
Before setting out on a trip, many drivers make sure to get their vehicles serviced, but once they get back they forget about the need for inspection and potential repairs. However, skipping this step after a trip can lead to unsightly stains and unpleasant odors, as well as mechanical problems that could end up leaving you deserted. Make sure you’ve finished everything on that list before you make your regular commute or return to work.
A road trip is a fantastic way to see the country, but you must safeguard your vehicle when you return home. You can extend your car’s life and keep it running smoothly with a little TLC after each trip.