With spring at hand, many car owners are getting ready for an amazing and exciting road trip with their families and friends. Road trips are the best way to engage with the wonders of nature, create fun-filled experiences, and make memories unforgettable. However, is your car ready for long-distance trips, especially when you’re driving a classic car?
Driving a classic car can be daunting, especially when it comes to long-distance trips. Unlike modern vehicles, older models have a greater chance of getting damaged during the trip. This increases your risk of getting involved in fatal collisions. So, it’s crucial to learn some tips for avoiding car accidents such as maintenance checks that’ll help prevent unfortunate situations.
In addition, cars are most likely to break down once they reach a hundred-thousand-mile mark, which is common for classic cars. The most common causes are tire damage, battery failure, and engine breakdown. That’s why it’s important to ensure the condition of your car before you start the engine, whether it’s a road trip or not.
With that said, here are some ways you can prepare your car for your next road trip:
- Inspect Your Tires And Wheels
Before any trips, long or short distance, it’s important to check the condition of your tires and wheels and look for any possible problems that may result in road mishaps. With a high-intensity flashlight, inspect every tire for dents, crazing, cuts, and damage, and check the valve stems for any signs of breakages, rotting, and leakages.
Moreover, you may use a tire pressure gauge to determine if your tires are properly inflated and fill them with air if necessary. You may use a thread depth gauge to check the grip of your tires on the road and look for possible tire wear. And make sure to have a spare tire with sufficient air in case of unforeseen situations.
When it comes to wheels, you need to look for any signs of bents, rusts, and breakages, specifically at the rims and bolt holes. Also, make sure that wheel lugs and wire wheel spokes are tight.
Furthermore, make sure that you always have tire-changing tools in your car every time you use them and make sure that your tools are in good condition. For example, check your jack if it’s working properly. Also, it’d be best to have professionals check your tires and wheels at least once a year.
- Check Your Brakes
Having working brakes is more important than functional acceleration. Brake failure may not only injure and damage you but also other people present on the road, which may result in casualties. So, it’s important to check your hydraulic braking system every time you use your car.
First, check the fluid level in the master cylinder and add the proper fluid type if necessary. Then, check the air vent of the master cylinder and make sure it isn’t clogged. Lastly, inspect each tire and look for any signs of fluid leaks due to a faulty cylinder.
After the fluid and cylinder inspection, check the brake pedals inside your car. It should feel firm when you step on it, and it shouldn’t give in easily. Then, try to apply and release pressure and make sure that it stops the car promptly.
After that, jack each corner of your car with a lift kit, inspect frozen brake drums while the wheels are rolling, and replace faulty drums if necessary. Then, adjust the brakes and make sure your brake lights are working properly.
- Inspect Your Car’s Foundation
When it comes to classic cars, the chassis and frames may not be as strong as before. With that said, it’s important to check the foundation of your car and make sure it’s intact and functional.
Start by checking the balance of your car. Does it only lean mostly on one side? Then, check the bumpers of your car, especially it’s getting dragged. After that, inspect the frame and chassis parts for rusts, breakages, damage, dents, and bents. If you find anything broken, go to your auto repair services for parts replacement, or you may do it yourself if you know how to do it.
Furthermore, if your car is a lever-action type, check the shocks and look for any signs of fluid leaks. Also, if the bumper of your car keeps on bouncing, that may be a sign to replace your old shocks with a new one.
Moreover, inspect every bolt hole and rubber bushing and see if there are any open holes and missing rubbers. Then, make sure your steering isn’t loose or bent. Lastly, inspect your exhaust system and make sure its parts aren’t rusty, broken, or noisy.
- Check The Condition Of The Front Area
Stand in front of your car, visually inspect the headlights, and look for exposed wires. At the engine bay, check all connections for vacuum and electrical hoses and make sure they’re tightly fixed and free from dirt.
Moreover, inspect your battery for condition and make sure that all cables are clean and properly fixed. Then, check if there are any signs of fuel leaks from the carburetor and fuel pumps and re-torque all fasteners.
- Inspect The Cooling System
Usually, most cars stop because of overheating. So, it’s important to check if your vehicle’s cooling system is working properly or not. With a high-intensity flashlight, inspect the radiator fins and make sure it’s free from any dirt that may clog it. Then, test your car’s thermostat and radiator cap. If the cooling system still fails, you need to drain the current coolant and refill it with a new one.
- Have A Test Drive
After performing all the inspections above, it’s time to start your engine and have a test drive to see if any problems occur. According to experts, it’s important to test your vehicle for at least 100 miles at 55 mph, especially if you’re planning a long-distance road trip. It may sound a bit too much, but this is the best way to check your car’s external and internal function.
Additionally, testing it to normal use will expose all the problems you may encounter during the trip. So, it’s better to drive a hundred miles than a short trip that may sacrifice the excitement of your trip with broken and malfunctioning parts.
Everyone loves long-distance road trips. It allows you to enjoy the beauty of nature and experience fun-filled activities in different and unfamiliar places. But the excitement could be blown away, especially if your car suddenly stops in the middle of nowhere. And if you’re driving a classic and old model car, there’s a high chance that these could happen.
With that said, it’s important to check all parts of your car, from your tires and wheels to your engine tune-up and fuel pumps. You may use the guide presented above to ensure that every area functions well and is in good condition.