5 Things to check in your car before your next road trip
Seeing as inter-provincial travel is now permitted, many South Africans are planning getaways to loved ones or relaxing destinations for some much needed downtime. The reality is, however, that many people’s cars remained stationary for the most part of the lockdown since March. This means that before you go on a road trip, you ought to perform some essential checks on your car to avoid a situation where you (and your family!) are stuck on the side of the road with a broken down vehicle.
Figuring out exactly what to check can be daunting and there are conflicting articles on this. Our vehicle maintenance experts at Fury Ford Midrand have, however, decided to set out 5 key things that you need to check in your car before you hit the road for that long-awaited adventure.
1. Check your vehicle’s fluids
Opening your car’s bonnet to inspect fluid levels, specifically, oil and coolant, ought to be first on your list. The reason for this is that people often neglect to check these levels in any event. Now, after a period where a vehicle might not have been used as often, it is even more essential to check these fluids before starting your road trip.
You can either do this yourself, or ask the petrol attendant at your nearest petrol station to assist you in this regard. If your oil and coolant levels are low, it might indicate that you have a small leak somewhere. However, these fluids can be topped up at your local petrol station almost effortlessly.
While you are busy checking your car’s coolant and oil levels, be sure to inspect the brake fluid levels as well!
2. Test your lights
Whether you plan on driving at night or not, ensuring your car’s lights work properly is a crucial part of pre-trip checks. Get someone to assist you and thoroughly run through all of your vehicle’s lights. If your car has not been used often, it might be the case that one or two of the light bulbs need to be replaced.
Typically, brake lights and turning indicators are the first globes to blow. This is because they are the lights that are turned on and off the most in a car. If you see that your bulbs need replacing, you can purchase spares from your nearest car dealer and install them yourself or ask one of the car experts to do it for you.
3. Have a look at your wheels and tyres
Arguably, tyres are one of the most important parts of your car. They are essentially what connects your vehicle to the road and they need to be able to perform, which means you cannot compromise on their quality.
Cars that have been standing in one place for some time run the risk of getting flat spots on their tyres, so be sure to be on the lookout for this. Other than that, be sure to inspect the tread depth of your tyres too. Most tyres have tread depth indicators that become visible when a new set of tyres are in order.
It’s also important to check the pressure of your tyres. If a tyre is over inflated, it will wear in the middle. If it’s under inflated, it will wear on the sides and edges. Check your car’s manual to see what the ideal laden pressure is before you head on your road trip.
4. Brake pads
Another crucial item on your checklist should be checking the wear on your car’s brake pads. Brake pads are made up of an outer metal part and composite inner part. As a general rule of thumb, the inner part needs to be more than 5mm thick. Once a brake pad is thinner than this, we recommend that you get it replaced as soons as possible.
You should also use this time as an opportunity to test your car’s handbrake. Usually, anything more than 4 clicks to keep a car standing still is not sufficient and probably won’t pass a road worthy test.
5. Steering and wheel alignment
Some tests are best performed on the road. So take your car on a drive around your neighbourhood for this check! Once you get to a straight piece of road, check to see what your car’s steering is like. If it pulls in a certain direction, it’s usually a sign that your wheel alignment is out and needs to be set.
If this is the case, take your car to your nearest dealership so that they can have a look and sort it out for you. Ideally, your car should not pull in any direction when going straight. If it does, it can cause a shorter lifetime on your tyres!
Where to get your car checked
If you need assistance with making sure your car is ready for a long distance drive, don’t hesitate to bring it to your nearest dealership. In fact, certain issues might very well only be detected by trained professionals, especially when it comes to early signs of engine faults and the like.
At Fury Ford Midrand, we’re standing at the ready to help you make sure your car can get you to your destination, safely. Not only do we have a stellar service department that can service your car in less than 60 minutes, but we also have a parts department where you can order any spares you might need after doing the above checks on your car. Other than that, we’re more than happy to just have a look at your car and give you our opinion as to the state of its health.
When visiting us, we guarantee you that you WILL be satisfied with our top-notch service!
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