Make sure your vehicle can safely take your holiday destination

Brian Joss – After a long year of employment obligations, family responsibilities and the likes, time away to relax and have fun is a definite must do at the end of the year. This is precisely why many families plan vacations which are meant to give everyone a break from it all.                       

Most of us are already geared up to travel to our hometowns or booked destinations. But travelling, especially during the holiday season, comes with its own pros and cons. With the majority of people choosing to travel during the holidays it is important to ensure your vehicle is equipped to deliver you safely to your location, particularly for those consumers who have chosen to drive to their respective holiday spots. 

“The festive season is a beautiful time to spend with family and explore, it is also a time when our roads are highly congested as people leave for their vacations. We are urging our consumers to be safe on the road, adhere to the rules and ensure that they buckle up throughout the trip. It is also important to ensure that your vehicle is in a roadworthy condition before embarking on your trip to avoid uncomfortable situations”, said Ghana Msibi, WesBank’s Executive Head of Sales and Marketing.

Here are some vital pre-holiday checks:

Remember to check your tyre pressures and adjust for heavy loads – but never to more than the recommended manufacturer specifications which are usually found inside the filler flap door or on a sticker inside one of the front door jams. It’s also a good idea to check your spare wheel’s pressure and tread before you embark on your trip.

One of the most important (and cheapest to replace) items on your pre-travel checklist should be your car’s lighting system. Have a friend or family member help ensure that all lights including headlights, taillights, brake lights and indicators are working properly. Replacement globes on many vehicles can cost less than R10 meaning there’s no reason to driving around with faulty lighting.

Brakes are crucial for all vehicles, not only during long distant driving, but in general. Brake pads should be inspected by a qualified technician, any squealing or scraping sounds are signs that brake replacements are probably necessary. Vibrations in your pedal when braking is a sign of warped discs, which will mean that the brakes either need skimming or replacement.

It is important to have your battery checked by an authorised dealer. This is a simple and relatively quick test, and while battery replacement can be relatively pricey, so could the cost of a tow truck needed to come to the rescue of stranded motorists.

Any streaks or smears on your windscreen means your wipers likely need replacement. Driving in a storm with worn wiper blades is an extremely dangerous and unnecessary risk, even more dangerous during longer than usual drives.

Most modern cars make the inspection of fluid levels such as coolant, power steering and brake fluid quite easy for the average driver, but if you’re uncomfortable have them checked by your dealer or at the filling station. If the car is lacking the required fluid, this could lead to overheating during the drive.

Once all relevant vehicle checks have been completed, it is also important to ensure you have packed everything you need, swimming gear, sunblock, a power bank etc. Remember driving in summer can be draining for the driver, especially on a long trip.  It is therefore important to make frequent rest stops and stay hydrated.

CAPTION: Essential equipment: a basic medical aid kit could prove useful.

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