How to Service your Car after a Road Trip

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How to Service your Car after a Road Trip

If you’ve just returned from a long road trip where you drove past many a pretty landscape and object of cultural importance along the way, you may be full of impressions, new fond memories, and perhaps a bit battered.

And guess what’s also likely a bit under the weather – your car.

The thing is, no matter how well you prepare for your road trip and how few obstacles you encounter along the way, your vehicle is inevitably going to feel the consequences of long driving sessions and bad weather. Heck, even under perfect conditions, simply adding mileage to your car will stress the engine and other parts of your car.

In this article, we’re going to mention some important aspects of car maintenance you should immediately turn your attention to when you get back from a road trip. As you will see, most of these represent the rudimentary car upkeep you must have been taught already by the professional driving instructor that taught you how to drive in the first place.

That said, it’s not always that people remember that they need to perform these maintenance tasks when they get back from a road trip, so this text would sort of being a reminder.

Clean the Vehicle

And by ‘clean the vehicle’ we don’t mean just pour a bucket of water over it and call it a day.

After a long journey on dusty roads and in all sorts of weather, your car will likely catch quite a bit of dirt and other pollutants, so getting rid of these would be an important first step to undertake immediately after the trip is through.

The thing here is, a superficial cleaning task probably won’t cut it, so what you may want to do is aim to do more of a thorough job of it. That means looking beneath the hood for mud buildup, taking special care to clean beneath bumpers, behind wheels, and underneath the car if you can get there.

Also, you may want to address the interior situation, especially if you weren’t the tidiest when it comes to snack bag disposal along the way.

Add Engine Oil if Needed

While newer cars as well as those that are well-preserved in their advanced age, so to speak, won’t need that much engine oil to run smoothly, longer trips tend to make the oil disappear more quickly than you’d expect.

Perhaps it’s because we get lost in the endless miles we’re crossing en route to our destination so that we forget what the last time was we changed the oil.

Of course, we all know just how terrible the consequences of no oil in your engine can be, so the first thing you should do before you do anything else on your car would be to check the oil levels.

Check the Tires

… in particular, check the tire threads and see if they’re any good.

As we all know, tires are the first to go when long journeys are in question, especially if you’re driving in hot weather. Of course, while your tires may survive longer than expected, it is still important you check their threads because if they are close to zero, they are certainly nearing their end.

Now, it’s better for you not to wait for that end to come naturally, so to speak, as you can get stranded with a flat tire in the middle of nowhere, which can be an annoying prospect.

So, to prevent such an irritating turn of events, make sure to check the tread of your tires as soon as you get back from your road trip and if necessary – change them altogether for a new set.

Check the Car Battery

Another car part that tends to take a hit during and after a road trip would be the car battery.

The reason for this is that, while driving across the country, we usually end up powering up various auxiliary contraptions with our car battery while the car isn’t running.

This adds a bit of extra stress on the battery and can cause its life expectancy to plummet. For example, leaving the radio on, or using headlights to light up your camping spot will certainly take its toll on the battery, so running a routine check to see how much life is left in it is a must after a road trip.

All in all, as fun and exciting as road trips are, the truth of the matter is – they end up taking quite a toll on our vehicle. All’s well that ends well, though, so if you take action to immediately amend any potential issues that might have sprung up along the way, you’ll prolong the life of your car for many years.


I’m Zac Walker, a teacher/writer. I enjoy sharing my knowledge, and teaching is my ultimate passion. My favorite book is “The Magic of Thinking Big” by Dr. Schwartz.

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