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Journeys : Dec2011 Jan2012
Jules’ Gems Regular motoring tips from R ACT patrolman Julian McGarry Preparing for a road trip A t last, the holiday season is here! If you’re planning a trip over the next couple of months, it’s important to make sure your car is in tip-top condition. It’s even more important to get your caravan or camper van ready – especially if they haven’t had a lot of time on the road lately. Many a holiday has been ruined on day one because of poor maintenance, so it’s a good idea to have your car ser viced before you head off – and that means more than just oil change and filter. On the road, the most common problem that ruins holidays is a faulty or clogged cooling system. The car is more than likely to be packed to the hilt with holiday gear, or maybe you’re towing the boat or van, and you’re driv ing in hotter summer weather (we hope) so the cooling system needs to be in top-notch condition. A cooling system pressure test, with all hoses checked, and the radiator f lushed with coolant is recommended. The alternator and water pump drive belts also need checking. Ty res should be checked for tread and sidewall condition and inf lation – a wheel balance and alignment wouldn’t hurt either. Steering and suspension should be checked prior to alignment. Get the battery tested and terminals cleaned. Vehicles with timing belts need to have them replaced at manufacturer-specified inter vals. They usually last between 60,000 - 100,000 kilometres, so check if your car is due for a new timing belt and if so, get it done before your trip. Each time the timing belt is replaced it pays to replace idler pulleys and water pump if they are belt-dr iven – and replace any leaking oil seals at the same time. Some engines are termed ‘non-free spinning’ – if the timing belt breaks in these engines, major internal damage can occur. Keep records of all work that has been carried out – a complete serv ice history will help you keep track of what was replaced and when the job was done. This will add value when you decide to sell the car. Maybe you’re towing a trailer, caravan or boat? They all require servicing, too, especially if they have been sitting around for extended periods. Wheel bearings and springs are the most likely cause of problems, particularly on boat trailers that are exposed to salt water. If in doubt, get the bearings repacked or replaced and have the springs and axles checked for significant rust. (Boat trailer springs tend to rust and crack under the axle.) Trailer plug wiring and lights should be hooked up and checked, well before you hit the road. Tyres need the same checks as cars, including ensuring they have the correct load rating. Check safety chains and shackles (they must be steel, not stainless steel or aluminium – these won’t hold up in an emergency). Trailer brakes need servicing too. If you’re towing a heavy load, it makes sense to change the tow vehicle’s brake f luid regularly, to reduce moisture, which increases the boiling point of f luid and increases the chance of brake fade. When you’re on tour, make a daily check before setting off – oil and water, tyres, trailer coupling, clean windscreen. Happy and safe holiday motoring from all of us on the RACT Roadside Patrol – we hope we don’t hear from you, but remember that if things do go wrong, we (or the patrollers from our sister motoring clubs) will be there to give you help when you need it most. Life on the move *Conditions apply Keeping you in the home you love Stannah Stairlift free home assessment Inside for straight or turning stairways... .. .or outside for straight stairways www.prking.com.au BLD LIC No 22942 Call Michael on 9748 3488 for your free brochure 19205_PR King Journey Mag Ad_2.indd 1 16/02/11 10:26 AM December 2011 / January 2012 35
Oct Nov 2011
Feb March 2012