With Easter around the corner and coinciding with school holidays, New Zealand families are preparing to holiday in their own backyard, opting for long-weekend road trips. As always vehicle safety should come first, and while AA Roadservice is there for you in the event your vehicle does break down, you also want to avoid a break down altogether if possible.
Here are some simple checks that you can easily do before heading off on your road trip:
During a Warrant of Fitness (WoF) inspection, tyres are one of the most obvious areas of neglect, as there’s greater opportunity for them to develop uneven wear or become worn out completely within 12 months.
Check tyre pressures, and don’t forget to also check your spare. Under-inflated tyres use more fuel and therefore cost you more money especially with today’s fuel costs. You can quickly measure the tread on your tyres by using a 20c coin; measuring from the bottom of the coin to the ‘20’ or writing edge is approximately 2mm. If you have this depth of tread, you are within the guidelines, but you’ll need to get them replaced soon, as 1.5mm is the minimum legal depth to pass your WoF.
Run your hand around the circumference of the tyre to check for cracks, cuts and bulges and uneven wear. If unsure, consult a tyre professional to help ease your mind - you may even need a wheel alignment and balance if you’ve not had one in the last 12 months.
Clean all glass, including your mirrors. Ensure your wiper blades are in good condition, and if in doubt invest in some new ones. Make sure your windscreen washer fluid is topped up and fresh detergent has been added.
Make sure you clean your windscreen and all interior glass properly and remove any grease with detergents or a spirit. AA Motoring Windscreen Washer Concentrate will do the trick, this powerful formulation is perfect for that road trip. Products like Rain-X Anti-Fog and Rain-X Glass Water Repellent will also help improve vision, all are available to buy at AA Shop.
If you have a crack on your windscreen, get it repaired through AA Auto Glass before you hit the road as heat and travel may cause it to increase in size.
And it’s not just your screen that may require a cleaning, it could be the right time to give your car a complete spruce up especially if it has been sitting unused for some time. The AA Shop have a great selection of quality products to ensure your vehicle is road trip ready. Check out the Premium Car Wash Pack - it includes everything you need to ensure the inside and outside of your car is clean, sparkling and tidy.
Check that all your lights are working, and all lenses are clean. Holiday times are all about being safe and seen. Another trick is to park with your headlights on facing the wall such as in many flat level underground carparks. Position your car about 3-4 feet away from the wall, if one light seems significantly higher or lower than the other, they may need adjustment. This can be done at one of our AA Auto Centres.
Is your child’s car seat installed securely?
One of the main jobs a car seat does is reduce the movement of a child in a crash. It needs to stop the child from moving as quickly and as safely as possible.
A crash at 50km/h creates the same force as if you fell out of the third floor of a building.
If you can move a car seat with your hand, imagine what the force of a crash would do to it. It must be secure.
How can you check?
There’s a simple test to do to be sure a child restraint is secure. Hold it next to where it’s connected to the vehicle and pull it side to side. Does it move more than 2.5cm?
If the answer is yes, it’s not securely installed.
Using the “2.5cm rule” gives you a simple, precise measurement to use. This is not a lot of movement so don’t be surprised if you find your car seat is not secure enough. Over 80% of car seats in New Zealand are not installed securely.
It’s not uncommon to have trouble getting a car seat secure. Your instruction manual should guide you as to how to install your child restraint securely but if this is not clear and you need help doing so, make contact with your local child restraint technician who can offer knowledge, support and expertise.
If your battery is at the end of its serviceable life, it is better to find out while you have time on your hands than to be stressed when your car does not start on the day you are about to head off on your road trip. Prepare yourself by getting your battery checked and tested before it refuses to start your car.
AA Members can get two free AA 10-Point Checks each year. The AA 10-Point Check includes a 12volt battery test along with other important checks to help keep your vehicle in excellent condition.
AA Battery Service can come to you in the comfort of your home to check and test your car battery. Have multiple cars? No problem, they will attend to all of them. The initial check will cover looking at the condition of all connections, signs of corrosion, battery mounting and the battery’s physical condition. The battery will then be tested using a state–of-the-art battery tester to analyse the state of health of the battery and the charging system of your car.
There is nothing better than starting out on your road trip with a healthy battery and peace-of-mind that your car will start every time.
Our trailers, boats, or caravans aren’t normally used as frequently as our vehicles, and things may have deteriorated whilst idle. Always check the wheel bearings of your trailer or caravan to make sure they’re not loose or noisy before going on your big journey. To avoid this occurring, go on a short road test drive around the block listening for unusual noises or strange handling with the item you are towing.
Always ensure that all lights and indicators are operating correctly. Common causes for faults here are the trailer plug connections so make sure these are clean and secure.
It’s important to remember to check the engine oil level and top it up if required before heading off on a long road trip. Ensure that you account for your travel distance, and if the distance you’re due to cover on your road trip will take you into your next service interval, arrange to have your vehicle serviced before you head off.
Most workshops are very busy just before a significant holiday period, so be sure to book your service well in advance.
Own an electrified vehicle?
Whether you own an internal combustion vehicle (ICE) or an electrified vehicle such as a Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) or Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle (PHEV), preparing your vehicle ahead of your journey with vehicle checks such as tyre and vision checks are equally important.
Before heading off on a road trip it is important to know the distance to the fast-charging stations you will need on your journey. ChargeNet is New Zealand’s leading provider of rapid charging solutions, with a network of more than 250 strategically positioned fast-charging stations (and expanding), from Cape Reinga to Bluff.
ChargeNet gives EV drivers a convenient and reliable EV charging network throughout New Zealand.
The AA also provides a facility to locate fast-charging stations through its time and distance calculator – click here to find your nearest fast-charging stations.
In Wellington, the AA has introduced a mobile breakdown van fitted with a lightweight BEV charger to support AA Members who are caught short on their journeys. In 20-25 minutes, it enables enough charge to drive up to 10 kilometres so Members can get home or to a nearby charging station.
Don’t forget your WoF
If your car is due for its next Warrant of Fitness (WoF), you should consider getting it done sooner rather than later. As we head into the busy Easter and school holiday period, mechanics and service stations get very busy.
Getting a WoF inspection is simple with AA Motoring, appointments are not required at our drive-in AA Vehicle Testing Stations and most of our AA Vehicle Inspection sites. You may need to book your WoF inspection in advance at our AA Auto Centre sites.
Drive-in AA Vehicle Testing Station locations:
Auckland: Glen Innes Vehicle Testing Station
Auckland: AA Auto Centre Mt Roskill – WoF drive-in vehicle testing
Mt Maunganui: AA Auto Centre Mt Maunganui – WoF drive-in vehicle testing
Rotorua: AA Auto Centre Rotorua – WoF drive-in vehicle testing
New Plymouth: Bell Block Vehicle Testing Station
New Plymouth: New Plymouth Vehicle Testing Station
Nelson: AA Auto Centre Nelson – WoF drive-in vehicle testing
Christchurch: Hornby Vehicle Testing Station
Christchurch: AA Auto Centre Christchurch Airport – WoF drive-in vehicle testing
So, if you are keen to head off on a road trip, don’t hesitate to start planning and get these important checks underway today.
How the AA can help with your next road trip
- AA Motoring – aa.co.nz/wof
- AA Auto Centre - aa.co.nz/autocentre
- AA Roadservice - aa.co.nz/roadservice
- AA Traveller - aa.co.nz/travel
- AA Shop - aa.co.nz/shop
- AA Insurance - aa.co.nz/insurance
- AA Auto Glass - aa.co.nz/autoglass
- AA Membership - aa.co.nz/membership
- AA Smartfuel - aa.co.nz/aasf
Vehicle experts you can trust