- Drive Safe-Tips/Guides-Safety
Spring is one of our favourite seasons in South Africa, especially after what feels like a very long winter of chilly mornings. Cold conditions can have a negative effect on your car, and spring is a good time to do a thorough inspection to pick up any problems before they become expensive ones.
September is also a time when many families are preparing for their school holiday trips or couples plan for a long weekend away, especially around Heritage Day. Preventative maintenance is the best kind of maintenance – not only will it save you money but it will improve your car’s performance, lifespan, and safety on the road. This is why a regular service after every +-40,000 km is essential. However, it’s always a good idea to check those parts that a cold winter has the most effect on.
So before packing the luggage into the boot, make sure the following components are in tip-top shape.
This is one of a car’s component that is most negatively affected by low temperatures. Due to the slowing down of chemical reactions in your car’s battery, cold weather forces it to work harder. This is more problematic in older vehicles. The higher temperatures ahead causes battery fluids to evaporate and speed up corrosion.
To avoid getting stuck with a flat battery, in case the cold weather has shortened its lifespan, have it assessed at a battery fitment centre.
While not a component, per se, but rather a fluid, it is a crucial aspect of your car’s most important component: the engine.
Oil becomes thicker as the temperatures decrease. Cold weather can slow down the flow of a car’s engine oil making it more difficult to pump through the engine block. This means the engine has to work harder to generate enough power for the car to run. Additionally, the slow rate of cold oil can also cause more friction between the engine’s parts, leading to costly damage. Besides taking a toll on the engine, cold oil also causes additional strain on the battery.
Check your engine oil as the weather starts to warm up in case of dirt and grime – and when filling or replacing oil, always follow your manufacturer’s recommendations.
Fluctuations in temperature can also cause fluctuations in tyre pressure. On average, tyres lose or gain 1 PSI (pound per square inch) for every 12°C (10℉) change in temperature. As the air inside the tyre gets colder, the air contracts and the tyre loses pressure – as a consequence it becomes under-inflated. Both overinflation and underinflation are problematic, as it affects your car’s performance and safety.
Remember that very low temperatures can also harden, stiffen, or make rubber brittle, like the rubber in belts and hoses or in your windscreen wiper blades, so you might want to include a check on these as well.
Although we live in a generally warm and sunny country, at certain times and in certain areas it can and does reach sub-zero temperatures.
For safety’s sake and to avoid expensive repairs, it’s a good idea to check your car every season as part of its regular maintenance schedule anyway. This is one of the reasons Supa Quick offers a free vehicle safety check. Before taking on that spring holiday road trip, pop into your nearest Supa Quick branch and make sure you’re getting off to a good start.
- The importance of correct tyre pressure
- The benefits of maintaining perfect tyre pressure
- A DIY on how to check your tyre pressure
- Know your car battery
- Your guide to car battery maintenance and how to jump-start
- How to maintain your windscreen wipers
Disclaimer: This content is for informational, educational, or entertainment purposes only. We do not make any warranties about the completeness, reliability, and accuracy of the content.