Is your car road-ready for the holidays? 7 safety checks to make sure you and your family are kept safe on the roads

The exodus from the cities to holiday destinations or family homesteads in the rural areas is a feature of the South African Festive season—and this year there will be no exception despite the high petrol price and general economic uncertainty, says Sharon Pretorius, Supa Quick Regional Operations Manager.

“After the year we have had, anyone who is able, will be leaving the city for a bit of downtime and to reconnect with family,” she says. “But our tough road conditions combined with heavy traffic volumes make it imperative that motorists ensure their cars are road ready to minimise the chance of breakdowns or getting into an accident.”

Supa Quick advises motorists who are planning to be on the road this festive season to consider making these seven safety checks:

  • Tyres. We all use the phrase “when the rubber hits the road” unthinkingly, but it refers to the fact that your car relies on a very small area of rubber to obtain traction and steer properly—and that small area is also very vulnerable to damage. It’s very important to check that the tyres are properly inflated given the likely heavier loads and that they are in good condition. “It makes a lot of sense to get a professional company, such as Supa Quick, to look at your tyres and ensure that they have plenty of tread and are in good condition,” she says. “They should also be balanced to ensure good roadholding and to prolong tyre life. At the same time, why not get your shock absorbers checked—they are vital when it comes to road holding and when braking.”
  • Brakes. The vehicle’s ability to brake without skidding is a vital safety feature. Brakes should be checked well in advance of travelling to ensure they are in good working order.
  • Lights. Driving with lights on during the day is considered a good safety practice and, of course, it is vital to have your lights on when visibility is poor. Indicators and brake lights are also important in promoting safe traffic flow, and especially when many cars are on the road. Check that all the lights are working, and it’s not a bad idea to have a few spare globes for the brake and indicator lights especially if you are travelling to outlying areas.
  • Fluid levels. Depending on the vehicle, several fluid reservoirs will need to be checked. The obvious one is oil—check both the level and the colour. Dark and dirty oil should be changed before a long journey. At the same time, check the levels of brake, transmission and power steering fluid. Coolant is vital, so apart from checking that the radiator is full, ensure that the cap is in good condition—faulty caps are a frequent cause of overheating.
  • Battery. Batteries these days tend to be sealed, however check water levels if yours allows for that. If your battery is sealed, make certain it is in good shape by getting a professional battery outlet, such as Supa Quick, to check its charge.
  • Windscreen wipers. All indications are we that we’re in for a wet summer, so it makes even more sense to ensure that wipers are in good condition.
  • Safety/ emergency gear. Check that your vehicle has a “Hi-Viz” jacket and two emergency triangles in the boot in case of a breakdown, and that the jack and tyre spanner are present and correct. Check your spare tyre is in a good condition and remember to check the tyre pressure. The smart driver should include a torch in case of a puncture or car trouble at night, jump leads, a tow rope and a first aid kit. Remember to make sure that your insurance company’s roadside assistance number is on speed dial.

“Nothing spoils a holiday more than car trouble or, God forbid, an accident. These simple checks can at least ensure that you have done what you can to prevent that happening," she says. “All our Supa Quick stores offer comprehensive safety checks so why not pop into your local Supa Quick for a Free vehicle inspection before you head off on your journey.  Safety First”. Supa Quick more than Tyre experts!