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How to prepare your car for a winter road trip

16 Sep 2014  Written By: Beaurepaires

Winter road trips can be a lot of fun, but it’s important for your car to be properly serviced and maintained for the drive. Check out our list of helpful tips!

Summer road trips seem to get all the glory, but there’s nothing quite like bunking up and snuggling down with a bunch of friends or family for a cosy winter car ride. Whether you’re heading off on an adventurous skiing trip or spending time with loved ones at your holiday home, remember that the journey is just as important as the destination. This means you’ll need to prepare adequately – not just by stuffing the car with blankets, pillows and snacks, but also by ensuring your vehicle is in tip top condition for the trip.

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Driving in inclement winter weather is a world apart from driving when it’s warm and sunny outside, so be sure to conduct a thorough check of your car’s interior, exterior and internal functions before you set off. Our road trip preparation tips will help you to get your car in ship shape, and don’t forget to read through our handy winter driving tips as well. We’ve provided some helpful advice to keep you and your passengers safe and sound through wind and rain, sleet and snow.

Prepping your car for a winter road trip

  • Ensure that your vehicle is roadworthy by Australian standards and that your car insurance and registration are up to date.
  • Ensure that your tyres have the right tread and are properly inflated. If the tread on your tyres is worn down, you may have difficulty travelling on wet roads as your tyres will struggle to retain their grip on the slick surface. If you need to get your tyres maintained or replaced, remember to head to your nearest Beaurepaires store to have your tyres serviced before your trip.
  • If you know you’ll be driving in snowy or icy conditions during your road trip, consider investing in winter tyres. These tyres are specifically designed to withstand and power through harsh winter conditions, and keep your car safer on slick and slippery roads.
  • Check your battery and ensure that the fluid levels are topped up. While your battery overheating is a more common problem in summer, it still pays to be prepared when it comes to ensuring your battery is ready for a winter road trip. Remember that car batteries do experience a decrease in power in cold conditions, so you may find you have trouble starting your car if your battery isn’t up to the task. Definitely not an ideal scenario if you’re stuck in the snow in the middle of nowhere.
  • Remember to clean your windscreen, check your demister is working, test your wiper blades, and refill your windscreen washer container.

Winter driving tips

  • Turn on your headlights whenever visibility is poor i.e. if it’s raining, snowing, foggy, or dark. It’s important that you can see and be seen on the roads in low visibility conditions.
  • Apply your brakes smoothly and steadily on wet roads. Braking suddenly and abruptly can cause your vehicle to lose control and veer off course.
  • Be patient. You’ll need to drive slowly and carefully, so make sure that you plan ahead when estimating your travel time. Be particularly cautious when driving on wet or icy roads, and leave yourself plenty of time and space to react to any unexpected hazards.
  • Pay particular attention to road signs when driving on unfamiliar roads and terrains, and be on alert for any potentially hazardous conditions.
  • Carefully observe the three-second rule, and be sure to leave plenty of space between your car and the vehicle in front of you. Remember to always increase your braking distance when driving in wintry conditions
  • Make sure you are feeling well rested when you set out on your trip. If you feel at all drowsy when driving, pull over and take a short nap until you feel more alert.

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Having your car break down and being stranded until you can get help is no one’s idea of a good time – especially if it’s raining or snowing! That’s why it’s better to be safe than sorry and take all necessary precautions before your winter road trip. If you need to get your tyres changed or battery replaced, or if your car requires an overall routine maintenance, it’s a good idea to pop into your local Beaurepaires store to see what they can do for you. That way, you’re guaranteed to have a fun and stress-free winter road trip – barring any fights that break out over the music playlist, of course!