Travel Tips

Prepping your Vehicle for a Road Trip – 10 things to do before you set out!

A recent experience in Rotorua has prompted me to include some valuable lessons we gained to save ourselves some unwanted grief. There is nothing quite like breaking down in a remote area. Breaking down becomes an even bigger issue when you rely on a wheelchair adapted vehicle for your transport. Here are 10 important things to check before you set out on your journey to avoid undue stress and expense.

10 things to think about before you set out!

Preventative maintenance is a good idea to start any road trip!

1. Make sure your AA Roadservice Membership is current as you never know when you may need them.

2. Check your TYRE PRESSURE when you fill up at the garage. This is very important for anyone who travels with the extra load of a wheelchair and hoist. The recommended tyre pressure for your car can be found in the door jam, or in your owner’s manual. Recommended pressure is usually between 30 and 35 PSI.

3. Check your OIL by using the dip stick supplied to check your levels – it’s always good to get this replaced regularly.

4. BATTERY – check the contacts for any build up of residue. It can be a good idea to carry jump leads as hoists, in particular, can suck a lot from our car batteries.

5. Check that your ENGINE AIR FILTER is clean.

6. Learn to check your fluids, ANTIFREEZE or TRANSMISSION FLUIDS – can easily be gauged by tanks or dipsticks.

Stock up on supplies!

7. Food (snacks) and water.

8. GPS Phone with a car charger

9. Torch

10. Spade

Our experience

Yes, our van decided not to start on the first day of our holiday break!

We were so lucky that our lovely holiday house manager had an up-to-date AA Membership so we were able to call AA and use their services for free. Remember, just because you aren’t a member you can still call them for assistance and they will just join you up on the spot! There are lots of other benefits to being members and its open to visitors to the country too.

Our AA mechanic informed us that our oil was so low that it was a matter of time before the engine blew up! Again, very lucky … we finally found the reason that our van broke down and it had nothing to do with any of the above!

IT WAS THE KEY – IT SNAPPED RIGHT OFF IN THE IGNITION. The key needs to have the ‘sensor component’ next to the ignition to allow the engine to kick in! Because of this lack of knowledge we were unable to open the back door to exit the van and get the hoist down. This meant we had to say goodbye to our van whilst it was sent off on the back of a tow truck to be assessed.

Although we lost one day stranded on a remote farm waiting for our van to be fixed. We had thankfully packed lots of provisions and there was a huge pile of chopped wood to keep the log burner happy, all was not lost.

The lesson learnt was highlighting how important our adaptive vehicle was to us. Without it, we are well and truly marooned so it pays to keep it in tip-top condition.

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