Get on the road this Easter with these vehicle maintenance tips

Many people take advantage of the Easter holiday period in April to embark on road trips around the country. It’s a perfect time to see parts of our beautiful country because Easter coincides with our mild autumn weather. But excited motorists sometimes hit a snag when they find their cars are not up to the task of a long journey. Make sure you are prepared by attending to your vehicle maintenance so you are well-prepared if there’s an emergency on the road.

General tips

  • Make sure you monitor the dashboard lights: the battery icon indicates a flat battery, the engine light means the engine needs servicing and an exclamation mark in a circle tells you that the brake fluid needs topping up. The ABS icon means there is a problem with the anti-lock braking system and an oil can icon indicates that your vehicle needs oil.
  • Listen for suspicious sounds from the engine. A chugging noise when starting means that the battery is running dead, a high-pitched squeal probably means the fan belt needs tightening, and a hissing sound might be the result of leaking coolant or an overheating engine.

  • Look out for smoke and odours. Smoke from the bonnet indicates that the car is overheating, blue smoke from the exhaust shows that oil has contaminated the fuel supply, white smoke from the exhaust might mean there’s water in the fuel supply and black smoke from the exhaust means that the engine is burning too much fuel.

More vehicle maintenance tips

  • Check your battery once a month by tweaking the cables and ensuring that the water level is okay. Dim lighting from the dashboard and an engine that turns over slowly when starting indicate that the battery is low. Car batteries usually last about three years.
  • A faulty alternator will cause the battery warning light to come on. Other signs are dimmed headlights when the car is running and a battery that loses its charge when it is running even though it is quite new. Also listen for loud chirping sounds from the fan belt.
  • When a starter motor is not working properly, the car’s engine will not turn over even though the battery is fully charged. Audible clicking noises from the engine are a warning of a faulty starter motor.
  • A faulty clutch will cause difficult gear changes and might lead to a burning smell. If you suspect there’s something wrong with your clutch, you should try to get to a mechanic as soon as possible because it can cause extensive mechanical damage.
  • If your spark plugs are not firing properly, you will have difficulty starting and notice low power or high fuel consumption. Change your spark plugs regularly and make sure they are properly fitted into their plugs.
  • If you have a faulty transmission, you will struggle to engage some gears or the car will jump out of gear into neutral. Warning signs include vehicles that stall temporarily before moving after releasing the clutch, those that jump forward, grinding or rattling noises in the gearbox, oil on the ground where the car has been parked and intense heat from the gearbox area.

Avis Fleet is a fleet management company with long-standing experience and expertise, including vehicle maintenance. Find out more about how we can help you with vehicle maintenance and other solutions, or feel free to contact us directly with any questions you might have regarding our services.

New Call-to-action


Toll-Free Number

0800 540 740

Road Side Assistance

0800 117 686

Trade & Auction Centre

011 973 7300

Intelligent Fuel Bureau

031 466 2583

Accident Management

0800 033 002