5 things your car needs for a summer road trip

Where Can I Find the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number)?

The vehicle identification number (VIN) is composed of 17 characters (digits and capital letters) that act as a unique identifier for the vehicle. A VIN displays the car's unique features, specifications and manufacturer.

The VIN can be found in a couple of places including on the car's registration label (1), on the compliance plate in the engine bay (2) or on the passenger side windshield (3), or on one of the door posts (where the door latches when it is closed) (4). See the image below:

Look for the VIN in these other locations:

  • Insurance card/Insurance policy
  • Vehicle title and registration certificate

Close

3 Nov 16

It may seem like only yesterday when spring sprung upon us, but we're already entering the sizzling summer sun. It's a season when you might get a bit of time off with friends and family (if you're lucky), so what better way to escape from the rat race than with a good summer road trip?

What are the essentials for a good road trip?

That being said, you'll need to do a little planning to get the most out your time in the sun. Forget a few essentials and your journey could easily go from trip to blip.

Particularly if you've scoured the used vehicle market, get a CarHistory report to check on your options and looked forward to taking it on an outing for the first time - it's not ideal to find yourself wanting.

So, here are five in-car essentials for your summer getaway:

1. Charging cables

Did you know that out of the approximately 19 million Aussies that own a phone, almost half of them (45 per cent) say they "can't live without it"?1 That's one of the findings from Roy Morgan Research, and shows the sheer attachment we have to our cells - and by extension, the people they connect us to.

With that in mind, you might want to ensure you have the means to keep your mobile juiced up. First, check to see how your car is set up for charging. Is there a USB port you can use, or will you need to get a converter for your electric lighter?

There's another reason why you'll want to stay charged up when on the road - safety. Should you have an accident, a fully charged phone could be your best friend. Be safe and stay connected, wherever the road takes you.

Many chargers come with car adaptations - do you have one for your phone?

 

2. Music

Victor Hugo once said: "Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent". Whether that's an excuse to sing along on every kilometre of your road trip or not, you won't get too far without a way to play music.

That means loading up on MP3s, CDs or even cassette tapes for your journey - whatever your car has. Just remember to think of your fellow passengers, too, and cater for all tastes.

If your car doesn't have a player, not to worry, your trusty mobile phone can help. You can invest in some portable speakers, or amplify the sound with an empty cup.

3. Snacks

Do you know who the most popular person in the car is during a road trip? The one who brings snacks. Drinks, chips, sandwiches, snack bars - all can help you make it to your destination without the pangs of hunger distracting you.

WebMD suggests eating healthy food and drinks in particular, which can increase your blood sugar levels and help fight off the "mental fogginess and lethargy" that can come from a lack of nutrition2. You certainly don't want the driver to be tired!

It's a good idea to rest up before a big drive, also.

 

4. Air conditioning

If you're lucky enough to have air conditioning in your car, make sure it's topped up and ready to keep you and your fellow occupants cool.

The refrigerant that acts as the cooling agent in AC units can eventually run low, meaning you'll have to refill. Unless you know your way around an engine bay, you might want to get a professional to look at this, because doing so incorrectly could damage the AC unit.

Also, be sure to book your car in for a service in good time before your trip, or the only air conditioning you may get is from your wound-down windows. And no matter how many snacks you bring, it might not make you the most popular car owner!

5. Air

From the air you breathe to the type that will get you to your destination, be sure to check your car's tyre pressure before hitting the roads.

Under-inflated tyres will wear down much quicker, ruin your car's fuel efficiency and could even blow-out while on the highway.

You can check your car's ideal tyre pressure via the sticker on the inside of the driver's-side door frame. You can either inflate the tyres yourself using a gauge and a foot pump, or head to your local petrol station and use the "free air" pump that most have available.

Happy road tripping!

1Roy Morgan Research, 7 million Aussies now 'can't live without' their smartphones. Accessed October, 2016.
2WebMD, How to Stay Awake Naturally. Accessed October, 2016.

View a sample report >