Preparing your vehicle for a festive road adventure: Expert tips for a safe and enjoyable journey


Post created: 6 December 2023

As the festive season approaches, the allure of the open road beckons many South African motorists to embark on memorable holiday journeys. Before you hit the highways, taking a moment to ensure that your vehicle is in top-notch condition is not just a precaution but a crucial step toward a safe and enjoyable road trip. To guide you through this process, Ford Technician, Liz Kruger, shares her insights on ten essential checks that can make all the difference during your festive travels:

1. Fluids (Oil and Coolant):

Under the hood, the heart of your vehicle beats in the form of fluids. Check the levels of coolant and oil. Low levels might signal a potential leak, and it’s paramount to address any issues before setting off on your journey.

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2. Lights:

In the language of road safety, visibility is paramount. Ensure that all your vehicle’s lights are functioning correctly, with special attention to brake lights, which have a tendency to blow out more regularly. A well-lit vehicle ensures your intentions are clear to other road users.

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3. Wipers:

As you encounter various weather conditions on your journey, effective windshield wipers become your allies. Confirm that they clear the windscreen efficiently and do not impair your visibility. Replace them if they show signs of wear, ensuring a clear view ahead.

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4. Wheels and Tyres:

The foundation of your road trip adventure lies in your wheels and tyres. Check the tread depth using the indicator, scanning for any damage, bulges, or irregularities on the tyre’s surface. Regularly monitor tyre pressure to avoid uneven wear and ensure a smooth ride.

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5. Brake Pads:

Efficient braking is non-negotiable for safety. Ensure your brake pads have a composite inner part with a thickness above 5mm. Worn-out pads should be replaced promptly to maintain optimal braking efficiency.

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6. Leaks:

A quick glance underneath your vehicle can reveal a lot. Inspect for any signs of oil or coolant leaks. Spots or shiny-textured fluids on the floor may indicate a problem, and having your vehicle checked by a technician is advisable.

7. Drive Belts:

Examine the drive belt for cracks or damage. A worn-out or damaged drive belt has the potential to cause an engine shutdown and overheating – scenarios best avoided during a road trip.

8. Spare Wheel:

Your spare tyre, jack, and spanner are your safety net on the road. Ensure they are present and in working condition. Confirm that the spare wheel has the proper inflation to avoid being stranded in the case of an unexpected flat tyre.

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9. Steering:

Qualified technicians possess a keen eye for assessing steering concerns while driving. They can detect wheel alignment problems or issues with the steering rack, ensuring a smooth and controlled journey.

10. Brakes and Clutch:

Lastly, evaluate how your vehicle reacts during braking. It should not pull to either side, as this could indicate a control issue that needs immediate attention. A vehicle that responds predictably to your inputs ensures a confident and safe drive.

By diligently conducting these ten essential checks, you can not only ensure a safe and enjoyable road trip during the festive season but also contribute to the longevity and reliability of your vehicle. Remember, regular maintenance by a certified auto mechanic is not just about road safety; it’s also about protecting your valuable investment. As you embark on your festive road adventure, may it be filled with joy, laughter, and the assurance of a well-prepared vehicle. Safe travels!

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