Many families around South Africa are preparing to travel by car to their holiday destination. December is an incredibly busy time on the roads, according to Stats SA Land Transport Statistical Report August 2016, the final month last year saw 23 million passengers on the road (this excluded mini bus taxis).
These numbers only mean one thing, make sure your car is ready and in working order. Here are five DIY tips that you can follow to make sure your car is revving fit.
You and your car need to breathe:
Something we tend to forget is that our car needs air to work. And a vital car part that ensures nothing gets clogged in its airwaves is the air filter. Experts estimate that it should be replaced every 3 years (depending on the road surface you use the most). Replacing it is simple, open bonnet, unclip filter box lid, put replacement in, and close – DONE!
Seeing is safety:
We’ve all been guilty of turning on our windscreen wipers and thinking, “These aren’t great”.
Well there’s no time like the present to change that. Drive down to a spares shop and buy a new set. They are easy to fit yourself (might require a screwdriver), easy to find (they’re even available at some grocery shops), and once it’s done you can rest easy that you’ll see all the obstacles in your way.
Like a good relationship, you need sparks:
Every journey starts with a single step, and in a car that first step is the spark from the battery. Don’t wait for the battery to need a jumpstart before checking it, do a quick inspection of it yourself. Look at the terminals on the battery, if there are any deposit build-ups take a wire scrubbing brush and remove the excess scum. Do a voltage test of the terminals; testers are easily available from a corner hardware store. If the battery voltage is a little low, consider replacing it.
Fluids aren’t just important on hot days:
The average internal combustion engine car has around 10 000 moving parts. That’s a lot of friction. Making sure that your oil and lubricant levels are correct, as well as water levels is vital! If levels are low the engine is bound to experience major strain, which could seize (break) it. Take the time and check your oil dipstick, and radiator coolant levels. Top up as required in the allocated reservoirs.
Tyres… Yes this is our speciality:
The tyre is your only actual physical touch point (called the contact patch) to the road, so the condition of your tyres is vital. Checking the tread of your tyres is a test that will literally ensure that you stay on the road safely. Remember tread on your tyres shouldn’t be shallower than 1.6mm (which is the legal limit).
If your tread is good, check your tyre pressure at a garage, and follow the guidelines stipulated in your car’s manual. Remember underinflating or overinflating can affect your car’s fuel efficiency, and handling.