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How to prepare your car for a Christmas trip

A long trip is a serious test for your car and even a slight problem such as a worn windscreen wiper or an out-of-balance tyre can cause a lot of trouble.

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Car interior (Photo by Derwin Edwards from Pexels)

The much-awaited Christmas months is here. It is a month of festivities. But much as it is a period of celebration, it is sadly always punctuated by tragic road accidents that claim countless lives.

The Federal Road Safety Commission, FRSC estimates that about 13 people die daily by tragic road accidents on Nigerian roads. But some stakeholders dispute this, arguing that more than 36,000 lives are lost annually to road accidents. Whatever the figures are, zero-casualty is what the citizens desire and this should be the goal of the authorities.

There are several factors that result in carnage on our roads, but top on the list is the poor state of vehicles and the poor state of mind of Nigerian drivers.

As Christmas approaches, many Nigerians would be travelling long distances to their hometowns to celebrate with their loved ones. If you are planning to make the trip with your own car, do bear in mind that a long trip is a serious test for your car and even a slight problem such as a worn windscreen wiper or an out-of-balance tyre can cause a lot of trouble.

To make sure one has a smooth ride that one’s car can withstand the stress of a long trip, the surest way would be to conduct a full and thorough inspection on your vehicle before such trips are undertaken. This can be done through several industry experts.

Here are 3 key areas to focus on during your inspection as enumerated by David Fajobi who is an experienced auto inspector, and former Head of Inspection at Cars45.

1. Suspension: The suspension of a vehicle is the system of tyres, tyre air, springs, bushings, shock absorbers and linkages that connects a vehicle to its wheels and allows relative motion between the two.

“It is important to get your mechanic to check your tyres properly, to ensure accurate tyre pressure, proper alignment and balanced wheel,” said Fajobi.

“This is because some cars have a substantial risk of flipping over at top speed and poor alignment, overinflated tyres and unbalanced wheels could make this inevitable especially during a long trip,” Fajobi added.

Also, read Nigeria’s automotive device testing centres in Zaria, Enugu, Lagos 85% complete - Aliyu

2. Ignition System: The ignition system generates a spark or heats an electrode to a high temperature that makes it possible for your vehicle engine to get started. Most of the time, the ignition of your car begins to show a problem when the ignition coil develops a fault.

“The ignition coil takes power from the generator and relays it to the spark plugs. This ignites the fuel and makes your vehicle run. If it is faulty, it could make your car backfire and could also cause overfloating which could end up damaging your car’s brainbox,” said Fajobi. So, it is very important to get your mechanic to certify your ignition before making that long trip.

3. General Lubrication Service: This is what you already do perhaps every two or three months, depending on the distance your car regularly travels or what the manufacturer recommends.

If you are preparing for a long trip, it is highly advisable to change your vehicle’s oil. There are several of them including transmission oil, brake oil, engine oil etc and it is important to have them changed before a long trip.

“This is because oil also breaks down, deteriorates and gums up and become less efficient at providing good lubrication and protection for your engine,” noted Fajobi.

How often you change the oil has been debated for ages but to be on the safe side, a change of oil before a long trip becomes imperative.

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