Its December, and Christmas is just around the corner – can you believe it! At this time of the year we will all be doing more driving than usual – shopping trips, trips to the beach, visiting friends and relatives – and for some of us, an annual road trip to holiday or spend Christmas with family.
If you are planning a long road trip, you need to think about preparing your car – this is not the time to have your car break down halfway between home and your destination due to something that could have been prevented with a little maintenance.
Even if your car’s services are up to date – it is a good idea to have your car checked over by a qualified mechanic before you leave on a long road trip. There are a number of things that can fail due to normal wear and tear, that only a mechanic will be able to pick up. Make a point of doing this at least 3 weeks before Christmas, so that if problems are found you will have enough time to get them rectified.
Here are some checks that need to be made:
- Check the level of fluids and top up where needed – fluids such as power steering fluid, windscreen washer fluid, engine oil, transmission fluid, brake fluid, radiator coolant to name a few.
- Check your windscreen wipers and replace any work wiper blades if needed.
- Check the car battery for charge, corrosion, cables and fluid top up
- Check all of your vehicle’s lights to make sure that they are working properly
- Check the condition of all tyres (including the spare) for wear and correct inflation, and check the alignment of the tyres on the vehicle
- Have a look at the condition of the timing belt, spark plugs, hoses and connections in the engine
- Check on the condition of springs, shock absorbers and struts
- Check the condition of your brake pads
- Check the oil and air filters
If you are not a member of one of the automobile associations in Australia, and you don’t have a roadside assistance plan, consider joining, so that you will have access to a tow truck or roadside assistance if you need this.