It’s not long until the good-old Australian Summer/Christmas break. From chatting with some of our customers, most of you are starting to plan your getaways or stay-cations for the December/January school holidays.
It’s true that many of us Gold Coasters still love the idea of packing up the family car and driving a few hours away to get away from the influx of tourists to our beautiful home.
Whether it’s a 3 hour drive to Noosa or heading over the boarder to the hidden gem, Yamba, we have plenty of options within our reach. Or maybe you’re happy to enjoy our own local beaches, after all, we do live in the best place in the world.
Either way, our summers get HOT HUMID and BUSY!
Air conditioning is cranked up to high, we’re left waiting in traffic longer and many places close down to enjoy their own summer break (we are one of them).
So since it seems like everyone is already thinking about holidays, we thought we would help with your planning by including these expert tips on how to prepare your car for a summer holiday.
No matter if you’re staying on the Gold Coast or road-tripping elsewhere, don’t get to the break without checking out these tips. They may save you from a break-down far from home, in the humid Queensland sun.
“How should I prepare my car before I go?”
1. Don’t book a service a week before you leave
You thought you were being prepared getting that last minute service in. So why are we telling you it’s a bad idea?
“It’s not enough time to get some repairs done if it’s something major.” details Steve, one of our expert mechanics.
Some parts can be unavailable or need to be sent from interstate or even overseas. If specialist services are needed, some companies are booked out in the lead up to Christmas, leaving little room to accommodate for your issue before they close. And on that note, there is no industry-standard holiday break, so you’ll find some companies closing up much earlier or longer than others.
By coming in so close to your trip, you are risking not having your car fixed in time.
Steve also had a second point for booking too late “It won’t fall inside your budget you’ve got left. Usually it’s a cooling system, brakes, or tyres. You can budget for it, you can space it out over a couple of weeks if you do need repairs. Don’t leave it to the last minute. No one likes that phone call that you need a lot of repairs but you don’t have the money and you’re going away.”
So what does Steve recommend?
“Bring it in a month in advice. Hopefully we say, ‘here’s your car back, there’s nothing wrong with it, enjoy your trip’.”
2. Get your air-conditioning system checked
It’s an obvious one, but we find many people only get their air conditioning checked when something is wrong.
The air conditioning system is made up of multiple sections and parts and you probably haven’t asked to have it looked at since last summer. It’s a good time to come in and get it checked.
Another one of our mechanics, Christian, gives some good insight, “On a new car, you shouldn’t need the air-conditioning checked for the first three years. But anything older should get checked annually.”
Re-gas, Pollen filters and cabin filters are all parts of the air conditioning system that often need attending to. They improve the quality of the air inside the car, and they can often get blocked. It’s a good time to get these cleaned or replaced before they are put under more strain during summer.
If you’re noticing the air coming out of your cars vents isn’t as cold as it use to be, you might need an air conditioning re-gas. This simply tops up the gas used to provide that stream of icy cool air that lovingly blasts into your face after a sweltering walk back from the beach to the car.
3. Get your cooling system checked
“It’s the hottest time of the year. We see people coming back in January having issues or in some bad cases, come in on a tow truck because of their radiator or cooling system” details Christian, who specialises in European cars.
If your car hasn’t had a tension in a long time, it’s something we check in a service. But if it hasn’t had some major components replaced for some time, it’s a good idea to have a check over so we can say you’ll be fine for your trip.
We might find some signs of pending future issues such as hoses wearing out or radiators getting blocked or dirty, so we try and spot those early.
4. Know your terrain
Mechanic Scott suggests “Some trails use brakes more than others, you should always get suspension and tyres checked”
Servicing with Titan Automotive always includes a good check over of brakes, suspension and tyres. But if you haven’t had a service in some time we recommend just booking in for a check over of these key areas.
Scott’s final word is that “Cars will always break but you can keep it to a minimum with regular services”
5. Check the basics
Mechanic Kevin suggests having a general once over to check everything, this will make sure you can make the distance.
“Make sure lights are working, check the coolant if you’re going down south for cooler weather, hot temperatures require a good pressure test to check your hoses and radiator can cope.”
Kevin suggests mentioning to your mechanic where you plan to travel to so they can pay particular attention to the parts of the car which may be impacted.
There’s some basic checks to consider before the summer holidays, and the best thing to do is book in sooner rather than later to avoid that Christmas cost pinch if anything needs to be fixed.
Kevin recalls previous summer’s where he has seen people leave their bookings too late, “They can afford the holiday but they can’t afford to fix the car, they will take a punt and away they go, it’s scary”