Preparing for a Trip
All motorists should be prepared to tackle minor repairs when their car suffers a fault, such as changing a wheel, or replacing a bulb, but with the strong reliability of the modern motor car even minor faults may rarely crop up. Still, it always pays to be prepared and never more so than Taiwan. When out travelling Taiwan's roads and countryside one can come across obstacles from time to time as well as rocks and other sharp objects, which have fallen onto the road, not to mention the extreme weather conditions one can encounter from time to time. It can also be said that some areas can be very remote and may offer little in terms of service stations and few tow trucks to be seen. It can pay to be familiar with some basic skills in repair then, and to also have an idea of things to take when travelling around.
Tool and Spares Kit
Lots of people, believe it or not, have little or no idea what their car's standard tool kit consists of and what they would typically need to deal with a minor problem. Here is a complete list of things to make sure you have on a journey to manage the basic common issues.
Philips and flat head screwdrivers, a jack and jack handle, a twelve inch hollow lever bar, a wheel nut wrench, a pair of pliers, a spark plug tool, a spare spark plug lead, a spare spark plug, a tow rope, jumper leads, a warning triangle, a litre of engine oil, a few litres of water, spare fuses of various ratings and fittings, spare bulbs of various fittings, gloves to work in, rags for cleaning, a tyre pump, a can of tyre sealant, *a fuel canister, a working mobile telephone with car charger.
Remember, some of the things on this list may not always be helpful to you, but may benefit someone else in need.
*Do make sure your canister is specifically designed for the fuel you are carrying and maintains a good cap seal.
Besides readying an appropriate tool kit and spares, one needs to ready themselves. Be sure to be familiar with your vehicle's handbook and take it with you. Be sure to be familiar with changing a wheel and the location of the spare and make sure you have successfully practiced this at least once.
When changing a wheel on the roadside make sure a warning triangle is placed at least fifty feet away from the vehicle from behind. If the vehicle is beyond a blind corner or rise then place the triangle before the obstacle to offer traffic plenty of reaction time in case you are in a potentially hazardous or prone position.
Also make sure you are familiar with how to change fuses and bulbs, inflate tyres, measure and top up fluid levels and read your vehicle's instrument panel for fault lights or codes (refer to manufacturers hand book).
Always be sure to notify people or authorities if you are planning to travel into uninhabited or restricted areas and make sure you are familiar with routes, how to read your map and emergency services numbers. GPS systems although often useful, may not always offer details on exact whereabouts, road conditions, accidents or the weather.
Always check for weather updates with the Central Weather Bureau before heading off on journeys as weather can change quickly in Taiwan and bring about extremely dangerous conditions.
Getting Ready for a Trip
Before any journey a driver should always make the following checks to his or her vehicle.
Check all tyre pressures (including spare). Check all exterior light operations including indicators, brake lights, reverse lights, headlights, running lights, rear number plate lights, side lights.
Fluid levels including engine oil, gearbox oil, brake fluid, engine coolant, windscreen washer fluids and power steering fluid.
Also make sure your vehicle can reach full operating temperature without overheating and that the radiator fan cuts in to assist in cooling. Make sure there are no fluid leaks under the vehicle (an air conditioning system may dribble clear water onto the ground however, which is normal.)