The ultimate Road trip checklist - Sydney Diesel Centre
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The ultimate Road trip checklist

How to prepare your car for a road trip

Lockdown is over and soon we will be allowed to roam our beautiful countryside again! It’s road trip time!


And it’s time to get your car, 4WD, motorhome or van road trip ready, because nothing takes the fun out of a road trip like a break down far away from home or an expensive tow.


Regular service and maintenance is necessary all year round, but especially before a road trip, so make sure you check out these tasks before hitting the road!

Before you get started, check your vehicle’s service sticker and, if it’s almost due, book it in for a service! (Hint: we are happy to help – just call us on (02) 9681 7700 or email service@sydneydieselcentre.com.au)

Check your tyres

Tyres are crucial to safety, comfort and fuel efficiency, so it’s essential to check their condition before you leave. Visually check your tyres looking for things like excessive or uneven wear, cuts, and embedded nails that could cause a puncture. Also make sure your tyres are at the recommened inflation pressure for the load you will be carrying.  And if you carry a spare – make sure it is ready in case you need it by checking it is  in road-ready condition, and inflated to the recommended pressure.

What if you need to change a tyre?

This video is a great one to watch to learn how to do it!

Check the Fluids

Fluids are the lifeblood of any car – Oil, Radiator fluid, Brake fluid, Power steering fluid, Transmission fluid, Windshield fluid and fuel.



Check the date or kilometres since youre last oil change. If your vehicle’s oil was changed within your recommended timeframe, use the dipstick to check the oil condition and fill level. If it’s black, gritty or below the minimum fill line, give your trusted mechanic a call right away.


Radiator fluid – Coolant

That’s where we usually recommend to let the professional check for you. But it’s always good to educate yourself.

What does do? Keeping your engine running at the correct temperature helps to prevent damage caused by overheating, and your coolant is an essential part of your cooling system. Coolant has three main functions to protect your engine: Coolant transfers heat from the engine and releases it through the radiator, keeping the engine at a safe operating temperature. Coolant generally has a higher boiling point and a lower freezing point than plain water. If the water in the engine boils, it turns into a gas, which cannot transfer heat effectively. Coolant contains corrosion inhibitors that protect the metal and non-metallic (usually rubber hoses, seals and plastic tanks) parts of the engine cooling system. A low coolant level will likely result in overheating, so check your coolant and top it off if need be. Using the wrong coolant for your car could impact the effiency or even damage your engine. That’s where the professional comes in – they cannot only check and test the coolant, but also know which coolant is the right choice for your vehicle, driving style and conditions.


Brake fluid, transmission fluid, power steering fluid: 

These ones are definitely a topic to discuss with your trusted mechanic. Check the brake test section below on the basic tests you can perform. Make sure to check how your steering feels and discuss this with your mechanic.


Windshield fluid:

Nothing more irritating than a filty windscreen.  But did you know that looking through a smeared and dirty windscreen is very tiring, as well as unsafe, especially while driving at night. Before you leave clean your windscreen inside and out and check the fluid washer level. Topping up the windscreen water is an easy one. get a watering can at any petrol station or at home and fill the windscreen fluid reservoir. If you feel fancy add some windscreen washer additive available at any car store or petrol station. Now don’t forget to turn on the wipers and make sure they’re in good working order. You can clean them or replace them if they squeak or leave streaks behind.

Check the brakes

Break at slow speeds with radio off and listen to any possible squealing noises coming from your car’s brakes. If you hear any squealing or other noides it may indicate worn brake pads. Make sure to get it fixed or inspected by a professional, before embarking on longer roadtrips.

Have you ever paid attention to how your brake pedal responds or feels when you press it? A spongy response when braking may indicate the brake fluid is low. Talk with your mechanic about this as well.

Tidy Up

Nothing nicer than sitting in a freshly cleaned car, especially if you will spend a lot of time on the road. Give your vehilce a good detail inside and outside and organise all the bits and pieces for when you are on the road.

Oh and since we are in Covid times – make sure to pack Hand sanitizer, Disposable gloves, face masks, and disinfectant wipes.

Safe travels!

Yes, agreed – it sounds like a lot of work and a hassle, but it isn’t as bad as having your well earned holiday trip ruined by a problem that could have been prevented.

We wish you a wonderful and safe trip!