The holiday season is around the corner and you probably have a few road trips planned. Destinations will be plotted, bags will be packed and all you’re waiting for is to drive away. But you need to make sure your car is as ready as you are.
Cars today are quite reliable. But having said that, it is prudent to get your car systematically inspected and looked over before you embark on a long holiday drive – especially if the terrain is going to be of the sort your car is not regularly used to. The most obvious aspects that you will look at are the condition of the tyres, the working of the lights, the tenacity of the brakes and the wear of the clutch. However, go a bit deeper and cover these areas too.
GPS and Map
While Google maps and GPS systems work very well these days, it is prudent to have a conventional map in your car’s glove box. You never know when it might come in handy.
Often in the city, there isn’t a need to use the wipers unless it rains, and you realise only too late that the rubber on the blades has worn out.
Check the condition of the blades and see that there aren’t any ‘blind spots’ in the spread of the wipers across the windscreen. Also ensure that the windscreen washer system is working well. Add a small bit of soap or shampoo to the windscreen washer fluid, as this will help in wiping off grime and bugs.
Be aware about where the fuse box is located and carry a set of spares.
Light beams need to be focused. Awry beams are a serious disadvantage and are dangerous on the highway. You often don’t realise that they are out of focus in the city because of all the ambient light around. It is important you get this checked.
Besides that, higher wattage lights can be advantageous at times. But remember, if you upgrade the wattage, you need to also route the current through a suitable relay. Otherwise, the lights’ circuit fuse might blow out after a few days.
The standard horn that some cars come with don’t have a long throw on the highway. You may want to consider getting this changed for a louder horn. Again, remember to get the proper relays too or incessant use might blow the fuse.
Ensure that your 12V power output is working well because you will certainly need this to charge your phone or to power your GPS, etc. If you plan to connect your portable music device to the car’s sound system, check that you have the required cables and adapters.
Some remote fuel stations have oversized nozzles for diesel dispensers that will not fit in a car’s fuel tank receptacle. So, it is a good idea to carry a funnel to facilitate refuelling.
Remember that even if there’s life left in the tyres, abrasive and rough roads can eat away tread very fast. What may last for an extra 2,000km on your daily commute can easily wear out in less than half of that on bad roads. It’s also important to get the wheels aligned and balanced before setting out. Take your car on a highway drive before the long trip. At times, there might be a steering shudder or a wobble that you will not notice in the city, but will be apparent at highway speeds. It’s also essential you check the condition of the spare and get familiar with how to change a tyre. If you are travelling to remote locations, investing in a tubeless puncture repair kit and a compressor that runs off your car’s battery will be practical.
Have a look at the bottom
It is a good idea to jack the car up and get it inspected from below. Check for any leaks in the fuel supply line, oily patches on the sump and leaks in the exhaust. Also check that the sump shield and fuel tank shield are securely fastened.
Source Autocar India