20 November 2023: The countdown to the summer holidays is in full swing for most South Africans, and many are planning road trips to various destinations for some much-needed rest and recuperation (R&R). Before embarking on any long trip, it is advisable to do all the necessary mechanical and safety checks on one’s vehicle to ensure that all components are in proper working condition, which is vital for the promotion of safety on the country’s roads during this peak traffic period.
Just as important, though, for the creation of great holiday memories, is ensuring that all the vehicle-related admin that you need for the holidays is also in order. For instance, if your planned road trip involves crossing the national border into any of South Africa’s neighbouring countries, having the necessary cross-border documents can help you avoid unnecessary frustrations at the border post.
“If a vehicle is still financed by a financial institution, the required cross-border documents need to be obtained from the financier ahead of the trip,” says Lebo Gaoaketse, Head of Marketing and Communication at WesBank. “For WesBank customers, this can be easily done by logging into their WesBank vehicle finance account on the WesBank website or on the WesBank App and requesting the border letter.”
Some finance contracts have a predetermined annual mileage limit that must be adhered to. Be sure to check that the planned trip doesn’t push the mileage beyond the agreed limit.
For those whose vehicle is paid-off and registered in their name, there is still a requirement to present the original NaTIS document, also known as the vehicle registration certificate. This must be accompanied by proof that the vehicle is comprehensively insured for the country being visited.
Additional documentation is needed for drivers who are not the registered owner of the vehicle. This includes a police affidavit and a letter of authority from the registered owner granting permission for the vehicle to cross the border. Drivers of rental vehicles must have a letter from the rental company, authorising the driver to take the vehicle across the border into another country.
“Once all the admin is in order, make sure the vehicle is mechanically ready to handle the long road ahead, and the weather conditions that prevail at this time of the year,” adds Gaoaketse.
Tyres need to be checked for proper inflation and to ensure there is adequate tread, which is vital for ensuring proper contact with the road in wet conditions. The tyre check must also include an inspection for foreign objects lodged in the tyre, as well as visible damage. Essential fluids like lubricants, coolant and brake fluid must be checked and topped up as necessary. Wipers and lights must be in good condition and fully functional to aid visibility, especially in inclement weather.
“When all the vehicle safety checks have been done and the necessary travel documents are all accounted for, choose your music playlist, or download your favourite podcast, and enjoy the sites of our beautiful country,” he concludes.