While the City of Logan is the best place to be and visit, sometimes we all need to get away from the normality of life and drive off into the distance on a road trip. It doesn’t matter if it is a couple of days or months, you should always make sure your car is as ready to go both mechanically and personally.
Road tripping in 2020 is going to be a very hot ticket because of the coronavirus pandemic. With limited concerts, sporting events, festivals, no large gatherings and no fun, what else is there to do?
Roads are already loaded up with vehicles and people who are trying to escape the chaos to find peace and solitude in nature. Road trips are not cancelled and in fact travelling nationally has really become encouraged by the state governments.
Queensland is a big state and there are plenty of places to drive and see even with the restrictions. Hitting the open roads and heading to the mountains, lakes, beaches to get out of the house and engage in an activity that will have minimum contact with other humans is a good thing right now.
It’s bad enough when you have car trouble in your local neighbourhood – or even in your own driveway. However, nothing could put a damper on those travel plans like having your car break down hundreds of kilometres from home.
Before you leave home, there are several simple steps you can take to protect your vehicle, your trip and your loved ones.
First, in case anything does go wrong with your vehicle, make sure you give a trip plan to someone trustworthy. Now, you can go to work on that car of yours.
It is always recommended that you have your trusted mechanic do a full safety inspection to see if anything needs replacing and to make sure you have good tyres to make the trip. But there is also plenty you can do yourself.
Tackle these before you leave from home.
- Begin your trip with a clean car, both inside and out.
- Keep a small garbage bag inside the car.
- Make certain your car has a jack and tool to change a tyre or an air pump depending on your type of car.
- Check your spare tire. While your mechanic should do this, it is best to double check.
- Pack a fire extinguisher.
- Bring towels for cleaning dirty windshields, spills, etc.
- Make sure you have your music downloaded and check that it works as you may lose service and that could make the trip a little less fun.
- Don’t forget any of those necessary cables; Car charger for your phone, auxiliary cable if applicable, USB cables, camera chargers, Go Pro chargers, drone chargers, etc.
- Bring a plastic funnel to add water or other fluids. Bring a water bucket in case you need to use a river or lake for emergency coolant.
If you had your car checked by a mechanic before leaving, the following you should not have to do. But if you like to do it yourself, ensure you have at least done a check.
Before packing up, make one final check of the following:
- Tyre condition. Make sure your tyres are safe all round and you have the correct air pressure. Check tread and look for signs of strain, bulges, or other damage.
- Wipers and wiper fluid. When the rain falls, you don’t want to discover your wipers are useless. In addition, bug hits can really mess a windshield, so you’ll need a full fluid reservoir.
- Coolant. You may want to flush the radiator, but at least make sure you have coolant at the correct level.
- High and low beam headlights.
- Oil, power steering, and brake fluid.
- Loose cables, heater and air conditioner.
When you’re off the beaten track, help might not be readily available. Having the right tools in your car can help you get back on the road, whether it’s you or a passer-by who has the know-how.
Not all country mechanics have quick access to replacement parts, either, so if you carry some basic spare parts like hose clamps or an accessory drive belt it’s a huge help to get moving again.
General equipment such as a shovel, torch, ropes, drop sheets, a battery charger, and fuel are also a helpful assortment of tools to have in your car for a variety of situations.
Your basic toolkit should include:
- Adjustable wrenches (large and small)
- Screwdrivers (straight blade, large and small)
- Screwdrivers (Phillips head, set of three)
- Jack and pump
- Tyre repair outfit, including valve key
- Socket set
- Tow rope
- Electrical tape
- Suitable fuses and vehicle light globes
Most of this is basic knowledge to the older generation however road tripping might be new for many as the times have changed for now. Even with all of the best practice in place something may happen that you just cannot fix.
It always pays to have one of the national motoring roadside assistance service memberships when travelling long distance. It is better to be safe than sorry.
The main thing is to be prepared and then enjoy the trip exploring wherever the road takes you.