Getting to your holiday destination might be the furthest thing from your mind right now. And many of you are thinking that I am crazy to even suggest a service and long-distance check-up for your vehicle. Well, you may be right about the crazy part, but many a car has spoilt a vacation that was planned well in advance, because the car service and check was done the day before the holidays began.
OK, the reason for my suggesting at least a two-week period after the car has been serviced and checked is that, if there are any problems after the service, they can be repaired timeously, and will not cost you a vacation and a marriage. Can you imagine being stuck on the side of the road, on a beautiful summer’s day with the travel mantra “are we there yet?” ringing in your ears while waiting for a tow truck?
Having your car serviced early helps you avoid the last minute rush.
The workshops are not so busy and all your complaints can be addressed. Spares availability is not a problem. Okay, in certain instances spares can be a problem, but with sufficient time available, even difficult-to-source parts can be found.
You should also consider having your trailer checked out. You and I both know the last time the trailer was used was over the last December holidays. How often do you see a boat stuck on the side of the road, hundreds of kilometres from water? Check that the wheel bearings on all the trailers are all fine and the lights all work. The same applies to the caravan.
There is no guarantee that a service and a long-distance check up will ensure that you don’t break down, but it certainly reduces that possibility.
Check that your tyres are in good condition and the pressures are correct.
This check must also include the spare as a flat spare can only lead to more frustration. Don’t for one minute think that the air conditioner is working fine. Check it. A long sweaty drive is the last thing you want. If you have children, you need to keep them entertained for the entire journey. It does not matter if you get them up at 3am to leave, they will be awake for the majority of the trip.
The old days of car games are over, and God forbid you hit an area with no cellular reception. So, you have enough time now to install DVD screens behind your headrests so that the kids have some electronic gadgetry to keep them occupied and you have one less thing to worry about.
As children we were threatened with being left on the roadside; mine promised to call Childline on me, just for thinking that.
I hope that my holiday advice helps make your trip a pleasurable one. Happy holidays.
Sagie Moodley is a workshop owner in Midrand and presents a radio motoring show on Kaya FM.
If you’re having trouble with a repair or need some used-car advice, he’ll be happy to try and offer a solution.
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