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On the road during lockdown

Here's what motorists should know.

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Five lockdown car checks to save you money

2020-05-28 11:00

There are prerequisite items on your car that need to be checked , the South African Tyre Manufacturers Conference (SATMC) represents the interests of the local tyre manufacturers and has provided a checklist focused on rubber. 

With the economy now opening up and many people returning to work in their cars under level 3 on June 1. We look at a couple of checks you need to do before hopping back into your trusty ride. 

1. Check your tyres for flat spots

Flat spots on tyres are caused when a vehicle left stationary for extended periods has its full weight exerting force on its wheels.

According to SATMC chairman Darren Hayes-Powell flat spots are easy to identify. "Look out for visible flattening of the tyre, ‘bald’ patches of little to no tread and take note of any vibration experienced just after setting off," says Hayes-Powell.

They're also easy to get rid of: 40km driving under normal conditions should do the trick or vehicle backwards and forwards every few days to redistribute the weight on the tyres.

2. Keep your tyres inflated -  Air will inevitably escape from your tyres after a passage of time. Make sure you regularly check your tyres and inflate them to the correct pressure at the nearest fuel station. 

Remember that incorrect inflation affects steering, acceleration, braking and road grip, on the flip side under-inflation can lead to tyre blow-outs, and over-inflation reduces traction.

3. Inspect your tyre tread - This is where SATMC's credentials come to the fore as they state that all new South African passenger vehicle tyres have been fitted with tread wear indicators (TWI).

The TWI is a small rubber insert set at 1.6mm in the grooves of your tyre. To compare the tread on your front tyres to the TWI, turn your steering to the far right.

The organisation recommends inspecting the rear tyres too. For it to be deemed legal, the tread needs to be above the TWI.

Remember to check the TWI across the entire width of the tyre, as the outer tread may be deeper than the inner. 

Image: Supplied

4. Check your engine fluids - Moving under the bonnet, it's vital to check your oil, brake fluid, coolant and fuel if your vehicle has been stationary for a long period.

When you first start your car, let your engine idle to charge the battery. It will also allow the oil and other fluids to circulate through the engine.

Condensation could accumulate in the fuel tank if its not filled up and this could lead to oxidisation and corrosion, and possibly rust. So if your car is a quarter full, pop down to the filling station and top it up. 

Image: News24

5. Check your validity - And finally, please make sure your car's license is up to date.

Thankfully, the road traffic management corporation has stated that all drivers licenses, learners, license discs, temporal permits, roadworthy certificates and PDP's that expired during the lockdown period of 26 March up to 31 May are deemed valid.

Their period has been extended with 90 days from June 1 2020.

Compiled by Sean Parker

Image: Wheels24


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