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Important pre-holiday road trip car checks

Planning a family road trip in December to enjoy the sunny summer and the kids’ school break can come with its own challenges. Other than figuring out how to keep the kids entertained on a road trip and driving safely with pets, it’s crucial to ensure your vehicle is in tip-top shape before you hit the road.

In this blog, we’ll guide you through the essential road trip car checks to give you peace of mind during your long drive.

Checking the basics: road trip car checks

Remember that in the summer, you might experience other car problems due to the warm weather. Go through these car checks over the next few weeks before setting off on your family trip. And leave enough time to address any problems you find.

Check your engine oil

Think of your engine as the heart of your vehicle. It’s the powerhouse that propels you forward on your journey, so checking the engine oil level is essential to ensure it’s in good condition.

Engine oil serves as the lifeblood, keeping the moving parts of your engine well-lubricated, providing a smooth and friction-free ride. Therefore, you should make sure your engine is well-oiled and ready to take you on an unforgettable adventure. Ask the petrol attendant to check your oil level the next time you’re at the petrol station.

Top up engine coolant

South African summers can be scorching, and your engine needs to stay cool under pressure. Just like sunscreen protects your skin from the harsh sun, engine coolant safeguards your engine from overheating.

Make sure your engine coolant is at the right level to prevent overheating, especially during those long stretches under the blazing sun. A properly cooled engine ensures you can enjoy your journey without any worries.

Your car’s electrical system

A functioning electrical system is essential for your car’s performance and safety. It’s like the nervous system of your vehicle, connecting all its parts and functions.

Ensure your lights, battery, and power steering are in good condition before hitting the road. Properly functioning lights – including your indicators – are crucial for your safety, especially during long journeys.

The battery ensures your car starts reliably, whereas power steering makes steering effortless. Furthermore, a well-maintained electrical system keeps you in control and provides a problem-free ride.

Inspect your brakes and brake fluid

Good working brakes are imperative on the road. Your brakes ensure your safety by bringing your car to a halt when needed.

Inspect the brake pedal to ensure it’s firm and responsive, ready to provide effective stopping power during your journey. Additionally, check the brake fluid. Proper brake fluid levels are crucial for maintaining the hydraulic pressure needed to engage your brakes. Remember that trustworthy brakes are your allies, offering peace of mind during your travels.

Test your air conditioning system

Don’t let the heat get the best of you during your summer adventure. A functioning air conditioning system keeps you cool, comfortable, and relaxed, even on the hottest days. And it can be pretty important to stay level-headed and calm on the road during the busier seasons!

Therefore, you should be sure to have your air conditioning system checked and serviced before hitting the road.

Tyre and fuel checks

Your tyres are critical for good fuel economy and a smooth ride.

Check the pressure

Proper tyre pressure is vital for safety and fuel efficiency. Underinflated tyres can reduce fuel economy and make your vehicle less stable. On the other hand, overinflated tyres can be just as dangerous.

Make it part of your routine to check the tyre pressure when you fill up at a petrol station. Maintaining the correct tyre pressure ensures that your tyres wear evenly, and your vehicle handles well, promoting safety and fuel efficiency.

If you last changed your car’s tyres a while ago, now is also an excellent time to check the tread. Driving with a low tread is dangerous for you and those you share the road with.

Fuel economy

Consider your fuel economy and then plan your route accordingly. Nobody wants to be stranded with an empty tank in the middle of nowhere. Calculate your estimated fuel consumption and ensure you have sufficient fuel stops along your route.

Proper planning can help you avoid the inconvenience and stress of running low on fuel during your road trip. Plus, petrol breaks are good so you can rest up, stretch your legs and get back on the road with complete focus.

Also, to stay safe even if you get car trouble, take a look at these important things to keep in your car. Also, save your car insurance provider and emergency numbers on your phone. With Prime South Africa, you can easily access this from our app.

Long journeys

Long journeys can be hard on your vehicle, so checking your car’s overall condition is essential before hitting the road. This means inspecting not only the basics but also the overall health of your vehicle.

Make sure all components are in good condition, from the suspension to the transmission. A well-maintained car is more reliable and efficient, making your road trip less stressful. We’ve created an ultimate maintenance checklist to keep your car in excellent condition all year long.

Car insurance matters

Your car might be in excellent shape, but does your car insurance meet your needs? Prime offers comprehensive car insurance to give you the peace of mind you deserve during your road trip and beyond.

Accident cover

Unexpected accidents can happen on the road. Whether it’s a fender-bender or a more serious collision, having the right insurance coverage protects you and your loved ones.

Roadside assistance

Even with thorough car checks, unexpected breakdowns can still occur. With the right insurance, you can access 24/7 roadside assistance, ensuring help is just a call away, no matter where you are in South Africa.

Protection beyond the road trip

Your insurance should provide coverage not just during your road trip but in your everyday life. From theft protection to coverage for unforeseen events, your car insurance should cover you in all situations.

Ready to roll?

As part of your road trip car checks, don’t forget to get your insurance up to scratch with Prime to enjoy a worry-free road trip. Apply for an obligation-free quote and get car insurance to suit your needs and budget.

Summers are meant for exploration, and your road trip awaits. So, prepare your vehicle, get cover from Prime, and confidently hit the road.


The above article gives general information to help you be prepared for your road trip.

Please always consult professionals when servicing or experiencing any trouble with your car. If you want to buy car insurance, only do so through a certified financial advisor for professional advice and to make sure the product is right for you and you understand all the terms and conditions in your policy.

Contact Prime for more information regarding affordable, comprehensive car insurance with fixed premiums* and a reduce-to-zero excess*. *T&Cs apply.

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