AA car care: preparing your vehicle for a road trip
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Post-Covid-19, it’s starting to look like more and more Kiwis will be skipping the sky for some time on the road. This school holiday period, road trips are an attractive option for a local getaway.
Before you set out on that eagerly anticipated road trip, it pays to make sure your vehicle is 100 per cent capable of getting you to your destination safely.
Safety is paramount, but you also want to avoid time pulled up on the side of the road waiting for roadside assistance to come to the rescue in the event of a breakdown.
Here are some easy checks you can do yourself before heading off.
During a Warrant of Fitness (WoF) inspection, tyres are one of the most obvious areas of neglect, as there’s greater opportunity for them to develop uneven wear or become worn out completely within 12 months.
Check tyre pressures and don’t forget to also check your spare! Under-inflated tyres use more fuel and therefore cost you more money.
You can quickly measure the tread on your tyres by using a 20c piece; measuring from the bottom of the coin to the “20” or writing edge is approximately 2mm. If you have this depth of tread you are within the guidelines, but you’ll need to get them replaced soon, as 1.5mm is the minimum legal depth to pass your WoF.
Run your hand around the circumference of the tyre to check for cuts, bulges and uneven wear. If unsure, consult a tyre professional to help ease your mind - you may even need a wheel alignment and balance if you’ve not had one in the last 12 months.
Clean all glass, including your mirrors. Ensure your wiper blades are in good condition, and if in doubt invest in some new ones. Make sure your windscreen washer fluid is topped up and fresh detergent has been added.
If you have a crack on your windscreen, get it repaired through AA Glass before you hit the road as heat and travel may cause it to increase in size.
AA Shop has a great selection of quality products to ensure your vehicle is road trip ready. Check out Rain-X Anti Fog and Rain-X Water Repellent to prevent vision problems before they begin.
Check that all your lights are working, and all lenses are clean. Holiday times are all about being safe and seen.
Make sure your system operates as it should. If you have to regularly top it up, get it seen to before hitting the road. Things will only get worse if you don’t.
On average, AA Roadservice attends 7500 callouts a year that are related to cooling system issues; many of these could have been avoided if regular checks were conducted.
Our trailers, boats and caravans aren’t used as frequently as our other vehicles and things may have deteriorated whilst they weren’t being used. Always check the wheel bearings of your trailer or caravan to make sure they’re not loose or noisy, and make sure you’re carrying a spare tyre for them. Ensure that all lights and indicators are operating correctly.
It’s important to remember to check the engine oil level and top it up if required before heading off on a long road trip. Ensure that you account for your travel distance, and if the distance you’re due to cover on your road trip will take you into your next service interval, arrange to have your vehicle serviced before you head off.
Most workshops are very busy just before a significant holiday period, so be sure to book your service well in advance.