The art of maintaining your car


Two New Car Features To Excite The Long-Distance Driver

Posted by on 10:20 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Two New Car Features To Excite The Long-Distance Driver

It is said that if you wanted to drive around the coastline of Australia following Highway 1, it would take you 14 days! Because of the size of this country, heading off on a road-trip during the Christmas holidays can mean many hours spent on the road. As someone who wants to upgrade to a new family car, such as a Rebel Ford, before the holidays this year, there are a number of features starting to appear in new cars that are bound to excite you. Consider these four new car features before you head down to the dealership to discuss your new vehicle. Expanded Handsfree Features The Western Australia Road Safety Commission states that 15%-20% of driver distractions happen because they are trying to interact with technology in their car. You already know that when driving you need to avoid using distractions such as your cell phone. But, what about changing the radio station? Or making adjustments to the climate control? It only takes a few seconds of taking your eyes off the road to look back up and see you’re about to hit a kangaroo. Handsfree features in new vehicles have expanded past the simple interaction with your cell phone so you can speak hands-free. You can now purchase vehicles that include features like voice-activated climate control and radio. You can even sync some cell phones with the car and use it for more than just hands-free phone conversations. These features are perfect for long-distance drivers who need to remain focussed on the road in front of them. Emergency roadside assistance takes a long time to reach an accident site when you’re out the back of nowhere. Collision Reduction Technology Each year, new vehicles come out with advanced features which are designed to reduce the chance of a collision. While you are driving through the outback, seeing other cars is rare. But, around dusk or dawn you could come into sudden contact with a kangaroo. In Victoria, for example, it is reported that 80% of car collisions with an animal involve a kangaroo. These creatures are very unpredictable when on the side of the road, and will do a lot of car damage if they jump straight out in front of you. Whether you want to avoid run-ins with oncoming B-trains or prangs with a kangaroo, consider these new-age collision reduction devices when looking for your new car: Blind-spot assistance which lets you know the position of every car around you so you don’t unexpectedly find out someone is already in your lane behind you when you start to move over. Lane guidance systems make sure you are made aware if you are drifting out of your lane. This is particularly important for fatigued long-distance drivers who are finding it difficult to fully concentrate on what is going on around them. Lane guidance systems incorporate both steering wheel vibration and steering wheel torque to guide the car back to where it should be. Collision detection. Some vehicles have detectors mounted on the front of the car to warn you of obstacles ahead. While these are designed more for inner city driving so you will notice traffic at a standstill ahead, these detectors may also be able to give you a few seconds warning kangaroos are gathered on the road ahead....

read more

Four Mistakes People Make When Flushing A Car Radiator

Posted by on 11:55 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Four Mistakes People Make When Flushing A Car Radiator

Your car’s engine relies on an efficient cooling system to control its temperature on the move. If the radiator clogs up with deposits and/or rust, the cooling system cannot work effectively, which, in turn, puts more pressure on the radiator. As such, to make sure your car radiator runs as efficiently as possible, it’s a good idea to flush the system at regular intervals, but it’s equally important to do the job properly. Make sure you don’t cause more problems than you solve, and avoid the four following car radiator flushing mistakes other drivers sometimes make. Doing the job in the wrong place Flushing a car’s radiator isn’t the hardest mechanical job in the world, but the task takes time and space, so you need make sure you have plenty of both. It’s almost impossible to properly flush a radiator in a very confined space, and if you don’t have room to properly move around the engine, you could just end up with a lot of unwanted mess to clear up. Park the car on a flat surface. A slope can make it harder to get the coolant out of the radiator. You should also jack the car up before you start, so you can easily get underneath the engine, but make sure you check the owner’s manual to find out which part of the vehicle can safely take the weight of the equipment. You should also block the wheels, just in case the car moves while you are working underneath it. Working with a hot engine High pressure and heat are very dangerous when it comes to flushing a radiator. If the fluid in the cooling system is boiling hot, you’re likely to suffer serious burns when you first open the system or when you try to flush the fluid from your radiator. Ideally, you should work on the car when the engine has been idle for at least two hours. Damaging the drain plug The drain plug is a simple part of the coolant system that you’ll normally find on the bottom of the radiator. This removable part allows you to ‘unplug’ the system, so the coolant will run out. If this part is dirty, it’s sometimes difficult to find, and some people damage the plug by forcing it by hand or with the wrong tool. You may also need to unscrew a protective case to find the plug. Some drain plugs are simple screw plugs, but you will probably still need a screwdriver or a wrench for these or bolt plugs. If the plug won’t easily come loose, you may need to ask a mechanic to help. If you use too much force, you may permanently damage the drain plug. What’s more, some plugs are petcocks or drain valves. You don’t need to remove drain valves. Simply undo these parts as far as you can. Refilling the system with tap water Draining the radiator will remove a lot of the rust and debris inside the system, but you’ll need to flush the pipes to get the worst of the gunk out. You can use tap water to flush the system, but you should always refill the pipes with distilled water. Tap water generally contains chlorine, fluoride and other dissolved solids. These impurities can mix with the...

read more

Frontal Protection Systems: What Truck Drivers In South Australia Need To know

Posted by on 8:50 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Frontal Protection Systems: What Truck Drivers In South Australia Need To know

Truck drivers in South Australia must contend with several hazards, but collisions with wild animals like kangaroos are a surprisingly common problem. In 2013, one SA insurer reported a 26 percent increase in animal collisions compared to the previous year. As such, truck drivers may want to consider a frontal protection system for their vehicles, but it’s important to make sure these parts are compliant with state law. Find out why you may need one of these systems, and learn more about the restrictions that apply in South Australia. The risk A collision with an animal like a kangaroo is potentially costly and dangerous. Without any form of protection system on the front of the truck, these large animals can smash through windscreens, injuring and even killing the vehicle’s occupants.  With more than 50 million kangaroos in Australia, state governments now arrange regular animal culls to curb the problem, but this doesn’t halt the number of crashes in certain parts of the country. In SA, certain rural hotspots like Port Augusta and Mount Gambier see the highest number of collisions. If you live in these (or other) areas, a frontal protection system for your truck could save your life. How frontal protection systems work Frontal protection systems – or bull-bars – are rigid structures (normally made from metal) that you can fit to the front of your truck. These accessories normally bolt directly onto the frame of your vehicle. Although some truck owners install them at home. Nonetheless, you’ll normally need a mechanic to do the work for you. Bull-bars protect the front of the vehicle from impact damage. If you hit a kangaroo, the protection system forces the animal away from the vehicle, protecting delicate parts like the radiator and cooling system. The deflection also stops the animal breaking through the windshield. The RACV does not discourage bull-bars for people who mostly drive on rural roads. Nonetheless, the RACV strongly recommends that owners arrange for a professional to install these systems. Tests show that bull-bars can interfere with the triggering characteristics of an airbag, so you should always arrange for a professional to install these systems. South Australian legal requirements The South Australian state government now insists that frontal protection systems fitted to trucks that weigh less than 3.5 tonnes must comply with the Australian Standard. There are no restrictions to systems fitted to trucks manufactured before 1 July 2013. Design and installation rules mean that: The profile of the protection system should follow that of the vehicle in all views. The protection system must not extend excessively beyond the truck’s side profile. You must make sure you securely and firmly mount and support the system. The system cannot have any sharp edges, corners or protrusions. The system cannot increase the vehicle’s overall width. You must also make sure that the system does not interfere with the truck’s airbag system. The protection system must carry the manufacturer’s certification to confirm this. Failure to comply with these rules will cause a breach of the Road Traffic Act. The authorities can issue you with a Court summons for an illegal protection system. Ultimately, you could face a driving penalty or a fee. You will also have to remove or modify the system. Don’t assume the cops won’t catch you, either. The police in states like New South Wales sometimes...

read more

What To Do If A Kangaroo Hits Your Windscreen

Posted by on 6:28 am in Uncategorized | Comments Off on What To Do If A Kangaroo Hits Your Windscreen

Australia is home to thousands of kangaroos, but these much-loved marsupials are not the most clever road users. People in rural Australia often come across these animals, and drivers hit more kangaroos than any other animal. If the front of your car strikes a kangaroo, your windscreen is likely to bear the brunt of the impact, so it’s important to understand what you should do in this situation. Why cars hit kangaroos Given that a kangaroo can travel at up to 44 miles per hour, you wouldn’t imagine that these animals would ever come close to a car. Nonetheless, drivers across Australia regularly report accidents with kangaroos, often with serious consequences. In 2013, a 6-year-old girl died when a kangaroo smashed through the windscreen and collided with the child on the back seat. Accidents are most likely to occur from dusk through to dawn. At night, the headlights from your car will probably dazzle a kangaroo by the side of the road. The panicking animal will then often jump right in front of the car. To make matters worse, kangaroos often travel in groups, so your car’s arrival may startle and scatter several animals at once. When an accident is imminent Some accidents occur so quickly that you just don’t have time to react, but some drivers see a kangaroo on the road ahead. If this happens, you should immediately apply the brakes, but try to keep the car in a straight line. If you swerve to avoid the animal, you’re more likely to collide with traffic on the other side of the road. Sounding your horn can sometimes make the kangaroo jump in the other direction, too. The aftermath If you hit an animal, you should first pull over and stop your car in a safe place. Turn on your hazard lights, so other cars can see you. Check everyone in the car, and call 911 if anyone needs medical attention. If nobody is hurt, tell everyone to stay in the car while you tend to the animal. In some cases, your car may strike a glancing blow, and the animal may still hop away. If this occurs, there’s nothing more you can do. However, if the animal is injured and in distress, you should call a local animal rescue service. If you don’t have or can’t find the details for one of these services, call the police. Don’t try to move an injured kangaroo. A frightened animal can cause serious injury with a single kick. In some collisions, the kangaroo carcass may end up stuck in the windscreen. This isn’t a particularly pleasant outcome, and if this happens, you’ll want to get everyone out of the car, but make sure they stand or sit well away from the road. It’s sometimes possible to pull a smaller animal out of the windscreen, but you will often need help to deal with this situation. Assessing the damage Of course, you’ll also need to assess the damage to your car before you can continue your journey. More often than not, a kangaroo collision will cause serious damage to your windscreen. After this type of accident, you will need to call a local mechanic or your breakdown recovery service for assistance. A badly damaged windscreen means the car is unsafe to...

read more

A Quick Tyre Safety Check May Be A Lifesaver

Posted by on 11:17 am in Uncategorized | 0 comments

As the mild autumn weather approaches, it is peak time for families to set out on a much loved tradition: the motoring holiday. If you are planning a get- away road trip, a simple tyre safety check will significantly reduce your risks on the busy highways and could even make the difference between a life and death situation. Follow this guide to complete a quick and easy tyre safety check. It will take only a few minutes at home or you can do it while filling the tank at the petrol station before heading out. You will also gain a better understanding about why these precautions are so vital. Inspect Tyre Tread Surprisingly, many Australians are unaware of the minimum legal tyre standards and the need for having a healthy amount of tread on all tyres. The law states it should be a minimum depth of 1.5 mm. You can check your tread with the wear indicators. These are the bars located at the bottom of the tread groove and moulded into several different locations around the tyre. When the bar is worn down to be level with the tread blocks it is time for replacement. It is absolutely vital that tyres have sufficient tread because: On a wet road, the tread grooves help pump water away from where the tyre contacts the road surface As the tread wears down, the tyre grip on the road is considerably reduced and the motorist has less control of the vehicle. This situation is exceedingly dangerous if the tyres become separated from the road surface and the vehicle aquaplanes. The driver then loses control as the tyres are not able to effectively transmit the necessary steering and braking facilities. Check For Damage To Sidewalls To get a good view of the tyres, turn the steering wheel to the full lock position. Get right down low and look out for nails, stones or screws or any objects that may lead to a flat tyre. The sidewalls are subject to potential damage from encounters with potholes, kerbs and foreign objects.  Check for any cuts, bulges or gouging. Get immediate attention from a tyre service if you detect any of these signs, as they may indicate impending tyre failure. Gauge Inflation Pressures Ensure that your tyres are inflated to the correct pressure as recommended by your vehicle manufacturer. Correctly inflated tyres save fuel, wear evenly and maximise grip on the road surface. Always check carefully using a pressure gauge and do not forget to check the spare as well. Simply gauging the appearance of the tyre is not a reliable indication of its pressure and can actually be quite misleading, particularly with low profile tyres. All cars have a tyre placard showing the accurate recommended tyre pressure. Most often this information is located in the driver’s side door jamb. The pressure is indicated in kilopascals (kPa) or pounds per square inch (psi) and this refers to the pressure when the tyres are cold. It is best to check when tyres have not travelled too far, and thus become too warm to give an accurate reading. Underinflated tyres are a serious safety risk as they will flex excessively and build up heat. This is the major cause of disastrous tyre failures known as blowouts. Also, if your vehicle...

read more

How To Choose A Vehicle To Suit Your Retirement Needs

Posted by on 5:15 am in Uncategorized | 0 comments

When choosing a new car to last through your retirement years, all the technological innovations that apply with new cars can be rather overwhelming and a little distracting. This guide will help you focus on the features that are most desirable in a car to suit your needs as a senior motorist. Getting Prepared Entering a new car dealership can be quite a shock, particularly if you haven’t bought a vehicle for quite a while. You may feel bombarded with information concerning new hi-tech features and gadgets. Don’t let this sidetrack you; work through a simple plan that considers each of the important factors: safety, comfort, visibility, ease of access and reliability. Your new car needs to suit your changing needs for life in retirement. Carefully assess these features. Comfort and Fit Be sure to look for adjustable seats with good lumbar support. Seats that tilt and a telescopic steering wheel will ensure you have the right fit and correct driving position. You need to easily reach the pedals but also allow enough space away from the steering wheel in the event of airbag deployment. Take time to sit in the seat and ensure you have a good view to the front, rear and sides. Make sure that you are able to reach all the controls and operate them comfortably. Ease of Access Cars that sit low to the ground are more challenging to enter and exit from. As you age, the easier it is to get in and out of the vehicle will become an essential concern. Look for a car with wide door openings and chair height access. Many models of smaller SUV offer these desirable features. Take time to carry out a few “getting in and out” exercises with every vehicle you try. Don’t overlook the access to the rear seats if you plan to regularly carry passengers. Safety All new cars in Australia area tested for crash-worthiness through ANCAP (Australasian New Car Assessment Program) and given a star rating according to the level of protection that is offered. The more stars, the safer the vehicle. By choosing a vehicle with the highest rating of five stars, you are guaranteed that it has performed to the highest level in all crash tests. This is the most reliable indicator for judging your vehicle’s safety. Vehicle Handling Power assisted steering This feature is becoming standard with new vehicles, but check to make sure that the cars you try include this helpful addition. It is invaluable when you aren’t as strong as you used to be and allows you to turn the car with ease in tight corners and manoeuvre into parking spaces. Anti Lock Braking (ABS) This assisted braking feature is another to look for as it will assist you to maintain control during sudden braking situations by safely supplying extra pressure. Visibility The visibility in modern vehicles is an issue, particularly if you are used to driving an older model car. Because of the structural design with roof-crush protection styling, narrow rear windows and head restraints, there is a tendency for reduced visibility in a today’s vehicles, particularly to the rear. Fortunately there is a safety option that overcomes this drawback and is a desirable additional feature. A reversing camera begins operating when the car is put...

read more