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How to prepare your car for a road trip

15 December 2010 No Comment

Its December month, the festive season and time for that long awaited holiday (sigh). Most of us are planning taking a long trip to place or town, away from home! I am one of many people that are having concerns about taking a car on long trips, especially if the car is getting old. According to research, long trips are actually

easier on your car than day-to-day driving, but a breakdown far from home can really ruin your fun and can be costly. A few simple checks will save you a lot of money.

First things first, an emergency kit:

  • Water
  • A flashlight
  • Jumper cables
  • Tools to change a tire or fixing something when it breaks
  • A first-aid kit
  • A 5 litre tank/can
  • A fully charged cell phone (vital, with airtime!)

Before hitting the open road, please do or check the following:

1. If your car needs maintenance, do it at least one month before you go. I prefer doing a major check up or service. That will allow plenty of time for any problems related to the repair to pop up.

2. If your destination is a lot warmer or cooler than home, check (or let your mechanic check) the coolant’s mixture of antifreeze and water. Another way of doing it is to change your coolant once a year. If you can’t do it, let a mechanic do it for you. In most cases they will also pick up any leakages and faulty pipes.

3. When it comes to your tires, best is to inflate it with nitrogen. It saves you on fuel, keeping the tires cool and also increases their life span. Make sure your tires are inflated to the proper pressure. Low pressure can cause extra heat build up that can lead to a blow out at high speeds. Find this information in the owners’ manual or fuel filler flap. Check the tire tread. Also check the spare tire as many people overlook this! Make sure the spare is fully inflated and that the jack and other tire-changing bits are in the boot. If your car has wheel locks, make sure you have the key for the lock-nut.

4. If you don’t have an up to date road atlas, get one. If you have a navigation system in your car, please update the software!

5. Lastly, before you pack your luggage, give your car a vacuum and a good wash. Serious! Clean cars always seem to run better. I hate to travel in a dirty car.

From my side, I would like to wish all AM supporters, contributors and readers well over the Festive season. I urge you not to drink and drive nor speeding and not to take part in any reckless activities regarding cars! My father once told me when I was still a learner driver: “My son, a car is a coffin on four wheels.” Those words stayed with me for the last 20 years (hey, I was only 13 years old!)! Just remember, there are some reckless and foolish drivers out there-BE AWARE and think for them! I will take some time off and will be heading to the land of the ostrich in the New Year. But before I leave, I will bring you a write-up regarding “The Fast & Furious & the Glorious”. This is the last BIG event of the year on all Cape Town’s “petrol heads” calendar, surely not to be missed! The event takes place over two days, 26th and 27th December!

Lastly, I would like to thank Blair and Johann for making me part of the team and not forgetting Willie and Barend for their inspiration! You guys rock! Take good care and go well over the festive season! God Bless!

JK


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