Many of us use the high temperatures in Dubai and school holidays to venture on our annual vacation trips. With the UAE having a large expat population, almost all of us use this season to visit our families back home. We close up our homes, bid goodbye to our friends and take a long awaited break from our daily routine. Few of us pay attention to the things we need to do before we leave our vehicles at home for an extended period. Some of us, thinking that it might be better to have them driven on a regular basis might loan them to friends who need a car during this period. Others might leave their vehicles in covered parking or cover them carefully if they are parked outside and think they have done all they need to do to ensure their car is in good shape when they return. There are however a few things that you can do to ensure that your ride is in the optimal condition and good to go when you are back.
1. Check the tire air pressure.
Make sure that the tires of your vehicle are at the maximum permissible pressure. This will help them to retain their shape and durability and avoid flat spots which can occur when a car is parked for a long time.
2. Leave the handbrake off and Chock your wheels:
It is second nature for us to leave the handbrake on when we park. If we do that before we leave on along trip, it might cause the cable that is used in almost handbrakes to stretch and thus become inoperative. Use timber or automotive wheel chocks to prevent the slightest possibility of any movement.
3. Take Care of the Spark Plugs:
If you are going to be away for a while, get your mechanic to remove the spark plugs and spray a little oil into the plug sockets before replacing them. This would keep moisture away and prevent the insides of the cylinder head from rusting.
4. Ensure that the petrol tank is empty or close to empty:
Petrol is a mixture of organic compounds derived from petroleum and additives. It can become “stale” after a few days due to the additives breaking down with the passage of time and evaporation. This can have a significant impact on fuel efficiency when you return. Leave the tank close to empty and refill with fresh fuel when you return.
5. Fill the Tank for Diesel Vehicles
Diesel, unlike petrol can last for a long time, sometimes as long as six months. Thus, it makes sense to fill diesel tanks before you leave.
6. Clean up the Interiors
Many of us use our vehicle to store stuff we might need while on the go. If your car is full of fast food wrappers, magazines and water bottles, clear it all up and use a little freshener. You do not want to come back to a car that stinks to the high heavens.
7. Check on the Status of the Car Battery Before You Leave:
In case you are planning to be away for a long time, it might be a good idea to remove the battery. Store it in a cool place away from direct sunlight. Use grease or petroleum jelly on the terminals to keep the battery from rusting. Check on the battery charge before you leave and ensure that it is fully charged and the water level is topped up before you leave. Car batteries are meant to charge and discharge and if the battery dies, it might never reach full charge again. You will not want to deal with a stalled car on your first day back at the office.
8. Change Oil and Filers if Needed: Check the mileage when your oil needs to be changed. If the oil in your car is old, it could comprise sludge and a high level of moisture. It might be a good idea to change the oil and filter and drive the car for a few miles before you leave to ensure that the new oil is circulated inside the engine.
9. Get your Vehicle Waxed and Polished Before You Leave: Waxing will ensure that minimal dirt and dust will settle on the vehicle. It will also keep the paintwork looking as good as new and you will not need to get your car washed on the very day you return from your trip if you cover your vehicle before leaving.
10. Your vehicle keys should be stored in a safe place.
Manju Mathew, an MBA in marketing, completed publisher training courses from the Oxford Brookes University and New York University. She started with marketing and PR roles before moving on to her current position as a full time writer. Currently living in Dubai, her life as an expat has sharpened her observation skills and flair for writing. She enjoys writing about luxury cars like Ferrari, Lamborghini, etc even if she can only dream of owning them.
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