Prepare your car for a summer road trip

Summer holidays mean busy roads, particularly highways and tourist trails, so if you’re considering a road trip make sure your car is ready to roll.

The worst thing that can happen when you’re on holiday is your car breaking down in near 40-degree heat, on a busy highway, with your tool kit packed under all your gear. To ensure car trouble doesn’t become part of your holiday , here are some tips and advice to prepare for the road.

Things to check:

  • Check your tyres for adequate tread and recommended pressure. Make sure you do this for your spare tyre too.
  • Look at your wiper blades. Are they scraping noisily or moving smoothly?
  • Look at your tights. Turn your car on and ask someone to walk around and make sure all your lights are working, particularly your brake lights.
  • Check your windscreen wiper fluid. Fill the windscreen wiper bottle and add the washing additive. The amount of bugs hitting your windscreen will increase on the road.
  • Is your battery securely in place?
  • Top the oil levels up to full.
  • Make sure engine coolant is replenished.
  • Check the engine warning gauges. Turn the ignition half way to make sure the lights flash up and then turn the ignition completely on to make sure they disappear.

Once you’ve completed your vehicle checks, consider including these essential items in your car when you travel:

  • Owners manual: this will help you with everything from changing a tyre to what oil to use where.
  • Bottle of water: for keeping hydrated and also great for washing your hands if you’ve got them dirty under the bonnet.
  • First aid kit and manual: you can find pre-packed kits at a chemist and they can come in handy if there is car accident or even on a trip to the beach.
  • Torch: a good heavy duty one can help you take a look under your bonnet or to flag down roadside assistance.
  • Duct tape: you’ll always find a use for it.
  • WD-40: use this to loosen any bolts or screws that won’t come loose.
  • Swiss army knife: these gadgets are fantastic for fixing anything on the fly and most come with screwdriver, mini-saw, bottle opener and scissors.
  • Raincoat, poncho and/or umbrella: always useful when the weather’s not cooperating.
  • Sunscreen and hat: no excuse not to have them when under the Australian sun.
  • Blanket: useful for cold nights, spontaneous picnics, or lying on when under the car.
  • Driver’s license.

Once you are on the road, here are some family games to help you survive a long trip with kids in the car.