How to Check Your Car for Damage When You Return From an Outback Adventure

Posted on: 2 September 2016

Australia seems to have been designed for adventurous motorists to explore. With tracks like the Outback Way or the stretch of road from Darwin to Broome there to traverse, it just doesn't seem right to stay at home or stick to the coasts.

So why not pack a tent and plenty of water, and hit the highways? Well, there's nothing wrong with a little adventure, as long as you realise that the stresses and strains of outback driving will have an effect on your car. Here are some key things to look out for when you get back that will help to avoid accidents or complications.

Have a Look at Your Tyres

More than anything else, driving in the outback is hell on your tyres. The constant heat, the combination of dust, gravel, sand, soft mud and water and the array of sharp rocks littering the roads are guaranteed to cause wear and tear. Take this literally, by the way. Those rocks can easily cause lacerations in normal car tyres and the full effects might not show up until you are back on tarmac and heading for home. But the more common issue is poor grip. Whenever you return from an outback adventure, check the treads and inflation of your tyres and make a call as to whether they need replacement. Don't forget about them. Your offroad antics could well have caused fatal damage.

Pay Close Attention to the Undercarriage

It seems obvious, but driving for hundreds of miles on unsealed outback roads will almost certainly cause some damage to your car's undercarriage. What's not so obvious is that the cause of that undercarriage damage might not just be the terrain itself. Driving over uneven off-road surfaces could also have damaged the shock absorbers that separate your car's undercarriage from the road. When you are in the bush, you might not notice, but back in town the effects will be dangerous. For example, worn out shock absorbers can limit your braking distance and increase wear on your tyres, so check them for any problems when you get home.

Book Your Car in for a Steering Checkup

After returning from an outback trip, it's probably a good idea to get your steering systems checked out as well. Bumpy tracks can easily cause fluid leaks in conventional power steering systems or lead to the fluid that they contain becoming contaminated. In both cases, mechanics can make sure your hydraulic steering systems are watertight and that no serious damage has occurred. This applies even more urgently if your car has an EPS steering system. Heavy jolts from country roads can damage electronic power steering equipment, while dust can easily be thrown into the steering arch. A full power steering check up will set your mind at rest about any of these problems.

Enjoy your explorations in the Australian outback! As long as you pay attention to your vehicle on the drive home and check up essentials like power steering, you can head into the interior again and again, savouring the beauty of this incredible nation.