In our ten road trip essentials for the holidays, we suggested items to pack for comfort and for those just-in-case scenarios. But in order to get to your destination safely and hassle-free, it’s important to check your car before leaving home.
The best option is to have a professional safety check done a few weeks ahead of your trip. If you’re up for a bit of do-it-yourself, then this checklist is an easy-to-follow guide.
Check interior and exterior lights. Headlights, brights, rear lights, front and back indicators, reverse lights, brake lights, and hazard lights must function properly. If not, replace burnt-out bulbs and check again.
Being caught out in bad weather wherever you are is dangerous, and more so when visibility is bad. Replace worn wipers that are noisy or leave streak marks.
Above all, car horns are safety features. It is important that yours functions properly because its real purpose is to warn other road users of imminent danger while driving.
- Check the pressure of all tyres, (including the spare) while cold to ensure they are properly inflated.
- There should be adequate tyre tread depth, and no cracks or bulging on the tyre wall.
- Check wheel alignment. If your car pulls to either side on an even road have it inspected, rotated, aligned, and balanced at a service centre.
- Be sure not to exceed the maximum weight load for your tyres. See the driver-side door jamb or your vehicle owner’s manual for specifications.
- Check that you have the necessary equipment to replace a damaged tyre.
The importance of tyre pressure for safe driving
The benefits of maintaining perfect tyre pressure
The Importance of wheel balancing and alignment for safe driving
What is wheel alignment
Check that your battery is maintaining a full charge. The connections should be tight and corrosion-free. If not, then the battery will need to be disconnected and the connectors cleaned.
Warning!: Batteries are dangerous to work with as they contain corrosive and poisonous liquids, and because they are connected to the electrical system of your car, can cause shock if handled incorrectly. If you’re not familiar with car batteries, it’s best to have it checked and cleaned at a battery fitment and service centre.
NB: Don’t leave home without your jumper cables!
Also read: Car battery hazards you need to know
Check fluids, including engine oil, brake fluid, engine coolant (anti-freeze), power steering and transmission fluids, and windshield washer fluid. If levels are low, top up or change if necessary.
Brakes should not make sounds like squeaking, grinding, scraping, or squealing. Also, they should not feel spongy when applied. A burning smell is a bad sign and if the pedals go all the way to the floor, it’s highly likely they need replacing by a professional brake pads fitment centre.
Child car seat
Inspect to ensure that they are installed safely and securely. Read more about the golden rules of child car seat safety
A vehicle that is in good condition will give you peace of mind – especially important when you’re driving off on a road trip. If you're uncomfortable inspecting your vehicle or aren't sure if something is wrong, bring your car into a Supa Quick centre for a free vehicle safety check.
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