It’s summer, and it’s finally time to break out that picnic basket and camping gear, toss it in your car, and get on the road to the nearest beach, picnic area, or anywhere else that suits your fancy. Speaking of picnics, check out this list of the best picnic places on the North Island to get your plans rolling! You’ve been waiting for this weather all winter, and you can’t wait to have the windows rolled down and the music blaring.

Isn’t just your luck, though, when halfway on your road trip a tyre blows out, or a scary looking red light starts blinking on your dashboard? Nothing will ruin your trip faster than your car giving out on you last minute like this. On top of the bad timing of it all, the cost may hurt even more depending on the severity of the issue.

To avoid all of this, and to keep your car running smoothly so you can take these spontaneous and maybe not-so-planned out trips, you’ll want to plan ahead. It only takes a little bit of planning and a portion of cost to save you quite a bit over the long run.

Keep up on your Warrant of Fitness

Your Warrant of Fitness (WoF), isn’t just the most annoying chore ever, it’s also really important for your car and your safety, as well as the safety of others on the road. Essentially, the WoF is in place to make sure that your car is meeting safety standards, and is good to drive. They’ll check your tyre conditions, brakes, safety belts and airbags, along with a bunch of other parts of your car to make sure it’s running smoothly. You can find more specifics about what they check, here. You should also be ahead of the WoF, especially when it comes to things like your tyres, by using guides like these to determine if you need to replace them.

The main point of keeping your WoF up to date prior to your road trip, is to make sure there aren’t any big issues before you head out. Even simple things, like your tyres getting older, can cause some havoc on the road if you don’t take care of it ahead of time. Besides that, accidents are more likely when you’re on a long haul road trip, and you’re putting yourself and others on the road at risk if you aren’t taking care of those little issues beforehand.

One thing to remember is that you can get your Warrant of Fitness from Christchurch to Auckland, or anywhere else that suits you and your location. So, even if you’re already on the road, you can still get your WoF updated. Try using the Yellow Pages to find a provider near you. Asking your friends and family for trusted mechanics is also a really great idea. Having references like that will ensure your WoF is handled smoothly and within your budget as well.  

Take a quick lesson

Possibly one of the most frustrating things to happen on a road trip is that raggedy piece of metal you just ran over blows out your tyre. It also seems to never fail that you’re in the middle of nowhere and of course don’t have phone service. Nothing is actually wrong with your car, you’ve just had some bad luck. It’ll be even more bad luck if you don’t know how to pop it off and use your spare tyre, or even worse, if you don’t have a spare tyre on hand.

To learn, you can definitely look up a couple of youtube videos online, or even just look at a how-to article. For more hands on experience, however, try calling up a couple of local mechanics in your area and see if they’ll show you. You might even be able to get in on helping out if your mechanic is friendly enough.

Remember that all mechanics should and will know how to change a tyre, even an auto electrical mechanic like this one in Tauranga will definitely be able to assist, so don’t feel like you need to limit your search to just tyre providers. If you’ve got family members or friends who are also good at it, even better! Force them to give you a lesson in exchange for a pizza or some afternoon beers.

You might also be able to learn how to change different car fluids, or even learn to change your oil. It’s not as complicated as you might think. Make sure you’ve got some other basics under your belt as well, like changing your windshield wiper.

Worst comes to worst

In the worst case scenario, you’re in the middle of a road trip in Christchurch and have to arrange for car removal. Believe it or not, you can even be proactive in this situation if you thought ahead far enough. Certain insurance policies will cover emergency car removals like this. Make sure you call up your car insurance company to find out what kind of towing fees they’ll cover, and if it needs to be brought to a certain car service place, like in Christchurch if you’re stranded there. They may have the option to add on to your plan as well, so again the key here is to call and find out what’s on your policy.

If you haven’t guessed it yet, the key to your summer road trip being the best one yet is to plan ahead. Feel free to leave the map behind and see where that back country road takes you, but when it comes to your car, you’ve got to be smart. A little bit of prevention now will save you huge headaches down the road. Happy road tripping!

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