After Balik Kampung: Inspecting Your Car
No matter the festive season, be it Hari Raya Aidilfitri, Chinese New Year, Deepavali or any other, most Malaysians share one thing in common: we all share the ‘balik kampung’ tradition. This tradition involves whole families packing their bags and going on trips back to their hometowns using various means of transportation. Most people usually travel by hopping into their family cars and spending hours upon hours driving on our nation’s highways.
Usually, your friends and family will tell you to service your car before you go on your trip back to your hometown. Even workshops and other automotive businesses use these festive seasons to put up some of their best promotions just to attract your attention. Servicing your automobile before going on your road trip is wise because it’ll reduce the chances that your car will breakdown or malfunction during your trip.
But have you ever thought about the importance of servicing your car AFTER those many long hours spent driving all over the country?
In this article, we’ll go over a few reasons why you should give your vehicle a little extra care after your balik kampung adventures, just as much as you would do before you go on your long road trip.
Road trips are tough on your car
Road trips usually involve travelling for long periods of time and over very long distances. The modern automobile is a marvel of human engineering and assuming all of its parts are functioning optimally, your car can operate indefinitely so long as it has fuel to keep going. What this means is that driving your car down a long highway for many hours isn’t much of a problem from a technical standpoint.
However, in Malaysia, the situation on the road is a little bit different during the festive seasons. Yes, you’ll be driving long distances, but as a result of the constant balik kampung traffic jams, you’ll be spending a lot of your time stopping and going forward slowly in traffic. This never ending stop-and-go pattern lasting for many hours is very stressful on your car as a whole, including on the engine, the drivetrain, and more.
Other than the drivetrain, the stop-and-go movement also affects your engine. Thanks to that pattern, a lack of constant forward movement also means there will be a lack of fresh air being taken into your engine’s ventilation system, making it difficult for the system to do its job effectively. The lack of air could result in fuel not being burned completely, and over time this and other combustion byproducts could end up forming deposits in your intake system. If it happens too much and goes unnoticed, it could potentially cause buildups that clog the entire system altogether. Needless to say, this is not good for the car or for your driving experience.
Furthermore, don’t forget that another part of your car which also experiences a lot of stress during those hours of stop-and-go driving are your brakes! During traffic jams, you’ll be applying those brakes much longer and more often than you normally would on a day-to-day basis, which will result in increased wear and tear on your brake pads.
Last but not least, the cleanliness of your car. It’s a simple fact that passengers (and even the driver) all cause a little waste whenever they spend time in a car. Now imagine how much waste they might generate if they were stuck in a traffic jam for a handful or more hours, or if they were getting in and out of the car multiple times a day while visiting relatives. Food crumbs, packaging, drink spillage, or just dust, in general, all accumulate inside a car during these balik kampung trips more than they normally would under normal conditions.
So what should you do?
If you’ve spent money getting your car serviced before your road trip, it might be too costly for you to do it all over again when you get back from your holidays. Ideally, it would be great to do a complete, all-around inspection of your car so that you can address any part that’s less-than-perfect, but for now, let’s focus on what are probably the most important parts to have checked first.
Firstly, it would be good to inspect your engine’s fuel supply and ventilation system to ensure that there are no deposits that may eventually clog it up even worse. Ensuring that your engine’s parts are clean is crucial to ensure that it operates optimally so that you can use the car for your daily activities without any interruptions. Doing this ensures that any deposits that might exist don’t build up so much that it starts to cause major problems for your beloved car.
Ensuring the engine is functioning optimally is important to keep the car operational, but don’t forget to check things that are key to your car’s safety on the road. Having been put through a lot of stop-and-go driving and over long distances, your brakes and tires may be significantly more worn out compared to before you left on your road trip. Be sure to inspect them or have them inspected to ensure that they’re still safe to use and if they need to be changed be sure to have that done!
Ensuring that your car is operational but also safe are your top priorities, and once those concerns are sorted out you should then look into the comfort and aesthetic elements of the car post-road trip. A car driven long distance is bound to have lost a little bit of the shine on its exterior, and as mentioned earlier, the interior is probably more than just a little dirty. Have the exterior washed and/or polished, empty out the trash, vacuum out the dirt, and re-arrange the floor mats and other items in the car.
Before you know it, your car will be ready for daily use, and if the opportunity presents itself you’ll even be ready for another road trip!