Holiday makers who travelled extensively over the festive season would have had their vehicles checked or serviced thoroughly in advance but now the road trip is done and dusted there may be some issues that need attention.
Dewald Ranft, Chairman of the Motor Industry Workshop Association (MIWA), a proud association of the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI), suggests, “A quick diagnostic check at your accredited workshop will provide a heads-up, should the vehicle need urgent attention.”
However, vehicle owners can also do a few basic spot checks before the diagnostic assessment to flag areas for the mechanic.
• Getting started
Cleaning the vehicle inside and out will make it easier to spot obvious damage and problem areas. Ensure daily travel and emergency accessories are still in place and have not been offloaded after the trip. These include basic tools, spare wheel, breakdown triangles, jump-start cables, first-aid kit and tyre pressure gauge.
• Tyres and wheels
According to the Automobile Association (AA) damaged tyres and wheels are among the top 10 causes for breakdowns. Check tyre pressure, which might have been adjusted for the holiday load, along with the condition of tyres and wheels, including the spare.
Use a tread gauge to measure sufficient traction. Tyre tread should be 1.6mm. Should the gauge show less, it is time replace the tyre. Ensuring wheel balance and alignment are on point after the long trip, also avoids uneven wear. Brake pads and fluid should also be checked.
• Lights, indicators and windshield
Although the workshop review would include these, the owner can do a brisk once-over for peace of mind. The windscreen should be inspected for small cracks or distracting chips. Most car insurers would cover a windshield replacement without any hassle.
• Checklist for accredited workshop along with diagnostic sweep
Have the cooling system and water levels checked. The mechanic could also inspect for any radiator leaks and ensure the electric cooling fan is working properly and oil levels are still correct.
Also check the battery’s charging performance – even if you had been on holiday for two weeks, travelling by air and leaving your vehicle behind. This time lapse could have caused an older battery to develop insufficient recharging performance.
If there had been a break-down during the journey, have the workshop check out the repair work and get assurance that all is well.
It is important to use your tried and trusted workshop. “We highly recommend using accredited workshops to ensure the highest standard of service and accountability. Should any repairs or maintenance be needed, the mechanic will be able to manage these for you quickly,” Ranft says.
Ultimately post road-trip maintenance is equally important for the safety of the driver and family. It can also avoid expensive repairs in future.