10 things to check before your next road trip

10 checks every road traveller needs to consider before a road trip…

If you’re already planning your midyear holidays, you have plenty of time to give your car a thorough inspection before hitting the road.

“There are a couple of standard checks that are advisable when planning a road trip, especially a journey that involves hours on the road and takes you hundreds of kilometres away from home,” says Francois Labuschagne, product and marketing manager for Auto Mart.

Our national highways are dotted with regular fuel stations and rest stops, but it’s still necessary to plan ahead to ensure that you fill the tank in good time and take a longer break to allow everyone to stretch their legs and grab something to eat.

“A car that has gone through a proper inspection coupled with a well-planned road trip will put the driver at ease and will guarantee that the holiday is that much more enjoyable,” he says.

Auto Mart provides a list of ten checks every road traveller needs to consider before a road trip:

  1. Check the oil, coolant, water, brake and hydraulic fluid levels when the engine is cold and when your car is parked on a level surface. At the same time make sure that the radiator and windscreen washer bottles have sufficient water. Never pour cold water into a hot radiator.
  2.  Ensure that the tyres are inflated to the correct pressure. This is usually indicated by a sticker on the inside of the driver’s door or in the manufacturer’s manual. If the tyres are filled with nitrogen instead of air, it’s a good idea to have a top-up as not all fuel stations have nitrogen pumps.
  3. Check the tyre tread wear to determine whether a tyre needs replacing. Have a look at the tread wear indicator bars moulded into the tread. If these bars are flush with the adjacent tread ribs it’s an indication that the tyre needs replacing.
  4. Confirm that the indicator and head lights are working. You’ll need a family member’s help as they’ll have to tell you whether the lights are working. Similarly, if you’re pulling a trailer, check that its indicator lights are working.
  5. Take care that you have the right equipment for an emergency, such as a first aid kit, fire extinguisher, emergency triangle, spare tyre, jump leads, jack, wheel spanner and a flashlight.
  6. If you’re using a GPS application on your phone, consider a cellphone charger for the car to ensure your phone doesn’t run out of battery power.
  7. Make sure you have enough petrol and plan your refuelling stops. It’s a good idea to fill up when you have a quarter of a tank left in case it’s a great distance to the next petrol station. Refuelling in time limits your risk of running out of petrol.
  8. If possible, arrange for your annual car service to coincide with your road trip, but if this is not going to work, ask your dealership or garage whether it can check your brakes and fluid levels at a nominal fee.
  9. Join a roadside assistance service, not only will it provide support in the event of electrical and mechanical breakdowns, but some packages also include emergency medical rescues.
  10. Wash your car before the trip as a spotless car will make the holiday more enjoyable and clean windows will allow you to appreciate the scenery.

Source: Auto Mart