The festive season is around the corner, it’s a time to reflect on the year’s up’s and down’s and spend time creating memories with those nearest and dearest! Whether you’re planning a tranquil and quiet holiday in the bush, a scenic retreat in the mountains, or a blissful beach holiday at the coast, peace of mind should start before you embark on your long-distance travel by making sure your vehicle is safe and ready for the trip.

“Millions of South African motorists will take to the highways to get to their favorite holiday destinations this festive season. A holiday is intended to be a time for relaxation and enjoyment, but the difference between pleasure and a dreadful holiday often depends on whether you take the time to prepare your vehicle for the trip. Many common vehicle problems can be picked up by inspecting your vehicle, listening for strange noises, noticing unusual odors or even sensing a difference in the way a vehicle drives;” says Hugo Grobler, National Franchise Manager at Auto Care Diagnostics, (ACD).

To help you enjoy a safe and hassle-free holiday with your loved ones, here are safety tips and checks to prepare your vehicle for the trip:

  1. Tyre Pressure & tread

Making sure your tyre pressure is correct is critical for safety as well as avoiding a dreaded blowout! It’s important to always use a tyre gauge to check your tyres rather than relying on having a “look-see”. Pay special heed to the dashboard tyre-pressure warning light if present. Low tyrepressures waste fuel – rather save those rands and cents for a cocktail at the pool.

Now that we’ve ticked the box on tyre pressure, your rubber is likely to have some km’s on it, don’t ignore the tread. Take your car in to have the tyre tread checked on all four tyres to make sure they are not too worn or unevenly worn. If your tyres are “worn” or has damages to the sidewall from a recent bounce against a curb or pothole, it’s better to replace them now rather than take a chance on them blowing out while you’re on the road.

  1. Lights

Turn on your lights when you’re in a garage or aimed at a wall or ask a friend or family member to walk around your car while you test the lights, this is a quick and easy way to check if your lights are working! Test all your lights, indicators, brake lights, and fog lights one by one.

  1. Wipers and Demisters

Wipers tend to wear quickly, especially when your car is kept outdoors and in the sun! Test both front and rear wipers, squirt washer fluid to make sure your wipers clean the glass clearly.  Make sure your demisters are working as a sudden mist-up can be dangerous.

  1. Dashboard Warning lights

At a first glance, dashboard warning lights can give you a quick indication when something is wrong. When you turn on the ignition, all warning lights should flash on momentarily. As soon as you note a warning light that stays on, get it checked immediately. Any warning light often warrants immediate checking by a professional.

  1. Steering

If you feel like you are having a tug-o-war with the steering wheel to keep your car tracking in a straight line, or the steering wheel vibrates too much, it’s likely your steering needs alignment or needs to be inspected by a professional.

  1. Battery

A dead battery means your car won’t start, possibly leaving you stranded in an unsafe place or situation, even worse late at night.  Car batteries usually need replacing every few years, sometimes sooner. If your starter sounds sluggish, it’s either corrosion or a dying battery – either way, get it checked!

  1. Fluids

Although car fluids are typically checked during routine services, make sure you check these from time to time, including windshield washer fluid, brake fluid, transmission fluid, coolant, and oil.

  1. Spare wheel

A simple yet critical check is making sure you have a spare tyre, jack, and wheel spanner, and that they are all working properly. You probably haven’t used your spare for a while, so check the tyre pressure before setting off.

  1. Brakes and clutch

Always check the state of your brake pads by how your vehicle reacts to braking when driving; and if it pulls to either side under braking. If your brakes sound like they’re squeaking and scratchy or they’re shuddering, get them changed immediately! Road safety 101: it’s totally unsafe to drive a vehicle that cannot be controlled under braking.

  1. Roadside assistance

Lastly, make sure you’re signed up with a good roadside assistance to help prevent being stranded in bad weather or the middle of nowhere. These service providers send help if, for example, you run out of fuel, have a flat tyre, or need a jump-start or tow.

When in doubt, book a free safety check with a professional, this festive season ACD workshops are offering free safety check assessments until 7 December 2018. ACD will walk you through all the key points and offer you sound 


Contrary to popular belief, the insurance industry regards women ‘’safer” drivers than men, and considers them less likely to be involved in road accidents, this is according to Arrive Alive.

All aspects of road safety are critical, however, this Women’s Month Midas highlights safety advice for women as often female motorists can be more vulnerable to criminal activities on the road. “Ladies need to be extra careful and alert, particularly when driving on their own or with children. Women are often perceived as ‘easy targets’ and because of this they unfortunately need to be extra vigilant on the road,” says Brett Ferreira, Franchise Executive, Midas.

In an effort to highlight road and travel safety for women this Women’s Month, Midas offers the following 5 tips and precautions to help enhance the safety of female drivers:

  1. Keep your vehicle in good condition and always have enough fuel 

A well-maintained car is less likely to break down, always make sure our car has had its regular service and it’s in good working condition, this includes having your wiper blades, brakes and tyres checked. While it’s easy to get into the habit of waiting for the warning light before refueling, especially since the fuel price has increased so dramatically, it’s best to keep your tank half full at a minimum. When you’re not running on fumes you’ll be able to drive to safety should you suspect you’re being followed or feel threatened.

  1. Know your way around

Always plan your route, not only when you’re driving in an unfamiliar environment, but also on your usual day-to-day travel. Keep to busier, well-lit roads and use highways wherever possible at night, as robots are hotspots for criminal activity.

Technological units such as a GPS or applications such as Waze make planning your route easier and even let you know where to expect traffic on your journey. Always let someone know where you are going and what route you’re taking. Whatsapp offers a tool to send a location so your route can be tracked in realtime, how cool is that!

  1. Keep distractions to a minimum

Turn your music down so you’re not distracted by “all the single ladies” blaring on the radio and avoid being on your mobile phone, even if it’s on handsfree. Be aware of your surroundings as distractions, including noisy kids, make you an easy target for hijackers and smash-and-grabs.

  1. Safety first at all times

Rule number one, lock your doors at all times and keep all windows closed!

Always leave enough space from the car in front of you so you can pull off in an emergency. Be alert of your surroundings and always try to identify an escape route, like a slip road or an intersection so you can quickly get away if you identify a threat.

Always put everything in your boot, regardless of whether it’s a handbag, jacket or your gym bag.

Should you find yourself stuck on the side of the road, keep your doors locked and stay inside the car.  Never open your door for anyone you don’t know. If you have a flat tyre in a dark or dangerous location, drive slowly to the nearest service station or public place. Don’t worry about ruining the rims, it could be a matter of life or death. Always have a spare tyre on hand.

  1. Make sure you’re kitted out

In case of an emergency, always make sure your cellular phone is fully charged, especially at the end of the day when you run low on battery charge. Make sure to add emergency contact numbers to your phone.

Keep an emergency kit available at all times, this should at least include a flashlight, a small tool kit with appropriate screwdrivers and an adjustable wrench, jumper cables, triangle, reflector vesta nd a charging cable.

“It’s critical that women know what to look out for while on the road and should they feel their safety is threatened it’s important they know how to respond quickly and calmy. We hope that by adopting these safety habits and being prepared for the wost, women can make themselves less vulnerable on our roads,” concludes Ferreira.


With yet another fuel price hike on the horizon it feels like there will be little relief from escalating prices – not only at the fuel pumps but all the way down the value chain. Consumers will soon be feeling the pinch and are understandably anxious to mitigate the impact that fuel hikes will have on one’s disposable income.

The more obvious solutions include downsizing fuel-guzzling vehicles for more energy-efficient models, opting into carpools where the cost of fuel can be shared, and public transport. These might be winners in the savings department but are not a viable option for everyone.

If you’re one of the many motorists looking to do the best you can with the wheels you have, here are a few helpful hints to make those precious litres go a little further.

Drive with fuel consumption in mind

While seemingly harmless, some driving habits actually hike up your vehicle’s fuel consumption. Sensible driving translates into cents – and eventually Rands – in your pocket.

Go easy on the accelerator
Maintaining the speed limit or just below not only saves you from unnecessary traffic fines (bye-bye disposable income!) but also uses less fuel. A lighter touch on your accelerator also means you only supply what your engine needs at any given time.

Be kind to your brakes
Try and avoid riding your brakes as this creates unnecessary drag as well as wear and tear on your braking system. Slamming on brakes and sudden stops are hard on your vehicle, which has to use more energy (and fuel) to bring it to a halt. Be mindful at intersections and in traffic, maintain safe following distances, and make use of your vehicle’s momentum. You’ll be safer in the long run and have to replace brake pads and other components less often.

Gearing up
Gears were designed to help engines expend less effort for higher output. The lower the gear, the harder an engine has to work to maintain its speed and the more fuel it’ll use. If you’re driving a manual vehicle, use the highest gear possible and go easy on the revs.

Know your route
This doesn’t just mean knowing where you’re going ahead of time and avoiding unnecessary detours. It also involves assessing your options – especially on routes travelled most frequently – and choosing the most economical route. A shorter route doesn’t always equate to less fuel. Fewer starts and stops, less congestion and more constant speeds do. Investigate mobile apps that help monitor traffic flow to keep your trip fuel-friendly and time-wise.

Optimise your vehicle
A vehicle that operates in the way the manufacturer intended it to will be more economical on fuel. It’s important to take the time to understand what your vehicle needs to operate at its best, from the ideal fuel and lubricants to optimal tyre pressure. Every car is different.

A great place to start is your owner’s manual – or even better – an all-in-one service provider, such as Auto Care Diagnostics (ACD) who can walk you through all the key points and offer you sound advice on keeping your car in great shape.

Vehicles are designed with certain aerodynamics in mind. Anything that interferes with this causes strain – and creates higher fuel consumption. Think roof racks and sunroofs, trailers and bike racks. While convenient, these items could be literally holding you back. Only use when absolutely necessary.

Maintain tyres
About 20 percent of fuel goes towards overcoming friction between the car and the road, which makes tyres doubly important. Ensuring optimal pressure and tread as well as keeping wheels properly aligned will help prevent unnecessary spend at the pumps.

Lighten the load
If you want to burn calories, you add weight to your workout. Adding unnecessary weight to your vehicle essentially equates to the same thing, except,instead of burning calories, your car burns fuel. Take the time at the end of each trip to offload anything you don’t need and avoid using your boot and back seat as storage.

Keep your vehicle tuned up
Worn brake pads, clogged filters, damaged gears, faulty sparkplugs and aging car batteries are all silent killers of fuel economy. Regular services and tune-ups to keep your engine running as it’s intended to, keeping consumption to a minimum.
When the cost of petrol spikes, motorists might be tempted to stretch the time between services, especially for vehicles operating outside of its motor plan. However, these perceived savings are quickly swallowed up by a number of fuel inefficiencies.

Studies show that your vehicle could consume up to 30 per cent more fuel if proper maintenance is not performed on a regular schedule. So – in addition to driving more efficiently – why not adopt a preventative approach and get the condition of your vehicle assessed to save you money in the long term.


In South Africa, approximately 1 million road accidents are reported each year -many of which are tragically fatal. As local authorities and stakeholders continue to campaign for safer roads, motorists are encouraged to do what they can to help avert future incidents and fatalities.

“With driver error the greatest contributor, many accidents could be avoided simply through behavioural changes – more specifically addressing risky and irresponsible driving and by good vehicle maintenance” says Brett Ferreira, Franchise Executive, Motus Aftermarket Parts (MAP).

Ferreira offers road safety advice:

Avoid distracted driving
There has been a great deal of publicity aimed at the dangers of texting while driving. Yet any activity that diverts the driver’s attention endangers not only the driver but passengers and bystanders as well. Eating, applying make-up, or even talking on a cellphone hands-free are all distractions from the task at hand: keeping one’s eyes – and mind – on the road.

Stick to the speed limit
Accidents can happen in a heartbeat, even in ideal driving conditions. Speed limits are carefully evaluated and assigned to improve response time; slower limits are imposed in high risk areas such as high accident zones, areas prone to fog and flooding or to accommodate animal or pedestrian crossing.  Obeying speed limits drastically reduces the risk of collision.  Ensuring everyone wears a seatbelt regardless of where they are in the vehicle reduces the chances of injury and death significantly.

Don’t drive impaired
Multiple factors affect driving ability. With so many of these beyond our control, it’s critical to take responsibility for what we can. Never operate a vehicle under the influence of drugs, alcohol and certain over-the-counter medications. Depressants, narcotics, stimulants, and hallucinogens all can alter vision, responsiveness, and thinking skills. Drugs quickly affect reaction time, coordination, and judgement. If you’re not sure, rather hand over your keys to a designated driver.

Perform regular vehicle maintenance
‘While human error is the biggest cause of car accidents on the road, badly maintained vehicles also contribute to the national road toll every year.” says Ferreira.
‘It’s every driver’s responsibility to make sure the vehicle they are operating is well maintained and roadworthy. Worn parts might not be the cause of an actual collision but they could contribute to the chain of events leading up to a crash. Letting scheduled maintenance slide essentially puts your safety and that of those around you at risk.’

Ferreira adds that one should have their vehicle checked at a reliable company like Auto Care & Diagnostics (ACD) to ensure a safer vehicle:

Tyre failure is one of the most commonly cited causes of vehicular failure. A blown tyre results in the immediate loss of control; worn tread offers less traction on the road and reduces braking effectiveness. Inspect  tread and use a tyre gauge to determine air levels to ensure they are always in line with the owner’s manual.

Fluids keep your vehicle running smoothly and prevent maintenance issues from arising, all these levels can be checked and replenished at any Auto Care & Diagnostics Workshop nationwide:

Replacing worn-out oil improves engine performance, reduces fuel consumption and reduces the risk of engine damage.

Transmission fluid keeps gears of the car running smoothly.

Coolant prevents overheating by keeping the vehicle cool.

Finally, brake fluid is essential for keeping brakes functioning properly. If brake fluid levels are low, the brake pads will not be as responsive – which could be catastrophic


Dust and grime on car windows can obstruct the driver’s view. Dirty, worn wiper blades do more harm than good. Make a habit of keeping your vehicle clean, particularly windows and side mirrors and check windshield wipers and wiper motors to ensure a clear view at all times.

Also check headlights and indicators to ensure they are all in working order as this improves driver visibility while ensuring your vehicle is visible to others as well, particularly at night, in rain, or in fog when the risk of road accidents is much higher.

Suspension and Transmission

Faulty steering and suspension could see you at the wheel of a vehicle you are unable to control. Sudden transmission or engine failure might leave you stranded and at risk of collision. It’s important to have these components assessed regularly by a technician as wear and tear here is far more insidious than that to tyres and brakes.

Emergency kit

Be prepared for unexpected roadside breakdowns by packing a simple emergency kit. This should include flashlights, roadside flares, a first-aid kit, a tool kit, jumper cables and a blanket.  These could be purchased from Midas countrywide.

Prevention is always better than cure. Adopting a proactive stance toward driver behaviour and vehicle maintenance means less risk all round. ‘We care about the safety of people on the road, it’s for this reason that we’re a passionate advocate for driver education around safe, well-maintained vehicles.’ concludes Ferreira.

Motus Aftermarket Parts (MAP) trades in the replacement automotive parts industry, marketing and distributing quality automotive parts or components, DIY, DIFM (do-it-for-me) and leisure travel products.