Distractions Maintenance

8 Essential Car Maintenance Tips Before a Long Drive

Regardless of your job, it’s important to make sure that proper maintenance has been looked at before a long drive. Long drives can take a lot out of people, but imagine what it does to the vehicle.  It’s important to make the long drive as smooth as possible. Whether this is a business trip, dropping off important supplies, or anything else, it’s best to tackle getting a car properly checked up before and after the big drive. If you’re using your own car, then admittingly this will be pricey, but If possible, try to use a company-owned vehicle for all company-related trips. These are some helpful tips for maintenance before a long drive.

Ensure that the exhaust system is maintained

Depending on the line of work you do and how your employer is, there is a chance that you’re the one that is obligated to maintain upkeep if it’s a company vehicle such as a semi-truck or any other vehicle for that matter. A lot of people tend to never think about checking the condition of their exhaust system. It needs to be checked because there’s always the chance of being stuck in the middle of nowhere with a broken-down vehicle. 

A faulty exhaust system often means that there is improper venting, decreased power, and even poor fuel efficiency. Usually, it’s obvious if there is a faulty exhaust system because you’ll hear hissing, popping, or maybe even some other kind of noise. Always check your exhaust system, and if someone else is in charge of doing vehicle maintenance at your job, then talk to them about looking at the exhaust system as well.  Even if there are no noises being produced, there can still be the chance of a faulty exhaust.

Talk to whoever is in charge of vehicle maintenance at your job

As stated above, it can really vary per employer and their policies. Sometimes it’s entirely up to the employee to take care of the maintenance and other times there may be a designated person. If you or another employee has to look into the maintenance of the vehicle, then it could be handy to get your company to purchase some Chevrolet dealership repair manuals.

This will allow the employees to learn about the proper upkeep and maintenance of the vehicles. Since it can be a mixed bag and it depends on each employer, look to see if there is anyone that is in charge of maintenance of company-owned vehicles. If not, talk to your manager about either you or a third party taking a look at the vehicle to ensure that it’s able to last a long drive.

Figure out what time you’ll be driving out

In order to avoid any traffic jams, accidents, or anything hazardous on the road, it’s usually best to drive early in the morning while everyone is still sleeping. If you have to deliver something important to a client, and the drive is 10 hours, and you’re hoping to drive there within one day, then look into leaving around one or two in the morning.

 This way, you can get a great head start, deal with less traffic, and you’ll even be able to meet with the client earlier than anticipated. Rush hour often lasts for several hours, and that alone is brutal due to traffic. To avoid any congestion, and getting stuck in a long traffic jam, just try to sleep earlier and get up early.  While this is definitely ideal, you’re better off talking with your employer about this to see what they think.

Adjust the steering and suspension

When it comes to having a smooth ride, there’s a lot that needs to be kept in mind. It’s more than just lack of traffic, avoiding road rage, or detours. Loose steering parts such as broken or worn out, or even damaged shocks can cause a lot of damage. Vehicle swaying and bouncing are highly dangerous. Make sure during the maintenance check that you get your car or your company’s car steering wheel and suspension system checked.

Do a light check

Before heading out, make sure to check all lights. Even if you’re driving in the daylight, there’s always the chance that it rains or you’re needing to drive in the dark. Lights need to be checked on a regular basis such as your blinkers, brake lights, and headlamps. If you can, try to bring some spare bulbs with you and keep them in the glove box in case they’re needed. Lights are one of the first things that highway patrol officers notice, and who wants to deal with getting ticketed or fined?

Perform general maintenance

Regardless if there is someone else that your employer has to look at company vehicles and do maintenance, it’s best that you, the driver, do a general maintenance check as well to see if anything was missed. There’s always the chance that something could get overlooked, so it’s always best to have an extra pair of eyes. Even the smallest items can cause a roadblock. If you have general knowledge (and most employee drivers should), make sure to check:

  • The car battery
  • Engine (regardless if it’s a diesel engine or not)
  • Cabin, fuel, and air filters
  • Spark plugs
  • Fluid levels such as engine oils and coolant

Doing thorough check ups will drastically help ensure that you can go about your work efficiently.

Take a look at the tires

One of the most common occurrences that delay drivers would be the old flat tire.  Nobody wants to deal with a flat tire, even if you have a spare and all the tools that are needed, that still takes time out of what you’re needing to get done. Plus some vehicles such as semi or pick-up trucks will need far more than just a quick change of the spare.

Make sure that there is enough tire pressure, make sure that you and the employer-appointed technician look closely at this. What’s in the dealership or owner manual? Both underinflated and overinflated tires can lead to a lot of issues. If you’ve ever had to deal with a very bumpy ride, then it could be due to the tires. You don’t want to deal with premature wear, overheating, or tire blowout either.

Check the tire treads too. If this is a vehicle that is often used for long drives and transport, then understand that the tires could already be quite worn down. So it’s best to take a close look at this as well. Long drives wear down the tires, and continuously dealing with long drives will only drive the tires past their point of full efficiency. Safety is also something that needs to be kept in mind too. There’s the classic penny test you can try but it’s better to ensure that the employee technician or the company-appointed repair service thoroughly looks at the tires.

Get an oil change

Even if the vehicle you’re driving for work isn’t due for an oil change just yet, it doesn’t hurt to try and get the oil changed already. Every few hundred miles an oil change is needed and most likely, you’ll be driving a few hundred miles already for your work assignment. The extended journey can really put a strain on the motor, and it probably has already used up a good bit of oil already. If your vehicle is towing a trailer (such as semis do) or carrying anything heavy at all, then you must look into getting your oil changed before this long car ride.