MAINTAINING YOUR CAR AFTER A LONG TRIP
This may never crossed your mind: your beloved car could just suffer from fatigue, especially after making a long trip. What does it take to rejuvenate your tired car? Please read the following tips from TOTAL:
- Thoroughly Wash Your Ride – First thing first: thoroughly wash your car, starting from the body, the underside, the engine bay, and finally clean the interior to guarantee you enjoy a comfortable ride next time. When detailing your car or when you raise it to clean the underside, carefully check the wheel assembly and other parts for visible signs of oil leaking.
During a long trip, usually your car hits several potholes or bumpy roads and this could significantly damage the critical components of the wheel assembly such as the shock absorbers, ball joints, and tie rods. If these parts are severely damaged, you may need to have them replaced. You can check for those signs of damage by yourself at the car wash before you decide to go to the service center.
If you take good care of your car’s body and paint, it’s easy for you to check it for scratches and scuffs shortly after washing the car scrupulously. Long journey, intermittent rain and sweltering heat, exposure to pollutants during traffic jams, dust and other particles’ abrasion when speeding will surely leave unsightly marks on your car.
- Change the Engine Oil – Quite often you change your car’s lubricant before starting a long journey, but upon returning home you forget to check the oil level. Just in case you didn’t know, your car’s engine has worked long hours. In addition to the extra distance it has travelled, frequent traffic jams might necessitate you to change the oil.
You, for example, may have the habit of changing engine oil every 5000 kilometers, and recently you travelled 3000 kilometers. You think your car still has 1500 or 2000 kilometers to go before you change the oil. But consider this: your car has had to make frequent long stops with the engine running idle because of traffic congestions, and while your car is stationary, the engine oil has to keep on working. For this very reason, consider changing your car’s engine oil ahead of the schedule.
- Check the Brakes, Clutch and Transmission - After making a long journey, get yourself used to checking your car’s brakes, clutch and transmission. Long journey at high speed interspersed with stoppage due to traffic jams will surely cause your brakes’ and clutch’s shoes to wear. Maybe this is OK – you don’t need to replace them immediately – but it’s necessary for you to have them checked for the sake of your own safety. If your car has an automatic transmission, never fail to check the transmission oil level to keep the car in a perfect condition.
- Check the Wheel Alignment – More often than not, during a long journey your car’s wheels hit potholes or rocks strewn along the road. To ensure you have a pleasant journey and to prevent further damage to your car’s wheel assembly, regularly check the wheel alignment. Before checking the wheel alignment, make sure you have thoroughly checked the components of the wheel assembly. This is utterly important to do in order to prevent costly replacement of these parts after you have the wheel alignment checked because you forgot to check them in the first place. To make things worse: you must have the wheel alignment checked again after replacing the faulty components of the wheel assembly.
- Check Your Vehicle’s Fluid Levels – In addition to checking the engine oil’s level, you also need to check the levels of the other fluids: radiator coolant, wiper fluid, brake fluid and transmission oil. During a long trip you never know what happens to your car’s components because they are hidden right under the hood. For this reason, make sure that you check the levels of these fluids to protect yourself from troubles. You drive your car on a daily basis, so be sure to check your car fluids’ levels.
- Get Your Car Tuned – If you have completed the above checks on your car, just make sure you get it tuned regularly. Car tune up is an essential step to guarantee your vehicle is fit and ready for your next trips and activities.