How To prepare Your Vehicle For A Road Trip in Australia

Many travellers choose to explore Australia by car. Driving around the big country gives you endless possibilities to enjoy what Australia has to offer. In addition to enjoying cities, you can experience the Outback and nature at its finest.

Once you have decided to take a road trip with your family or friends, you should consider a couple of things before taking off. Many foreign travellers take the road trip in a used car, purchased solely for the trip, and then plan to sell afterwards.

This post shows you how to prepare your car for road tripping in Australia.

How to Prepare your Car for a road trip in Australia
  • Save

Why buy a used car in Australia

Buying a used vehicle on a budget always requires thorough consideration. A simple car checklist before buying a car and heading out on the road should always include maintenance issues related to road safety. So, at least the condition of brakes, suspension and tyres have to be checked.

You do not want to get stranded in the Outback with a flat tyre or worn-out brakes. Worn tires, shocks and other suspension components also have a considerable effect on the car’s drivability, especially if you have to drive in harsh weather conditions.

In case you happen to find a decent vehicle at a reasonable price, but the tires have seen better days, take advantage of online shops offerings. There are numerous web-based tire shops ready to equip your vehicle with new tires at friendly prices. Or if you prefer the relaxed life of a van, you can also hire a camper home.

Three things your car or van shall have

  1. Changing shocks and other suspension components requires a lot more work, and this is usually more expensive. Therefore you should think twice before buying a vehicle that needs extensive repairs to be roadworthy.
  2. A functioning air conditioning is something to consider – without A/C, your journey can become a hot and humid one. Most travellers are looking to spend their money wisely and plan to spend as little as possible on the vehicle. Your vehicle needs depend on how many people and how much luggage are you travelling with.
  3. Always choose a vehicle that can safely carry your crew and belongings. The bigger the car, the more stuff you can bring with you. Minivans and SUV’s can carry surfboards and other more significant items, and you can comfortably sleep in them. However, bigger cars also come with higher running costs. Fuel consumption is one thing to consider on your road trip journey. The difference in fuel economy for a smaller vehicle compared against an older big minivan or SUV is significant.

However, if you plan to explore the Australian Outback and head for unpaved gravel and sand roads, driving a four-wheel drive in the Outback is recommended.

Vehicles with attractive prices usually can also require some additional maintenance, which, in addition to tyres, is best to sort out before heading out on the open road. Again, for bigger vehicles, the maintenance is usually somewhat more expensive.

Whatever vehicle you end up choosing, make sure all the essential maintenance items are in order.

Things to check before going on a road trip to Australia

Road trips in Australia are usually thousands of kilometres long, so car service is recommended to be up to date. To name some necessary maintenance items, at least:

  • Fresh oil change.
  • Checking and possibly replacing coolant and brake fluid.
  • Changing the air filter.
  • Making sure that the battery and alternator are in good order should all be done before your trip.

This kind of basic car maintenance can be done at a reasonable price, and your journey is way more enjoyable with a piece of mind on your vehicle’s condition.

Your Road Trip Vehicle Checklist – What to carry with you

In addition to a fresh set of tyres, make sure to take with you a tyre iron, a safely functioning car jack and a spare tyre. When something unexpected happens during your journey, necessary tools and a first aid kit belong to the primary car equipment. If you feel uncomfortable driving an older vehicle, remember to check out the rental car options available.

As soon as you have made sure all the basics are in order, all that is left is to pack your things and head out for a fantastic road trip adventure. Remember to plan your trip well in advance.

Travel distances in Australia are long, so be sure to have enough time to enjoy your trip. After all, the purpose of travelling is to relax, so do not plan a too-tight schedule.

Keep in mind that in Australia, you drive on the left-hand side of the road. For many of us, this means getting used to driving on the “wrong side” of the road. At first, driving may be a more stressful experience than in your home country, requiring more attention. Always keep in mind to stay focused on the traffic and only head out on the road well-rested and fed.

A road trip might also be a time for many parties and get-together, but to keep yourself and everybody else on the road safe, never drive if you are uncertain of your conditions. You can also check out this post for road safety tips in Australia.

Like this post, share it on Pinterest!

Prepare Your Car for a road trip in Australia
  • Save

First published in 2016, last updated in April 2021

If you find this article helpful for your trip, I’d appreciate it if you could support Rocky Travel and book your tours, accommodation, rental car, or purchase my book using the links in the box below. Thank you!


Search and find the right type of accommodation that suits your style and budget. For Australia get the best comparison results among apartments, homestay, B&B and hotel deals with

Find the best deal among thousands of offers, with the no. 1 Australian Comparison Site for rental cars, campervans and relocation vans. We recommend booking your vehicles with our partner DriveNow.

Travel with peace of mind. Get travel insurance that is affordable and offers the coverage that suits you. If you are aged up to 66, we recommend the plans, including coverage for outdoor activities by WorldNomads.


An Australia Book, with all planning elements to create a cost-effective travel plan. With 5 detailed itineraries, +40 customisation options, and +15 pages of sites, this is hands-down the best guide book you can find on the market.  Buy Your Australia Itinerary Guidebook

Get Michela’s expert advice to answer your questions, clear doubts, and craft a personalised Australia itinerary with rock-solid knowledge, first-hand tips and professional help to plan your trip to Australia.

  • Save