We all want a holiday free of drama and worry, but you’ll only be sitting on that hot beach under a stripy umbrella if you’ve made thorough plans – starting with your vehicle.
Whether you’re driving a short distance or further from home, the last thing you need is to be sitting on the side of a busy road, with a broken-down car. Book it in for a professional service early, just in case there is a major problem that needs to be fixed before you leave. It also doesn’t hurt to take extra precautions, so follow this seven-step checklist so you protect yourself, your passengers and other road users.
Let’s start with the only thing that touches the tarmac when you drive – your tyres! Check the wear, pressure and tread depth on each tyre, including the spare and the ones on the trailer. Make sure that you’re comfortable changing a tyre and ensure that you have all the tools you need to do it. Use your bsmart card at Tiger Wheel & Tyre, Hi-Q, or Supa Quick - and earn cashback. Click here to find your closest tyre expert.
All brake discs, drums and pads must be in good condition and check brake fluid. Make sure that when you drive your car, it doesn’t pull to one side when you brake.
3. BATTERY AND BELT
Clean the battery terminals if necessary and check water levels, as they may need to be topped up with distilled or purified water. If you have worn or damaged belts, they must be replaced. Use your bsmart card at Battery Centre or Battery Express - and earn cashback. Click here to find your closest battery expert.
4. FILTERS AND FLUIDS
Do a thorough check of all filters, making sure they’re clean and functioning properly. Top up all fluids to the recommended levels, check that caps are fastened securely, and then check that there are no leaks under your vehicle.
5. WINDSCREEN AND WIPERS
Does your windscreen have cracks or chips? Noticeable damage must be fixed before you go on holiday. Test that your wipers make a clean sweep every time and replace them if they’re worn. Wipers that don’t clean the windscreen effectively, will impair your vision and put your safety at risk.
6. LIGHTS AND INDICATORS
You may need to drive at night or in adverse weather conditions, so all bulbs and fuses must be working and headlamps adjusted correctly. Inspect hazard lights, indicators and defoggers, and ask someone to check your back lights and brake lights – especially if you’re using a trailer.
7. EMERGENCY KIT
If you do break down on the side of the road, you need to be prepared. Have a basic medical emergency kit for your passengers and one for your car. The vehicle emergency kit must include the tools you need to fix minor car troubles, and you should include these items: reflective triangles, torches with extra batteries, tow rope, cable ties and duct tape.
Follow this check-list to get your vehicle ready for the holiday drive, but don’t forget those often overlooked car requirements like valid licences – for yourself, the vehicle and the trailer. Of course even with the best planning, something could go wrong, so make sure your insurance is up to date and that you have support numbers stored on your phone. You’re now as prepared as you’re going to be, so pack the snacks and drinks and, if you’re travelling with kids, get ready for hours of “eye spy”.
Disclaimer: The above article is for information purposes only. Please consult a suitable and qualified professional if you require advice about your vehicle.