Easily recognise the signs of overheating and know exactly what to do in such a situation. Also, how to prevent it from happening in the first place. Hint: Vehicle maintenance is key!
A long trip is a great opportunity to discover the limits of your car and push it as you would never be able to on your daily commute. Most people wisely get their car serviced before a long trip, but they often leave it as is after the trip, which is a mistake because it could reduce the life of your car in the long term. Thankfully, carrying out a few simple checks and maintenance after a long trip can keep your car in top running condition.
Here are all the reasons why it is important to service your car after a long road trip.
There could be leaks:
Most modern cars are built to be quite durable. This allows them to withstand a great deal of exertion without suffering much. However, the various fluid lines are one of the most fragile parts of any car. A big leak would be apparent immediately and you would get it fixed without anyone having to tell you to do so. However, minor leaks, which are less noticeable, can really hurt a car because they can trickle oil or other fluids drop by drop leading to a loss of performance and even creating a safety issue. Do not wash the car immediately after the long trip. Instead park it for a while and then move the car away from where it is parked. If it has a leak then there will be stains on the floor and you need to take it to a car repair shop immediately.
The tyres could be worn out:
One part of the car that suffers the most during a long trip are the tyres. They are constantly under physical exertion and along with wear and tear from the road, they also undergo massive fluctuations in temperature which can be detrimental to the life of the tire. Under continued use, most tyres will wear out a lot quicker than under normal use. The first thing to check for is tread depth. They should be deep enough to be visible. If they are starting to bald then the tyres need to be replaced. They might be underinflated, so use an air pump to inflate them to the recommended pressures. Also check for any punctures or other damage to the tyre. Sometimes, the tyres can look innocuous only to lead to a blowout and a possible accident out on the road. If you are unsure about the condition of the tyres then get a second opinion from a professional car mechanic.
Read more:How to make your tyres last longer
The battery can malfunction:
Another component of the car that is under constant stress during a long drive is the battery. Most modern cars will have some type of warning light that will warn you of a possible problem with your battery. Never ignore such warnings. Other signs of an undercharged battery is that the headlights will appear dimmer without the engine turned on. Other problems might include the engine having trouble starting up or certain electrical systems not working properly. The battery is a critical part of the car and if you are unsure about its well-being then have it checked by a professional.
The engine oil and filters will be dirty:
The engine is made to work quite hard during a long trip and while most engines are built to work under such conditions, some of its components may need replacing. Dusty December conditions are notorious for clogging the filters and reducing the life of the engine oil quite considerably. Other fluids like the brake fluid and hydraulics fluid might also need replacing. At the very least, get the filters and the engine oil replaced. The other fluids might also need to be topped off and usually there will be telltale signs of this. If the brakes feel spongy or the steering feels off then have it checked by a professional mechanic.
The suspension and the brakes might be stressed:
Depending on the type of terrain the car was driven on during the long drive, the suspension of the car might also get pushed too hard. This is again something that only a qualified maintenance personnel can find. It is a good idea to have the car thoroughly checked by such a person. The brake pads might also need replacing. Do a couple of panic braking maneuvers and see if the car is able to stop in a straight line. If it doesn’t then the calipers might need adjusting or the brake pads might need replacing altogether.
The interiors do get dirty:
Even if you manage to maintain some decorum inside the car and not allow food and drinks to be consumed inside the car, the interiors can still get dirty. However, if the car has also doubled up as the dining room on the long drive then there is no question about the interiors needing a thorough cleaning. Begin by removing all the floor mats and washing them separately and letting them dry. Use a vacuum cleaner to clean up every corner of the inside of the car. Finally use a cleaner and spray it on a cloth and wipe down all the plastic, metallic and glass portions of the interiors. Leave the door open and let everything dry out before placing the mats back in.
The exteriors suffer the most:
Finally, give a thorough washing to the exteriors. Use a good quality car soap or detergent. Apply a mixture of foamy soap water and let it sit for a while. Then wash everything down. Repeat this a couple of times if needed. Let the car dry and then wipe everything with a clean dry piece of microfiber cloth. If needed, get the car detailed and waxed as well.
Read more: How to clean your car at home
Helpful tip: Subscribe to a service and maintenance plan
If all this seems like too much hassle then you can opt for a reliable service plan and maintenance plan where all you have to do is bring the car to us after a long drive and we will take care of all the vehicle maintenance and car servicing that you need. This will keep the headaches to a minimum without cutting any corners while keeping the car in top shape.
This article is intended to be used and must be used for informational purposes only. We do not make any warranties about the completeness, reliability and accuracy of this information. Any action you take upon the information in this article is strictly at your own risk. We will not be liable for any losses and/or damages in connection with the use of the information contained in this article.