There are pre-cautionary and preparatory steps to be taken by a vehicle owner when embarking on a lengthy trip.
If you’re planning a longer drive, it’s best to have your car properly prepared, but anybody can sometimes feel lost about what needs one’s attention.
Leaving for a trip with an unreliable car can cause many problems. No one likes to have to deal with car repairs on holiday, and some malfunctions can even cause accidents.
You know what they say – better safe than sorry! If you feel at a loss as to what services you need to ask your mechanic for, here is a handy guide.
1. Check the oil and other lubricants
Engine oil is basically the lifeblood of your car. It keeps your engine running by providing the necessary lubrication, and because it gets dirty after some 10 to 15 thousand kilometres, it needs to be changed regularly. Other parts of your car that also use oil lubrication are brakes, transmission, and differential. If you’re not sure about what brand to buy, always choose a reliable manufacturer, like Castrol for guaranteed quality. High-quality oils will prolong the life of your engine by minimizing the wear.
2. Check tires and the spare
A flat tire can land anywhere from “annoying” to straight up “dangerous” on the negative experience scale. Always have your tire repair service check what the optimal pressure is for your tires, measure it with a gauge, and modify as necessary. Most manufacturers have different tire pressure recommendations depending on the load the car will be carrying. Wrong pressure can lead to a blowout, which is definitely not something you want to experience on the open road. Have your tread looked at as well – driving on bald tires is a bad, bad idea. Low-tread tires have a much higher probability of hydroplaning. Besides, bald tires are illegal too and could get you stuck with a big, nasty ticket. Have your mechanic look at the state of your spare, and have all the tools ready in the trunk.
3. Have a thorough inspection
Everyone should have a good, reliable mechanic who isn’t just looking to take the shirt off your back. Because, frankly, most of us don’t care about all the minutiae of how cars work. Have a little diary of what repairs and check-ups they did, and when. Especially pay attention to when they changed your air, oil and A/C filters.
All of these are commonly replaced every 10.000 kilometres or so. Also, regularly check your brakes to see if the pads or any other parts need replacing. Even if you have the most thorough mechanic in the world, they might not notice every single glitch, which is why it’s important to turn off the radio every once in a while, and really listen and feel your car. If you notice anything unusual, you can alert your mechanic to the problem and it will be much easier for them to identify and fix it.
Don’t leave stuff for last minute. If you need to have any serious repairs done, get them out of the way a few weeks in advance. That way you will have enough time to notice if there are any related issues. Even if you don’t know much about cars, always keep up to date with your check-ups. By keeping your car in perfect order, you are doing tons for your safety and minimizing the chances of being left stranded by the side of the road.
Regular preventative measures will allow you to enjoy your trip without worrying. If you find it hard to keep up with what needs to be done and when, it might be best to work out a schedule with your mechanic.