Is there anything more exciting than the time leading up to a road trip? Whether you’re embarking on an excursion to take a break from work, or are headed somewhere far away for a wedding or the like, few things come close to the invitation that the open road extends.
Of course, going on a trip requires that your vehicle is in tip-top condition – as thrilling as a road trip is, nothing spoils it as quickly as car trouble.
Here are a few things that you should check before you take to the highways and byways of our beautiful country.
Although it’s one of the things we hear most often when stopping to fill up our fuel tanks (“oil and water?”), many motorists neglect making sure that their coolant and oil levels are where they are supposed to be. Brake fluid, along with the liquid in the windscreen washers, are some other liquids that are oft forgotten about, so don’t forget to make sure that this is also sufficient.
When it comes to worn-out windscreen wipers, we sometimes only realise they aren’t working properly once we’re in the midst of a storm that really requires their use. The rule of thumb is that the wipers should not leave lines of water when in use. Test this by using the windscreen washers to spray the windscreen, and then letting the wipers run.
The car’s lights are essential if you’re heading out on the road. Make sure to test all the lights, including the brake lights (which often blow long before the others because of regular use) and indicators.
It goes without saying that the brakes on your car are essential. Brake pads need to be replaced once their composite part – this is the inner part of the pad, not the outer metal part – is 5mm thick or thinner. With regards to the handbrake, it should not click more than four times before the car is held in place.
Tyres and wheels
Seeing as they are what keep your car on the road, you should definitely make sure that the wheels and tyres of your car are ready for the marathon that is the long road. The tyres should not be worn out to the extent that you can see the tread depth indicator, and motorists should also ensure that there aren’t any notable signs of damage, or bubbles on the tyre. If your tyres are looking a little worse for wear, don’t wait until you’re back from your trip to replace them. Even if tyres are pretty costly, not replacing them when necessary can be a serious threat to your safety. Remember to also check the spare tyre, and to make sure that the spanner and jack are stowed away in the boot, should you need them.
Damaged drive belts could lead to a total engine shutdown, which is any vacationist’s worst nightmare when they would really prefer to be relaxing. Check the drive belt for wear and tear, especially if your car hasn’t been for a service in a while.
Unless you’re an automobile aficionado, the best thing to do before undertaking a long trip is to have a qualified technician conduct a quick check of all the car’s components. While it may seem like a drag, it can certainly save you a lot of hassle down the road.
Don’t forget to put your horseless carriage in the very best light the next time you head out on a road trip – a wash and polish at Klenz@Junction car wash at Wonderboom Junction will have it sparkling and ready to go. Wonderboom Junction is your preferred shopping destination in the north of Tshwane. Visit us for all your road trip needs.