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Get the wheels rolling on your next road trip with these must-do car service checks

Hi, Pete here from Northside Automotive with some safety tips for those of you who are planning to take your car on a road trip.

Driving is a great way to travel, but a fun holiday can quickly turn into a nightmare if there’s a problem with your car. Here are a few easy ways to avoid getting stranded on those remote back country roads, and to make sure that your car will get you safely to your destination.

First of all, give your car a good lube

Engines love fresh oil, so an oil change should be at the top of your pre-departure checklist. If your car’s oil level is low, then long trips, sustained highway speeds, and heavy loads could cause expensive engine damage.

If you mostly use your car for short trips in the city, there could be some thick sludge build up in the sump. In the interest of safety, it’s worth changing the oil completely and getting a new oil filter before you set out on your road trip.

If it’s been a while since your last service, it’s probably best to give your car an all-over lube. Check the automatic transmission fluid, gearbox and differential oils, as well as the grease on linkages and suspension parts.

Well lubed engines also add to your vehicle’s safety, if your car is running well, you know you are less likely to come across any on-road breakdowns.

Beat the heat and stay cool(ant)

Checking your coolant (or radiator fluid) is essential for road trip travel in both summer and winter months. Your car mechanic can check and test your car’s coolant, pressure test the system, check the hoses, and fill the system with the right strength of coolant and water before you head off.

By doing this you minimise the risk of your hoses freezing and cracking on a cold day, or in hotter weather, your engine could overheating, warping the cylinder heads, and costing you big bucks to replace.

Keep the pressure up

Everyone gets a little bit lazy about their car’s tyre pressures, thinking ‘oh I’ll do it next time, I don’t have time today.’ But tyre pressure plays a huge role in how your car handles and therefore in the safety of your family on a road trip.

You can find the correct tyre pressure for your car in the owner’s handbook (and don’t forget about your spare tyre – imagine having a blow out only to find your spare is flat.) If you’re driving on the highway it’s a good idea to inflate your tyres to around 4 psi above the recommended max – heat build up caused by under-inflation is the main cause of tyre failure.

DID YOU KNOW: If you are an RACQ member and you call them out to change a tyre, the technician will not change the tyre if it is not road worthy? Make sure you check your spare. If its bald, it’s time for a new one.

On the road, be sure to check your tyre pressure every couple of days. Especially with increased weight (all the holiday indulgence, right?), having pumped up tyres will mean less chance of blow-outs or wear.

Road trip, here you come!

These are the most important items of car care that should be checked before you head out on your road trip. If you want to be extra safe, get your friendly mechanic to check the exhaust, brake pads and fluid, disc, and battery water before you leave.

And remember if you have any questions, just give us a call. We’d be happy to help. If you would like us to see your car before your road trip then you can book a car service in Brisbane online. Till next time.

Enjoy a safe road trip!