5 inspection checks you need to do before heading off on your Hari Raya tour.
So there you have it, Malaysia's National Security Council (NSC) has released standard operating procedures (SOPs) for the upcoming Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebration, but don't get too excited because it only applies to those celebrating in areas under the Conditional MCO and Recovery MCO.
These lucky people will be able to get into their cars and visit friends and relatives for the first three days of Syawal under the supervision of strict SOPs.
On top of being able to eratkan silaturahim (strengthen the bond) and get the chance to eat an array of excellent Raya food, they will also get to drive around with a purpose, giving their car a mini-workout.
Why did we say mini workout? Because frequent short journeys are bad for cars, especially after it's been sitting around for a long time, due to all the different COs we've had in the past year and some.
To help reduce the wear and tear to your vehicle and prolong its life, here are some things that you should look at when making many short little journeys and what you can do to remedy them.
Vehicles may be a lot more sophisticated these days, but batteries have not evolved that much to a certain extent. Most starter batteries will last an average of around two to three years and even less if you always leave your car out in the sun.
If you're not using your vehicle much these days due to the pandemic, check the charge on your battery to ensure that you don't get an unpleasant surprise when going from house to house celebrating Raya. If possible, go for a long drive, one that is more than an hour, even if you're going around in circles.
The alternator's job is to recharge the battery while the engine is running. If you make numerous short journeys, you do not give the alternator enough time to recharge the battery fully.
Suppose you are going on longer journies but find that the battery is still weak or near death, then perhaps your alternator is on its way out. Best check this out before you go on your Raya touring.
Let your car get up to temp
Letting your car's engine reach its optimum operating temperature will help avoid excessive engine wear and tear. Getting the oil temperature nice and warm will let it flow around the engine better, which will help with engine lubrication and keep any problems at bay.
Although the water temperature gauge is not the most accurate way to know whether your car is at its optimum operating temperature, it is a good indicator of whether it is or not. Just make sure that the water temp gauge is at least halfway before you drive hard. Before that, try to keep your revs nice and low for about 10-15 mins at the very least.
Sometimes all this Raya-ing can go all the way into the night, so the next thing you need to check is the lights. Ensure the headlights, taillights, brake lights and turn signal lights are all working before you head out from home.
A trick to checking the rear lights is to park close to a wall and use the rear-view mirrors to see if they work correctly. If any of your lights are dim, it could be an indication of a bulb reaching its end, so it's best to get that bulb replaced as soon as you can.
Check your tyres
The tyres of your car are akin to shoes, and when they are in good condition, it ensures your safety and those on the road. The first thing to look out for is any cuts, tears or bulges. At the same time, look out for tyres that are flatter than the others. If this happens, you should inflate your tyres.
The next thing to look out for is your tyre pressure. Ideally, you can check the tyre pressure with a pressure gauge. The correct tyre pressure setting can be found in your car manual or on the driver's door frame. The recommended tyre pressure is different for each car – there's no one-size-fits-all figure. Using an underinflated or overinflated tyre is dangerous as it will cause uneven wear and result in you changing your tyres sooner.
Another vital thing to be aware of is your tyre's treads. Every tyre is equipped with treadwear indicators between the centre grooves. Designed to help you monitor tread depth, these indicators are spaced evenly and positioned parallel to the tracks. If the tread is flushed with the indicators, it's time to replace the tyre.
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