Preparing Your Car for a Road Trip: Your DIY Car Service Guide

Nothing says great adventure fun like a big road trip! Before you see the sights and feel the adventure you need to make sure your car is in good shape to get you there.

You don’t need to be a mechanic to catch some of the basic issues that can turn a great road trip into an expensive disaster. Even the most basic of DIY car service can catch some common problems before they become major issues.

With the NZTA providing guidelines on car safety, it’s easy to keep track of your car’s health. Let’s run down with a simple DIY car service checklist to make sure you’re ready for your next adventure! 

A Basic DIY Car Service Checklist

A checklist for your big trip is a great way to keep organized. Checking off all the items to pack and the details to manage gives you peace of mind so you can focus on having fun. You should do the same thing for your car before a big trip.

While there are many wonderful mechanics who can help check over your car, there are a lot of little details you can manage yourself! Use the below checklist before you hit the road! 

1. Tyre Pressure and Condition

Tyres are the foundation for your car. If they are low, have damage, or have worn treads, you can be in for some major problems on the road. A quick walk around the car can catch some of the obvious problems, but before a big trip, kneel down and take a closer look. 

A tyre pressure gauge is a handy tool to have around. If you need one, most hardware stores have them. If there is no damage to the tire, you can fix low pressure with an industrial air pump found at most gas stations.

When checking your treads, make sure that they are greater than 1.5mm in depth. Don’t forget about the spare tyre in the boot!

2. Lights and Signals

Whether it is a headlight or a turn signal, a light out makes it harder to see and be seen. This can put you and other drivers at greater risk of an accident. 

Grab a friend, partner or kid and check your headlights, both high beams and low beams, brake lights, and turn signals. If all of them show when you activate them, you are in the clear. If not, look first into replacing the bulbs. 

3. Fluid Levels

There are a number of fluids you need to top up and double-check before a long trip. The obvious one, petrol, is easy. The others will require a check under the bonnet. 

If you haven’t had an oil change in a while, now may be a good time to do so. You can even plan the timing on your trip after regular maintenance to ensure you have brand new oil in the car.

Don’t forget to check other levels, like brake fluid and coolant. Transmission fluid, power steering, and windshield fluid all should be fine outside of a major issue or neglect. 

4. WoF and Registration

Make sure your Warrant of Fitness and Vehicle Registration are current. You can check these by looking in the top left (WoF) and bottom right (Rego) corners of your windscreen.

If your WoF is expired, you can jump online at and book a time with a great mechanic. Your registration is even easier, simply pay the right amount on the NZTA website.

Keeping Your Roadtrip Fun and Safe

A basic DIY car service before a trip can go a long way towards keeping you and your family safe on the road. All of these items are easy to check on your own but don’t forget about the regular checks and tune-ups at your local mechanics. 

When your car hits major bumps that you can’t fix, you need to get someone with experience and expertise. We here at My Auto Shop pride ourselves on our network of quality garages and mechanics. Contact us today for more information! 

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