The Easter Holiday is upon us, with a lot of families travelling to the coast for the long weekend. It’s a busy time of the year for most families in South Africa and a period where a lot of unfortunate car breakdowns occur.
Holiday trips around the country, this period can be one of the most exciting times of the year, travelling to destinations you or your family might never have been to before.
Before you hop into the car, there is something you have to do before the road trip can even begin.
No, not packing in the Easter eggs for your Easter egg hunt.
There are a number of checks which you should be doing on your car before you even put the key into the ignition.
Many South Africans seem to skip the precautions of ensuring that their car is working at an optimum level, and simply hop into the car and go.
The danger with this is that if anything were to happen during your trip across South Africa, you may be stuck waiting for help for hours.
On top of this, when you do get help, your schedule will be completely off, which is a big dampener on the experience.
There’s no way you’ll be getting to your destination on time.
Whether you bought a used car for sale across South Africa or not, you should always be sure to check if everything is in working order. Better safe than sorry has never been more true than in situations such as this.
Yes, this part of the pre road trip is not fun for anyone involved, it can feel as if there is no reason to do these checks because your car is most probably perfectly fine, but doing so will make sure that when you set out for that 10 to 13 hour drive, you won’t have to add an extra couple of hours because of a flat tyre or a problem with the fluids.
Now, the inspection of your car can be done by yourself or buy a professional who knows what to look for as well as what signs there are of any damage. Both options are not bad, as long as you know what to look for.
Regardless of who will look at your vehicle, be it a second hand car or not, there are ten points of focus when inspecting a car, which can cause major issues if they malfunction.
These tips comes to you from SecondHandCars.co.za, a platform which connects dealerships and clients together, providing a service which gives clients choice, and both clients and dealerships a safe space.
The points of interest to focus on when checking your car are, fluids, lights, wipers, tyres, brake pads, leaks, drive belts, spare tyre, steering and brakes/clutch.
In order to check your fluids you need to start by opening up the bonnet and checking if your fluid levels are where they need to be. This is a great place to start as if everything is at the right level, you can move on to the next point.
This is one of the most important thing to be aware of as if your oil and water is not where it should be, there could be big implications when driving down to the beach, or on long road trips, with an increased chance of malfunctions or problems with your car’s functionality.
Coolants and brake fluids are also major substances which you will need to check, as these can affect any car, second hand cars or brand new off the shelf.
If your brake fluids are not where they should be, your car will struggle to brake, and on top of this, there is an increased chance that on a long road trip, and during times when it rains, your brakes will not function as effectively, something which is dangerous on these long journeys.
This check is also important when buying used cars for sale as well, as these things could affect the drivability of the car in general.
Your road trips will generally start in the early hours of the morning, so that you can get to your destination as early in the day as possible.
Depending on where you will be going for the Easter weekend, your trip can often end in the early stages of the night. With you and your family having travelled the whole day to get there.
It is important to check on your lights, ensuring that they are all working properly, this includes your brake lights and indicators, as if they are not working it could be risky for everyone that is on the road.
Making sure that your lights are working can save you and your family’s life. as driving down the road with no lights at night, where there are no road lights available will almost certainly spell disaster.
On top of this, when purchasing a used car for sale, you should follow the same principal of having all of these checks done, either by yourself or a professional, as safety should always come first.
There’s nothing worse than driving behind someone who has no indicator or brake lights, because it is very difficult to know what someone is doing, when they’re changing lanes and if they are slowing down or coming to a complete stop.
Windscreen wipers are very important, especially in South Africa, where the weather can go from sunshine to dark skies and rain in a matter of minutes.
Make sure that your wipers are working well, in fact make sure that it is working excellently, as driving long distances in the rain can be very dangerous if they aren’t functioning correctly.
Second Hand Cars makes sure that the dealerships they provide for you have used cars that are of the highest standard possible and everything is in working order, with such checks being done by the dealerships before any sale.
Tyres are one of the most vital parts of driving safely as they are used throughout an entire trip, going over soft and hard roads and sometimes debris, and potholes, depending on where you are travelling to.
Unfortunately potholes are a huge problem in South Africa, and furthermore, a huge problem for your tyres.
Driving for hours on the road means that your tyres need to be in the best shape, pumped up and in no way weak, as there is a lot of wear and tear that they will have to go through.
If they aren’t at an optimum level, you might be sitting on the side of the road waiting for assistance.
Make sure that if you buy a second hand car before going on your trip, that the wheels are working properly and are of a high standard.
This will save you time and money in the long run, as a tyre bursting or becoming flat could mean much more damage if you’re travelling at high speeds.
Brake pads are used to stop your car, whether it be when traffic slows down or if you need to stop abruptly. They ensure you maintain a safe driving speed, decreasing your chances of getting a ticket.
They also make sure that when you do slow down, order to keep a safe following distance, you’re able to do so.
Whether your car is a used car or not be sure to check if the brake pads are working or not.
Not only are brake pads needed in order to slow down and stop your car, but if they are not working you could be in a position where you are unable to sop in cases of emergency.
Your handbrake is also important and you should check if it is in working order, if you are unable to put your car in a position where it is stationary, you are going to have a big problem.
Check for leaks before setting out on your journey, if there is excess oil or water running from the bottom of your car, there make be an issue with the internal components of your car, which causes issues such as a decrease in fluid levels, something that can impact how your car functions.
If you see that there are leaks, don’t ignore it as this can impact your car in subtle ways at first, however, these subtleties can turn into major issues in an instant, which is risky when you’re on the open road.
This is not only focused on second hand cars, where brand new models which you’ve had for a few months can still have issues in terms of leaking.
If you notice any leakage then take your car to get serviced.
Drive belts, if worn out or broken, will affect the entire engines functionality as it is a key item in ensuring that the entire car works correctly.
Be sure to look under your car to see if there is any wear and tear of the belt.
This rule also applies when buying a second hand car, as this can set you back even more in terms of how much you will be spending.
A quick and easy check, which can save you in times of distress, especially when you are on an exciting trip down to the coast, a spare tyre is something which we should all have, as sometimes you cannot avoid a burst or flat tyre.
Be sure to see if you have your spare tyre, as well as if it is pumped up and ready to be used if now of your tyres blow.
Also be sure to check if you have your jack and other items which are needed to remove and replace tyres.
There is no kind of stress than getting a burst tyre and going to get your spare tyre only to realise that you don’t have one, or that it itself is relatively flat, which means it cannot be used.
A quick check to see that you have one will safe you long term stress on your long road trip journey.
A simple check that can be done by a professional, steering conditions should be up to par as long distances requires concentration and if your steering is not the best, including the alignment of your vehicle, you will struggle.
This should also be checked out after you purchase a used car as sometimes because of use, steering can be a bit off.
This is a necessary evil as although it is something which you would have noticed already, making sure that everything is as good as it can be is a great way to ensure that you are not driving a vehicle which will veer this and that way.
The final check, the brake and clutch combination, can be checked to see if it is in working order.
If you have an automatic vehicle, checking that your brake is working is also ideal.
All you have to do is brake normal, ensuring that the combination is working and that you will be able to drive, slow down and stop.
This should be done once the brake pads have been checked and if everything is in working order, then you and your family are ready to go on your adventure.
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