Car Care Tips For Desert Driving
Car Care Tips For Desert Driving
The desert is a harsh place to be. It’s hot, it’s dry, and it’s full of sand. You’d think that these conditions would make for a pretty easy environment for your car to handle, especially when off-road driving — but you’d be wrong.
If you’ve spent any time in the desert, you know what I’m talking about: the dirt, the dust, and the sand are just as much of an issue as they might be on other roads. The harsh environment and extreme temperatures are also hard on the vehicle and its components.
But here’s the good news: there are lots of things you can do to keep your car healthy and running smoothly so that it stays safe for everyone in it, especially when you’re driving through the desert. In this article, we’re going to talk about some desert car care tips that will help keep your car running smoothly for years to come.
Use the right kind of oil for your car
One of the most important things you can do for your vehicle is to change its oil. The dustier environment will cause more wear on your engine, and you must use high-quality motor oil with a higher viscosity to protect against this.
Keep in mind that different brands of cars have different recommendations for what type of motor oil they need. So it’s best to check with your mechanic before purchasing any kind of new product so that they know exactly which one will work best for your vehicle.
Keep your car clean inside and out
To keep your car looking great, keep the inside clean and the outside shiny. If you’re traveling in an area with lots of sand or dust, those could get stuck in different parts of your car, which is not good for its functionality and appearance.
The dust, sand, and dirt on your car’s exterior can be “baked” by the sun’s extreme heat. If left unchecked for a long period of time, this could damage layers of paint on your vehicle. To counter this, you should wax the outside of your car at least every three months. Waxing keeps dirt from sticking to your paint job, which means it will stay cleaner longer. Just make sure that you use quality wax brands to ensure optimal results.
When it comes to your car’s interior, you should vacuum it regularly to get rid of dust and other unwanted particles that might be building up here and there. This is especially vital if you or other regular riders of your vehicle have bad allergic reactions to dust.
Check your air filter
If desert driving is part of your regular routine, the air filter will accumulate dust faster than it would in normal circumstances. When your air filter is dirty, your engine will not receive as much air as it should, affecting the car’s fuel efficiency and the horsepower that your engine can generate. Additionally, when one of your filters becomes extremely dirty, dust particles can get into the combustion engine, potentially ruining your vehicle.
When you live in a desert, you should replace your air filter every six months because there is more dirt and sand in this area compared to other areas like cities where there is less wind blowing around due to buildings blocking wind currents.
To check if it’s time to replace the air filter in your car, simply look for its compartment under the hood and visually inspect the extent of its dirtiness. The location of the filter varies depending on the car’s make, so if you don’t know where it is located, it’s best to read your vehicle’s manual first or search it on the internet.
Make sure to check your battery regularly
You should check the electrolyte levels in your battery once a month. The electrolyte is the chemical mixture that helps to transfer energy from your car’s alternator to its electrical system. If you don’t know how to do this yourself, it may be best not to attempt it on your own and instead seek professional assistance from a mechanic who knows what they are doing.
If you find any cracks, leaks, or swelling in your car’s battery casing, then it needs to be replaced immediately. Never attempt to “repair” it, especially if any of the above conditions apply, as a typical car battery has sulfuric acid that can burn your skin and eyes.
However, if the battery only has small amounts of visible corrosion on its terminals or connectors and there are no other issues, you may gently clean it with a dry, old toothbrush.
Get the right tires, keep them properly inflated, and always check for wear
Maintaining your vehicle’s front and rear tires is an important part of your desert car care routine. When shopping for all-weather tires, look for strong threads and a high number of grooves. These will be able to grip the road better than those with fewer grooves or less durable rubber.
All-weather tires make it easier to drive over rocks and other obstacles in the desert. They also have better traction on sand than regular all-season tires do, so if you plan on driving through soft sand frequently, consider investing in this type of tire instead.
You should also make it a habit to check your tire pressure regularly. Having them well-inflated all the time provides any person behind the wheel peace of mind and a comfortable driving experience.
In addition to checking pressure levels regularly, always inspect your vehicle’s treads for wear or damage before taking off into a place with poor road conditions. Having worn-out treads could lead to them getting punctured easily under heavy pressure from sharp objects such as rocks or tree branches — something no one wants happening while driving in unfamiliar territory late at night!
Have a generous amount of windshield wiper fluid
If you want to avoid getting dirt on your windshield, it’s important to remember that there is no way for it to stay entirely clean while traveling through the desert. The only way to combat this is by adding a generous amount of windshield wiper fluid. This will help keep your vision clear and prevent accidents from occurring.
To check if your windshield wiper fluid is sufficient, pop the hood of your car and locate its reservoir. This is typically a semi-opaque container with a water and/or windshield symbol on it. If you see that the fluid inside is low, you should replenish it as soon as possible to avoid any inconvenience while driving.
Check the brake fluid regularly
You should also check the brake fluid regularly. Brake fluid is not meant to last forever, so it’s important to keep an eye on how much is left in your vehicle’s reservoir. Having less brake fluid under the hood can greatly affect your vehicle’s stopping power, which could be dangerous in certain scenarios.
Obtaining a bottle of brake fluid is fairly easy as they are usually sold in gas stations. Similar to the container of windshield wiper fluid, its reservoir is also usually semi-opaque with level markings on its side. Simply remove its cap and fill it up with your preferred brake fluid to replenish.
However, in the event that your car’s brake pedal becomes spongy and you’re confident that your brake fluid level is good, it could be that the brake line/hose is damaged and leaking. This is dangerous as you lose the ability to slow or stop your vehicle properly. When this happens, take your car to a mechanic as soon as possible.
Clean the radiator regularly
In case you don’t know, a vehicle’s radiator is a component that cools down the engine. The radiator consists of a series of tubes that run through the vehicle’s engine block, which are filled with fluid, usually water or anti-freeze. As the engine heats up, this fluid passes through these tubes and transfers heat away from it — preventing damage caused by overheating.
That said, you should clean the radiator often if you regularly drive your car in the desert. When a vehicle crosses over a dune, a surprisingly significant amount of sand could get stuck in the radiator fins. This could damage your engine by causing excessive heat and damaging other components under the hood.
To clean out any unwanted matter from your vehicle’s radiator: get an appropriate quality cleaning solution and dilute it in water or as instructed. Put the liquid in a spray bottle and spray it directly into the radiator. You may then scrub away all the dirt trapped in the radiator fins — you’ll want to use an old toothbrush here because it’ll make getting into those hard-to-reach places much easier than trying with a piece of cloth. Lastly, carefully rinse the radiator with water and let it dry.
We hope this article has helped you learn more about desert car care. It’s important to remember that there are many different factors to consider when driving in the desert and that it can be dangerous if you don’t know what they are. We recommend doing some research before heading out into the sand dunes so that you have an idea of what lies ahead!
If you want to protect your Hyundai vehicles, we recommend getting our High Desert Protection Package in Reno, NV. We at Lithia Hyundai Reno specialize in desert car care. You can confidently drive through deserts any day and time, knowing our protection package covers your vehicle for any damages caused by sand, dirt, or rough terrain.
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