Christmas and New Years, along with the holiday season are well and truly on their way, which means there are plenty of family road trips on the horizon. Nothing ruins your holiday like unnecessary car problems — or finding yourself stuck on the side of the Bruce Highway in the middle of Summer. Here’s how to prepare your car for a road trip, so you don’t get stuck these holidays.
1. Prepare early: don’t check it the day before you leave
This should be an obvious one, but when you’re preparing for a road trip, it’s good to check your car early. We’re talking a couple of weeks before the trip. This leaves you with plenty of time to get it to a mechanic and have it repaired if you notice something.
2. Get a car service if you need it
If your car is due for a car service, get it done now. Again, this probably seems obvious. But, if your car is a month away from needing a service, or a thousand kilometres off needing one — get it done now. Maybe it isn’t due, but there’s a noise or a weird feeling that you’re not sure about? Bring it to a mechanic.
3. Check your engine over
Double check your engine yourself. Are there any leaks, cracks, or does anything look unusual? Check it now so if you do find something, you have plenty of time to get it checked.
4. Check your engine fluids
This is one of the most important parts of how to prepare your car for a road trip. Check all your fluids are topped up. Check your oil, change it if you need to. Check your coolant, your power steering fluid, your windscreen washing liquid. If you know any of these are going quicker than they should, like your oil for instance, be sure to bring extra along for the trip.
5. Check your tyres (and your spare)
Check over all of your tyres. You’d probably know if any of your tyres had a puncture in them, but double check them anyway. Make sure they’re at the right air pressure too. An essential part of how to prepare your car for a road trip is putting air in your tyres the morning you leave. Check the tread on your tyres too. Having bald, or semi-bald tyres is already unsafe — don’t take them on the highway, it’s a safety hazard for you and everyone else on the road, especially if it rains.
Check your spare tyre for all these things too — and put air in it the morning you leave as well. There’s no use having a spare tyre sitting in your boot if it’s as flat as your already-flat tyre.
6. Check all of your lights
Make sure all of your lights are working. Your reverse lights, brake lights, headlights, high beams, and even your interior lights.
7. Clean up
Basically any road trip should be nicer if your car is clean, but that’s not what we mean. You need to know you’ll have good visibility when you’re preparing for your road trip. Clean your windscreen, rear windshield, and windows — inside and outside. Make sure your rear view mirror and your side mirrors are clean too.
8. Check your rego, insurance, roadside assistance
We really hope that these things are too difficult to forget about. But, be sure to double check your registration, car insurance, and roadside assistance is all up to date for your entire trip.
9. Pack safely
When you’re working out how to prepare your car for a road trip, learn about packing a car safely too. Your luggage should be packed in snugly and covered, so that if you do crash, there’s no luggage flying around your car.
10. Pack entertainment
When you’re preparing your car for a road trip, be sure to prepare entertainment too — especially if you’re travelling with kids. Bored kids are dangerous and distracting. Pack them books, games, movies, colouring in. Ideally, this way the threats of turning the car around are at an absolute minimum. Don’t forget your own entertainment either. Podcasts, playlists, snacks, maybe a trivia game?
11. Make sure your playlist is downloaded
Is there anything worse than losing reception on a road trip and having your streaming app cut out? Make sure you’ve downloaded your playlist or podcasts so they’re ready to go, even when you’re in the middle of nowhere.
Think your car might benefit from a check over by a mechanic? Bring your car into one of our four workshops across Brisbane.