Ensure an Easter break without a vehicle breakdown
How to stay safe on our roads this Easter
What’s not to like about Easter? While it remains a significant Christian celebration, it’s also a fabulous five-day holiday period that extends from Good Friday to the end of Easter Tuesday. Many Tasmanians load up the car and take the opportunity to head off to their favourite Tassie destination before the cold weather kicks in.
Easter is one of the busiest times of the year on our roads, and one of the most dangerous in terms of accidents and breakdowns. Last year, across Australia, 11 people died on our roads over the Easter period, with the majority of these deaths being the result of excessive speed.
Then there are the hundreds of motorists whose Easter holiday will be severely compromised by a vehicle breakdown that could so easily have been prevented.
Servicing your vehicle
In all the excitement of planning what you’ll be doing over your short Easter break, it’s easy to forget that your vehicle will be relied upon to get you there and back safely. Of course, there will always be people who’ll take the punt that the strange noise they’re hearing with their starter motor is nothing to worry about, or the tyres with next to no tread are still ok, or the engine oil that should have been replaced 20,000 kilometres ago, is not a big deal. Wrong – It’s asking for trouble.
Invariably, these will be the people who’ll be stuck by the side of the road over Easter, kilometres from the nearest town, and wishing they’d carried out a basic car service before they’d left. (It’s a terrible way to be spending your Easter break).
In reality, the majority of vehicle breakdowns are preventable if you carry out some simple maintenance measures prior to any sort of road trip. The easiest way is to organise for a standard motor vehicle service with a respected automotive repairer, which you should book in a few weeks before your trip.
In a standard motor vehicle service, your mechanic will get your car up on the hoist to replace the engine oil, the spark plugs, the fuel filter, tune the engine, test the battery, check the level and refill brake fluid/clutch fluid, check for proper operation of lights and wipers, inspect the brake pads, tyre pressures, and more.
Generally, this type of service can be carried out for around $150 – $200, and should be undertaken on a regular basis.
The top four reasons for a vehicle breakdown
- Flat Batteries
- Wheels and Tyres
- Electrical Faults
- Vehicle Lock-outs
Source. NRMA 2017
Flat or faulty car batteries
Have you noticed your battery is sounding a little different lately? Is it taking longer to start? If that’s the case, then chances are your battery is on the way out, and you’ll need to replace it with a new one. Faulty or flat batteries are one of the most common causes of vehicle breakdowns. If you’re lucky then you may get three to five years with a new car battery, but once they start to go, you don’t have very long before they cark it all together.
Even if you’re not noticing anything unusual, you should keep an eye out for dodgy clamp connections and corroded terminals that will reduce the life of the battery. By applying some water with a scrubbing brush and some steel wool around the terminals, you can reduce the build-up of corrosion, and keep your battery in good condition.
Remember, every car battery has a shelf life. If you’re in any doubt, for around $150 you can purchase a new car battery, and give yourself one less thing to worry about this Easter.
Enjoy the journey
With so many local and mainland holiday makers on our roads over Easter, you may need to allow some extra time to arrive at your destination. This time of year, some extra patience behind the wheel will go a long way (not that there’s anywhere in Tassie that’s too far away). Wherever you may be travelling, enjoy the journey and have a safe and happy Easter.