If you’re taking a road trip this summer, no matter how long or short, consider giving your car a good work-over before you hit the road. Here’s how to cover the critical items to get your car in tip-top shape for a great road-trip.
“Summer road trips can mean spending a lot of time in the car, so it’s important to keep it properly maintained and clean,” says Greg Lynch, founder of the Scenic Travel Canada website and a traveling enthusiast. “A clean and well maintained vehicle will be more reliable, fuel-efficient and more comfortable to drive.”
Inside the Vehicle
- Remove all trash from the floor, under the seats and from inside the trunk. A car left in the sun can reach +55 C which can produce unpleasant smells as the garbage bakes, ferments and grows penicillin.
- Clear all front and rear dashboards. In the event of an emergency stop, these objects can become dangerous projectiles. Also ensure that your GPS unit is securely attached to the windshield or dash.
- Clean the windows, especially the front windshield, so you can take clear photos from the safety of inside of your car. Talk to any road maintenance crew and see how many smashed phones and cameras they’ve found along the road.
- Ask yourself, when was the last time you vacuumed the car seats and carpet?
Outside the Vehicle
- At the car wash, spend an extra $2 to thoroughly wash the wheel-wells and the undercarriage. This is a good way to remove corrosive road salt that has collected in tight spots.
- Do not wash the engine compartment with a high pressure hose or even a garden hose! Water can be forced into electrical connections and short out critical components. If you’re fixated on having a clean engine, wipe it down with a damp cloth.
- After washing the car, applies wax and then buff. Your car will look great until it gets covered with bug-splats and bird-crap… but that’s just a part of a great road trip.
Under the Hood
- Get your oil changed. The easiest way to extend the life of a car engine is with frequent oil and oil-filter changes. Keep to the recommended schedule as outlined in the owner’s manual.
- Check the fluid levels including power steering, brake fluid, transmission fluid, and engine coolant.
- Changing your air-filter when it’s dirty will improve gas-mileage and performance and helps keep you engine-oil cleaner for longer.
- The air filter to the passenger compartment can get clogged with dust, leaves & pollen. If you notice that your dash gets dusty frequently, it may be time to change it.
- Check the air-pressure of your tires and adjust appropriately. Properly inflated tires will increase fuel-efficiency and help them last longer.
- Before packing the trunk, check the air-pressure of the spare tire so it won’t be useless in a time of need.
Using simple maintenance tips and some common sense can make a big different in how your car looks, handles and performs. More importantly, if you take good care of your vehicle, it will keep you safe as you journey on a great Canadian road trip this summer.