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On the road again

On the Road Again

Helping Canadians Prepare for the Road

For several months, vehicles have been sitting unused or rarely used due to Canadians abiding by COVID-19 restrictions. 

From tires to replacing your fluids, we have compiled a list of things drivers should be looking out for when bringing their vehicles back into service. 


This includes:

  • RV
  • Trailer/camper
  • Summer car
  • ATV
1. Crank open your windows
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 Let that fresh air in! Even in a well-ventilated storage unit, the air in your vehicle can still be musty and unhealthy.

2. Check your tire pressure
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  • Under inflation by 8 PSI (pounds per square inch) can increase fuel consumption by 3% and decrease the life of a tire by 25%. 
  • Your tires must be inflated to the pressure specified by the vehicle manufacturer. This normally varies depending on the load and service conditions.
  • The specified pressure always refers to the COLD tire and must not be allowed to fall below this value. The pressure inside warm tires will be higher due to the fact that driving causes heat build up. So never reduce the pressure inside warm tires because when they have cooled down their pressure could fall to below the minimum tire pressure.
  • The tire pressure (including the spare if you have one) should be checked and adjusted at least monthly, ideally, every 14 days. Especially important is to check and adjust your tire pressures before going on a long journey or on holiday, where the additional load may require the tire pressures to be increased according to the specification.
3. Has your vehicle been sitting?
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  • Inspect your tires. Continental recommends monthly visual inspections of your tires.
  • Tires should be visually checked regularly for damage, such as stones, nails or other sharp objects that may have penetrated the tire.

  • Tires should also be checked for cuts, tears or bulges that may be the result of contact with road hazards.

  • If you are unsure of the condition of your tires, have them checked by a tire dealer or similar tire specialist.

  • Tip: A visual check of your tires can be done when carrying out the normal regular tire pressure check. 

4. Check your fluids
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  • Replace and refill all of the important fluids that you drained before putting it into storage.
  • That includes but not limited to: oil, fuel, brake fluid, transmission fluid, power-steering fluid, windshield cleaner, and antifreeze. 

Don't forget to also check your windshield wipers!



5. Lift up your hood
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  • Look for damage or animal nesting.
  • Don't forget the undercarriage!
  • Look out for any potential cracking on the engine oil tank.


6. Visually inspect all hoses and belts
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Hoses:

  • Inspect for cracks, nicks, bulges (usually while hot), or a collapsed section in the hose and oil contamination, or fraying near the connection points.
  • Look for parallel cracks around bends (caused by ozone), a hardened glassy surface (heat damage), or abrasive damage (hose is rubbing).

Belts

  • Look for cracks, fraying, or splits on the top cover.
  • Look for signs of glazing on the belt's sides. Glazed or slick belts can slip, overheat or crack.
  • Twist a serpentine belt to look for separating layers, cracks, or missing chunks of the grooves on the underside.

Source: https://www.consumerreports.org/car-repair-maintenance/how-to-inspect-car-belts-and-hoses/


7. Let your car run
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  • Let the engine components and oil warm up before revving the engine. 
  • Do this outdoors to ensure good ventilation. 
8. Check for warning lights
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  • Check for any warning lights on your dashboard.
  • Red warning lights requires immediate attention. Please contact your mechanic or authorized dealership before moving your car.
  • Yellow/amber/orange warning lights require your attention as soon as possible.


9. Check your battery
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  • Test your battery for a proper charge.
  • Visually inspect for any signs of corrosion, and replace if necessary. 
  • We recommend carrying a jump-starter kit in your vehicle. 


10. Check your brakes
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  • That includes your parking brake.
  • Brakes can get sticky after sitting for a while, depress normally and feel for sponginess, responsiveness.
  • Listen for squealing and screeching while driving. If it continues, check with your mechanic or authorized dealer. 
11. Take a drive
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  • Listen carefully for anything unusual that is cause for concern.
  • Follow-up with your mechanic or authorized dealer to determine root cause.
12. Car wash
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  • Give it a bath. It’s a good car, it deserves it!


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