Five essential safety checks to make on your car before you go on holiday

21 November 2019 - 14:28 By Motoring Reporter
Holiday road trips are always fun – just make sure your car is in good working order before you leave.
Holiday road trips are always fun – just make sure your car is in good working order before you leave.
Image: Cathy Yeulet / 123rf

The end-of-year holidays mean long road trips for many South Africans. Sadly, this festive time also brings an alarming increase in traffic accidents and fatalities.

Gumtree Autos’ Jeff Osborne says it is possible to make yourself safer on the roads by driving carefully, and by doing five basic safety checks on your vehicle before you head off.

Osborne says that ideally you should get your vehicle fully serviced in advance of the holiday trip but if that isn’t possible, he says it’s absolutely essential to give your vehicle a once-over in these key areas.

Checking the health of your tyres is perhaps the most important thing you can do before embarking on a long journey.
Checking the health of your tyres is perhaps the most important thing you can do before embarking on a long journey.
Image: Vasyl Dolmatov / 123rf

1: Tyres

A high speed blowout can be fatal. A check at a tyre dealership is free and quick so there’s no excuse for not making sure that you don’t have dangerously worn tyres. Also check the spare to make sure it is in working order (and that the wheel-changing equipment is all there and functional). Before and during the trip, check that your tyre pressures are correct — if one is markedly deflated get it immediately assessed.

 

Brake failure is no joke – make sure that your brake system is functioning at its optimal level.
Brake failure is no joke – make sure that your brake system is functioning at its optimal level.
Image: baranq / 123rf

2: Brakes

Brake failure is a common cause of serious accidents. If you concentrate on them, you can tell if your brakes are in trouble. Is there more give in the brake pedal than before? Or a lack of sharpness in the response to braking? Or is there any unhealthy sound coming from the brakes? Any doubts at all should send you straight to a repair outlet for an inspection.

Small windscreen chips can turn into cracks – get them fixed before they spread.
Small windscreen chips can turn into cracks – get them fixed before they spread.
Image: Alexandr Chernyshov / 123rf

3: Windscreen

Repair any chips or cracks in the windscreen. It needs to be structurally sound to ensure that it doesn’t shatter when hard debris hits it at high speed.

Replacing your windscreen wipers is a cheap and easy way to ensure better forward vision during the rainy season.
Replacing your windscreen wipers is a cheap and easy way to ensure better forward vision during the rainy season.
Image: ensup / 123rf

4: Windscreen wipers

Poor visibility is very dangerous. Your wipers must work properly and so must your windscreen demisters. Also make sure there’s water in the system for cleaning the windscreens. And check that both your side mirrors are in working order — they’re mission critical for safe lane-changing.

Make sure that all your lights – front and rear – are operational.
Make sure that all your lights – front and rear – are operational.
Image: Yuri Bizgajmer / 123rf

5: Lights

Functional lights are important for both for you to see and to be seen. Check all of your lights at night — that’s the only time you can discover if some of them are dim. Remember to check the brake lights. In most vehicles it’s inexpensive and quick to replace faulty bulbs.


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