Regardless of where you are, owning a vehicle is a major responsibility. After all, how well you take care of your car also affects your safety on the road.
Still, staying on top of car maintenance becomes much more crucial when you live somewhere with a desert climate like Dubai. With the dry air, heat, and dust putting additional stress on your vehicle systems, there’s nothing more important than keeping up with vital vehicle maintenance tasks.
Don’t know what to prioritise? Below are six car maintenance tips you might find helpful when you live in a desert city:
Keep your air filters fresh.
Your vehicle’s air filters are one of the components you need to check when you go on frequent drives in the desert.
Located in the car’s main intake, the air filters accumulate dust quite fast. Once the air filters reach their capacity, the dust can significantly decrease the air the engine gets under the bonnet and reduce the horsepower it generates. This can also affect your vehicle mileage and potentially damage the motor.
To avoid all this, car care specialists recommend checking the air filters more frequently, particularly along its central section. This is also usually replaced with a fresh set of air filters every six months.
And although it’s generally a good practice to inspect or replace your air filter around the same time as your scheduled oil change in Dubai, the desert environment may clog it up faster than expected. This means you would need to replace it earlier than scheduled.
The key is to pay close attention to the filters; not only those in your engine but also those inside the cabin.
Change oil periodically.
An oil change is one of the most vital car maintenance tasks every automobile owner must remember, no matter where you are. This entails two things: following the oil change schedule and using the right product every time.
While some manufacturers advertise how newer car models have longer oil change interval requirements, it would be best to change the engine oil more frequently when you live in the desert to account for the possibility of additional wear and oil contamination.
Also, remember to use only motor oils that are of a higher viscosity for better engine lubrication. You can ask your mechanic for the best-suited product for your engine and the general climate where you live.
Maintain your cooling system.
Needless to say, it is hot in the desert, especially during the summer months, so your vehicle cooling system must work twice as hard. After all, it is dealing with the heat from both the engine and the extreme temperature outdoors.
Under these circumstances, your car cooling system might be pushed to its limits without you realising it – not until it’s too late, at least. To prevent this, you need to act quickly before rubber hoses and plastics deteriorate, and gaskets begin leaking.
Since its cooling fans are running faster and longer under the desert heat, you need to make sure your vehicle always has the ideal coolant levels. Many cars have a plastic coolant reservoir that lets drivers determine the current state of the cooling system, thanks to their ‘cold’ and ‘hot’ fill lines. You can check this under the hood.
The coolant should always be along the cold fill line when the vehicle is not in use. It will reach the hot fill line once the engine is started. Wait until the engine has gone cold before checking the coolant levels to prevent the hot coolant from spraying everywhere.
Pay close attention to the tyres.
Tyre changes in Dubai happen more frequently than in areas with a cooler climate because the high temperature in the desert triggers faster tyre deterioration. That means you must be extra vigilant and pay close attention to the tyres as well.
Make it a habit to do an ocular inspection of your tyres before taking off on your daily drive. Walk around your vehicle to check the state of the tyres, and watch out for the following:
- Sidewall damage
- Abnormal tyre pressure
If you notice anything amiss, like bubbles appearing on a wet tyre or signs of tread separation, deal with it immediately.
Use a tyre gauge to check the air pressure inside the tyres as they can rise unexpectedly because of the desert heat and contact friction. Remember to keep tyre pressure at the recommended level to prevent a tyre burst.
Even a minimal increase in road surface temperature can cause tyre pressure to elevate. This means the air pressure inside your tyres would be different from the beginning of your road trip to a couple of hours into the drive in a desert city.
To be sure, check the pressure periodically during the trip using a tyre gauge. Never let the air out without ensuring that it’s what’s needed, as underinflated tyres can also cause trouble on the road.
Monitor the state of your battery.
Next on the list is your car battery, which powers all the electrical components of your vehicle.
According to car experts, extremely high temperatures are one of the biggest car battery killers of all time because the heat makes battery fluid evaporate faster than it should. When this happens, the cells inside the battery become damaged and their functional lifespan is reduced.
If your car is running on batteries with removable caps, check the fluid levels carefully. You can top it off with distilled water as needed.
But if you have one of those ‘maintenance-free’ batteries under your vehicle’s bonnet, you may need to replace those should problems emerge. This is because these types of batteries are completely sealed and cannot be topped off.
Check for signs of deformation, leakage, and corrosion as well. If you find one of the first two, replace your battery immediately. Although corrosion is to be expected on the battery terminals, it should be cleaned off right away using water, baking soda, and a wire brush.
Don’t forget to check your air conditioner.
Under extreme heat, your car air conditioning system is another component that works extra hard. This is also the very reason why you don’t want it to go out suddenly.
Like most parts of your car, your air conditioning system needs proper maintenance to stay in excellent working condition.
Make sure you seek out certified specialists to inspect or repair your vehicle A/C every year. You can also have them perform pressure tests if you suspect any issues like leaks or wear and tear on the belts and hoses.
Have a Safe and Trouble-Free Desert Road Trip
Keeping your car in ideal (and safe) running condition may be a bit different in the desert. There are more components you need to focus on and certain situations to be wary of.
Use this article as a guide to make sure all your desert road trips are safe and trouble-free.