The festive season is upon us, which means millions of South African motorists will take to the highways to get to their favourite holiday destinations.However, before you set off anywhere, you need to prepare your vehicle. So, what exactly do you need to check before you embark on your road trip?Below is a short list of the most important variables to check before heading on your trip this holidays. Fluids (oil and coolant) An under-the-bonnet check is first on the list. If your coolant and oil levels are low, you might have a leak somewhere. Make sure to also check the brake fluid – if this level is too low, your car is not safe to drive. Lights If your holiday involves driving at night or in misty conditions, you want to be sure that all of your car’s lights are working correctly – especially if you are in an unfamiliar region of the country. This is a simple but important test. Wipers The test is simple – are the wipers clearing the water from the windscreen, or are they leaving lines of water that impair your vision? Brake pads, wheels and tyres Tyres are perhaps the most important part of your vehicle. They are what connects your car to the road, and if you are driving for hours at a time, they need to be in tip-top shape. Another important component to consider is your brake pad wear and ensuring your handbrake works. Also make sure your spare wheel is in good condition. Leaks Following the under-the-hood checks of the fluid levels, it is a good idea to check for any leaks from various components and hoses underneath your car. If you see some oil spots or coolant, which has a shiny texture and looks similar to oil, on the floor of your garage, have your vehicle checked by a technician. Drive belts While checking underneath your vehicle, examine the drive belt for any cracks. If your drive belt is damaged or worn out, you may have a total engine shutdown. Steering Some tests can only be done under driving conditions. Qualified technicians can pick up certain concerns that the everyday driver may miss. Things such as engine sounds, vibrations, and suspension. Brakes and clutch While the brake pads are checked when the car is stationary, it is important to evaluate how the vehicle reacts to braking when driving – whether it pulls to either side under braking.It is totally unsafe to drive a vehicle that cannot be controlled under braking.