Before setting off checklist

Mail Forwarding
Unless you are only away for a couple of days, you need to consider getting your mail redirected or forwarded ahead. Receiving mail can be a problem while travelling, especially if you are not staying in one place for long. There are mail service businesses who you can get Australia Post to forward your mail to. During your trip you can contact the Mail service company and get them to bulk mail your letters to your temporary address at your request.

To prevent vandalism and break-ins your home needs to appear to be occupied while you are away travelling. Organise to have the lawns mowed regularily during your absence. Have a friend or neighbour remove any junk mail from the letterbox as this is a sure sign of your absence. Remember redirecting your mail doesn't stop junk mail gettting placed in your letterbox.

It's a good idea to let your local police know when you will be away and expected return date.

It is very important to attend to a few maintenance checks before setting off on your trip. This will help eliminate some of the potential disasters that no traveller needs. Many of the checks may seem obvious, but it never hurts to have a reminder. The following checks are applicable to Campervan, Caravan, Motorhome and 5th Wheeler owners.

Towing vehicle
Radiator -Check coolant level. An inhibitor must be added to most vehicles to prevent costly corrosion damage to the engine. The coolant should never look muddy. Seek advice if unsure. Make sure there is antifreeze added if travelling the Alpine areas in winter. Check the radiator fins are clean and in good condition. Acid from dead insects attacks the fins and they become soft and easily damaged. Too many damaged fins leads to overheating. Radiator cap (Check for signs of leaking)

Windscreen washer levels (including rear washer)

Windscreen wiper blades

Tyre pressure and condition of tread

Radiator and heater hoses Check for hardening or cracks (Spare hoses are cheap and should be carried)

Fan belt(s) (Spare belts should also always be carried)

Brake fluid level - maintain between the Min and Max marks

Clutch fluid level (if applicable)- maintain between the Min and Max marks

Battery level (We suggest charging the battery on a mains charger overnight before departing. This tops up the battery in case it was not fully charged. A partially discharged battery shortens the life of the battery considerably. Always fully charge a discharged battery as soon as possible to prevent damaging effects)

Engine oil level

Automatic transmission level (if applicable)

Power steering level (if applicable)

Fuel tank filled

Extension mirrors fitted (if necessary)

Lights checked - car and van  Click here for more information on electrical wiring

Spare tyre checked - car and van

Vehicle serviced - an excellent idea if travelling considerable distances. Be sure to mention to the service mechanic of your intended trip and ask for a thorough inspection

Fridge - Door secured. Switch to gas mode if applicable

Gas bottle filled - check for leaks using foam (shake a bottle with detergent and small amount of water and apply liberally over pipework, regulator and fittings) The foam makes leaks easily seen.

Water tank filled

Cupboard doors and drawers secured

Windows and roof hatches locked

All loose items removed from benches

Brakes checked

Wheel bearings

Tyre pressure and condition of tread

Lights plugged into vehicle and operational Click here for more information on electrical wiring


Just prior to departure

Door locked

Jockey wheel removed or raised sufficiently for travel

Stabiliser jacks raised

Van hand brake released

Step moved to travelling position

Towing aids fitted (if used)

Secure safety chains

If you own a pop-top, lower top and fix in travelling position


Electrical Wiring
Lights on trailers and caravans can be a real problem, but with patience and a few simple steps you can have them working again with minimal fuss.

Unfortunately the round 5 pin and 7 pin plugs do not follow the same wiring pattern. Why they are different is beyond logic. It constantly causes compatibility problems when a 5 pin plug is used in a 7 pin socket.

If your trailer tail lights or brake lights flash when you turn on the indicators, a poor earth connection is usually the cause. Many intermittent problems with the lights can be caused by  a poor earth. Pin 3 is the earth connection on both 5 and 7 pin plugs.

Before spending time searching for a fault, unscrew the plug and inspect the wiring. Look for broken wires, badly corroded or rusty connections. If all the connections are OK, reassemble the plug and insert it firmly into the vehicle socket.

If lights still not working correctly, remove the glass lens and inspect the taillight fittings. Check the globes for broken filaments. Replace any globes found defective.

The quickest way to test the indicators(flashers) is to turn the vehicle hazards on. This tests both indicators as the same time.

5 Pin plug wiring
Pin Description Wire colour
2 Left Flasher Yellow
3 Earth White
5 Right Flasher Green
6 Stop (Brake) Red
7 Tail, licence plate, clearance Brown


7 Pin plug wiring
Pin Description Wire colour
1 Left Flasher Yellow
2 Auxiliary Blue
3 Earth White
4 Right Flasher Green
5 Auxiliary Black
6 Stop (Brake) Red
7 Tail, licence plate, clearance Brown



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