With so much to see, good roads and great weather every day (sometimes for hours at a time) the road trip is a kiwi institution, but every summer thousands of Kiwis find themselves stranded on the side of the road with car trouble.
To save you from total disaster here are my five top tips and I promise none of them are “check your fluids and tyre pressure” because you’ve heard that enough.
- Tip 1: Before you lose or break your one and only car key, have a spare key made today. Just a few bucks at the key cutting kiosk in the mall can save you hundreds if a locksmith has to drive all the way to Uretiti. For computerised keys, you might need to go to your dealer or try that dodgy shop at the back of Silver Bell.
- Tip 2: You wouldn’t try to buy insurance if your house was already on fire, likewise you should join a breakdown assistance plan long before you need it. Phone around, some providers may suit your needs better than others.
- Tip 3: You can’t drive on three wheels, so before you pack your sparkly speedos and all those pairs of shoes locate your spare tyre and give it a poke, just so you know it’s not flat. If you don’t have a spare, get one from your local tyre shop ASAP.
- Tip 4: While driving, a red light on your dashboard is not a new Grindr message. It means something exciting or expensive (and probably both) is about to happen, so pull over and stop the engine. It might be a good idea to read your owner’s manual before phoning for help.
- Tip 5: Have your car serviced at the same place every time. A mechanic who knows your car has a better chance of spotting potential problems before they become real problems.
New Zealand is a great place to travel around and not a bad place to be stranded in either, so should the worst happen just relax and call for help. It won’t be long until you’re back on the road again.
| Grant Bowyer
Grant (pictured above) has broken a large number of cars and, being cheap, has fixed most of them. He’s been fired by his manicurist and must resort to press-ons to hide the embedded grime. As part of his job he fields calls from stranded motorists New Zealand-wide and he thinks you should sell your Toyota Cavalier before it overheats – and it will.