Get a service manual & become familiar with the terminology & basic tools required for your vehicle
Perform some important checks & be prepared to perform a service whilst away when travelling for considerable distances.
YOUR VEHICLE IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY…… DON’T MAKE IT SOMEONE ELSE’S WHEN ON A TRIP
Learn how to do the basics on your vehicle
· Have a pen & paper handy to note items needing attention
· Take a few hours & check every nut & bolt underneath for tightness & burring
· Check all aftermarket fitted equipment fastenings & look for any damage & consider anti-theft options
· Whilst underneath, check for ANY leaks or damage, including the exhaust system and any areas where there are welds which may have fatigue or stress cracks
· Check all hoses & lines for any signs of leaking fluids or perished areas
· Jack up vehicle & spin/rotate each wheel & listen for ANY noises. You should hear NOTHING! The wheel should spin smoothly
· Whilst checking each wheel/tyre, hold top & bottom & rock vertically. Repeat holding either side. Note if there is any play or clunking & address accordingly
· Remove each wheel from the vehicle & inspect inside wheel arch for sprayed fluids, check the brake shoes/pads, check hubs for any movement or leaking seals
· Examine inside/outside of tyre for wear, bulging, splits, damage, foreign objects & date of manufacture. If in doubt, replace it
· Examine rim for missing balance weights, stress cracks, abrasions in the bead part of rim.
· Whilst wheel is off, inspect suspension components for damage, wear or perishing or leaks, including shock absorbers & steering dampeners
· Check diff fluids for discolouration & metallic fragments & check diff breathers, consider extending if needed
· Check transfer case & transmission fluids
· Check radiator coolant, pulleys, belts & water pump
· Check all air filters, oil filters & fuel filters
· Check all recovery points & tow hitch’s
· Check electrical wiring & secure any loose cables. Make sure all batteries are firmly secured
· Check & adjust (if needed) all lights, blinkers, spotties etc.
Several weeks prior to departure – MINIMISING POTENTIAL DISASTERS & save yourself literally thousands $$$
· As a general rule – If it leaks, seal it. If it rattles, tighten it. If it’s near it’s use by date, replace/service it
· Buy any small tools you will need to add to your collection, to perform any on-road maintenance or basic roadside repairs
· Have your vehicle fully serviced – giving time for any adjustments before you leave & making sure it was done correctly!
· Replace any worn tyres & have a wheel alignment done
· Grease EVERY grease nipple & flush your brake fluid & power steering fluid
· Consider installing a bug screen/mesh in front of the radiator
· Replace any filters or take spares especially air filters when travelling in convoy
· Replace any expired or missing items in your vehicle first aid kit
· If towing a trailer, make/buy a rear window shield to prevent breakages from deflection on dirt roads
If in doubt, contact your vehicle/trailer manufacturer or alternatively, speak to any of our experienced members who may be able to assist you further.
NOTE: This is a general guide only & in no way determines what each individual may need to do prior to a ‘big’ trip
(Submitted by member - Karen Gray)