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Your car may need some post-holiday attention

Remember booking your car in for a pre-holiday inspection to ensure your travels were safe and happy over the festive season? It was a great idea, but what about now that you are safely home?

The Motor Industry Workshop Association (MIWA), a proud association of the Retail Motor Industry Association (RMI), says an after-holiday vehicle check is just as important because a long journey can take its toll on several components.

Doing an after-holiday check is also a good way to kick the year off as it provides peace of mind your car is in shipshape form to keep performing at its best.    

“Workshops are busy in November and December as everyone wants their cars checked out before heading off on holiday. We often, however, forget about a post-holiday vehicle check because getting home can be a busy time. Your vehicle has served you well over the holidays so be sure to get a post-trip check done as soon as possible,” advises Dewald Ranft, chairperson of MIWA.

“This check should include things like the overall condition of the vehicle, brakes, battery and engine oil, tyres and spare tyre, for example. It should also involve a good clean of the vehicle inside and out.”

MIWA’s post-holiday check list:

  1. When is your next service due?

Servicing your car according to your service book intervals is important for keeping you and your loved ones safe on the road, and for the car’s resale value. Check when your next service is due and make an appointment with an accredited workshop.

  • Top up the fluids

After a long journey it’s always a good idea to check oil and water levels, and any fluid your vehicle uses. If you need to, ask a mechanic to help you. Fluids play a huge role in almost every facet of your car, including fuel economy and longevity. Keeping them at the proper level will help your car last longer and drive better.

  • Check for faults

If you noticed any problems while on holiday or while travelling back home, you shouldn’t wait for your next service to get these addressed. Whether it is a blown brake light or faulty windscreen wiper, get it fixed as soon as possible.

  • Look at the lights

Your front and rear lights are safety features of a car and should always be working properly. Don’t find out when it is too late that your headlights or brake lights don’t work.

  • Due for new brakes?

As another safety-critical component of a car, it is vital to be 100% sure of the condition of your brakes. If you are unsure, have a professional check them out. They will be able to tell you how much capacity is left on the front and back brakes, and when you will need to replace them.

  • Tyre tread OK?

Give all your tyres a once-over to ensure they have sufficient tread and still look in good shape. If you feel any movement with the steering wheel or think your tyres require balancing or alignment, get them checked at an accredited workshop or tyre centre immediately. Remember that a worn tyre is a danger to you, your passengers and other road users. Check that your spare tyre is still in good condition and, if necessary, replace it. Check that all the tools to change a tyre are still where they should be and assess the condition of your warning triangle and other emergency items (such as a first aid kit).

  • Get it clean

Long trips, especially with pets and children, can leave your car in bad shape. Take the time to get your car cleaned inside and out. While it’s nice to have someone else do this for you, if you wash the car yourself (with the appropriate cloths and chemicals) you can inspect the car while washing it for any damage that may have occurred on holiday.

  • Check the paperwork

Getting home from holiday is a good time to remind yourself of when your car licence disc expires and of things like updating your insurance. It is vital your insurance is up to date with any changes to your address or where the car is parked and secured, etc.

“A post-holiday check should be done whenever you return home as part of your commitment to the proper maintenance of your vehicle. It is a good idea to make contact with an accredited MIWA workshop in your area too. Let the experts there advise you on anything you are unsure of, as well as carry out your pre- and post-holiday checks,” Ranft concludes.