The summer season is officially peaking with the start of June. In addition to this, the lockdown in most countries are either being lifted completely or partially relaxed. No doubt that this a good sign, signifying the world is finally managing to tackle COVID-19. But what does it mean for car enthusiasts? Well, it means that we can finally take our vehicles around for a spin.
But before you do that, you need to keep in mind that your vehicle was not used for a long time or just used sparingly. This coupled with the fact that the summer season exerts more pressure on the vehicle, can only mean one thing – you need to be extra careful! Do not just turn on the car and try to drive like you would in normal circumstances.
You need to be prepared. Hence, in this article, we will be talking about essential post-lockdown driving tips that you must follow for a smooth experience.
Pre-Drive Visual Inspection
Before you set off on your drive, conduct a visual inspection of the tires. Try to assess the air pressure. You can use a portable pressure gauge to check if the pressure is at the recommended levels. If not, refill the tires immediately. If you do not have the right tools at home, drive slowly to your nearest service station.
Please note that modern vehicles are equipped with a tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS) which does the same job as a pressure gauge. In addition to this, for those of you who are unaware, the recommended tire pressure is mentioned in the owner’s manual or on the tire placard.
Besides the air pressure, also take a look at the tread and overall condition. Each country has a minimum tread limit. Within countries, the limit might vary as well. Regardless, if the tread is no longer 2/32 inches, it is time to replace your tires. In addition to this, if the tires show signs of crack or other damage, replacement is highly recommended.
Now that the tires are out of the way, it is time to open the bonnet. Once done, look at the vital fluids. Make sure that they are at the optimal level. The transmission, power steering, washer, radiator fluids along with the AC coolant can be easily inspected. If you are satisfied, shift your focus towards the battery.
If you did not use the vehicle at all during the lockdown period (other than just turning it on and off) or used it sparingly, the battery is likely to be weak. A weak battery means that the car took longer than usual to start. If not, then the battery is fine. Just leave the car on for a while for the battery to be recharged.
In the previous point, we have mentioned the recommended tire pressure. But do not, in any case, refill the tires up to the recommended level. Why? While driving on a hot surface, the heat will cause the tires to expand. This will increase the air pressure inside the tires.
If the tyres are already up to the recommended level, the further increase might cause them to burst. Therefore, it is highly recommended to avoid refilling the air pressure to the recommended levels. Also, when checking the tire pressure, make sure that the car has remained park for a long while.
Make sure to test the air conditioning. When unused for a long time, the AC’s performance might be affected. Therefore, turn on the AC for a while and assess its cooling. If it is working as it should, then there is no problem. However, if the cooling is not up to the mark, drive to the workshop so that the servicemen can have a look. There are various companies offering car air conditioning services, so you do not need to worry much about it.
Cooling the Tires
If you plan on taking a long trip, give your tires proper rest during the journey. Stop after continuously driving for long distances. Let them cool down. Spray them with water if you need to. This will prevent the tires from overheating which can lead to tire burst that can prove fatal.
Do Not Overload
No matter how powerful your vehicle is, ultimately, it is the tires that have to carry the weight. Do not overburden them. Otherwise, they will suffer from premature wear and tear along with the increased likelihood of bursting. Therefore, do not load the tires beyond their maximum which is inscribed on the tyre’s sidewall.
This concludes our article today. We hope that you follow these tips carefully to enjoy a smooth post-lockdown drive.