Preparation is the key

Be prepared: There is nothing worse than getting stranded out on the open road, so make sure you check your vehicle before heading off on holidays. Photo: Shutterstock.
Be prepared: There is nothing worse than getting stranded out on the open road, so make sure you check your vehicle before heading off on holidays. Photo: Shutterstock.

The holidays are just around the corner and thank goodness because for a lot of people, 2020 has definitely been a year to put in the rear view mirror. With more borders opening up, locations becoming accessible and more venues getting back into the swing of things, these holidays are the perfect time to hit the road with family and friends. Before heading on any holiday, it is important to give your vehicle a good check, especially seeing as though it may have been six months or more since your last big trip due to COVID-19.

Most people know they should check things such as radiator coolant, oil levels and tyre pressure but it is important to make sure you know how to do it correctly and actually do it. Make sure you have your vehicle on level ground then while the engine is cold check your coolant or water. Start the engine and check oil levels once the engine is warm.

Different vehicles have different tyre pressure requirements so make sure you check your manual for the correct amount. Don't forget to check your spare tyre as well as it is often forgotten and a flat spare will not be any help in an emergency. If your vehicle is fitted with a "space saver" spare, remember that these will have a different pressure requirement again and they can usually only handle 80 kilometres per hour when fitted, so drive safe.

A big thing to check this year is your batteries. Daniel Mcleay from Mitchell Batteries said the main issue was non-use due to travel restrictions. "Given a lot of people might not have been using their car as often or at all, batteries can be one of the main things that can let you down," he said. "Even if you aren't using you car, it doesn't hurt just to start it up once a week and make sure everything is still charged and working".

"The best thing to do before going on holidays is get your battery tested to make sure it still has plenty of charge. It's also worth making sure your alternator is charging okay as this refreshes you battery as you drive and make sure the terminals on your battery are clean so their is good contact".

Simple checks: Checking things like coolant, oil, tyres and you battery can save you a lot of trouble when travelling. Photo: Shutterstock

Simple checks: Checking things like coolant, oil, tyres and you battery can save you a lot of trouble when travelling. Photo: Shutterstock

Daniel said especially around Christmas that it was a good idea to check the batteries of any other vehicles you might be using such as boats, motorbikes and caravans. "The last thing you want to do is tow a van somewhere or be out on the water only to find you have no power," he said. "It also never hurts to carry a battery charger and jumper leads as they can usually get you out of trouble".

If you are in doubt about how to check things on your vehicle or change your tyres correctly, then take you car to your local mechanic and get them to show you. It's always better to be safe than sorry.

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