Planning an end-of-year holiday can be exciting, especially after the year we’ve had, but before you get bogged down with booking your accommodation and packing your suitcase, you may want to make sure your car is in tip-top shape before you hit the road. You don’t want to end up stranded in the middle of nowhere, so here’s a helpful checklist to make sure your car is ready for your road trip:
Pop the Hood
Yes, you may not know much about cars, but the basics are your oil and water levels. If you’re not aware of how to do this, go to the nearest service station and one of the attendants will assist you in topping up your oil or water. While you’re at it, ask them to inspect the brake fluid, tyre pressure and to refill the windscreen washer liquid so that your vision is never obstructed.
These are absolutely critical. In fact, only a small portion of the tyre is in contact with the road at any given time, so you must make sure your tyres are in excellent condition. The tread must not be less than 1-millimetre across the circumference of the tyre. Thoroughly inspect your spare tyre to ensure that you’re not stranded in an emergency. Additionally, inflate your tyres to the recommended pressure as set out in your owner’s manual or on the inside panel of the driver’s door.
Pay attention to subtle signs that your battery may be dying, such as sluggish starts or the battery indicator lighting up on your dashboard. If these happen, it may be time for a new battery. In case of emergencies, it’s always good to purchase a set of jumper cables to take with you on your trip.
Your wipers are an invaluable part of your vehicle’s safety and should always be in great shape. Check to see if there are any streaks, skips, slipping or squeaking when the wipers are in use as these signs indicate that you need a new set of wiper blades, which you can get at almost any auto repair workshop or spares store.
You may end up driving some parts near dusk so it’s imperative that your lights function correctly. Have someone inspect your lights while you turn on the switches to be certain that they’re in working condition.
Do Not Overload
Excessive baggage in the car places extra pressure on the vehicle, which can only accommodate a specific weight. Overloaded vehicles put you at risk due to the strain it places on the steering wheel, shocks and other vital components, making the car harder to control. Your car’s maximum weight capacity should be printed on the driver’s door, so please do not exceed the recommended load.
Establish Your Route
Before you begin the trip, map out the route you will take and bear in mind that South Africans all over are hitting the road for the holidays. You will encounter large traffic volumes, so have an alternative route in mind, which is where apps like Google Maps and Waze can come in really handy.
While nobody likes to think about it, accidents or breakdowns can happen at any time, but there are measures you can take to protect you and your family, such as emergency medical assistance cover and a motor warranty plan to take care of parts and repairs so you can take a trip with peace of mind.
Have a safe trip!