Tips 5-10: Things to Check in Your Car After a Trip

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5. Mud flaps get damaged

Mud flaps get damaged

Mud flaps can easily become loose, or even break, when going over uneven terrain, specially if they touch the ground while manoeuvring over speed breakers or going through potholes. Additionally, they also get damaged by small stones and other objects flung back by the tyres when the car is moving at high speed on the highway. Replace them if they're broken or if they are damaged.

 

6. Engine & Brake oil

Engine & Brake oil

If your next oil change is due after a while, get it done soon after the trip. Continuous driving would have aged the engine oil faster than regular city driving also the heat can make the fluid less effective. To check the engine oil, Locate the engine oil dipstick and pull the dipstick out, wipe it with a clean rug or a paper towel and insert it back fully. Pull it out again and check the level. If the oil appears too black it definitely needs to be changed. If the level is low, you can top it up using the same type of oil as you already have in the engine. Check the brake oil as well and if the level is low top it up to max level.

 

7. Brake pads and disc

Brake pads and disc

Brake pads don’t pack up very quickly and their wear and tear depends mainly on how you drive. But if you hear squealing sounds when the brakes are applied then it means it is time for new brake pads. If you feel a grinding, metal-against-metal sound when braking it indicates your brake pads or shoes are completely worn away, and you are now ruining the discs or drums.

 

8. Cleaning the upholstery

Cleaning the upholstery

If you were driving with the family on vacation, then there will be chances of cola and food spills on the upholstery. If there are, then don't let the stain sit too long before you get to work on it. Within a few days, most spills and stains will begin to set and permanently damage your upholstery or become very difficult to remove. Tobacco smoke is one of the most difficult smells to remove from a car. The smoke permeates everything, including the foam used in seat cushions. But there are lots of odour retardants available which can help. A good car shampooing at the workshop will take care of it though.

 

9. Alignment

Alignment

Going over potholes and uneven terrain leads to misalignment of the tyres. Incorrect alignment results in rapid and irregular tyre wear and can impact the handling and safety of the car. Alignment can be affected by driving against a kerb, hitting a pothole or by excessive wear to steering or suspension components. Get the tyres checked and realigned, if necessary.

 

10. Suspension damage

Suspension damage

The steering and suspension of your car are things that are sure to be affected, given the poor condition of the majority of roads in India. Unfortunately, they can only be properly inspected at a workshop. However there are indications of impending problems, almost always. Watch out for unwarranted vibrations in the steering column or odd noises when the car goes over undulations and irregularities. Also see if the car is behaving unpredictably, either in a straight line or around bends. Get the suspension checked once you're back. If there is any damage to the suspension or steering, get it repaired or replaced as soon as you can.

 
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