The festive season is here. The covid-19 lockdown alert level has remained at a manageable level X, which means millions of South African motorists will take to the national roads to get to their anticipated holiday destinations or visit family and friends. In your preps for the beckoning road trips get your car in tip-top shape for added peace of mind.
Road safety does not only imply obeying the rules of the road, getting enough rest before you set off or stretching your legs but also includes preparing your vehicle for the hard miles. According to Dion De Graaff, Chief Executive Officer at AutoZone, “regardless of the age of your car, a long journey is a significant test. It is essential to make sure all critical components in your vehicle are inspected and serviced before setting out.”
What exactly do you need to check before you set off?
Driving with damaged or defective suspension parts can be extremely dangerous. A defective suspension affects a vehicles steering, braking, and handling in general. More often than not, your suspension components like ball joints and tie-rod ends could need replacement. When you start feeling your vehicle pulling off to one side, the steering feeling heavy or unresponsive when turning, especially at low speeds, then there is something wrong with the suspension.
Bad suspension can cause imbalance and instability, making it easier to lose control when driving.
A key component of the suspension that is worth an individual mention is your shocks. If the shocks are worn out, you may feel your vehicle ‘nose dive’ when you firmly apply the brakes. Some other consequences of driving with damaged shock absorbers are excessive rolling, squatting, and bouncing around, as well as difficulty to control at high speeds and sudden turns.
Overall, driving with defective suspension is a hazard. If you believe your suspension parts are faulty, take your vehicle to a certified auto mechanic who can evaluate your car.
Brakes are not the sexiest part of your car but are the most important and deserve constant checking. The ability to stop your car when required is just as important, if not more than being able to accelerate. Bad brakes are infamous for causing fender benders and fatal accidents on the roads.
Be mindful and conscious of tell-tales such as funny noises, pulling (vehicle going left or right when braking), vibrations when braking and a mushy pedal, where the pedal goes practically to the floor before engaging the brakes.
A clutch is a mechanical component that gradually wears and tears, much like brakes, especially the friction disc. Fortunately, your clutch will likely give you ample notice that something is going wrong. There are some signs to indicate a problem - When you notice that the clutch sticks, feels spongy, vibrates, or the pedal is loose, it is time to take your car in for an assessment. If a clutch brakes, your vehicle cannot move.
Due diligence before a long journey will not only keep you and your passengers safe but increase the life of your most cherished investment. Whatever parts require service or replacement, ensure that you go to a trusted and registered service provider who uses genuine parts. AutoZone, South Africa's largest and most trusted car parts retailer, is located throughout the country to ensure that your mechanic has access to over 75 000 unique parts at the right price.