January 2021 finally here, which means road trip season is over! It’s time to face reality again which is work and school but before that, have you checked your loyal, trusted vehicle after returning from your trip? Many people tend to overlook the maintenance of your car after a trip, but do you know it is just as important as checking your car before your trip?
You might be exhausted after your trip, and the very first thing to do is rest up. Once you are feeling much better, Carsome has prepared a “After the Road Trip Car Maintenance Checklist” you can follow to prep your car.
After the Road Trip Car Maintenance Checklist
After a lengthy trip, the first thing to do is to check your car’s interior for dirt, clutter, and nasty odor. Clean your car’s cabin area by removing all unwanted trash that might have been stored in your car. You should also wipe your seats, carpets, dashboard, and steering wheel to remove any liquid stains before disinfecting and sanitizing the interior space.
Cleaning Tools and Materials
- Vacuum Cleaner – a vacuum with an extension hone and hand-held attachment will come in handy to clean the carpets, seats and hard-to-reach nooks.
- Chemical Cleaning Products – You would need some specialty products to clean different interior surfaces like vinyl, plastic, upholstery and carpeting.
- Brushes and Applicators – Different-sized brushes are a must for cleaning dust from air vents and other hard-to-reach places. Depending on the cleaner, you may need a stiff-bristled brush, sponge, or rag.
Cleaning Tips: It’s always best to vacuum the interior of your car of all the dust and small particles before you apply any cleaning product. Make sure to reach as far as you can the entire process. To clean hard-to-reach areas like the small spaces between buttons and controls as well as the tight space between your seats and the handbrake, simply wrap a cloth around the tip of a flat-head screwdriver. The key is to use the thinnest cloth possible so that the screwdriver head is not too bulky to do the job. If you are worried that a metal screwdriver may harm your interior, you can use a plastic knife wrapped in a cloth or cotton swabs instead.
The car tires are the main contact with roads and are the most important parts that should be checked after a road-trip. Do check the tire markings for any particles stuck to it which can be really dangerous as it can cause a flat tire. Do also check the air pressure if it’s still on the right level. If it is not, make sure to fill it up the next time you bring your car out.
If you are not sure how much pressure your tires need, you can find the manufacturer’s recommended tire pressure for your car on the sticker by the driver’s door or in your car’s manual guide.
3. Car Battery
Check on the battery as well. Pay attention to the sound of the starter, if you notice a strange sound that you do not normally hear, then it can be an indication that your car battery is corroded or in need of charge or change. If you haven’t changed your battery in a long time, maybe it’s time for a switch up as well. Do check with your mechanic for more info.
4. Car Fluids
You might have checked your car’s fluids before you left but always remember to do it after as well. Ensure the fluids are still at the right levels and these fluids include coolant, oil, brake fluids, and windscreen wash. Ensuring that they are at the right level can help you avoid any unnecessary breakdowns.
5. Car Lights and Signals
Car lights and signals must be checked all the time to ensure they are still functioning properly to avoid any accidents on the road (or unwanted summons). Some light bulbs might have already been used up during the long drive. Car lights and signals include the headlights, reverse lights, indicators, and taillights. If one of them is not working properly, it is advisable to have it replaced in pairs.
6. Emergency Kit
Every car should have one and you might have prepared something extra for your car’s emergency kit for your road trip. So, if you happen to use any during your trip, make sure to get it replaced as you get back as the next time you might need something from the kit, it would be available.
Your car’s exterior needs a clean-up as well. What you can do is either send your car for a car wash or do it yourself to get rid of the mud, dirt and dust that clings on your car’s finishing. If you do not remove it, in time, it can ruin your car’s paint work. Do remember to use car shampoo or car cleaning products that are not harmful to your car’s paint. Also, if you have bumped your car on your trip and see a dent or scratch on your car that is not too deep, here are some DIY tips to fix it up.
Driving On Different Terrains
Malaysia is made up of an extravagant diverse range of geographic features. Each state and region is home to different climates, physical conditions and different terrains to drive on. So here are some tips on what to especially look out for in your car when you are back from your road trips on these different terrains.
Hilly Roads – When you drive on hilly roads, brakes and the gearbox play the most important role which is why it’s always important to check on them again once you are back. Do check the wear and tear of your brake pad, and the oils for your brake and the gear. Some ways you can check to see if your gearbox is functioning properly is by
- always keeping an eye on the dashboard warning lights
- if there are leakage of any kinda red fluids
- if there are any weird smells or odors when you change your gears.
Wet/Muddy Roads – When you have driven on wet or muddy roads, it’s always best to check on your tires once again. Check the markings and the pressure of your tires, and if it is a must, take your car to a service center/mechanic to get it realigned back again. You don’t want to drive on the road with tires that are not fully functioning.
Sandy Roads – If you find sand in your tires and rims after driving by the beach, this can cause trouble long-term. The surface of your rims can get scratched and the paint can look dull due to the coarse sand. You can either use a vacuum cleaner to suck the sand out or use a wet sponge and wipe your tires over a microfiber cloth. If you get sand in the interior of your car, you can use a damp microfiber cloth to wipe the sandy areas.
Checking your car before a road trip is an absolute must and if you are not sure of what you need to do, you can check our road-trip checklist here. But always remember to give your car a check as well when you get back from a long drive to maintain your car’s performance in the long run.
Planning to sell off your car after the long trip? Why not sell it off to Carsome? Check the website today to know more.