Forward planning is the secret ingredient for a memorable holiday. Booking accommodation and researching places to visit are the obvious things, but what about transport? Checking your car’s vitals before a trip can pay off, especially if it spends most of its time in the garage.
A longer drive puts more strain on your vehicle’s mechanicals. Problems that might not be evident around town can soon become an issue at constant high speeds on the freeway. It's also a good idea to download the my nrma app to find the cheapest fuel stations along your drive.
Before anything else, check your vehicle’s service sticker and, if it’s almost due, book it in for a service - but, there are also some checks you can carry out yourself.
Check your tyres
Leaving home with bald or underinflated tyres is inviting trouble. Visually check your tyres looking for things like excessive or uneven wear, cuts, and embedded nails that could cause a puncture. Also check the tyre inflation pressure and reset to the recommended pressure if needed. Don't forget to check the spare. It too should be in road-ready condition, and inflated to the recommended pressure, so it's ready to go in the event you need it.
Check under the bonnet
Before you leave home check the engine oil, coolant and windscreen washer reservoir, and top up if needed. If you have been topping up any fluids more frequently than usual, especially coolant, now is the time to get a technician to check it out.
Make sure all car lights and indicators are working
It is important to make sure all the indicators are functional to avoid accidents. To check, turn on your car, switch on the headlights, make sure it's in park, and take a walk around to see if any are burnt out. Repeat the process for the left and right indicators.
Make sure you have a clear view
A clear view of the road ahead and the surrounding area is important. Looking through a windscreen smeared with dirt and road grime can be tiring, as well as unsafe. Clean your windscreen inside and out and check the fluid washer level. A clear windscreen is especially important if you’re going to be driving at night. Be sure to turn on the wipers and make sure they're in good working order. Clean them regularly and replace them if they begin to squeak or leave streaks behind.
Check the brakes
Squealing noises coming from your car’s brakes may indicate worn brake pads. If your car’s brakes are making this sound, or any other odd noises, be sure to have them professionally inspected before you hit the road. If your brake pedal feels spongy when you press it, that may indicate the brake fluid is low.
Make sure your vehicle is covered
No matter how prepared you are a break down or flat tyre can happen to anyone. Check your roadside assistance is up-to-date and, if you’re travelling long distances or with a caravan, consider upgrading to ensure you’re covered no matter how far away from home you are.