The surprise lockdowns of 2021 have meant cooped up New Zealanders are now more than ever itching to get out and about and enjoy their summer breaks. As always safety should always come first and while AA Roadservice is there for you in the event your vehicle does break down, you also want to avoid time pulled up on the side of the road waiting for us to come to the rescue.  

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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. You can quickly measure the tread on your tyres by using a 20c piece; 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. 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 & 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.

Cooling system

Make sure your system operates as it should especially as we head into summer. If you have to regularly top it up, get it seen too before hitting the road. Things will only get worse if you don’t.

Over the last 12 months, AA Roadservice attended over 5,300 callouts were related to cooling system issues, and many of these could have been avoided if regular checks were conducted.


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 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 are the trailer plug connections so make sure these are clean and secure.


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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.

Click here to make an online booking.

Don’t forget your WoF

If your car is due for it's next Warrant of Fitness (WoF), you should consider getting it done sooner rather than later. As we head into the busy Christmas season, mechanics and service stations begin to get very busy. Especially now given Waka Kotahi NZTA gave motorists temporary extensions for WoFs/CoFs, vehicle licences and driver licences that expire during the period of 21 July 2021 to 30 November 2021.

Vehicle owners must have their WoF/CoF renewed by 11.59pm, 30 November 2021 to ensure their vehicle remains safe to be operated and to avoid potential fines.

As of 15 November, there were 642,558 WoF/CoF inspections remaining which were due to expire before 30 November 2021, according to Waka Kotahi NZTA. More than a third - 34% - due to expire were in the Auckland region.

A staggering number of vehicles in New Zealand fail their Warrant of Fitness inspection first time around. The majority of these failures come down to simple defects that could easily be checked and fixed before you roll on up for your WoF.

 How the AA can help with your next road trip

Vehicle experts you can trust

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