AUTO BILD INDIA tells you exactly what things might need to be checked after you have come back from a long road trip
Most people know that before starting off on a road trip the car needs to be checked; engine oil, coolants and wiper fluids, etc should be at recommended levels. This ensures that the trip itself is hassle free. What they often don't realise however is that a thorough check up is as necessary once they've returned from the trip. This will ensure that the car stays fit and fine after the stress and strain of a long trip. And yes, cars undergo a lot of stress and strain on highways, particularly Indian highways that may not be smooth leading to wear and tear of the suspension, where you might have had to brake really hard because a goat ran out in front of you without warning leading to quicker wearing out of the brake pads, and more. We have listed 10 basic checks to ensure your car's good health.
1. Air Filter
Passing through dusty semiurban and rural areas, the air filter surely takes a beating combating it all and keeping the air going to the cylinders clean and relatively dust-free. Either have it inspected by your workshop or do it yourself once you're back. In most cars, it is easily accessible as it is held down by a few clamps or by a single nut. If it appears to be clogged with dust then have it replaced to ensure a troublefree run in future.
2. Rubber seals deteriorate
Door seals are needed to keep your window mechanisms in good working condition and to protect the door panels from rust and corrosion brought on by outside elements. They also cushion the door frame during numerous doorslammings that could otherwise jolt hardware and other mechanisms. Although a rubber seal that seems to be coming off can be glued back on, replace it if it feels hard since it also means that the seal has become brittle.
3. Tighten nuts & bolts
Going over bad roads, engine vibrations and so on, will induce rattles and noises in your car as nuts and bolts are shaken loose. While rattling nuts and bolts are seldom more than irritants, they can and sometimes do hide other sounds that might have been a warning. So, if you've just done a long road trip and your car is a little rattly, just get all the nuts and boltstightened by a mechanic.
4. Touch up all scratches
There is no telling when you might get a little scratch or a dent while travelling, but if you do then you should try and get the dent or the scratch immediately repaired. This is important because if the scratch is deep enough for the base metal to become exposed then there will be a possibility of rust setting in on the scratched part. If nothing, get a touch up job done until you can get to a workshop.
If the engine does not start, or it starts, then stalls and dies, then the problem could be a fuel filter or pump problem. A partially restricted filter will usually pass enough fuel to keep the engine running at idle or low speed, but may starve the engine of fuel at higher speeds or loads. So your engine may run fine going around town, but might lack power when you try to drive at highway speeds. Have your workshop do a thorough check for the source of the problem.