You’ve just come back from an amazing trip on the road. You got to explore a new destination, spend quality time with loved ones, and get away from your daily routine. Coming back was bittersweet, of course. You’re fortunate to come back to a home and a job, but you dread the process of unpacking and getting back to everyday life. If you happened to take your personal vehicle on this journey, there are some things you want to do before driving again.
All that driving during your trip has likely put a lot of wear and tear on your ride. From low fluids and worn down tires, to crumbs in the back seat, and the newly discovered dings and scratches on your car’s interior, you want to get everything back in working order so that your car looks, smells, and rides well. Below is a quick list of maintenance tasks you may want to consider:
Clean Your Car’s Interior
You were on the road for several hours (if not longer). Chances are you had a few meals. If you had the kids in tow, there’s likely also a bunch of other items spread around the car that need to be cleaned out. Leaving stains and food inside the car will not only make them harder to get out later, but it can leave a horrible smell. Head to your nearest car wash or grab the vacuum cleaner, shampoo, and wipes and get to work.
Clean and Preserve the Car’s Exterior
After giving the interior a good vacuum and scrub down, it’s time to move to the exterior of the car. Wash the exterior thoroughly and dry it off with a few towels. If you notice any dings or scratches, you may want to buff those out to improve your car’s appearance. Then, to give it a good shine and finish while also protecting the car’s exterior from further damage, you can apply a ceramic coating.
Check Treads on the Tire
Driving puts wear and tear on the tires and can cause them to lose efficiency and effectiveness over time. Seeing as how you don’t want to end up in an accident or waiting for roadside assistance due to a flat tire, it’s best you check the treads. Using a penny, place it into between the tire treads with Lincoln’s head facing downward towards you. If you can see all or most of his head, you’ll want to purchase new tires to remain safe on the road.
Check Your Fluids
Just as you did prior to leaving for your trip you need to check your car’s fluids after your return. As they are necessary to keep the working parts of your car lubricated and functional, you don’t want to drive around with them on low. This includes your oil, transmission fluid, and even your windshield wiping fluid. If you notice they’re low, grab the appropriate type and grade for your car and refill them accordingly. If the fluids are discolored in any way, you may need to schedule a service appointment to have them and the filters changed.
Check the Brakes
Brakes are the last thing you want to neglect on your vehicle. After driving for so many miles, it’s quite possible that they’re worn down. Test the brakes by driving a bit and pressing down on them. If you notice any squeaking or grinding, this is a telltale sign that you need to have your brakes changed.
Review Car Lights
Last, but not least, check the lights inside of your car to make sure that nothing has gone wrong. While your car may have been fine during the road trip, the wear and tear could have caused some mechanical issues that need immediate attention. If you notice that the check engine light is on, for example, schedule an appointment with your mechanic right away.
People often remember to have their car serviced prior to hitting the road, but upon returning, they overlook the importance of maintenance and possible repairs. Ignoring this step after a road trip, however, could leave permanent stains and bad smells in the car, or mechanical issues that could leave you stranded on the side of the road. So, before you head back to work or do any regular commuting, be sure you’ve completed all the above-mentioned tasks.