Top 6 tips to prepare your car for a road trip

Written by 
Bill Tsouvalas
Bill Tsouvalas is the managing director and a key company spokesperson at Savvy. As a personal finance expert, he often shares his insights on a range of topics, being featured on leading news outlets including News Corp publications such as the Daily Telegraph and Herald Sun, Fairfax Media publications such as the Australian Financial Review, the Seven Network and more. Bill has over 15 years of experience working in the finance industry and founded Savvy in 2010 with a vision to provide affordable and accessible finance options to all Australians. He has built Savvy from a small asset finance brokerage into a financial comparison website which now attracts close to 2 million Aussies per year and was included in the BRW’s Fast 100 in 2015 as one of the fastest-growing companies in the country. He’s passionate about helping Australians make financially savvy decisions and reviews content across the brand to ensure its accuracy. You can follow Bill on LinkedIn.
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, updated on June 9th, 2023       

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Few things are as exciting as a road trip, whether it’s with your family or with a whole group of friends. But in the hustle and bustle of preparations, maps, itineraries and packing, don’t forget one of the most important aspects of all – preparing your vehicle for a road trip. Yes, your car has to go through a preparation process as well, just like everything else. This ensures that you will be safe, ready for the unexpected and will have a smooth trip, wherever you go.

Start ahead of time

You don’t want to discover your vehicle has issues two days before you leave or, even worse, when you’re already on the road. Start your preparations early, so you have ample time to check everything you need, repair, change or tweak one part or another. It’s also good to think about how much luggage you can fit into your car; there’s nothing worse than delaying your departure because your bags won’t fit in the back.

Ensure optimal visibility

When you start checking your car, don’t overlook your headlights, taillights, rear view mirrors and windshield. Make sure everything is in its place, working properly and that you have a clear view from all angles. Consider cleaning everything really well, so your visibility is crystal clear.

Do a car check

Everything needs to be taken into consideration, from the coolant to engine oil and windscreen washer. Do your breaks work ok? Is your battery charged? Is your car making an unusual sound upon starting? Don’t leave anything to chance – check everything that can be checked, so you’re not that guy waiting on the side of the road with a dead car. That is not anyone’s idea of an ideal vacation.

Be prepared with extras

Never leave without having some spare components you know you may need, such as your trusty spare tyre, a first aid kit, coolant, windscreen washer liquid, etc. It’s easy to forget them or disregard them altogether; after all, what’s the probability of you needing coolant precisely on this trip? According to Murphy’s Laws, the probability is very high, my friend, so don’t rely too much on luck.

Check your tyres

Never forget to check your tires before you hit the road! That, right there, is a rookie mistake. First, check the pressure and if they feel a little flat, get them inflated. Then, go around and check each and every tyre for scratch marks, cuts, punctures, etc. You may realize that you need to repair or even switch a tyre out altogether. On the road is not the time to discover something like this, so remember to do it at home.

Know where you’re going and prepare accordingly

What kind of terrain will you be experiencing? How much gas do you expect to use? Is your car going to be solicited a lot? What kind of load will you be carrying? All of these are important questions to answer before you leave because you might realize you have a problem or that you need extra preparation.

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