8 Maintenance Checks You Should Do Before a Long Road Trip

Going on an epic road trip in New Zealand sounds exhilarating, but before you hit the road, ensuring that your vehicle is up to the task is crucial.. After all, you don’t want to experience a breakdown and get stranded in the middle of nowhere. Thus, having your vehicle undergo a thorough maintenance check before your trip is crucial to ensure that it’s ready for the long trip ahead.

A full maintenance check allows you to detect the early signs of vehicle trouble and deal with them before they can get any worse. When done properly, you can ensure the safety, comfort, and overall enjoyment of your trip. You can even send your vehicle to an auto shop and have it checked by a professional automotive technician in New Zealand. But if you’re confident in your automotive skills, you can conduct a full maintenance check on your own.

Check the Battery

Your battery is the heart of your car's electrical system, powering everything from your lights to your ignition system. To ensure that the battery won’t fail you during your trip, make sure its terminals are free from corrosion and the battery is in good health. However, if your battery is old or has been causing issues, it may be wise to replace it before your trip.

Check the Vehicle’s Tyres

Tyres are your vehicle's only point of contact with the road. As such, their condition can significantly impact your vehicle's performance and safety. That’s why you want to make sure that they’re in good shape, so they can handle the demands of your long road trip. 

Inspect all tyres (including the spare) for adequate tread depth and signs of damage. If you notice your tyres have seen better days, immediately replace them with fresh tyres.. You should also check your vehicle’s tyre pressure. Incorrect tyre pressure can lead to increased wear, reduced grip, and even failure of your tyres. If you notice that your tyres are too soft or too hard, correct their pressure immediately. You can find your vehicle’s recommended tyre pressure on a sticker inside the driver’s door.

Check the Brake System

Good brakes will ensure that your vehicle can come to a complete stop as safely as possible. Thus, it’s in your best interest to thoroughly check your brake pads, brake callipers, brake rotors, and brake hoses for any signs of wear and tear. If one of the components is damaged, it’s ideal to replace it, as well as its matching part located on the other side of your vehicle to prevent brake imbalance. Also, remember to test your brakes before your trip. If you notice any odd noises when you brake or if the car pulls to one side, it's time to get your brakes professionally inspected.

Check the Belts and Hoses

Belts and hoses play a critical role in the smooth running of your car, controlling everything from your alternator to your cooling system. Inspect them for signs of wear and tear, such as fraying, cracks, or leaks. A broken belt or a burst hose could lead to an inconvenient breakdown or costly engine damage.

Check the Vehicle’s Fluid Levels

Your vehicle relies on various fluids for optimal operation and cooling. These include engine oil, brake fluid, power steering fluid, transmission fluid, and coolant. Before embarking on your trip, ensure all these fluid levels are up to the mark. Running low could lead to engine overheating, poor brake performance, or power steering failure — all of which could prove disastrous on a long drive.

Another vehicle fluid you should check is the windscreen washer fluid. This fluid is formulated to leave your vehicle’s window cleaner, as well as help keep your windscreen wiper system lubricated. As a result, using windscreen washer fluid provides you with better results compared to using a simple soap and water solution.

Check the Air Filter and Intake System

Your car's air filter and intake system are critical in maintaining your vehicle’s engine performance. These components are designed to supply the engine with cleaner and cooler air to ensure it runs smoothly. Over time, the air filter can become clogged with dust and dirt. As such, it’s important to regularly clean or replace your air filter to keep the engine airflow smooth.

Moreover, you should inspect your vehicle’s intake system and check for any signs of damage or blockage. The intake system should also be checked for any signs of damage or blockage. Any issues with the intake could lead to decreased performance and increased fuel consumption.

Check All the Exterior Lights

Your vehicle’s headlights, tail lights, brake lights, and indicators, must be in working order. This is because proper exterior lighting isn’t only a legal requirement but also a safety one. When all of your lights are working, you can rest assured that you can see the road and your vehicle can be seen by other motorists—especially when driving at night.

Check for Leaks

Spotting leaks early can prevent minor problems from turning into major ones. Park your car on a clean surface for a few hours, then move it to check for leaking fluids. Pay particular attention to coolant and oil, which are often the most likely to leak.

Although performing a full maintenance check may take some time, you’ll be able to rest easy during your trip. When you know that your vehicle is ready to keep up with the demands of your long road trip, you'll be free to enjoy all the breathtaking sights and experiences New Zealand’s open roads have to offer

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