How to prepare your car for a road trip

Don’t get stranded. Use our handy car maintenance checklist to prepare your car for the road this holidays.


  • Pop the bonnet:  Check your engine oil and water levels and top up as needed. Make sure your brake fluid is sufficient and don’t forget to top up the water for your windscreen washers.


  • Check your car battery: Inspect the condition of your car’s battery – if there are any leaks or the battery looks swollen, it needs to be replaced. Early warning signs of a battery failing is when a car starts sluggishly or an engine light comes on.


  • Windscreen wipers: Are your windscreen wipers (front and back) streaking, skipping, slipping or squeaking? It might be time for new blades to ensure optimum visibility on the road.


  • Clean it up: Driving at night with dirty windows will increase glare from the lights of other vehicles and are more prone to steaming up. Similarly, dirty mirrors will reflect the lights from cars behind you and can produce glare in your eyes, so clean them up.


  • Check your tyres: Inflate your car tyres to the recommended pressure (find this on the inside of your door panel on the driver’s side). Be sure the check your tyre tread too. South African regulation stipulates that tyre tread depth must measure at a minimum of 1mm across the circumference of the tyre. Don’t forget to check the condition of your spare tyre.


  • Lights on: Check that all your car lights are in working order. This includes your indicators, brights and emergency hazards, front and back.


  • Don’t overload the car:  Do you know? Your car has a maximum weight capacity. Exceeding that maximum weight capacity puts your safety at risk – overloaded vehicles are less stable on the road and can be difficult to steer. Overloaded vehicles are sluggish at overtaking and they take longer to stop. You’ll find your car’s maximum weight capacity printed on your license disc.


  • In case of emergency:  There are some things that you always need to keep with you in the car for in case your car breaks down on the side of the road. Click here for a list of essentials.


  • Plan your route: Always make sure that you’ve taken the time to familiarize yourself with your road trip route. Typically, traffic volumes on all South African major routes increase over the school holidays on the N3, N1 and N2 to Cape Town, as holiday-makers go to various destinations. Always have an alternative route in mind, and stay up to date with road conditions and traffic issues on your planned route.


Lastly, bring your car in to Kwik Fit Northcliff for a FREE safety check, well in advance of your planned trip to make sure that any faults are detected and repaired before you experience an unnecessary and dangerous breakdown with your family.

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