Before every long car journey, you should do a basic safety check on your vehicle.

Jeff Osborne of Gumtree Autos SA says ideally everyone should get a proper service or expert assessment of their vehicle prior to heading off on holiday but, if that’s not possible, he has five essential safety checks that everyone can do.

  1. Tyres

A tyre inspection at a dealership costs nothing so pull in for a free check. If you haven’t got time for that, then carefully inspect them yourself. Look for bulges and worn sections (remember to turn the tyres to ensure you check everywhere). One hack is to insert a 10c coin between the grooves in the tread – if the lily on the coin is visible then the tyre needs to be replaced immediately. 

  • Prepare for a flat tyre.

Check your jack and spanner are in place, accessible and working. Make sure your spare tyre is of a reasonable quality and that you have a warning triangle to place on the road.

  • Windscreen Wipers

Driving in the rain is perilous enough without faulty wipers so test them properly (using a bottle of water if necessary). It’s easy enough to install new ones yourself.

  • Brakes

Any give in the brake pedal is a cause for concern. If your foot presses too close to the floor when you hit the brakes (and/or they are making a grinding sound) it’s a clear sign that they need to be replaced before you head off.

  • Lights

Test the vehicle at night to ensure that all the lights are working properly and that the high beam setting works. Pay special attention to the indicators and the brake lights.

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