Having car trouble just two streets away from home is bad enough, but nothing is worse than having a breakdown on the roadside hundreds of miles from home, and possibly from the nearest mechanic. If your car is under the lease, and the agreement requires that you have it serviced in official dealership garages, your problem gets even bigger. Since vacations are supposed to be reserved for fun and relaxation, the best way to avoid surprising breakdowns and malfunctions is to prepare your car while it’s still basking in your driveway. Here’s what you should do.
Check the tyre pressure
Tyres are what makes your contact with the road, and although violent bursts that make you lose control diving off a cliff are more a thing of fiction, having the tyres properly inflated increases your safety by providing better responsiveness and handling in critical situations. While most people believe that the optimum tyre pressure is what is embossed on the tyre itself, it actually refers to the maximum pressure it can hold. Instead, look on the driver’s door side for the recommended tyre pressure. It often lists several pressures depending on the rim size. In addition, low tyre pressure wastes fuel and decreases the tyre service life due to extra friction.
Replace worn out wipers
Since good visibility is essential for safe driving, your windscreen wipers should give you clean swipe without streaks, even in a sudden torrential rain. If your original wipers are intact, you can only replace the rubber blades, as they cost less and every local dealer has them in stock. For extra safety, you can even have a spare set in your boot. When changing wipers, make sure you protect the windscreen with a towel. Wiper arms are spring-loaded and can slip your grip and slam against the windscreen.
Inspect the windscreen
On the other hand, no one can prevent unexpected hailstorm just days before your trip. In case your windscreen gets damaged this way, make sure to find a body shop that specializes in car hail damage repair, and that can repair or replace your windscreen on short notice. A windscreen speckled with tree sap or smudged with insects, grimy side mirrors and the rear window can obstruct visibility and produce annoying glare when faced with oncoming cars’ headlights. Apart from cleaning the windscreen from the outside, make sure you wipe it clean from the inside as well, as silicon sprays used for dashboard maintenance easily leave oily smudges which then attract debris.
Top off engine oil
Check both the oil level and the date your car is due for an oil change. Both these checks are better performed in your driveway than on the roadside in the middle of nowhere. If you’re getting closer to the oil change interval recommended by the manufacturer, don’t wait for your trip to end to change it. If you’re often roadtripping or generally travelling long distances, consider buying synthetic motor oil. Especially if you’re vacationing in hot weather, pulling a boat or camper, fully synthetic oil can give your car engine extra protection against breakdowns resulting from excessive temperatures. It also reduces friction losses in the engine, boosting your fuel economy.
Lights and battery
Modern cars have snap-fit bulb replacement solutions, so if you have spares, you can replace them anytime anywhere. On the other hand, unless our car is equipped with malfunction sensors, checking the brake lights, reverse light and rear direction indicators is tricky without outside help, pardon the pun. At the same time, make sure that battery terminals are free of chalky corrosion. In the worst case, clean it off using a hard toothbrush and a baking soda and water mixture.
When preparing for a trip, nothing is more important than making sure the vehicle that is going to take you there is working and performing fine. These five tips will ensure that your car doesn’t become the focus of attention in the days you’ve reserved for the vacation.