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Road Trip Checklist: Tips for Checking Your Car Before Hitting NZ’s Road

Are you gearing up for an adventurous road trip across New Zealand’s stunning landscapes? Before hitting the road and embarking on your journey, it’s crucial to ensure that your vehicle is in top condition for a safe and smooth ride. Performing routine maintenance checks will not only enhance your car’s performance but also guarantee peace of mind throughout your trip. Here are essential maintenance tips every NZ driver should consider before setting off on a long road adventure. 

Tyre Pressure:  

Check your car’s tyre pressure. Refer to the vehicle manual or the sticker inside the driver’s door for the recommended tyre pressure. Underinflated tyres can reduce fuel efficiency and compromise handling, while overinflated tyres can affect traction and wear unevenly. 

Tyre Condition: 

Look for any signs of damage, cuts, bulges, or uneven wear on the car tyre surface. These issues could indicate potential tyre failure and require immediate attention from a professional. Also, examine the tyre tread for wear and tear, as it greatly influences traction and handling on the road. Don’t forget to rotate your tyres regularly to promote even wear and extend their lifespan.  

Read our blog about the basics of tyre safety to find out more. 

Spare Tyre: 

Ensure the spare tyre is in good condition, properly inflated, and all necessary tools to change a tyre (jack, lug wrench) are available and functional. You can visually inspect it for any signs of damage, such as cuts, bulges, or severe wear. Check for proper inflation by using a tyre pressure gauge to measure the air pressure. Ensure that the pressure matches the recommended PSI stated in your vehicle’s manual or on the sidewall of the spare tyre. 

Alignment and Balance: 

If you notice uneven wear patterns on the tyres or experience vibrations while driving, it could indicate the need for a wheel alignment or tyre balancing. Get this checked by a mechanic before your road trip. 

Check Your Car Registration and Warranty of Fitness (WOF): 

Check your car’s warrant of fitness and registration as you plan your road trip. Make sure they’re up to date, so you have enough time to book and sort any needed updates before you head off. 

Make Sure All Your Lights Are Working Properly: 

Ensure that your headlights and indicator lights are functioning well to stay safe while driving. 

Check Your Fluids Regularly and Check Your Brake System: 

The brake pedal should feel firm and responsive. Your engine oil, transmission fluids, brake fluid, power steering fluid, engine coolant and windscreen washer fluid are the lifeblood of your vehicle. Refer to your owner’s manual to locate these reservoirs and ensure they’re filled to the recommended levels. Low fluids can lead to engine damage or poor vehicle performance. 

Now that your vehicle is in optimal condition, here are a few more tips to ensure a stress-free road trip: 

  • Pack an emergency kit containing essentials like a flashlight, first aid supplies, jumper cables, and basic tools. 
  • Plan your route in advance and be aware of rest stops and service stations along the way. 
  • Keep your mobile phone charged and carry a car charger in case of emergencies. 
  • Take breaks during long drives to avoid fatigue and stay refreshed. 
  • Pack enough snacks and water to keep you and your passengers hydrated throughout your road trip. 
  • Make sure your gas tank is filled to its maximum capacity so that you can fully enjoy your trip without the risk of getting stranded on the side of the road. 

By taking proactive measures and ensuring your vehicle is road-ready, you’ll set off on your long road trip with confidence, knowing that your car is in its best condition. Prioritising regular maintenance not only enhances your driving experience but also contributes to a safer journey for you and your passengers. 

Safe travels and enjoy the beautiful sights New Zealand have to offer on your adventure-filled road trip! 

Happy Motoring! 

A car going on nz roads for a summer road trip

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