Summer is fast approaching, and that means the holiday season is almost here. Nothing’s more Australian than packing up the car and heading off on a road trip adventure, but before you load the kids and suitcases, there’s a few things you should check to make sure your car will get you there and back safely. At AME, we are Perth’s leading automotive mechanics offering affordable car service packages that will give you the confidence you need to take your vehicle anywhere you want to go this summer. From fluids and tyres to battery and brakes, here’s our guide for things to check to ensure your car is road-trip ready.
Even if your car has recently been serviced and the fluid levels have been checked, it’s wise to double check fluid levels are near-full. If you are going on a long road trip, especially to remote areas, it’s recommended to keep a backup supply of each on hand. Common fluids that are easy check yourself are:
Oil – critical for an engine, oil lubricates moving components like the pistons, crankshaft, and camshaft so they can move smoothly without friction. Oil should be changed every 5,000 to 10,000 kilometres or every six months, whichever comes first. Even if you have had a recent oil change, it’s still a good idea to check the oil condition and fill level before a long trip.
Radiator fluid – also known as coolant or antifreeze, radiator fluid works to extract heat from the engine and dissipate it through the radiator. A low coolant level will also likely result in overheating, so check your coolant and top it up if need be. The last thing you want is to be stuck on the side of the road in the blistering sun with an overheated car.
Brake fluid – brake fluid transfers the effort applied to the brake pedal by the driver’s foot to the components that stop the vehicle. Over time, brake fluid absorbs moisture from the atmosphere, this reduces its boiling point and corrodes brake system components. To avoid any issues such as brake fade on your road trip, ensure you check the brake fluid before you head off, especially if it has not been changed within the last 12 months.
Windscreen washer fluid – while a low fluid level will not affect the engine or performance of your car, there’s nothing on the exterior of a car that’s more important to keep clean than the windscreen. After all, you have to be able to see where you’re going. Adding windscreen washer fluid is very simple – get a jug of water with a small amount of specific windscreen wash added, then simply use a funnel to fill up your reservoir if it is low.
Tyres are essential for safe driving as they are the only link between your vehicle and the road. Even if you routinely monitor the condition and pressure of your tyres, before setting off on a road trip make sure you check the following:
Air pressure – road trips are long, and that means using a lot of fuel to get you where you need to go. The best way to ensure optimum fuel efficiency, is to check your tyres are properly inflated. Check the air pressure before you head off, and continue to check your pressure every 2,500km. Incorrect air pressure not only causes greater fuel consumption, it can cause wear and damage to tyres which could impact the overall safety of the car.
Condition – check tyre tread and look for signs of strain, bulges, or other damage. Even if you think your tyres are in decent condition, it is best to get a professional opinion, especially if you haven’t rotated or replaced your tyres recently. Also remember to check the condition of your spare tyre, you would hate to have a puncture and then find out you can’t use your spare.
Other General Maintenance Before a Long Trip
Flush the radiator – high temperatures can cause your car to overheat so to ensure you don’t end up steaming on the side of the road consider having your radiator flushed and filled, especially if it’s been over a year since your last service.
Check the lights – brake lights, indicators, high and low beams — test them all in the dark. Properly working headlights and taillights will avoid you being unnecessarily pulled over by the police and, most importantly, improve safety while driving at night.
Check the battery – look for loose connections, frayed or broken cables, dirt and corrosion, as well as cracked cases or oozing liquid.
Replace the wiper blades – summer can bring rain, especially if you are road-tripping to the tropical north of the country so it’s a good idea to make sure your wiper blades still work efficiently and replace them if needed.
If you are planning a summer road trip, make it a priority to perform these simple checks before you head off. Don’t ruin your holiday by ending up on the side of the road or the back of a tow truck. Book your car in with the experts at AME Automotive before your summer holiday, we have a range of car service packages that will ensure the safety of you and your family on the road this holiday season. Call us today on (08) 9455 3225.