#1 Check your rig before you hit the road

It’s wise to get sorted earlier this year to avoid any hassle before you set off on your next adventure. Labour and part shortages mean some essentials might take longer to get. Some vehicle repairs are taking longer than NZTA’s 28 day free recheck window. Avoid paying again, ask your local repairer to do a pre-inspection.    

​​Your safety on the road is important, and so is your prized motor caravan. With a million other things you need to do before you leave, don’t forget to take the time to make sure your vehicle is ready for adventure too! Here’s some pre-trip tips from our friends at VTNZ and Carter’s Tyres to get you road ready.    

VTNZ’s essential checklist: 

  • Make sure your vehicle has a current Warrant of Fitness or Certificate of Fitness 
  • Make sure your vehicle(s) licence (rego) and road user charges (RUC) are up to date and will be current for your trip away 
  • Check all your lights are working, including the indicators 
  • Make sure your tyres are pumped up and have good tread depth (over 1.5mm). Don’t forget the spare! 
  • Check the engine oil level is above the minimum indicator on the dipstick 
  • Check the condition of the engine oil. It shouldn't appear dark, thick or sludgy 
  • Check - and if necessary - top up the window washer fluid level 
  • Clean the front windscreen and check there are no chips or cracks 
  • Check your load is balanced, ensure luggage and heavy items such as camping furniture, food supplies and sunshades are kept as low as possible, and all loose items are secured 
  • Check your mirrors, additional trailer mirrors are required for most vehicle-trailer combinations 
  • Make sure your vehicle jack, wheel brace and basic tools are in the vehicle, and you know how to use them 
  • Get a high vis vest so you can stay safe if you need to stop at the side of the road. 

Prevent a problem, or solve it if it happens:   

Get your tyres checked by our friends at Carter’s Tyre Service, with 40+ convenient locations nationwide. You can get a free tyre pressure check from Carter’s and they’ll pump them up if they need it (including your spare). Or they can organise a competitive deal on new tyres.   

Did you know you can fill up your water tank at the majority of Carter’s branches, water restrictions permitting? It’s easy access and Carter’s will welcome you.   

If you get a flat tyre while you're exploring:  

Simply call Carter’s Tyre Service Call Centre on 0800 50 1000. As an NZMCA member you’ll get a discount on their call-out service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You only need your NZMCA membership card and credit card.  

For a longer checklist we’ve got you sorted, courtesy of member Des Austin and NZMCA Waikato members: The essential checklist for motorhomes and caravans.  

#2 Get safely there and back again

Regardless of what you’re driving or towing, it will probably be bigger than your car. We all know driving a big rig around can be awkward and take time to get used to – even if you’ve done it before.   

Our friends at Covi NZMCA Insurance tell us they see a lot of claims from members when they start travelling again after hibernating during the cooler months. The most common one is hitting a fixed object. These accidents often happen at home or at the end of a trip when you’re tired. We want you to have a safe, incident-free adventure without the hassle of having to get your motor caravan fixed. So, here’s a few helpful tips from Covi.    

Before you head off :

  1. Ensure you have a current insurance policy and roadside assistance  
  2. Check your vehicle is road legal with documents and licencing up to date  

Reversing your vehicle:  

  1. Know your surroundings by taking a moment to circle your vehicle     
  2. Reverse at a slow speed   
  3. Consider getting a reversing camera or sensors, especially if you have a larger rig   
  4. Ask your navigator to jump out and guide you to avoid an accident   

Take additional precautions :

  1. Drive slowly if you’re on an unfamiliar, narrow road (and pull-over when possible, to let others pass)   
  2. Take turns driving, or stop often to recharge  
  3. Arriving at your overnight destination in daylight hours makes setting up safer  

If an accident happens:    

  1. Get witness, vehicle and driver details that you might need for a claim  
  2. Take photos of the damage or accident scene with your phone/tablet   
  3. Have peace of mind knowing Covi NZMCA Insurance are just a phone call away  

#3 Keep your home secure when you’re away

More and more Kiwis are using tech to protect their home and contents while they're away; like video doorbells, smart cameras, and smart lights. Whether your home is your motorcaravan or fixed abode have peace of mind and keep it protected.   

Smart security tech lets motor caravanners keep an eye on their home, or make it look like someone’s home. There are different levels of security you can get to suit your needs.  

Noel Leeming’s Top Picks:  

  • Smart cameras: record indoors and outdoors, with built in lighting, motion detector, night vision and a siren if you need to sound the alarm. Check out the Ring Floodlight Camera and the Arlo Ultra 2 Spotlight camera.  
  • Video doorbells: record what’s happening on your front doorstep, motion detect visitors and chat with them remotely through your smart device. Such as the Ring Video Doorbell.  
  • Smart lights: Use timer settings to switch lights on and off on a schedule to appear as though you’re home. Or turn them on and off when it suits, using an app. A good place to start is this Philips Hue model.  

Tips for your smart home security set up:  

  1. Map out the number of cameras and other devices you’ll need to keep your property secure.  
  2. If you choose wireless devices, add an extra battery or two and keep them charged to swap in when needed, like right before you leave on holiday.  
  3. If your smart tech requires an internet connection, make sure you have it set up at your house and a separate connection for your motorcaravan. Wireless Nation’s NZMCA Data broadband solution can supply WiFi to your home and vehicle – just get a modem for both to keep the cameras connected and running.  

If you’re not sure where to start, ask the team at Noel Leeming. Most smart security is easy to set up, but they’re happy to help with installation. Call 0800 555 989 and ask for myTechSolution.   

To get your NZMCA discount, simply show their team your NZMCA membership card (in your app or physical) at any Noel Leeming store. Stock will vary by store, while stock lasts. You’ll also get free tech support from Noel Leeming’s helpdesk for one year after your purchase.    

#4 Gear up and check your bike is adventure ready

Love cycling? When you’re packing your stuff into your vehicle and doing all your safety checks don’t forget to make sure your bike is ready to safely ride and secure when you’re on the road.  

Before you go, take your bike for a quick ride round the neighbourhood – it could be due for a service and it’s a good idea to get your bike checked before you tick off another trail this coming summer. Our friends at Torpedo7 can service your bike at 22 of their stores nationwide, and it’s easy to factor a stop off at one, into your travel plan.  

Signs that your bike is due for a service:  

  • A squeaky chain  
  • Grinding, skipping or clicking noises from the gears  
  • Bike chain falling off the sprocket  
  • Poor brake engagement  

Making sure your bike safe to ride is just as important as keeping your bike secure. We’d all love to have a nice expensive eBike we can chuck on the bike rack and away we go but want to be sure it’s there when we get back!  

Here’s the top tips for preventing theft of your beloved bike: 

  • Get a good solid bike lock that does the trick rather than opting for a cheaper model.   
  • Always secure your bike – wherever you are put a lock on your bike, even if you are leaving it for a few minutes.  
  • Affix a GPS tracking system on your eBike, which you can conceal in the battery, saddle or light. Most trackers can be accessed in app on your smart device. 
  • Get bike insurance for the ultimate piece of mind 

If you don’t have a bike to tackle a cycling trail then Torpedo7 has you covered. There are bike hire services at their Whangarei, Rotorua, Taupo, Nelson, Queenstown and Wanaka stores. Simply contact the store or drop by on your way to the trail. 

With 65 cycling and 188 walking trails listed on our NZMCA app and website, there’s something for all fitness levels. Use the NZMCA app to find your trail: Tap the menu in the top right corner, select walking and cycling trails, then Filter Results.