Preparing your vehicle for a road trip

Most of us are planning for some much-deserved road trips around New Zealand this Easter. Before you set out it always pays to make sure your vehicle is road trip ready – that’s ensuring it is 100 percent capable of getting you to your destination safely.

Safety is paramount, 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.  

Here are some parts of your car that you can easily check yourself 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 cuts, 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 Glass before you hit the road as heat and travel may cause it to increase in size.

AA Shop have a great selection of quality products to ensure your vehicle is road trip ready. Check out the Rain-X Anti Fog and Rain-X Water repellent to prevent vision problems before they begin.


Check that all your lights are working, and all lenses are clean. Holiday times are all about being safe and seen.  

Cooling system

Make sure your system operates as it should. 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.

On average, AA Roadservice attend 7,500 callouts a year that are 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 they weren’t being used. Always check the wheel bearings of your trailer or caravan to make sure they’re not loose or noisy, and make sure you’re carrying a spare tyre for them. Always ensure that all lights and indicators are operating correctly.


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.

Come and see the experts

Come and see the experts at one of our 38 AA Auto Centre’s nation-wide.

AA Members receive additional benefits:

  • Save between $10 - $30 off your next service
  • Save $7 off the cost of your Warrant of Fitness (WoF)
  • Up to two free 10-Point Checks each year

 How the AA can help with your next road trip:

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