Last year’s festive season wasn’t all that festive for everyone; between the periods of December 1st 2011 and January 10th 2012 a total of 1475 people were killed in road accidents. Most of which could be avoided by a small check before hitting the road!
Don’t be part of this year’s holiday season statistics, follow our safety list and enjoy your holiday with complete peace of mind!
One of the most important things to check is your tires; you will be putting a lot of KMs on them.
- Check all 5 to make sure they are in traveling condition, and that your spare is inflated to the right PSI.
- Check the air pressure; tires have a specific PSI rating that it should be inflated to, some cars’ tires need to be inflated a bit more when the car is loaded.
- Make sure to check your tire thread; tires with too worn threads tend to blow out, which is no amusement ride.
- Check uneven wearing, as well as the sidewalls for cuts and nicks.
- Also don’t forget to check your jack’s condition, and make sure you have all the equipment needed should you get a flat.
Don’t forget to get your tires balanced and aligned before hitting the road, any tire place such as Tiger Wheel n Tyre will be able to do this!
Next are brakes; just as important as a good set of tires, brakes can save lives!
If your brake pads or shoes have been making squeaking or brushing noises, with occasional pulsations it’s a sign that they need replacing. Worn breaks can lead to longer stopping distance or even failure to break- not something you want to be bothered with half way to Cape Town. Inspect your brakes as recommended in your manual or sooner if you notice any of the above issues.
If you have any doubts, visit your nearest Brake and Clutch to get it sorted!
Another thing that should be checked is fluid levels; engine oil levels, brake fluids, power steering fluid, radiator fluid, wind shield wipers fluid and coolant.
Check your owner’s manual to determine “normal” levels on all your needed fluids.
Fill the radiator and windshield washer reservoir, and flush your car’s coolant [50/50 mix of anti-freeze and water is usually recommended] you wouldn’t want your car to overheat in the summer sun!
Change your oil and oil filter if you haven’t in the last month, or as specified in your manual; if your car’s used to short trips a long road trip will put more strain on your engine.
Also not, if the colour of your oil is brown or milky it means coolant is getting into one or more cylinders in the engine- this could lead to a blown engine so get it fixed ASAP!
Any other fluids that are dirty should be flushed and replaced. Replace other filters such as air, fuel etc. as recommended and get engine drive-ability problems like stalling corrected at a good mechanic.
Furthermore inspect belts and hoses for cracks, blisters, soft spots and wear. Give special attention to the big belt that runs through the pulleys on the front of the engine and hoses going into the radiator. Those two breaking will leave you stranded and ready to use good vacation money on a tow truck!
Make sure to replace worn wiper blades or be on the lookout for tears, cracks or worn spots!
Inspect all lights and light bulbs as well as indicators and remove all dirt from lenses.
A normal battery life is 3-5 years, but can fail any time of year; any Auto Centre can check its charging capability. To care for your battery scrape away corrosion from posts and cable connections, clean and re-tighten. [Wear eye protection and gloves when doing this!]
If you are unsure about anything on your car or would rather have your car completely checked out by professionals before you hit the road, Dekra Auto has a wide range of services and vehicle tests for your peace of mind!
Speedy Tyre is also a good to go to place when it comes to tires, batteries, shocks and exhausts!
Also remember that regardless of maintenance and check-ups, there’s always a chance for speed bumps; be prepared for road troubles and always have a kit nearby. Nothing fancy- duct tape is helpful if a hose pops of or tears.
Your road kit should include:
- First-aid kit
- Cell phone and Charger
- Contact number of Emergency Services
- Extra batteries for flashlight
- Jumper cables
- Road flares or Triangles
- Container for Petrol
- Basic tool kit
- Extra water for radiator
- Bottled water to drink
- Snacks that won’t melt
- And a “fix-a-flat” can to seal tire punctures
When driving make safety a priority and use seatbelts and child car seats if needed.
Don’t let your fuel level drop below one-quarter if you can, also pack a supply of snacks, games and water or cool drinks.
Avoid speeding tickets and road rage!
Whatever the costs of getting your car ready for vacation, consider it money well spent! You are after all transporting your most special cargo- family!
Get Your Car Holiday Ready, Drive Safe and Enjoy Your Holiday!