When it comes to adventures, nothing beats the thrill of a road trip. There is something inherently cool about the sheer freedom of heading out and roaming the country with nothing but miles of road ahead. With its vastness and a variety of landscapes to choose from, Australia is a favourite choice for road trip enthusiasts from all over the planet. But before you go, remember to have your trusty ride checked out. Australia’s climate and geography can be harsh, and getting stranded by the side of the road when your car breaks down can be anything from a hassle to downright dangerous. Nothing puts a damper on vacation fun quite like car trouble, so here is a handy list of things to check out before you go.
Check your tyres
Tyre pressure and the general state of your tyres is extremely important. You can check your tyres using a tyre gauge, or even a penny. Worn out tyres are a risk, because they can blow up when heated. Your tyres should have at least 1.6 mm of tread. Worn tyres should be replaced before long trips. Don’t forget to check the air pressure in the tyres too. The number on your tyres is the maximum pressure the tyre can hold. If you are starting your journey from Sydney, it might be a good idea to have a thorough check-up of your car tyres in Blacktown.
Refill/change your fluids
There are several kinds of fluids that you need to have checked out. This includes the oil, coolant, transmission fluid, brake fluid, and windscreen wash. While you can change (or refill) some of these yourself, others might be stored in reservoirs that are difficult to reach, so those might best be left to a mechanic. Some of these fluids can cause skin and eye irritation and may be toxic, so always be extra careful when handling them.
The GPS system
Don’t rely on the internet when you’re driving somewhere you’ve never been before. Especially in the case of road trips, internet service can be patchy. Instead, check that your GPS system is in working order before you leave, and load it will all the maps that you might need. That way, you won’t get lost even when you don’t have internet signal. A GPS system can also help you locate a petrol station or a mechanic, and warn you about traffic jams.
Inspect the lights
Sometimes, if you’re not paying attention, you might drive for days without noticing that your signalization isn’t working properly. Inspecting the lights is much faster and easier when you have help. Ask a friend to check whether all your lights are in working order, as you turn them on, one by one. The list of lights to check includes indicators, headlights, reverse lights and tail lights. Replace bulbs that aren’t working, and bring an extra replacement bulb set with you on the trip. If your light still isn’t working, even after you’ve tried replacing the bulb, the problem might be due to a fuse.
There are certain basics that you should always keep in your car, but especially if you are planning a longer trip. In case of an accident, you might need a first aid kit and a fire extinguisher. A spare tyre or a tyre puncture kit will come in handy if you have a flat tyre. Tyre replacement and minor malfunctions might also leave you needing some basic tools (a car jack, an adjustable spanner, a screwdriver, and pliers are the minimum). Your glove compartment should contain a flashlight and a paper map (you never know when your navigation system, smartphone and tablet might run out of juice). Finally, don’t forget your driver’s licence. If you are not an Australian resident, check out the laws for the state you are visiting. Laws on driving with a foreign licence differ from state to state.
Unpleasant surprises can ruin even the best of holidays so it’s best to do what you can to prevent them. Dealing with car problems on the road can be very costly and can completely mess up your itinerary. Getting your car in perfect order before your trip will ensure that you have a great time without worries.