As the weather improves, you may well be contemplating a road trip outside of Brisbane to other parts of Queensland or beyond. But is your vehicle up to the challenge? While long drives are generally good for a car’s engine, there are other stresses and strains that go along with such a journey and can lead to holiday-ruining problems. Below is a checklist to help determine whether your vehicle is road-trip ready – and some advice on what to do when you suspect it might not be.
Fuel and Fluids
You’re not going anywhere without fuel, so make sure you have a sufficient amount to research the first refuelling point along the way. That’s pretty obvious. Less obvious, though just as important: check the levels of your engine oil, coolant, brake fluid, transmission fluid, power-steering fluid and windscreen cleaner as appropriate.
Check the pressure of your tyres as well as inspecting them for damage. When in doubt, replace the borderline tyre(s). The last thing you want on unfamiliar roads and under unpredictable conditions is trouble steering or breaking. Worn tyres also contribute negatively to fuel economy, which should be more of a consideration on road trips.
Make sure all of the windows are clean and streak-free, especially the front and rear windscreens. While you’re at it, test the windscreen wipers and change the wiper blades if necessary.
Battery, Lights and Indicators
If you have a multimeter, test your vehicle’s battery with that. Otherwise, you can get an indication of battery strength by switching on the headlights while the car is stationery and seeing if they look dim. Check the rest of the lights and indicators. Involving a second person makes this step a lot quicker.
Belts, Hoses and More
Pop the bonnet and look for excessive wear on belts and hoses, leaks or anything else that seems out of place in the engine. Leading up to your proposed road trip, pay close attention for unusual sounds, vibrations, etc. that could indicate a problem you can’t see.
Run your air-conditioning on a minor trip as a test. If it struggles to keep you cool for a short period of time, it’s probably not going to do the job over a journey of many miles.
Useful Items – Cabin
If they’re not already in your “carry-ons”, some or all of the following might come in handy on your road trip: road atlas (if you don’t use satnav), sunshade, first-aid kit, listening material (music, podcasts, audiobooks), bottled water, travel sweets, tissues.
Useful Items – Boot
Similarly, items you’re unlikely to regret packing in your boot: tool kit, torch (with new batteries), car cover in case you’re forced to park outside in bad weather, picnic rug, chamois cloth, jumper leads. Don’t forget to check the spare tyre if you haven’t already done so.
When in Doubt…
If you detected a possible safety issue during one of the above steps or you just want to be completely sure your vehicle is road-trip ready, nothing beats having it fully inspected by a qualified mechanic. You’ll be glad you did when you’re out on the open road and the car is running super smoothly.
Need a Car Service Before a Big Drive?
Based in Dayboro in the Moreton Bay region north of Brisbane, Mainstreme Automotive is a family business that’s been operating since 2001 and earnt many five-star reviews from our satisfied customers. If you’d like us to ensure your vehicle is road-trip ready, contact us at or by calling (07) 3425 1503.