Long road trips are a staple of Canadian summers – where people can finally spend their holidays driving across the country under clear and bright skies. However, these long trips can cause extensive wear-and-tear on your car, leading to costly repairs and maintenance and shorter operating life.
You can minimize the harmful effects a road trip has on your vehicle and prevent any situation requiring emergency roadside assistance by taking your car for a proper post-road trip inspection. To keep your vehicle in its best possible shape, you need to perform several tasks that go beyond the routine maintenance you offer your car.
Here is a short checklist we have prepared for your car after a long summer road trip.
Clean The Interior
Road trips usually involve eating in the car most of the time, especially if you travel with kids who seem to want a snack every two to three hours. That means you’re going to end up with some stains and food crumbs in your car on your road trip, so you will need a vacuum to clean up the mess.
Before vacuuming, don’t forget to take out larger items such as straws, wrappers, bottles, coins, and others. Once this is done, start vacuuming the seats and carpeting to remove dirt and dust – make sure to get every nook and cranny. Eating and drinking in your car means that you are bound to spill something on the floor or a seat, like bbq sauce, ketchup, coffee, or juice stains.
Use the right cleaning products to wash off any stains from the car’s interior without damaging the polish.
Check Your Tire Treads
Once you reach home after a long journey, check your tires for any cracks and damages as they can suffer major wear-and-tear on the road, especially while driving on unpredictable terrain. Worn-out tires can also create traction and stability issues under extreme weather conditions. A low tire depth can minimize your tires’ safety and performance, so you might need to get them replaced.
Apart from this, dust and dirt particles can get stuck on your tires markings resulting in a flat tire on your next drive. Therefore, you should wash your car’s tires using a designated cleaning product to prevent any wheel damage. Ensure that the air pressure level of your wheels is high when you get back home. If not, then take your car to an auto-shop immediately to avoid any punctures.
Oil Change & Refueling
The fuel level of your car can drastically change after a road trip, especially when you are carrying a lot of luggage inside the trunk because the wheels of a heavy vehicle use more fuel throughout the journey. You might need an oil change after your trip. Therefore, we recommend taking your car to a workshop where the mechanic can tell you whether your vehicle needs refueling and oil change.
In case you are not planning to use your car for some time, add a fuel stabilizer to your tank to prevent corrosion while it sits in your shed or garage.
Top Off Your Fluids
People usually check their car’s fluid levels before going on a journey, but it’s good practice to check it afterward too. Ensure that your car’s fluids are not below the recommended level – these fluids include engine oil, coolant, oil, brake fluids, and windscreen wash. This can help you avoid unnecessary breakdowns in the future when you use your car.
Run A Diagnostic Check
Take your car to a mechanic to get a system diagnostic check-up done to determine any potential problems your vehicle may have after a long road trip. Diagnostic tests can reveal issues within your car’s engine, exhaust system, lights, brakes, and other major components, as well as performance issues with the ignition coils, fuel injector, and throttle, etc. – saving you expensive repairs in the long run.
Check Your Battery
Car batteries can be very unpredictable. Therefore you should take your car to an auto shop and check for any issues and ensure it won’t break down due to a dead battery. Most mechanics offer a battery test free of any charges, but you can also buy devices to test your car’s battery yourself. If you have not replaced your battery for some years, consider changing it, so you won’t have to face any problems the next time you use it.
Wash The Exterior
After cleaning the interior and completing all systems check-ups, it’s time to wash your car’s exterior. Much like before the trip, a car wash is important afterward too, to get rid of the dirt, mud, and dust on the exterior. If not removed immediately, it can ruin the paint and finish of your car. So, get that bucket of water and cleaning product ready, and use a sponge to wash off the grime.
Only use those car cleaning products designated for your car to ensure that you are not damaging your vehicle’s paint. Start from the top down and go all the way to the underside of the vehicle. Make sure you remove all the dirt and grease thoroughly, protecting the car’s finish from scratches.
Checking your car before a long drive is important. But checking it after a road trip is equally important. After a long journey, your vehicle is as drained as you are, so getting it checked, cleaned, and undergoing maintenance is necessary. Remember this short car maintenance checklist every time you return after a fun road trip.
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