Updated: Dec 16, 2020
The summer holiday road-trip is an age old Australian tradition that has caused many family fights and laughs alike. Though your kids might be giving you absolute hell on the road, there’s no need to for your car to as well, which is why we’ve written this blog post. Below is our 7 tips and tricks to keep the kids quiet and the car running this summer.
Before you leave:
1. Check your tyre pressures (including the spare), engine oil and coolant.
While it may seem unnecessary, so many modern cars burn oil between services. We can’t tell you how many times in the last year we’ve been called for a noisey engine that was genuinely just low oil.
2. Check your service history and previous recommendations.
Another simple check is to see the last time you had a service and to check the invoice that you received. If your mechanic recommended you replace your radiator due to a small leak, the last thing you want to do is overheat your car while in the middle of no-where driving to Sydney.
Additionally, with many workshops overstressed over the holidays, it’s hard to find a workshop that will sympathise when you’re trying to find someone to fix something that was recommended to you in July of 2018.
3. Buy consumables. Food for your kids and for your car.
Just like your kids will slowly turn into cannibals if left alone without food for more than 2 hours, so will your car. Remember, oil is used to stop the engine eating itself from the inside out and keeping a spare 5L of Penrite will save you when least expected. Check the oil level when you stop for fuel too.
As for the kids, we speak from personal experience when we say sugar is not your friend. Snacks like salted chickpea crisps and sesame snaps will satisfy both savoury and sweet tooth without giving the kids enough energy to tear the car apart.
If they’re still amped up after chickpeas, give them a few Bundaberg rum balls and watch them fall asleep.
On the trip:
4. iPad holders and headphones.
No one wants to listen to the frozen theme song for 6 hours.
5. Frequent stops.
Make it a game to see how far you can make it between rest stops. Set a goal and stick to it unless it’s an emergency. For someone travelling from Brisbane to Bundaberg, set a goal of making it to Gympie in the first sitting where you can have a snack and a break, then Childers for an ice-cream from Mammino and then into Bundaberg.
If you can, find a local thing that is interesting to kids along the way and make it a little goal to make it to that place for a tasty treat.
Bonus tips and tricks:
6. When you stop, let your car run for a minute before turning it off.
This is a really old school trick that is especially poignant for turbo charged cars and diesels. Because of all of the heat soak through a turbo, it’s always a good idea to let the car idle after a long drive too cool off properly. Think of this as a runner taking a cool down lap to prevent cramps.
7. Don’t go on a trip at all.
Look, it’s great to visit family but, COVID-19 has given you a once in a lifetime chance to not take your kids on a trip. Could you imagine a Christmas where you get to have a 15-minute FaceTime call with your family and then sit around home having a wine and Christmas food?
Compared to a X-hour drive to sit around a plastic table and listen to your racist uncle ramble on about Donald Trump, it actually sounds like a much better deal.
Ironically, our best piece of road-trip advice this year is to just stay at home. And when you’re ready for next year’s trip, talk to one of our honest mechanics.