5 essential car checks to do before going on holiday
A few simple pre-road trip checks could mean the difference between a hassle-free journey and being stranded next to the road
If you will be travelling South Africa’s highways and byways during the upcoming holiday season, it is a good idea to make sure your vehicle is in a good, roadworthy condition.
To ensure you reach your destination safely and that you are not a hazard to other road users, it is very important to check several components on your car before locking up the house and hitting the road.
While the most common causes for accidents over the festive season include speeding, distracted driving, reckless driving, driving while tired and driving under the influence, ensuring that your car is in a good roadworthy condition can help you avoid any type of accident.
Ensure that your tyres are inflated to the correct pressure, for the load you are carrying. This will be indicated in the cars door pillar, the fuel flap or in the owners’ manual. Also make sure that your tyres have enough remaining tread on them, which is indicated by wear markers within the tread.
Tyres with insufficient tread will have less grip in wet weather and will also be more prone to punctures or blowouts. It is also important to ensure your spare wheel is inflated to the correct pressure and that you have all the necessary tools needed to change the tyre on the side of the road should it be necessary.
Maintenance of the braking system is an essential part of vehicle safety. Ensure that your brakes, calipers, brake pads, discs and brake fluid are all in optimal condition and have them replaced by an expert should you suspect any shortcomings.
Make sure that all your vehicles lights are working including indicators, hazards, brakes, parking, reverse, headlights and fog lights. If you will be towing a trailer or caravan make sure that your trailer plugs are in a good condition and that the lights of that vehicle are working too.
4. Fluid levels
Ensure that all the fluids in your vehicle are at the required level and remember that overfilling can be just as dangerous as underfilling so take careful note of the particular markings on bottles and dipsticks.
Check, or have your mechanic check, the levels of the cars window washer fluid, engine coolant, transmission fluid, brake fluid and power steering fluid. Remember when checking the engine coolant levels, you need to do so when the engine is cold.
Dust and sun can rapidly damage the rubber components of wiper blades and driving through a storm with broken wiper blades is dangerous to you and other motorists. A quick inspection of the windshield wipers will show if the material is cracked and wearing out and needs replacing.
It is a good idea to have two emergency triangles in the boot, the contact number of your insurance and roadside assistance saved on your phone and to keep an emergency kit in the car, with things like jumper cables, thermal blankets, first aid supplies, bottled water and a flashlight.
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