HomeCar TipsWhy It's Important to Service Your Car Before a Long Road Trip

Why It’s Important to Service Your Car Before a Long Road Trip

9,816 accidents, that was the tally of all the traffic accidents reported by Bukit Aman under the Ops Selamat traffic safety campaign held by the Royal Malaysian Police last year. The annual balik kampung exodus where millions of Malaysians are looking forward to returning to their hometowns is soon to be happening. With that in mind, we might see a surge in road accidents this year as more people are beginning to ease up on COVID restrictions. 

Being prepared is essential for every long road trip. From driver to machine, both parties must be in tip-top condition before embarking on an endearing journey back home. Here’s why car service is important before you go on a long road trip.

Long Distance Drives Stresses the Engine

Long distance drives stresses the engine. Thus, you should send it to a car service center before the trip!Excessive use without regular maintenance is going to stress the engine. An internal combustion engine (ICE) consists of hundreds of moving parts. Science has taught us that friction generates heat and heat generated from fuel combustion is going to strain your engine due to the metal expanding on a molecular level. Something’s going to give without maintenance or with newer replacement parts or have its fluids topped up. 

There is no proper guideline or reference for how long a car can drive without maintenance. Generally, a car can still keep going after its mileage has exceeded the recommended mileage set by the manufacturer. 

What would you need to keep an eye on during maintenance would be anything made out of rubber like hoses and wires. Additionally, your car needs to have its fluids topped up to keep it running smooth and lubricated like engine oil, brake, and transmission fluid, and coolant to protect the engine from overheating. Heat has always been the bane of every ICE engine which leads us to wear and tear of any critical parts. 

Minimize Wear & Tear Parts

Going to a car service center regularly can help you identify which part may need a replacement. With regular servicing, your mechanic can tell you which parts are under stress and require a replacement. Ostensibly, your car can still run without replacing these intricate parts but the caveat is the risk of the engine breaking down or endangering your passengers. There’s a huge misconception about car owners under the guise of – if the car can run, it’s perfectly fine. 

You may think you save hundreds of ringgit of service and maintenance costs by doing so. But when that car breaks down, replacing a whole engine will be much more expensive than any spare part! Sending your car for regular maintenance gives you a good track record on monitoring which part that might need a replacement in the future. 

Don’t be like this guy. 

Reduces Chances of Breaking Down While on The Road

Regularly service your car to prevent it from causing traffic jams. A car breaks down on the opposite side of the road…

Have you ever seen an accident or a car break down on the opposite lane, yet the lane that you’re sitting in is the one that gets congested? Welcome to Malaysia. Nobody can explain why this phenomenon exists, but you can do your role in preventing traffic congestion on the other lane too! 

Malaysians are known to be busy bodies

…but why is the lane that you’re in got jammed instead?

A vehicle that gets sent to a car service center regularly can reduce the chances of getting your car broken down in the middle of traffic. Remember to swap out parts when necessary to prevent a breakdown during your annual road trip. Traffic is already bad as it is, let’s do our part to not make it worse. 

As a rule of thumb, take your car for a short drive and a trip to the nearest car service center for a maintenance check. If your vehicle starts showing signs like overheating, smoky exhaust (on a petrol car), and a rough-sounding engine, it may be a sign your car is struggling to keep up. Don’t be like that owner whose Axia went on for two whole years without any servicing before it finally gave up.

The Perodua Axia after running for two whole years straight with no service:

Sudden High Fuel Consumption

In addition to a rough-sounding engine, an unserviced car will have an abnormally high fuel consumption rate. High fuel consumption during city driving and slow traffic crawls is normal. But when it still even occurs while driving on empty roads, do take note if the engine starts sounding rough. 

Rough-sounding engines paired up with high fuel consumption means that the fluids that lubricate your car engine may need to be changed. Remember when we mentioned checking the viscosity of your engine oil earlier? That engine oil is what lubricates all the moving parts like pistons and crankshaft to keep it reciprocating smoothly. But what happens if they don’t get changed?

Dodol, anyone?

Like frying oil, the more often it’s being used, the darker it gets. The effectiveness of the lubrication from the engine oil will dwindle due to soot, grime, and carbon build-up as a byproduct of the engine combustion adds viscosity. The more power the engine requires to run due to poor lubrication, the more fuel it will consume in the process. Also do take note if the engine oil levels are lower than usual, there might be a potential leak somewhere in the engine. 

How to Perform A Quick Car Service On Your Vehicle At Home:

1) Check the Engine Oil Level Via Dipstick

why car service is important
Look for the dipstick inside the engine.

Locate the dipstick inside the engine bay after opening the hood/bonnet. It should look like a circular-ring-like contraption. With a piece of tissue paper, take the dipstick out and wipe it on the tissue paper. Then, take a look at the color of the engine oil via the lower tip of the dipstick.

why car service is importantHealthy engine oil should shine with a bronze-like color on the dipstick. If the oil starts to look like a smidge of oyster sauce, it’s time to send it to a car service center. In addition, the dipstick has markings that tell you the engine oil level. If it’s running low as indicated on the stick, you might need to top it off and check for oil leaks in the engine bay. 


Hari ni pakar kami nak tunjuk cara-cara check minyak enjin yg paling senang untuk korang. Jangan lupa ‘Like, Share & Follow’. #CARSOMEMY #FYP #CarTips

♬ original sound – CARSOMEMY – CARSOMEMY

2) Check the Battery Water level

Depending on the make and model, some car batteries have semi-transparent walls, giving the owner the convenience of monitoring the fluids. Start by giving the car a slight shake, then observe the water levels inside the battery. 

carsome change batteryDepending on the make and model, some disassembly via loosening some bolts may be required.

If your car battery does not come with a semi-transparent wall, you may have to inspect it manually. Take a screwdriver and open up the flaps on the top surface of the battery and peek inside. If the fluids are running low, use distilled water to top it off. Do not use tap water or drinking water as it contains impurities that can harm the battery! Furthermore, do not fill it to the brim as it can cause spillage! 

3) Inspect the Wiper Fluid & Blades

why car service is important, wiper fluidLook for a cap with a window wiper icon etched onto it in the engine compartment. It should look like the image above. Top it off with tap water and close the lid. Alternatively, you can top it off with water mixed with dish detergent to clean off your windshield if it gets dirty. 

A simple check on your wiper blades is to look for cracks on the rubber surface. Rubber hardens when exposed to heat and friction over time. When it rains, your wipers may not sweep water off your windshield efficiently as before. Replace the wiper blades if the rubber is starting to get brittle, hardened, or cracked. 

Read More: Changing Your Wipers: A Small Price To Pay For Your Safety

4) Check Brake Pads

why car service is important, brake pad

Brake pads are one of the few components that get neglected by many car owners. When it comes to DIY maintenance, most car owners would only focus on replacing engine fluids that keep the engine running. Your brake pads may have saved your life on one or multiple occasions more than you think! 

A simple way to check the condition of your brake pads is to take a flashlight and shine through your brake calipers. You should be able to see a grey, sponge-like ceramic padding and take note of its condition. If plenty of ceramic padding is still visible, your brakes are still in good condition. Take your vehicle to a car service center if they look worn out. 

Read More: Squealing Brakes Are a Cry for Help. Bring It to a Stop Before It’s Too Late!

5) Take a Look at Tire Threads & Air Pressure 

why car service is important, check tire treadsAlternatively, you can use the 10-sen method to check your tire threads. If the girth of the threads is less than half the height of the coin, it’s time to change tires. 

This is a simple check even your kids can do. More threads on a car tire provide more grip when you corner. If your car tire starts balding, consider getting them rotated first before buying a new set. Alternatively, some tires have a little notch located inside the tire threads. If these notches are visible, it means your tires are balding. 

You can eyeball your tire pressure by looking at the tire condition. If it sits looking like it’s slightly deflated, hop over to the nearest petrol station to inflate them back. Also, consider investing in a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) if you can as it can accurately tell you which tire needs to be topped up with air. 

Read More: What You Need to Know about Car Tires

6) Check the Coolant Level & Top Up If Necessary 

When an engine overheats, the chances of it going kaput gets higher. An internal combustion engine has plenty of moving parts that have tight tolerances to failure. Furthermore, the heat produced from the friction of reciprocating parts and heat from combustion is going to make the parts expand and susceptible to damage.  

Read More: Here’s How to Check the 6 Essential Car Oils & Fluids

why car service is important, radiator cap

Make sure the engine is cold before touching the cap

A quick way to check for engine coolant level is to locate a silver cap in the engine compartment. That houses the radiator, where all the liquid coolant is stored. Twist the cap counterclockwise, and peek inside. Top it off with more coolant or antifreeze if it’s running empty. 

Stop By The Most Fashionable Car Service Center Before Balik Kampung!

If your engine needs a more thorough service, drop by the hottest service center in the Klang Valley! We got essential service packages starting from RM98 including engine oil replacement, oil filter and more with genuine parts for all make and models! We also have more comprehensive service packages if more work needs to be done on your vehicle. Plus, have a 20-point inspection on the house to help you identify what your car needs! 

Read More: CARSOME Service Center Is Now Open: Here’s Why You Should Visit It

This content was originally published on 07/04/2023. It has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

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