Road trip. Photo by Viktor Lundberg, Pexels.

After the holiday: Basic checks to keep cars healthy

Simple maintenance can ensure cars remain in tip-top condition after lengthy periods on the road. See which checks need to be carried out.

While drivers may feel rested after their holidays, the same might not be said of their cars. Road trips can place a lot of strain on a vehicle while remaining undriven for several weeks comes with its own risks. For these reasons, it’s a good idea for drivers to conduct some basic maintenance to ensure their cars remain in sound running order.

  • Cars that were left in the garage over the holiday may affect the battery’s charging performance, especially if the battery is old. Drivers should have this checked at a workshop.
  • For cars that underwent lengthy road trips, the first step in maintenance is a cleanup – inside and out. This will make it easier to see if there is any damage, and to identify whether travel and emergency accessories (like basic tools, spare wheels, breakdown triangles, jump-start cables, first aid kids and tyre pressure gauges) have been lost and need to be replaced.
  • Heavy driving can affect tyre pressure. Add to this the fact that most vehicles used in road trips have their tyre pressure adjusted for heavy loads, and it’s easy to see why these components need a thorough check post-holiday. Drivers must make sure that the tyre pressure is corrected, that the tyres and spares are still in a good condition, that wheel balance and alignment is still correct, and that tread is no less than 1.6mm.
  • Brake pads and fluid must also be checked after a long trip.
  • Windscreens should be checked for chips and cracks, and replaced if necessary.
  • Lights and indicators must be in good working order.
  • Other key checks include the radiator, cooling system, and water and oil levels.
  • These checks are even more important if the car broke down at any point in the journey.