Now that lockdowns have been lifted and restrictions eased, many people from different parts of the word can travel again. But since international flights are still limited, a road trip is what most would probably settle for. And we’re not complaining; a long-distance drive is always a good idea, after all.
Cross-country trips are relatively common. Motorists log millions of mileage during summer. That is to say, many trips incur thousands in mileage.
If you’ve just bought a new car mainly for your road trips, your auto will need some special care for it to survive every long drive. Even if the manufacturer had guaranteed that it’d designed exactly for long-distance travel, taking additional steps in maintaining it wouldn’t hurt. Your extra diligence will prolong the life of your car and preserve its value longer.
That said, here are some car maintenance tips for a cross-country traveller:
1. Park it in a Carport or Garage
If you only park your auto on a roofless driveway or curb, you’re exposing it to the elements, and thus risk damage every time harsh weather occurs. And don’t be fooled when you live in a warm, sunny region, either. If you protect your skin from the sun rays, then what reason is there for you to abandon your car out in the heat?
Sunburn can happen to a car’s paintwork as well. If you notice that your once cherry-red auto has turned pale, blotchy pink, then it’s because of its overexposure to the sun.
Hence, if you don’t have a garage, find an available space within your property to build a carport. A carport is easy and quick to construct, with no digging and electric works needed. The materials are lightweight and hassle-free to handle, not to mention more affordable. Just pick a high-quality commercial carport canopy, because that one is sturdy, versatile, and visually appealing.
If you’re still considering a new garage instead of a carport, check your area’s regulations on new outbuildings first. You may find that your local government requires a building permit for a garage, among a couple of other permits and assessments. And if you’ve overlooked those, you may be forced to pay hefty fines.
2. Schedule Fluid Changes Regularly
Your car has six essential fluids. Service interval usually depends on the mileage your auto has already accumulated, so determine how long you’ve driven since your last service. Also, decide how far your next destination will be so that you can schedule your next service accordingly.
The recommended interval between oil changes is every 7,500 to 10,000 miles. But to be sure, refer to your manual, or do a simple test yourself. Use a dipstick to check if the oil hasn’t gotten black and gritty yet and if it’s still above the minimum fill line. If the oil’s condition is neither of those, then it’s time for a service.
Check the radiator fluid as well, a.k.a. the coolant or antifreeze. A low coolant level may lead to overheating, so if you accumulate 40,000 to 50,000 miles already, flush the system. The power steering fluid also needs to be changed after such mileage.
The brake fluid needs to be topped off regularly, too, especially if the pedal begins to feel spongy. Flush the system with fresh fluid every 24,000 miles.
If your car has a “lifetime” fluid, it’s still a good idea to replace the transmission fluid every 60,000 miles. And finally, always pay attention to your wind shield fluid reservoir. Add a wind shield washer fluid on every scheduled road trip, and you’ll always drive with a clear and spotless vision.
3. Replace Worn-Out Tires
Go easy on your brand-new wheels. After a couple of long-distance road trips, they’ll start to wear out and potentially put your safety at risk.
Once you return home from a very tiring (pun unintended) journey, spare a few minutes more outside to check your tires. A smart way to find out the tread depth of your wheels is by tucking a coin into the tire’s tread groove with the head side facing you. If the head is all visible, that’s the time for tire replacements.
Be careful not to under-inflate or overinflate your tires. The wrong air pressure may cause your tires to wear off unevenly, potentially shortening their lifespan. Most cars will tell you how much air pressure you need, anyway, so stick to the recommended figures. Recheck the air pressure if there’s been a drastic temperature change, as that may have an impact on the wheels as well.
Following these top maintenance tips will be enough to make your ride ready for long drives. Keep all your senses alert while driving because your car will give you signs when it needs servicing.