Dealing with breakdowns away from home
Modern cars are remarkably dependable for such complex devices, but faults or damage can still trip them up. That’s annoying but not life-ruining when it happens close to home, but what if your vehicle breaks down in the middle of the annual family road trip? Here’s how to cover yourself for out-of-the-big-smoke car trouble, and maybe even prevent them from happening.
Do your preventative bit
Plenty of motorists end up stranded due to plain negligence. A spare tyre might be flat or perished just when they need it. Their car might be well past its service date and is now packed with occupants and luggage, with a heavy caravan or boat dragging behind. Tyres, fluids and a car’s other consumables all need to be checked before any big drive. Even better, book your car in for a pre-trip service. And while you can’t keep a warehouse of spare parts in the boot, a few additions and some basic mechanical skills can get you out of plenty of jams. Really serious travellers will typically carry a ‘spare’ spare tyre, drive belts and other bits ‘n’ pieces that can get them going without needing to call in the cavalry.
Get a car with factory roadside assistance
Once restricted to upmarket brands, this customer incentive is now thoroughly mainstream. Buy any Kia, for example, and you’ve got roadside assistance for seven years. But check exactly what’s covered by your particular scheme. All are subject to conditions, in Kia’s case servicing your car by the book. Many offer little or no compensation for the potential costs of getting stuck kilometres from home while towing, or in some other less common situation.
Join your state motoring organisation
All Australian state motoring organisations have roadside assistance packages as part of their broad suite of offerings. These mechanics and their vans can do an awful lot to get you going in a bind, wherever you might be, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If they can’t, they’ll do the legwork to get you and your car to the nearest service centre. Go for a top-level roadside-assist scheme and you can up your coverage to minimise the hip-pocket impact of ending up stranded overnight and needing accommodation or hiring a car to get to your destination. These packages also generally include services such as caravan and trailer assistance.
Make sure you can communicate
A mobile phone is sufficient for the majority of expeditions on the east coast, larger regional centres and other populated parts of Australia, but there are plenty of places where it just won’t work. If you’re heading to the outback, consider getting a UHF radio or satellite phone, just in case.
Leaving home base far behind should be one of life’s true joys. And by applying just a few commonsense preparations, you’ll head off into the distance with a smile ... and arrive at your destination looking the same way.
Did you know…
Smartleasing’s Vehicle Maintenance Program (VMP) takes the hassle - and a significant chunk of the cost - out of regular car maintenance? In fact, with VMP, you’ll save up to 30% on every service.
- We budget for your scheduled maintenance so there’s no more out of pocket expenses
- We approve all work before it’s carried out so you’ll never pay for work your car doesn’t need
- Like your other running costs, servicing is paid with pre-tax dollars, saving you even more
How much more can you save with a novated lease? Calculate your savings here >