An extensive to-do list awaits once you get home from a road trip, especially after a long one. You’re most likely to catch up on some much-needed sleep since driving for long distances can be utterly exhausting. However, you also shouldn’t forget to check your vehicle for post-road trip car maintenance and care.
You might be thinking: shouldn’t vehicle maintenance happen before the road trip? Well, the answer is yes, but that doesn’t mean you should neglect post-trip maintenance. To ensure your vehicle’s overall functionality and optimal longevity, you need to check a few things.
Do Long Drives Mess Up Your Car?
Long-distance driving can negatively impact a vehicle’s performance, especially when driving uphill or in severe road conditions taxing the engine. Plus, older cars will have difficulty keeping up with the extended distance that comes with lengthy drives.
If you’re wondering what to do in the car after your next road trip, we’ve got you covered!
What Should I Do to My Car After a Long Trip?
You might have questions if you’ve never been on a long-distance road trip. Should you change your oil after a long road trip? Which parts of the car should you check? Is post-road trip maintenance really necessary? We share a quick checklist to guide you.
Road Trip in Car: Your 4WD Trip Checklist
Check out our Post Road Trip Checklist to help you out.
1. Check Engine Functionality
Like human beings rely on their hearts to beat and keep them alive, cars rely on their engines. So, to ensure your vehicle’s safe and optimal functioning, you’ll have to check the engine — especially after a long road trip! A simple way to check your engine is to start your car, revving it a little. If the engine makes any odd noises, you might want to get it checked out by a professional. Regardless of the sound it makes, taking your car for a check-up after a road trip is never a bad idea.
2. Check Fluids
Like you need water to function correctly, your car needs its fluids refilled regularly. Just think of all the hard work your car’s been doing — keeping you safe and cosy on the road, even in terrible weather conditions. The poor thing most probably needs a refill, and fast! From wiper fluid to braking fluid and motor oil, checking your car’s fluids after a road trip is vital.
Should You Get Your Oil Changed After a Road Trip?
Motor oil is one of your car’s most important fluids. It lubricates and cleanses your engine’s moving parts, making them last longer and perform optimally all year round.
Depending on your car’s recommended maintenance schedule, the extra distance from your road trip may shorten the time between your typical oil change intervals. Don’t procrastinate, as skipping an oil change could cause your engine to overheat, making it less efficient and eventually leading to complete engine failure.
Are you wondering if you should get an oil change after a road trip? Consider the following three factors.
1. When Was Your Last Oil Change?
When should I change my oil after driving? Well, every car has recommended intervals at which the oil should be changed. If you’re unsure of your car’s recommended oil changes, look at the owner’s manual. These intervals are, however, recommendations only. If you drive in harsh weather conditions often, you might want to get your oil changed sooner rather than later.
2. Rather Check the Oil Than Leave It
Even if you’re within the recommended number of kilometres between oil changes, check your oil anyway. This way, you’ll know if you need to top it up and see if the oil is dirty enough for a change. Your motor oil should never have a dark, gooey appearance. If the oil is too dark or thick, it’s time for a change.
3. You Won’t Always Need an Oil Change, and That’s Okay
While you should check your oil frequently, there’s no reason to change your oil simply because you went on a road trip. An oil change might not be necessary if the oil looks clean and you’re within the automaker’s recommendations.
3. Check Brakes
After a long road trip, your vehicle’s brakes may be tired and a bit worn out. Since brakes are essential to your safety on the road, you need to check your brakes post-road trip.
Long-distance driving in your car on the road comes with corrosion, road debris, and ageing, which can all wear your braking system’s components down, putting you, your passengers, and other motorists at extreme risk. A good habit is checking your brakes every time you get an oil change before and after road-tripping.
4. Keep Car on Road by Checking Tyres and Tyre Pressure
The very minute you get home after a road trip, you should check your tyres and tyre pressure. Temperature, distance and speed can cause your tyre pressure to fluctuate. Underinflated tires can increase your car’s fuel consumption, cause tread separation, and raise your risk of tyre blowouts.
On the other hand, overinflated tires may result in uneven tread wear, compromising your car’s safety features while also increasing your risk of blowouts. By checking and elevating your vehicle’s tyre pressure to the manufacturer’s recommendations, you can improve the integrity of your tyres and ensure safer trips in the future.
While checking your tyre pressure, you might also want to consider checking the tread depth. If you’re unsure about the recommended tread depth for your vehicle’s tyres, break out the owner’s manual or contact your nearest tyre specialist.
5. Scan for Damage
Performing a post-road trip scan of the car’s body is vital to ensure you haven’t seriously damaged your vehicle. After you’ve given the car a decent wash, take a look from inside and out to ensure everything is as it should be.
6. Check the Lights
The lights are easy to check since any damage should be rather obvious. Remember to check your taillights and headlights to ensure optimal safety while driving.
7. What About the Exhaust?
If your vehicle isn’t expelling gas properly, you could find yourself in a dangerous position. Instead, take your car to the mechanic for a professional opinion if you suspect something is wrong, or you might risk severe damage to the vehicle. Let’s avoid calling for roadside assistance at all costs!
8. Don’t Forget the Battery
After a long car road trip, you must check your car battery. You don’t want to be stuck on the side of the road soon after you’ve been on holiday, do you?
9. Check the Windshield
Checking the windshield for damage is a must! Rocks and debris can cause a lot of damage to a windshield, especially during a long road trip.
Who Can Help You with Windshield Repairs?
Long car rides don’t always have to mean damage to your car, but some post-long drive love and care could go a long way in prolonging your vehicle’s lifespan. A road trip in the car is an excellent way for families and friends to bond, so don’t let pesky repairs steal your joy.
Dean’s Autoglass can help with anything from car window tinting to windshield replacement and repairs. Contact us today for all your car-on-road needs!