Tips to get your car road trip ready

Road trip car service checks
Road trip car service checks

Summer road safety

The NRMA has teamed up with Destination NSW to make sure you can see the absolute best of NSW with an off-road adventure. Check out the video below for our top tips on how to prepare your 4WD for a road trip.


Planning a road trip in these summer months? Long drives and soaring temperatures can put heavy strain on a car, especially when it is towing a boat or caravan. Following these routine maintenance steps will keep your car in good condition and able to withstand the challenge of a summer road trip.


Before you head off, check your vehicle's oil levels or take the car to a mechanic if you are not confident doing it yourself. Regular engine oil and filter changes are important for proper engine operation and longevity, but different driving conditions can also affect the lubricants in your vehicle.

If you are towing a caravan or other heavy payload, your engine and transmission will need to work harder and their oils will degrade faster. Vehicles towing long distances in hot weather or over hilly terrain may need more regular engine, axle, differential and gearbox oil replacement to prevent premature failure. If you are going on a long road trip in hot, hilly conditions, speak to your mechanic or call NRMA Motoring Advice for an impartial chat. 


There is no frustration quite like getting a flat tyre in the middle of nowhere, only to discover your spare tyre is punctured or deflated. Before you hit the road, make sure you check the pressure on all tyres, including the spare tyre, and any caravan or trailer tyres while also examining them for wear and tear. Car tyres should not be older than ten years and trailer or caravan tyres should not be older than seven years.


On a 35-degree day, the only thing standing between you and an overheated engine is the radiator. Always keep coolant topped up, change it regularly, and don’t ignore signs of coolant leaks. Here's what to do if your car overheats.


Your car’s brake pedal should not be spongy underfoot and the brakes should not squeak or grind. These are signs you could need new brake pads or brake fluids, or your rotors could be uneven and warped. 

Wipers and windscreens 

It’s possible to drive in Australia for weeks without hitting heavy rain. When you do, the last thing you want is to turn on the wipers and discover the blades are worn and your view is obscured. Clean them regularly and replace them if they begin to squeak or leave streaks behind.

It is very important to keep your windscreen clean: Make sure all your car's washer jets work and hit the windscreen at its half way point to given an even clean. You can often adjust the angle of the jet using a sewing pin, but call NRMA Motoring Advice if you are in any doubt.

Make sure the washer fluid reservoir is topped up with windscreen washer additive and carry spare additive if you're going on a long road trip.


Make sure all lights on both the car and any vehicle you are towing work correctly. To do this test, you need to turn on the pulling and towing vehicles' hazards and brake lights at the same time and observe them in action. This means switching on the hazards, while getting someone else to apply the brake lights, while you check they work together.

This simple check will simulate night time driving when all lights are switched on, so you don't pick up a safety issue when already on the road.

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