Have you been working overtime to save up some extra money for your long due road trip? Or is it time for your annual pilgrimage to Laddakh? In any case you will be driving long distances and you don’t want to get stuck somewhere due to car troubles. So it is important before the trip to make sure that your car is in a healthy state to enjoy a trouble-free trip. Here are some checks that you should conduct before setting off for a long drive.
This is not only for your long trips. You should keep checking the level and quality of fluids. Check for the engine oil level. Check for the oiliness of the engine oil by rubbing it between your fingers. The colour of engine oil would also tell the status of its health. Check how many kilometres have you clocked since you last changed your oil. If you are anywhere near the distance when you should replace the oil, do it before the trip as driving long distances on old oil would not be healthy for the engine. Also check if the level of coolant is right. To ensure the steering doesn’t cause any trouble, check the power steering fluid as well. Check the level of brake fluid to ensure the brakes don’t cause any trouble. The user guide would tell you how to check all these fluids.
A couple of weeks in advance, see if the battery is doing its job well. It shouldn’t lose its charge when the car is left parked. Also check the terminals for corrosion and salt deposits. Also check the level of electrolyte in the battery and put some grease on the terminals to prevent corrosion.
Check the tyre for uneven wear as this might be an indication of bad alignment. Even if you don’t spot anything like that, it won’t hurt to get the alignment of the car checked at a service station. There should be sufficient tread on the tyre as driving long distances would increase the wear and might cause blowout on tyres that are in bad state. Fill up the tyres to recommended pressure and don’t forget to check the spare tyre as well.
It is very important to make sure the electronics are working fine. Check the vents, blower, heater, air conditioning and other electronics. Also make sure all the lamps are functional and keep spare headlamp and tail lamp bulbs along with some spare fuses. You might want to take the help of a friend to tell you while you turn on the lights. Do note that at times the problem might be because of a faulty fuse rather than a faulty lamp.
You should keep cleaning the air filter of the car frequently. You might not notice the difference during your everyday commute but the difference between a clean and dirty filter can be noticed as soon as you get even close to the throttle. A clear filter would allow the right amount of air into the engine and let it breath freely. It would also cause a huge difference in fuel efficiency. If you think the filter are not clean properly, it doesn’t cost much to replace it and it is very easy to replace.
See if the windscreen wipers and sprayer are functioning properly. The wipers might not be very effective after a while as the rubber becomes hard. Get a replacement set if you think the wiper is not cleaning the windscreen properly.
Make sure you carry some tools that might help you with minor repairs. The tool kit supplied with your car might not be plenty so you can ask your mechanic and make some additions. Check the jack for proper functioning. If you are going to some remote areas, you might also want to consider carrying a puncture repair kit.
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