On the road: don't let poor maintenance slow you down

A little preparation will help your road trip go off without a hitch.

Man packing car boot for road trip

Touring by road is a great way to see Australia and a little prevention could go a long way to ensure you have a smooth journey.

Ideally, you should get a mechanic to check your vehicle out before you hit the open road, but if you’re worried about a large service bill, there are some things you can check yourself, if you have a little know-how.

1. Fluid levels
Brake fluids, water levels, oil transmission fluid, power steering fluid and even the water to wash your windshield should all be checked and topped up before you consider driving into the distance. Many modern cars have these levels displayed in their onboard computers, but if your vehicle is a little more vintage, refer to the driver’s manual for instructions. Also, it always pays to keep a bottle of distilled water and some spare oil to hand, just in case…

2. Wiper woes
There are few things more frustrating when you’re on the open road than wipers that squeak or don't clean properly. Investing in a new pair is money well spent.

3. Tyres, check
Not only should you check the tread and pressure of your car’s four tyres, you should also ensure your spare is fit for purpose. A wheel alignment and balance check may also be smart.

4. Battery charge
Car batteries typically last three to five years but even if yours is relatively new, you should check that it is free of corrosion and the connecting cables are securely attached. Throw a set of jump leads in the back as well.

5. Failure to stop
If you’ve noticed that your brakes are a little spongy or slow to respond, then you should have them replaced before your trip, especially if you're driving through mountainous or built-up areas.

6. Lights, camera, action
Undertake a full check of all your lights and think about carrying a couple of spare globes if they are easily replaced. Also, if your vehicle has a reversing camera, makes sure the lens is clean.

Before you go, make sure you take a copy of your vehicle insurance, roadside assistance and details of service centres along your route, should you need some professional help on your journey. And although most of us have gone hi-tech with GPS systems in our cars or phones, it won't do any harm to throw a map in the glove compartment in the event of limited or no signal.

And lastly, consider taking a spare set of keys with you – just don't leave them in the car.

If you’re over 50 and looking for car insurance, visit Apia or call for a chat on 13 50 50.

Australian Pensioners Insurance Agency Pty Limited ABN 14 099 650 996 is an authorised representative of AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807, the product issuer.





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