With the end of 2020 comes a well-earned break after a long and extremely difficult year. In the second installment of our 3-part holiday driving series, we focus on the importance of vehicle maintenance.
Although modern safety features such as anti-lock braking systems (ABS), electronic stability control (ESC) and radar-based adaptive cruise control (ACC) are integral to road safety and Continental’s Vision Zero concept, the condition of the vehicle plays a fundamental role.
All motorists need to adopt a proactive approach towards safety-critical maintenance. Follow these basic vehicle maintenance tips to help reduce road fatalities, expensive repairs and general inconvenience:
- Tyres: The legal tread depth limit in South Africa is 1 mm, but tyres should be replaced when the tread depth drops below 3 mm (or at 1.6 mm at the very least) to ensure traction in wet conditions. Inspect the tyres for any uneven wear, bulges, cuts or abrasions in the sidewall, which could result in premature failure.
- Tyre Pressures: Adjust your tyre pressures based on the vehicle load. Increase the pressure according to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations if towing a caravan, trailer or loading the vehicle – and remember to check pressures when the tyres are cold. Don’t forget the spare tyre!
- Brakes: Your car’s brakes are an essential safety feature, and need to be checked and regularly maintained. Have a look at the brake discs and pads – if they show excessive wear, or you notice the brakes are noisy or less effective than usual, then have them checked.
- Lights: Inspect and test all the vehicle lights, and those of a trailer or caravan, to make sure you have maximum visibility and can be seen by other motorists.
- Windscreen: If your windscreen is cracked or damaged have it repaired or replaced, as it may compromise your vision – especially when driving it night. Check that the windscreen wipers are working properly.
- Engine Bay: Check all the fluid levels, including engine oil, radiator coolant (only when the engine is cold), power steering fluid, brake fluid and the windscreen washer bottle.
- Regular Maintenance: Have your car serviced according to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended intervals (typically between 10 000 and 20 000 km, or annually).
Preventative maintenance could make the difference between arriving safely at your destination, or being stranded on the side of the road.