With just a couple of weeks to go before the holiday rush hits South Africa’s roads, cities and holiday destinations, it is important to make sure that your car is in good running order.
This is according to Kerry Cassel, Managing Director of MotorHappy - an Imperial company - who notes that South African motorists travelling long distances over the festive season should take some time to conduct pre-trip car-checks.
Cassel says, “Along with regular servicing and maintenance, it is important to check your car’s oil, brakes, tyres, lights and windscreen wipers in order to avoid nasty surprises or delays on your journey.”
“If you know what to look for, you can do it yourself. If not, it would be best to make an appointment at your dealership and have a trained technician inspect that things are as they should be,” she adds.
Cassel explains that checking your car's oil level is one of the most important things you can do to extend the lifespan of your car's engine.
“Your oil will be changed during your scheduled service but, always check your levels before heading on a long trip,” she says.
Another crucial check, according to Cassel, is your brakes. “Responsible for bringing your car to a stop - which could ultimately save your life - it is best to have your brakes checked regularly by a professional at your car manufacturer’s recommended servicing intervals.”
To be checked even more regularly, your car’s tyres take a lot of strain when driving long distances.
“Tyres that are improperly inflated can blowout which can result in an accident. Check the inside your front driver’s-side door or your owner’s manual for your manufacturer recommended tyre pressure,” she adds.
While tyre pressure is important, it is not the only tyre and wheel consideration.
“Your tyres depend on tread for traction on the road and wheel alignment for steering and reaction reliability. Keep an eye on how far your tyre’s tread has worn away and check for any bulges or lumps which can cause a blowout or sliding while driving. It’s a good idea to have your wheel alignment checked if you feel as though your steering is not completely straight or if you have recently hit a large pot-hole.”
To be able to see pot-holes and other objects or obstructions on your journey, Cassel emphasises that your car’s lights and windscreen wipers need to be in tip-top shape.
“It is dangerous if any of your car’s lights are not functioning properly because they let other drivers know that you are on the road or that you are braking, switching lanes or reversing. Likewise, windscreen wipers clear your vision if you are caught driving during a summer thunderstorm.”
“While you can’t plan ahead to miss the traffic or the rain this festive season, you can ensure that your car is ready, happy and safe leading up to your holiday journey,” Cassel concludes.
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