Johannesburg - December holidays are almost here, which means thousands holiday-makers taking to the road to visit family, friends or take a that much needed break.

However, every year hundreds of accidents happen on our roads during the holiday season.

So, with road-trip season only a few weeks away, we caught up with Dewald Ranft, chairman of the Motor Industry Workshop Association (MIWA), an affiliate association of the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI), on the importance of having vehicles inspected before making cross-country journeys this year.

Ranft says now is the time to get your pre-holiday vehicle checks done before the last-minute scramble begins.

“Every year workshops get flooded in November and December with motorists wanting vehicle checks and needing repairs just days before they plan to leave on holiday. What motorists don’t realise is that should maintenance be needed on their vehicle and spare parts are not in stock, these need to be ordered. This could take several days, if they are available at all. It is risky leaving things to the last minute and could put a real dampener on holiday plans,” he says.

He explains that mechanics should do a thorough check of the vehicle which will include a road test and an assessment of the following parts: lights, suspension, drive lines, brakes, tyres (including the spare and tools), fluid levels, wipers and windscreen, belts or chains, exhaust.

If a problem is identified, a workshop will be able to advise the vehicle owner and provide a quote for repairs needed.

“What’s important is booking for your service now - even if you only take the car in in a few weeks’ time. Rather schedule it in now so you remember to do it ahead of the holiday time.”

Ranft says there’s nothing worse than having your holiday plans derailed because of car issues.