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The Mercury Cars Guide : December 10th 2011
survival guide bursts, resting or changing a driver at each stop. At holiday time, it's best to avoid the ma or highways, which fill with traffic and dangerously impatient drivers. ook at the map for secondary roads that can take you through quaint towns and often reveal more scenery. If you are going bush, plan your route around limited rural resources such as fuel, spares and tyres. It can be a long way between fuel stops so make sure your vehicle has enough range, remembering that your normal fuel range will be affected by the weight of your load. Be aware some country servos may run out of premium fuel or have only high flow diesel nozzles for trucks. There are also limited spares out there for European cars. If your car has run flat tyres or a space saver spare, you will be restricted in speed, load and travel distance. The night before you set off, check the weather and auto club or road authority website of the state you will be travelling in for information about road closures due to flooding, roadworks or bushfires. VEHICLE CHECKS On the hottest day of the year, in stop start Christmas traffic, you can bank on the aircon breaking down. So now it's time to get your car in to your regular mechanic for a full inspection. Explain your holiday plans, insist on checks of the aircon, engine and transmission cooling systems, steering, brakes and tyres (don't neglect the spare). All these can't prevent a rock holing your radiator, so pack spares for emergency repairs. This can include race tape, cable ties, water for the radiator, WD40, umper leads and a tool kit. Check the tyre ack, can of goo or compressor are on board and working properly. Consider roadside assistance through your vehicle provider, state auto club or even some R companies such as ayco, which provide 24 hour roadside support for emergencies. Take the membership card with you. or remote areas, consider a signal booster to augment mobile phone or SB wireless internet access. TOWING If you are towing a caravan, boat or even a small trailer, get the towing vehicle's suspension checked as well. Have a look at the wheel bearings, lights, suspension and tyres. nder inflated tyres will not only increase fuel consumption but also affect handling and braking. Check the safety chain, wiring socket and the coupling for condition and operation. DRIVING Tackling a long haul trip with a packed vehicle requires different driving skills, so consider packing the car and going for a trial run. Notice how much longer it takes to stop, how lazy the steering feels, how much slower you need to be through corners, the extra fuel use. ong haul driving also requires a different mental approach. Don't be driven by deadlines. Develop some patience and road courtesy. Being stuck behind a truck at 90km h in a 100km h zone even for as long as an hour will put you back only six minutes. PACKING Travel light. The less you carry, the better your vehicle will handle, the lower your fuel bill and the more space inside. ut the heaviest items on the bottom and towards the front of the cargo area; keeping the centre of gravity low and the vehicle mass as centred as possible will assist handling and braking performance. If you have a roof pod or roof racks, pack only light items as this will greatly destabilise the car. In a station wagon, use a cargo net. If you are towing a caravan, boat or trailer, don't load it up --- keep it within its towing weight limit and tow ball load. ARE WE THERE YET? ong trips can be tolerable for children with games consoles, D D players, i ads and smartphones. Don't forget spare batteries and chargers. lan your route to take in places where you can stop and let the children swim in a creek, play cricket or ust run around. Hema has a ids Road Atlas ($14.95) which includes zoos, theme parks and Australia's famous ''big'' things. It also has puzzles, activities and games to help children pass the time when travelling. And pack one pillow each for the children so they don't fight over them. Small travel pillows are ideal as they take up less room. :03 266 fatalities had o urred on Australia's roads up to idnight on Tuesday --- t o ore than during the sa e period last year Slow, steady gets there safe THE Whytes are planning to drive from the Sunshine Coast to Mareeba near Cairns for Christmas --- a 1700km journey. It would take David, Lynette and their daughters Alexandra, 14, and Ella, 11, (pictured) about 20 hours travelling non-stop. We'll just take the same route, through to Mackay and stay with cousins and then Mission Beach to break down the second day and catch up with some friends before heading on up to Mareeba,'' says David, a police officer. It's important to have regular stops so you're not tired and, of course, we keep a steady speed. It's funny how you see people whiz past 30km/h faster and then you catch up with them at the next stop anyway.'' David gets their 2003 LandCruiser serviced and thoroughly checked before the trip and he and Lynette share the driving. To keep their girls amused, they have a variety of activities. It's a cross between modern technology and old-fashioned games,'' he says. We play I Spy and Car Cricket and then of course we have hi-tech stuff like iPods and something to play some DVDs. We also pack good food, plenty of water, fruit and stuff for salad rolls so we don't have to stop and buy pies along the way. And we have a fridge. There's a two-fold reason for that --- to keep food fresh and for milk for coffee etc and to bring back any fish I catch.'' Mark Hinchliffe MERCURY ON SATURDAY Saturday, December 10, 2011 Classifieds 62 300 400 • carsguide.com.au ---3 *Offer excludes Dealer delivery. Available on new IS 250, IS 250C, IS F purchased and delivered by 31 December 2011. Not available on IS 250 X models. Lexus reserves the right to extend any offer. VALID L2671 LEX00180/HM/10x8 2011 MODEL RUNOUT. THE ON-ROAD COSTS* ARE ON US. COMPLIMENTARY • Registration • Compulsory third party insurance • Stamp duty ENCORE OWNER PRIVILEGES • Complimentary Service Loan Car • Lexus DriveCare • Lexus Premium Ticketing • Lexus Magazine The sporty IS 250, IS 250C convertible and the high performance IS F have always been highly attractive vehicles but never more so than now. For a limited time, you can drive away with complimentary on-road costs including registration, compulsory third party insurance and stamp duty. See your Lexus Dealer today or visit lexus.com.au/offer to arrange your test drive. LEXUS OF HOBART Cnr Argyle & Brisbane Street, Hobart Ph: 6230 1911 lexusofhobart.com.au
November 26th 2011