Whether you have a sports car or a classic car, maintaining it after winters is crucial. Leaving your car inside storage for long periods may protect them but it could also lead to some problems when you try revving up your engine after months of inactivity. No matter how good you vehicle is, you must check your car for a few things to make sure it is good for the road. Here is an easy to follow checklist to make sure your car is ready for regular driving trips.
- Examine the brake pads and shocks
- Clean up the interior
- Check the exhaust pipe for dirt and mice and clear it right away
- Check the brights, tail lights, headlights and blinkers to see if they are working properly
- Take a close look at the wiring and hoses. It would also help if you checked for rodent damage, cracks, loose connections and similar issues
- Inspect your car for fluid leaks
- Inspect he car’s oil levels and get a professional to replace old oil as soon as you can
- Make sure your tires contain adequate PSI. It would also help if you looked for bulges, balding areas and cracks
Check these Things before Driving Your Car after a Long Winter
Brakes and Suspension
Many people tend to ignore their car’s tailpipe before bringing it out from storage. Make sure you check the tailpipe thoroughly to ensure it is free from dirt and debris. Giving your car some time to warm up would also be a good idea before going out for a drive. Don’t rush into changing gears once you start your car as it could cause damage.
Go for a twenty to thirty minute drive and look out for unusual sounds. If you do notice something strange, get a professional auto repair service to look into the matter right away.
Fluids and Tires
Driving a car with low PSI is a one way ticket to disaster and could lead to costly damages. Fortunately, you can avoid this issue quite easily, as all you need to do is check your car’s tires for air, wear and tear and punctures etc. It would also help if you got a professional to look at your vehicle’s fluids to check for warning signs and address the issue right away.
Below the Hood
It goes without saying that your car will stop working if its battery isn’t adequately charged. So, make sure you check underneath your car’s hood to see if your battery requires charging. While using a trickle charger inside storage is a good idea, it could lead to overcharging. Get a pro to check the battery before you head on out, making sure your car is in fine condition for the coming months.
While potholes are present throughout the year, they are particularly prevalent during the spring season. No matter how much people try to avoid these holes, there are times when it’s almost impossible to maneuver around them. So, it would be safe to say that your car is bound to hit a pothole at one time or the other.
For those who don’t know, potholes are sunken, cracked portions of the roads. These roads start cracking once the soil beneath the pavement becomes weak. Potholes become particularly problematic during spring season when the temperature fluctuates too much. Whenever water freezes over the road, it spreads far and wide. Once it enters the soil underneath the road, it freezes up and pushes upward, forming potholes in the process.
Checking Your Car for Pothole Damage
Sometimes, inspecting your car for damaged caused by potholes can be incredibly difficult. The problem can be too small to notice, however, it is important to look for them nonetheless, as the long term impact could be quite detrimental. Below is a list of important things to inspect for damage caused by potholes.
Tires are the first things you should inspect for pothole damage. This is because tires are the only part of your car that is in contact with the surface. As you would expect, potholes can put too much pressure on tires, causing them to burst. This is mainly because of the hard edged chunks on these potholes that come in contact with your tires. If your car hits potholes too many times, consider checking them for things like flats, sidewall bulges, tread separation and other types of tire damage.
Unlike the tires, your vehicle’s body will rarely come in contact with the road. However, almost anything is possible as far as potholes go. You’d be surprised to learn that potholes can even cause significant damage to your bumpers. Sure, most of the damage in such cases is cosmetic but it’s important to make sure your vehicle looks sharp all the time. This is particularly true for cars with a sporty look as their bodies tend to hang low, which could lead to cosmetic damage.
Believe it or not, your car can bottom out if it hits a deep pothole. This can be quite dangerous for your exhaust system, especially if it touches the roadway, as it could rip multiple holes in the pipes. It would also help if you kept an ear out for strange noises while driving. This could indicate whether your car’s exhaust pipes suffered too much damage. In case the damage is too much, consider replacing or replacing the pipes as soon as you can.
How much do you know about your car’s inner-workings? You do not have to be an automotive engineer to know the basics of car maintenance. As a vehicular transport owner, you should know a few core things that you must regularly check in your car. Most car malfunctions result from neglecting a few basic things that make a car function smoothly and safely. Read on to know what factors determine whether your car is ready for driving.
Windshield Wiper Fluid
Do you know unobstructed visibility is crucial for a safe driving experience? You must ensure that your vehicle’s windshield is prepared for heavy precipitation. Keep a good stock of washer fluid before you head out for a long road trip. Keeping the reservoir filled with this fluid is simple and hardly takes any time. All you have to do is open the hood, look for the windshield fluid cap, and fill it up.
Besides the washer fluid, you should check if the wipers are in good condition. This also involves an easy task. Oftentimes the windshields come with a built-in clip. Hence, swapping them essentially involves clipping them into place easily. To replace the blade, you have to push a small button, and other times they slide onto a hook. To check whether your wipers are in good condition, just make sure that they are wiping rather than smearing.
This may be one of the most critical components to check inside a car engine. Fortunately, it is very easy to check motorized vehicles. This may not be a problem for people with electric or modern cars without dipsticks. You must keep an eye on the oil.
Checking engine oil hardly takes a second. Remember to park your car on a level surface for an accurate and precise judgment. After parking it, it is advisable to wait a couple of minutes, as the oil takes some time to drain back into the pan. Checking it before it completely drains could result in an inaccurate reading.
Once all of these factors are in place, simply pull the dipstick out, and wipe it up with a cloth. After you wipe it thoroughly, stick it back inside the tube. Now, you can pull it out again to read the level. You will find two levels on the dipstick, indicating the low and full marks.
If the level of the oil is between the low and the full mark, then your vehicle is good to go. In this case, more is not good. Having more than necessary levels of oil is just as bad as having less oil. Keep it between the marks if you do not want to face the problems of aeration, overheating, and engine failure.
This is the only part of your vehicle that touches the road. All motorists should know how to check the tire pressure. Tire pressure determines the overall road grip of your car. Not having the optimum tire pressure before you head out for a drive puts you at risk of fatal accidents.
Checking the tire pressure involves simple and easy procedures. All you need is a good air pressure gauge. Removing the valve stem cap and sticking the gauge firmly on the ends gives you the correct readings of the air pressure. If the gauge is not sitting tight, then it could lead to an inaccurate measurement.
Unless there are special circumstances, you must maintain the factory-recommended air pressure of your tires. If the air pressure falls below or above that pressure, you can inflate or deflate according to the precise readings.
Unfortunately, spare tires have become less common. However, you must equip your car with a spare tire, along with a jack and a lug wrench. There is always a possibility of encountering a flat tire while on a road trip.
Having the skill and equipment to change a flat tire can be life-saving when stranded in a place with no phone signals. Therefore, you must learn how to replace and install a spare tire.
Jump Start Cables
Another thing that you should know how to do is jumpstart your vehicle in case the battery dies. Nevertheless, this is impossible to do without a set of cables and another car that is fully charged. When you are attempting to do this, make sure that you do not mix up the leads.
A positive terminal connects to a positive terminal, and a negative connects to a negative. Switching them up can lead to dire circumstances. Keep in mind that red is associated with the positive sign and black with the negative.
Engine Air Filter
It is important to keep a check on the engine air filter before you determine whether your car is ready for a long day on the road. Air filters help provide a free-flowing supply of oxygen to your engine. Without oxygen, the process of internal combustion is impossible.
Therefore, the quality and maintenance of the air filter are extremely important. Make sure that your air filter does not have dirt and debris inside it. Fortunately, air filters are usually cheap and relatively easy to replace.
The condition of the cooling system is critically important; however, most people ignore it. Cooling systems help your car run smoothly in scorching summers and extreme cold conditions. This is why you have to keep an eye out for swelling, weeping hoses.
Damaged hoses can end up bursting, which will adamantly result in the car not working. Moreover, do not forget to check the coolant in the overflow reservoir. If your antifreeze looks rusty and discolored, this is an indication that your cooling system needs urgent help.
These are some of the important things that you should determine before you get behind the steering wheel. You can pretty much carry out all of these maintenance measures yourself. However, take your car to a professional if you want to ensure a flawless job. Vehicle inspection is essential for the safety and protection of the car and passengers inside. One must never overlook or avoid it.
The ice road conditions are among the most dangerous driving conditions you can face. The icy surface makes it incredibly hard to achieve traction, but learning how to drive on ice might be a life-saving tip. Today, we will be looking at 5 things you need to remember when driving in icy conditions.
Patience – Drive Slower, Take Your Time
The best strategy you can find when driving in snowy weather is to take your time and drive slower than you can normally do. You should consider spending some additional time before you leave, so you can take your time while still arriving at your destination on time. Moving steadily would significantly decrease the likelihood of experiencing an accident. Not to mention, if you happen to lose control and hit something, this will also lower your car’s amount of damage.
Brakes – How To Use Them On Ice
Even if brakes are widely used to help steady the car and bring you to a stop in and out of emergency situations, they can do more damage than good if used incorrectly on ice. In slippery weather, pressing on the brakes will bring your car into an uncontrollable skid. What you want to do is drive carefully enough to allow the weight of your car to bring the vehicle to a stop if needed. When you need to use your brakes on ice, gently pump your brakes to avoid locking up your tyres.
Skidding – How To Get Out Of A Skid
Skidding amounts to losing your vehicle’s stability on ice and sliding across the ice without traction. During a skid, a number of drivers freeze up or overcorrect, allowing them to spin out of control. You’ll want to gently turn into the skid and get out of the skid safely and pump the brakes slowly to try to stop traction. When you feel your vehicle recover momentum and start to straighten out, gently slip your steering wheel back into position to drive out of the skid. This does not necessarily mean finishing in the same direction, mostly merely reducing whether you overcorrected or froze up the amount of skidding you might have done.
Temperatures – Watching For Freezing Temperatures
Icy traffic conditions occur as water on the road freezes because of a decrease in temperature. Tracking the outside temperatures is a great way to stay on top of shifting road conditions. Using an in-car display displaying outside temperatures is a smart way of determining where you will need to look for ice patches on the lane. In order to see what you can expect, if your car does not have this feature, you can simply check the temperature adjustments before leaving the building.
Snow Tires – Do They Help On Ice?
Most individuals believe that ice tires and winter tires can aid in frozen road conditions, close to how they help on snow-packed highways. The solution here is not because no extra traction is added on ice. Icy roads are too slippery for snow tires and tyre chains to make a difference, but they certainly won’t hurt if you already have them in your winter vehicle.
Tire pressure plays a critical role in every vehicle’s performance, fuel economy, handling, and much more. Besides improving your vehicle’s overall performance, the right PSI can significantly increase your tire’s life. However, tires tend to leak air no matter how excellent their quality is. Some of them leak it slowly, while others lose air within seconds.
Understanding the main reasons behind tire pressure lose can be an excellent way to identify and steer clear from them. Doing so can increase your tire’s life while keeping you safe. So without further ado, let us discuss some common reasons behind PSI drops.
Changes in the Temperature
Temperature is arguably the most common reason behind pressure loss. Sure, your tire may not have any leaks, but excessive temperature changes can impact tire pressure – expanding during hotter months while contracting during colder months.
Tires can easily lose around two percent of air pressure if the temperature drops anywhere around 5 degrees. That said, the opposite is true as well, and temperature increases can increase tire pressure, taking it to two percent or more.
It goes without saying that punctures are the biggest cause behind pressure loss in tires. It’s also worth keeping in mind that a tire can get different kinds of punctures, causing a PSI drop or a complete blowout.
Sharp objects like glasses, pins, nails etc are often the main cause behind slow leaking punctures. While these punctures may generally be on the smaller side, their impact could be huge and drastically drop your tire’s PSI.
For those who don’t know, the tire valve helps retain air, making it easier for you to refill your tire using an air pump. Make sure that your valve is completely airtight when you close it, as a lose one could leak air. As you would expect, damaged or faulty tire valves allow air to escape slowly, reducing PSI whether your vehicle is moving or still.
However, make sure that you do not tighten the valve stem tube too much, as that too could result in air loss. So, if you do plan to change the valve stem core down the line, make sure no to tighten it excessively.
What You Can Do About Maintaining Tire Pressure
– Steer clear from roadside hazards such as glass shards, potholes etc, as even the tiniest piece can result in air loss.
– Check the tire valve’s tightness regularly to make sure there are no air leaks
– Inspect your tire for damage, small punctures or any other issue (no matter how minor it is) every time you go for a drive
– Pump you tires with air on a regular basis to counter the natural PSI loss, which often happens because of temperature changes and osmosis.
In addition to the maintenance steps mentioned earlier, using an automatic tire pressure monitoring system could also help you steer clear from trouble. Why? Because this device provides highly accurate results. Consider using a tire pressure monitoring system once a week or twice a month to check whether your tire has the right PSI.