Regular, preventative maintenance is key to minimize breakdowns on excursions and the impact of this hobby on your wallet. It is much cheaper and safer to be proactive. Neglecting to maintain your motor will result in unsafe, unreliable and inefficient performance. Safety never takes a holiday!
Many websites offer insight and tips for repairing and maintaining your motorcar. NARCOA has a treasure trove of archived technical articles. as well as links to parts suppliers.
The CN Motorcar Manual breaks down maintenance into four categories – daily, weekly, monthly and semi-annually. Many of us in the hobby can go months and sometimes even years without running our motorcars on an excursion, so daily and weekly maintenance can be a moot point depending on your situation. If you are on a week long trip touring a region of the US on your motorcar, daily inspections are a must. You can see common sense is important here.
As you review the manual, you will also notice the importance of logging the results of your inspections. (Download inspection log pdf here in the future.) Take the time to prepare for an excursion in advance. You will be less rushed as the trip approaches and you will be much more relaxed during the excursion since you have confidence in the performance of your motorcar.
Consider what advanced preparations you may need to make in the months, weeks and days before attending a motorcar excursion.
The NARCOA form below is a great pre-inspection checklist to double check your hard work. In addition to using it to inspect your motorcar before the official inspection by the Event Coordinator at an excursion, I suggest using it before leaving home for an excursion. You can even create your own checklist of things to bring on your trip (snacks, extra water, etc.) since many areas are remote and inaccessible.
If you use the electronic version of this form, simply clicking in a light blue colored box will place a check mark in the box. You can also print a hard copy if you prefer.
This scanned CN Motorcar Manual is a 46 page document from Canadian National Railway which contains servicing and maintenance instructions which were given to railroad employees using speeders. I believe it may have been written for a Tamper manufactured speeder because it frequently references “T.M.C.” – Tamper MotorCar.