As the blossoms bloom and the temperatures rise, there’s no better time for grey nomads and seasoned travellers to dust off their caravans or four-wheel drives and embark on epic road journeys.
Spring is nature’s invitation to hit the open road, but as seasoned automotive experts explain, preparation is the key to making the most of your journey.
Meet Overland Australia Adventurer John Kilby and his travel companion and wife, Liz. These intrepid nomads have mastered the art of planning and preparation, and their experiences are a testament to the joys of hitting the open road.
John, who shared their travel philosophy, says, “We do a few five-day trips and two reasonably lengthy ones of about six to 12 weeks per year. It’s easier when you’re semi-retired.”
With countless cross-country kilometres etched into their memories, this Brisbane couple offers invaluable advice on making your road trip memorable and safe. According to John, it’s not just about fueling up and programming the GPS.
For those with a trusty four-wheel drive, John emphasises the importance of vehicle maintenance.
“It’s imperative that if you have a four-wheel-drive, you make sure the vehicle is serviced,” he advises.
He also recommends checking your tires, ensuring they have “at least 70 percent wear remaining”. Don’t forget about the battery, as John points out that it should be “checked and tested”.
To keep things running smoothly, he stresses the need for “a good quality DC-DC charger, AC charger, solar panels, and a solar regulator.”
For campervan enthusiasts, the Kilbys stress the importance of pre-trip servicing. Make sure your gas cylinders and water tanks are filled. Ensure your solar panels are clean and your battery system is fully charged. And as a precaution, pack a spare set of wheel bearings.
John also recommends running a dual battery system if possible, explaining that it “can be set up to run the fridge and power all your other accessories, leaving the starting battery in your vehicle to just look after that”. Additionally, for those with battery systems that allow additional solar input, he advises considering “some portable panels” that can recharge your batteries even when parked in the shade.
A successful road trip is not just about the vehicle; it’s about being well-prepared. The Kilbys recommend packing spare fuel, an extra air filter, and a comprehensive tool kit. Even if you’re not a DIY enthusiast, having these essentials on hand can be a lifesaver. And, of course, don’t forget a well-stocked first aid kit for those unexpected bumps along the way.
For adventurers who prefer the road less traveled, communication is essential. John suggests having a means of staying connected, whether it’s a satellite phone or a Starlink device. Ensure you have both paper and digital maps, and consider investing in a 12-volt fridge for your perishables. For added peace of mind, an EPIRB (Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacon) should be a part of your travel kit.
How to know when your battery is fading?
Depending on the vehicle you might get no sign at all. The best thing to do before a trip is to get it tested at your local Battery World store for that peace of mind. It’s very quick and easy for them to do.
How long should your car battery last?
The average lifespan is 3.5 years. Most manufacturer’s premium products will have a warranty covering most of that lifetime. Keep in mind that leaving your lights on isn’t covered by the warranty.
Do cars have different batteries and need different plans?
Yes. Different models of the same car will have different batteries.
Why do some larger cars have two batteries?
This is really dictated by the manufacturer. Some will have two starting batteries, and some will have a smaller auxiliary battery that helps run some of the accessories in the newer models.
Will weather and road quality affect your battery life?
Absolutely, batteries hate extreme temperatures as they significantly reduce their life. Road quality comes down to excessive vibration. Does anything like getting shaken about excessively? We’ve all heard about the outback corrugated roads.
With spring well and truly upon us why not pack up your caravan or 4×4 and embrace the open road? With the sage advice of experienced travelers like John and Liz Kilby, your spring road trip can become the adventure of a lifetime.
Prepare, explore, and make lasting memories as you embark on the journey of a lifetime.