If one thing is certain it’s that Aussies love taking road trips and it can be the best way to explore this great country of ours! But how can you get your car ready for the trip?
Performing some basic checks can help you decide if something needs repair before you head off.
Check your Rego
There could be nothing worse than zipping down the highway only to be flagged over the side of the road, and then finding out your rego has expired!
With most states doing away with window stickers, knowing when your rego is due is something you should definitely find out before you set off. If it is due to run out mid-trip, pay it now rather than later and it will be something you don’t need to worry about.
Update Your Insurance
Call your insurance agent and see if the car will be insured for the duration of your trip. If you can pay it in advance just to make sure everything is covered. Check what you are entitled to if you have an accident or breakdown far from home.
Most insurers will allow you to make minor changes to your policy, such as adding towing distance or rental car options. You don’t want an accident spoiling your holidays, so make sure you're covered!
Check Your Lights
Most of us will drive every day and not give a second thought to checking if our lights are working. Gain the help of someone to perform this simple check and replace any burnt-out bulbs or fuses.
While you’re at it give the lights a quick wash to make sure they are as clear as possible.
Check Your Tyres
Check the tread and tyre pressure at least a few weeks before you head out and then check them again. This will show if there are any slow leaks that should be addressed before you hit out on that long journey.
Check over the tyres, looking for uneven wear patterns. This may be an indication that your wheel alignment is out, or that your tyres are inflated to the incorrect pressure.
Checking the Brakes
Do a short drive with the radio off and listen for any signs of squealing or scraping as you slow down. Have the window down and check if there are any burning rubber type smells. After you get out feel the rim, is it hotter than usual?
Any of these could be a sign that your brakes need a professional check-up.
Review the Features of Your Car
When we are used to doing short trips, it can be very easy to forget how to work some of the safety features of our cars. When should you turn off (or on) ABS braking systems? And where is the button to do that? Does your car have any other features that you are not sure of? Read up on what features your car has and make sure you know how to use them properly.
Test the Air Conditioning
As with most parts of the car, the AC needs servicing. If you are driving in the middle of summer, there can be nothing worse than driving on a 40-degree day, and nothing but the 4-way ‘air-conditioning’ that comes standard in all cars. Get your AC systems serviced, and you’ll rest assured to arrive cool and calm.
Making an Itinerary
Having an itinerary or travel plan is key to a successful journey. Without one, you are destined to hum and haw your way through the trip, and most likely not be enjoying it at all. Plan for stops and lunches and try to keep driving to a maximum of 6 hours, with stops planned every 2 hours.
Clean Out Your Car
If anything is guaranteed about a car trip with the family, is that the inside is going to get filthy. So, it’s best to start with a good cleanout. Take out anything not needed for the trip, this will help lighten the load and save petrol.
Get Your Car Serviced
Having your car service before you head off can mean the difference between arriving safely or not at all! Even if your car has a while to go until it is due, getting in early means that everything is fresh and less likely to breakdown.
If you are planning to go during school holidays, take note that many garages are busy in the lead-up. Book well in advance.