Mercedes Benz is a highly sophisticated car with a highly sophisticated engine, and power to match. With a highly sophisticated engine, comes the essential task of maintaining it effectively.
Offering two different kinds of services is Mercedes’ solution to encouraging regular servicing and a better maintenance model for your car. Your Mercedes Benz will come with a list of maintenance requirements that will need to be ticked off at certain times. However, completing all of these tasks in the one service doesn’t always make sense.
This is because, while some things will need to be done at one interval, the other will need to be done at a separate interval. This means that completing all of these tasks in one service would be a waste of time, money, and parts. Thus, the creation of the two different Mercedes services: Mercedes Service A and Service B.
The idea is that you’ll spend slightly less on servicing, but your car will be better maintained. It also prevents costly damage, safety issues, and unnecessary mechanical repairs or maintenance.
If you own a Mercedes Benz, you’ll know that your car will alert you when you’re due for either service and it’ll then inform your mechanic what needs to be done once you’re at the workshop. Mercedes’ flexible servicing works to keep your car in a premium condition, but let’s take a look at the two different service types and what they cover.
Service A refers to the maintenance items needed after 20,000km or one year and Service B is for the following 20,000km or one year.
Mercedes describes this one as, “more than an oil change.” The A Service covers all those basic service items but also includes a meticulous, step by step inspection of your vehicle and its engine. We’ll be sure to attend to each item specified by your specific model’s service sheet.
What this service includes:
The Mercedes Service B’s specifics vary, much like the Service A, depending on the model of your car. Typically, if your Mercedes was manufactured after 2009, you’ll need to get your Service B after the first year of driving or 20,000km driven. After that, you’ll need this service roughly every two years.
What this service includes:
So, while there are a number of differences between Mercedes Service A and Mercedes Service B, these will also vary depending on the model of Mercedes you own, as well as your driving habits. The service schedule is also entirely different when it comes to Mercedes running on diesel. It’s similar but Service B does contain a number of additional items to tick off.
—We’re highly experienced in Mercedes servicing and are equipped with the latest technology to keep your car running in tip top condition. You can learn more about our Mercedes Service here or book your next service here.
Obviously the biggest expense you’ll incur with your car is the initial purchase price. But, the annual cost to maintain a car can vary greatly from brand to brand as well as between different models. Whether you’ve bought a BMW or a Toyota, you’ll have a list of car maintenance costs you’ll need to pay throughout the year:
On top of that is the depreciation of your car’s value… We know that servicing a European car is typically more expensive — but which brand’s have the highest overall car maintenance cost?
The average car maintenance cost in Australia will vary from state to state as well as from region to region. You’ll find those based in cities will pay a higher price for a car service and car owners based in regional areas will pay more for a tank of fuel. And of course, we know that the average running cost of a small car will be significantly cheaper than that of a 4WD. Luckily, Savings.com.au has crunched the numbers.
For our cities, you’ll find fuel is more expensive in Canberra and Hobart and cheapest in Melbourne. When it comes to maintenance and servicing though, Canberra is the most expensive and Adelaide the cheapest. Brisbane wins when it comes to the cheapest car loan repayments, with Canberra and Hobart having the most expensive.
With all of these costs considered: rego, insurance, servicing, fuel, and tyre maintenance, as well as depreciation of your car’s value — it works out that Canberra is the most expensive city to own a car in with an average weekly cost of $298.94. Melbourne isn’t far behind with an average of $291.42. Brisbane is actually the cheapest Aussie city to own a car in with an average weekly cost of $271.87.
Typically, you’ll find a smaller car will always be cheaper to maintain than a 4WD. We know that obviously, smaller cars will use less fuel, but their servicing costs are also cheaper. It’s because there will be more labour involved in servicing a larger car.
A larger car will also earn itself a more expensive registration cost. This is for differing reasons across our different states and territories, but the result is the same. In Queensland, South Australia, and Tasmania, you’ll pay extra to register your car depending on the cylinders. In NSW and ACT, your rego will be based on the tare weight of your car. In Northern Territory, you’ll pay based on the capacity of your engine. Victoria, however, charges a flat fee for all “light” vehicles.
Larger cars aren’t all bad when it comes to expenses though. It’s typically cheaper to insure an SUV than one of its smaller counterparts as SUVs have a lower accident rate.
What about specific cars’ maintenance costs though?
Well, RACQ took all of this into consideration. They calculated the cost of the depreciation, servicing, insurance, registration, fuel, tyres, and possible interest earned on a loan on nearly 140 different vehicles. They calculated the average running costs by basing the cost on the car being owned for a year and travelling 15,000 kilometres per annum.
The average annual cost for a small car comes to $8,203 — the cheapest small car to maintain? A Kia Cerato at $7,096. A 4WD ute will be the most expensive to maintain over a year, with an average cost of $13,662 a year. A Mitsubishi Triton GLX will be the cheapest of its kind to maintain at an annual average of $12,012.
In the smaller car category, a Volkswagen Passat 132 will be the most expensive to maintain. It racks up $8,908 in maintenance fees a year. As for 4WD utes, a Toyota Landcruiser Workmate is the most expensive at $17,937 per annum.
Diesel cars’ fuel economy is typically somewhere between 30 and 40 per cent better than their petrol counterparts, however, diesel is more expensive on average. Diesel car services and repairs are often slightly more expensive too. —
We offer better car maintenance at a reasonable price. Book your car in with us today.
Audi is a luxury car that offers peak performance and a smooth drive to its owners. They’re dependable and reliable cars — not to mention, fast and fun to drive. That’s probably why you bought one. But, just like any car, Audis need to be maintained properly and regularly to avoid costly breaks or engine problems. Learning how to maintain the coolant system in your Audi is a must to keep it in perfect condition.
Let’s take a look at how to identify any issues in your Audi, how to maintain the coolant system in your Audi, and the signs that you might need to get your Audi repaired.
Your coolant system is basically there to regulate your engine’s temperature so it doesn’t overheat. As most car owners should know, an overheating engine is bad news. Coolant systems take coolant from your engine and flow the coolant through the passages in your engine. As the coolant travels through, it picks up heat from your engine and moves the now-heated fluid through a rubber hose and into your radiator. This keeps your engine at an optimal temperature, the temperature that keeps your engine running the most efficiently. Thus, keeping your Audi running smoothly.
Regularly check your coolant level as well as your engine fluid levels generally. And be sure to check the quality. A car that isn’t driven too often could have perfectly fine fluid levels, but if they’re quite old, then the quality of the fluids will be off. Your coolant should be topped up whenever you notice it’s getting low. Check your coolant, radiator fluid, oil, and water levels and make sure they’re free of dirt, dust, or debris. This will ensure your Audi’s coolant system is working perfectly and will keep your car’s performance at a top notch level.
Always check for puddles beneath your car. In many cases, liquid underneath your parked car will be condensation from its air conditioner, but it could be an oil or coolant leak too. Check out the fluid and see if it’s just water or something more serious. You should be able to tell if it’s coolant by the colour — coolant is typically green, but could also be pink or orange. Regardless, if the liquid isn’t clear like water, it’s probably time to see an Audi mechanic.
Leaks in your engine can indicate serious problems with your radiator or water pump. The only way to notice an internal leak in your engine is with a pressure checker — or by asking your mechanic to take a look.
Your Audi’s thermostat will open and close to pump coolant through your coolant system. Sometimes, engine thermostats will wear and then remain closed. This means your car’s engine will no longer circulate that coolant. This can lead to overheating in your engine and long term damage. Keep an eye on your thermostat to avoid damaging your engine.
The whole point of your coolant system is to keep your engine cool. So, taking the steps to properly maintain your Audi’s coolant system is a really good preventative measure. But, you should always watch your dashboard’s temperature gauge when you’re driving too. If your car’s engine begins to heat up, always pull over, turn your engine off, and get it to a mechanic.
You can check your radiator on your own or ask your mechanic to do so at your regular Audi service. You’ll need to have the radiator and all of its parts checked over to make sure it’s free of leaks or any signs of corrosion. Check the radiator pressure cap and make sure it’s not damaged or worn. Losing pressure control in your radiator may lead to further engine damage.
A big misconception in the car world, is that you need to have your car serviced at the dealership to maintain your warranty. Many consumers feel like it’s a fair trade-off: pay the high price of a dealership car service to maintain your warranty. But, do you really need to take your car to the dealership to maintain your warranty?
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) specifies that, “a manufacturer’s warranty is a promise to the consumer that the vehicle will be free from defects for a certain period of time.”
“Provided you service the vehicle in accordance with any such requirements, the warranty will remain valid. If the manufacturer’s warranty states that the vehicle can only be serviced by an authorised dealer, this may raise concerns under the Competition and Consumer Act.”
So, your warranty can specify that your car must be serviced by a qualified mechanic, to their specifications, and using quality and appropriate parts. Your warranty actually can’t specify that you must service your vehicle through a dealer to keep the warranty intact. There are many, many cases of car manufacturers implying you must service your car with them though.
Car dealerships surprisingly, usually don’t make their profit from selling new cars. They actually make a profit from selling on second-hand cars but not so much with the new ones. Dealerships rely on the revenue from car services, financing, and insurance to make a profit on new cars. In fact, according to CarsGuide, a maximum of five per cent of dealer’s profit (on average) comes from new car sales. They say 50 per cent comes from parts and servicing and 30 per cent from finance and insurance. Used cars account for 15 per cent — three times as much as a new car.
Genuine parts are significantly more expensive than their aftermarket counterparts. Especially when it comes to European car services. Because the part is genuine and imported from the other side of the world. But, do you need genuine parts? According to the ACCC, no. As long as you use quality and “appropriate” parts. Obviously, the aftermarket parts wouldn’t be covered under your manufacturer’s warranty though.
Another tactic dealerships use to convince car owners to service with them, is saying that independent mechanics are unable to run software updates for your car. Back in 2016, when Choice reported on this, they explained that while mechanics have enough general information to service your car, the computerised systems are becoming increasingly complex. But car manufacturers aren’t sharing the information on repairs and updates with these systems.
Industry bodies did sign an agreement in late 2014, saying they’d make all this information readily available to independent mechanics. In 2018, however, it was still an issue.
Your logbook can be really confusing. They often imply that you must have your car serviced at the dealer. There are spaces on the pages that ask for a “dealer’s stamp”, a “dealer’s signature”, or ask you to tick a box saying you’re an authorised dealer.
But the ACCC still says, “Even if the service page boxes in the logbook are labelled in this way, an independent repairer may sign or stamp the relevant page of the customer’s service logbook (once they have completed the service) without it affecting the manufacturer’s warranty provided any other requirements are met (i.e. the service is carried about by qualified staff etc.).”
At the end of the day, where you get your car serviced is up to you. However, avoiding independent mechanics and religiously taking your car to the dealership for your service isn’t necessary to keep your warranty and resale value, or to keep your car in perfect condition.
Volkswagen is an elite, German car brand and for many VW owners, they’re more than a car, they’re an investment. To keep your car in tip top condition, it’s really important you’re maintaining your VW properly. We’re not just talking about getting your Volkswagen serviced regularly either, although that is really important. We’re talking about all the little things you can do to avoid unnecessary damage or wear on your car. Here are our top tips for keeping your Volkswagen in its very best condition.
Youtube tutorials aren’t the answer. Running DIY Volkswagen repairs will often cost you a lot more money in the long run. Especially if you’re not using genuine VW parts. Volkswagens, as well as European cars generally, have these highly complex engines. Qualified Volkswagen mechanics have specialist diagnostic equipment on hand to work out what these complicated issues in your engine might be. So, Googling what a light on your dashboard means is a risky game.
Qualified VW mechanics also have a thorough knowledge and understanding of your Volkswagen engine. So, it’s always best to have your car maintained by a professional.
Don’t put off or avoid going to the mechanic if you think there might be an issue with your Volkswagen’s engine. Strange sounds, pulls in your steering, bad smells, and squeaky brakes are all issues you should get check out as soon as you can. Putting off getting issues in your VW checked will usually only worsen the issue and make it become more severe, and therefore, more expensive.
It’s really important to keep your car clean. It’s a vital step to maintaining your VW. Once the interior of your car begins to deteriorate, it can be really expensive and challenging to fix. Regularly vacuuming your car’s carpets and cleaning its surfaces will keep your VW’s interior in good condition. The same goes for the exterior of your Volkswagen.
Dirt, dust, and droppings from trees or birds can all damage your car’s paint if they’re not washed off quickly. Dust and dirt may dull the appearance of your paint in the patches they sit on. Droppings from trees, but especially from birds can actually etch the paint off of your exterior. Always clean these off of your car in a timely manner. Regular interior and exterior cleaning is an essential component to maintaining your VW.
Your VW service might be more expensive, but you should always follow the service schedule specified by your VW’s logbook. For the quality of both your Volkswagen’s engine and its software, it’s best to get it serviced when Volkswagen has specified for you to. Remember, you should have your Volkswagen’s air conditioner serviced every two years too. This will keep it in good working condition, but it also helps prevent “car flu”. Car flu is where the bacterias, dirt, and dust trapped in your air conditioner filter give you flu symptoms while you’re in your car.
It’s also vital to choose a regular, qualified Volkswagen mechanic with the appropriate equipment. Choosing a regular mechanic means they’ll be able to monitor your Volkswagen and notice when there are irregularities in your engine.
It goes for every vehicle, but maintaining your VW tyres is also essential. Make sure you’re regularly checking your tyres’ air pressure, checking their tread, and getting wheel alignments and balances when you need them. To learn more about tyre maintenance head here.
Another essential aspect of your maintaining your VW is carbon system cleaning. Once your VW starts to rack up higher mileage, the injection systems will begin to wear. Carbon deposits start to form in your engine’s intake valves, injectors, throttle body, and EGR system. If this isn’t taken care of once you notice the symptoms, you’ll need to replace parts due to failure from carbon build up. This will cost you more money in the long run. You can avoid expensive issues like misfires, hard starts, and excessive fuel consumption by getting a carbon blast engine clean in your Volkswagen. We’ll keep your VW’s engine clean of carbon deposits by keeping up with regular maintenance. You can improve engine’s response, reliability, and performance by getting your mechanic at LeMans Motors to run an engine carbon blast on your car. These start at $249.
We’re qualified Volkswagen mechanics with the latest in European diagnostic equipment. Get in touch today to book your VW in for a service.
Learning how to maintain your tyres properly is so important for both the lifespan of your tyres but also your on-road safety. Items like your tyres’ air pressure, tread, and wheel alignments are all paramount to keeping your tyres in a good and safe condition. If your tyres are worn, you’ll be more at risk of losing control of your car or crashing when driving — especially if the roads are wet. So much of optimal road safety practices rely on effective tyre maintenance.
To properly maintain your tyres, it’s important you’re keeping your tyres at the right air pressure and having your wheels balanced, rotated, and aligned. Here’s how to maintain your tyres properly.
There’s no strict rule on how long your tyres should last. It depends on a range of variables. Things like: your driving habits, the climate you live in, the roads you drive on, the design of your tyres, and how well you’re maintaining them. Highway driving will wear tyres out quicker than stop-start city driving. This is because you’re travelling at a higher speed on the highway — higher speeds generate more heat which will wear tyres quicker. Then there’s the quality of your tyres. Cheaper tyres are usually cheaper for a reason. Tyres can last anywhere between 10,000 and 50,000 kilometres of driving.
Heading to a service station, checking your tyre pressure and putting air in your tyres can feel like a chore. It takes less than five minutes though and will seriously prolong the life of your tyres. There are a tonne of reasons you should be checking your tyre pressure regularly. First up: driving with low tyre pressure actually negatively affects your fuel economy. More importantly, it’s unsafe and really bad for your tyres. Driving on low tyre pressure means your tyres will wear quicker and more unevenly. If you’re driving on highways with low tyre pressure, you’re putting yourself at a much higher risk of blowing a tyre or losing control of your car.
At least once a month. If you’re filling your car up with fuel once a week, maybe make checking your air pressure every second fill-up your routine. Otherwise, you can buy a digital gauge to keep at home. Digital gauges usually give a more reliable reading than the air pumps at your local service station. But that doesn’t mean you can’t rely on your local servo’s — it’ll do the trick.
Remember that it’s important for your tyres to be as cool as possible before you take the reading. So if a digital gauge isn’t an option, try and get it done in the morning, and make the service station your first stop of the day.
Firstly, set the gauge to the correct PSI for your tyres. The correct PSI for your car’s tyres should usually be found on a small sticker on the inside of your driver’s side door. If it’s not there, check the lid of your glove box — or if still in doubt, you can usually find it on your manufacturer’s website too. Most older cars will have each tyre set to the same PSI but a newer model of car will sometimes have different PSI specifications for the front and the rear tyres. So, be sure to read the sticker carefully.
This may change sometimes too. Say you’re driving a newer model of hatchback that specifies 30 PSI for the rear tyres but 33 for the front. It may be based off of the assumption that you always have passengers in the front, but as it’s a hatchback, not always passengers in the back. So, if you’re heading on a road trip with backseat passengers or a full boot of luggage, it might be wiser to set your rear tyres to 33 as well.
Once you’ve found your PSI and set it on the air machine, take the dust cap off of your tyre’s valve and connect the air hose to it. An older gauge will just attach to the tyre and start pumping. The more common, newer models will have a little handle on the side that you’ll have to squeeze to pump up your tyre. When your tyre has reached your set PSI, the machine will beep. Then you just reattach your dust cap and move onto the remaining tyres.
When you take your car to your mechanic for a wheel alignment, they’ll adjust your suspension to ensure that your wheels are hitting the road the correct angle, meaning your wheels will travel in a straight line. Having your wheels aligned regularly means you can prevent uneven tyre wear. Misaligned wheels will put unnecessary demand on your tyres and cause the tread to wear prematurely.
A wheel rotation is where your mechanic rotates your wheels so your front tyres go to the back and vice versa. Your front tyres will typically wear quicker than your rear tyres as there’s usually more weight and more demand on them. Rotating your tyres will make sure they wear evenly.
You should get a wheel alignment after every 10,000km you’ve driven, or if you notice it’s out. You can ask your mechanic to rotate your wheels at your wheel alignment.
How to tell if your wheel alignment is out:
Wheel alignments are completed by mechanics and the cost will vary. It’ll typically be cheaper to get a wheel alignment done on a smaller car than a larger car. This is because more labour will be required for a larger car.
New tyres can become expensive and it can feel like a huge chore to go out and get them replaced. If your tyres are worn though, you should really replace them. When we talk about worn or bald tyres, we’re referring to the tread on your tyre being worn. It’s where the grooves (tread) become less and less deep and the surface of your tyre is beginning to smooth. It’s similar to how the bottom of a jogger will wear after a lot of use.
Driving on bald tyres is incredibly dangerous because the tread is what your tyre uses to stick or grip to the road.
Alongside your tyre maintenance habits, you can prolong the life of your tyres by paying extra attention when you’re driving. Avoid hitting gutters or potholes where possible. This can put your wheels off balance and ruin your wheel alignment, or damage your tyre’s sidewalls.
Take extra care when you’re driving around corners or roundabouts. Taking these too fast means your tyres will have less of a chance to grip to the road — plus it’ll usually result in uneven wear again.
So, you’re thinking about buying a used car and you’re not sure where to even start. There’s a lot to consider when you’re buying a used car. Do you buy from a dealership or a private seller? How do you buy a used car? What should you be considering? We’ve got the answers. Here’s what to look for when buying a used car.
We’ll go through the steps for buying a used car and we’ll weigh the pros and cons of buying from a private seller and buying from a dealership down below. For now, here’s what to look for when buying a used car.
Make sure you head out to inspect the car during the day. It’ll be a lot easier to see scratches, marks, or dents in the daylight. Check over the car’s exterior for rust, or hidden rust. Hidden rust might be welded or painted over (usually not very well). Or, it might be on the car’s roof or under the floor mats inside. Be sure to check thoroughly. You should be looking for signs that the car has been in an accident too. Look at the gaps between the car panels — are they consistent? If the gaps differ in size, the car may have been in a crash and has been fixed dodgily.
Check the tyres for uneven wear — if there is, the wheels may be off balance, the car may need a wheel alignment, or they may just be a bit of a careless driver. Look at the spare tyre too, it’s always good to know if it’s in good knick… tyres are expensive!
It can be really frustrating to find out that something simple doesn’t work, especially when you’ve just purchased the car. Double check all of the used car’s interior features are still in play. Click in each seatbelt, put each window up and down and individually open each door.
Like we said, it’s really frustrating when something doesn’t work. Check all the lights (reverse, brake lights, headlights) work. Try out all the switches on the dashboard and run the air con during your test drive. It’s especially good to know if the car’s air conditioner works — these can be really expensive to fix.
You should make sure the driver’s seat definitely moves back and forth, but check the car’s front seat movements in general. These are really common to break on older cars.
Obviously, low fluids aren’t the end of the world, as they can be topped up. But check the engine and engine fluids anyway. If you check and the oil is low, it’s an indication of how the car’s been treated. Check the engine generally too. It shouldn’t look absolutely pristine — an insanely clean engine can be a sign that the seller is hiding something. On the flip side, a bomb site of an engine is a really poor sign too.
Look for a creamy white liquid around the oil filler cap too. It’s a sign the head gasket might be leaking — you won’t want that mechanical bill either.
Now you know what to look for when buying a used car, here’s how to test drive it. Before you turn on the car, twist the steering wheel from side to side and listen out for any bad sounds. Listen out for any sounds while you’re driving it too. Take the car up a steep hill and test the handbrake. If you can, drive it on a highway to see how the car handles at a higher speed. If the car’s manual, make sure you change up and down between each gear on the drive — to make sure the clutch and gearbox are in fine condition.
Now you know what to look for when buying a used car, here’s how to buy a used car.
When you’re looking to buy a car, it’s really good to have an idea of what you can afford before you start looking. Set a budget and be sure to factor in stamp duty, registration costs, and travel as well, if you’ll need to drive to a nearby city.
Hop on Carsales, Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree, and car dealership websites to get an idea of what you can afford within your budget.
Now you know what you’re looking for, it’s time to start looking for cars. Be sure to consider the description critically. You can gloss over little things in the excitement of getting a new car. But consider each detail. Consider the kilometres on the car for its age… A car with 200,000km on the odometer isn’t bad if it’s 20 years old — but it’s really strange if it’s only 5 years old.
You’ve found something you like — amazing. Contact the seller now. Ask any questions you might have for them: how long have they owned it? Are they the only owner? Has it been in hail or in a flood?
Arrange a time to inspect the car. This is where everything we said up above about what to look for in a used car comes in…
Ask the owner about the car’s history. Are they the only owner of the car? Has it been in a crash? Can the owner supply a logbook showing every service event has been completed? Get them to show you a safety certificate (FKA roadworthy certificate/RWC) too.
Now you’ve asked the owner about the car’s history — double check it yourself. Get a vehicle history check, this will let you know if the car’s been stolen, if it’s been written off, or if the owner still owes money on it.
Like we said up above, take it for a test drive and listen to the car. Pay attention to the handling, take it on a variety of roads, and pay attention to how it drives.
You should try and be fair here. If the car’s already a really decent price and everything checks out well, probably don’t haggle. You could alienate the seller and there’s a good chance they won’t take it, as they know they can get more for it. But, if there is wiggle room on the cost, then give negotiating the price a go.
All that’s left is to pay the money and sign the papers, and voila, the car’s yours. How this process works and which papers need to signed exactly will vary from state to state — so check your state government’s transport website. Be sure to have the car insured before you drive it away!
Now you know what to look for when buying a used car and how to buy a used car — but which is better: the dealership or a private seller? Buying from the dealership is usually a little bit safer. Their reputation matters more, so they shouldn’t rip you off massively or sell you an absolute lemon. However, the car will be a bit pricier and there’s less wiggle room. Dealerships have mechanics on hand to repair any damage, so there’s less incentive to hide any dodgy breaks in the car. Plus, at a dealership, the ‘driveaway’ tags will include the registration and stamp duty. A private seller should usually be selling a used car for less and will also be more willing to negotiate price — especially if the car’s had trouble selling.
Christmas and New Years, along with the holiday season are well and truly on their way, which means there are plenty of family road trips on the horizon. Nothing ruins your holiday like unnecessary car problems — or finding yourself stuck on the side of the Bruce Highway in the middle of Summer. Here’s how to prepare your car for a road trip, so you don’t get stuck these holidays.
This should be an obvious one, but when you’re preparing for a road trip, it’s good to check your car early. We’re talking a couple of weeks before the trip. This leaves you with plenty of time to get it to a mechanic and have it repaired if you notice something.
If your car is due for a car service, get it done now. Again, this probably seems obvious. But, if your car is a month away from needing a service, or a thousand kilometres off needing one — get it done now. Maybe it isn’t due, but there’s a noise or a weird feeling that you’re not sure about? Bring it to a mechanic.
Double check your engine yourself. Are there any leaks, cracks, or does anything look unusual? Check it now so if you do find something, you have plenty of time to get it checked.
This is one of the most important parts of how to prepare your car for a road trip. Check all your fluids are topped up. Check your oil, change it if you need to. Check your coolant, your power steering fluid, your windscreen washing liquid. If you know any of these are going quicker than they should, like your oil for instance, be sure to bring extra along for the trip.
Check over all of your tyres. You’d probably know if any of your tyres had a puncture in them, but double check them anyway. Make sure they’re at the right air pressure too. An essential part of how to prepare your car for a road trip is putting air in your tyres the morning you leave. Check the tread on your tyres too. Having bald, or semi-bald tyres is already unsafe — don’t take them on the highway, it’s a safety hazard for you and everyone else on the road, especially if it rains.
Check your spare tyre for all these things too — and put air in it the morning you leave as well. There’s no use having a spare tyre sitting in your boot if it’s as flat as your already-flat tyre.
Make sure all of your lights are working. Your reverse lights, brake lights, headlights, high beams, and even your interior lights.
Basically any road trip should be nicer if your car is clean, but that’s not what we mean. You need to know you’ll have good visibility when you’re preparing for your road trip. Clean your windscreen, rear windshield, and windows — inside and outside. Make sure your rear view mirror and your side mirrors are clean too.
We really hope that these things are too difficult to forget about. But, be sure to double check your registration, car insurance, and roadside assistance is all up to date for your entire trip.
When you’re working out how to prepare your car for a road trip, learn about packing a car safely too. Your luggage should be packed in snugly and covered, so that if you do crash, there’s no luggage flying around your car.
When you’re preparing your car for a road trip, be sure to prepare entertainment too — especially if you’re travelling with kids. Bored kids are dangerous and distracting. Pack them books, games, movies, colouring in. Ideally, this way the threats of turning the car around are at an absolute minimum. Don’t forget your own entertainment either. Podcasts, playlists, snacks, maybe a trivia game?
Is there anything worse than losing reception on a road trip and having your streaming app cut out? Make sure you’ve downloaded your playlist or podcasts so they’re ready to go, even when you’re in the middle of nowhere.
Think your car might benefit from a check over by a mechanic? Bring your car into one of our four workshops across Brisbane.
We all know that luxury cars and European cars are more expensive than their Japanese and Korean counterparts. Your European brands like BMW, Volkswagen, Audi, Mercedes Benz, Alfa Romeo, Land Rovers, Peugeot, and even Skoda are all known for costing a little bit extra.
A slightly lesser known fact is that they’re usually more expensive to service and maintain. It’s a big consideration involved with buying one of these cars. You can afford the initial purchase price, but can you afford to maintain it long-term?
This is partially from the dealership myth. Dealerships and car manufacturers tell us that we need to take our cars to them for our car services or repairs. If we don’t, we’ll lose our car’s warranty and destroy the resale value. While both of those ideas are totally untrue… Having your European or luxury car serviced at a ‘normal’ mechanic workshop isn’t cheap either. But, why?
We’re taking a look at car service prices and how they’re broken down. So you can feel more informed next time you’re looking for a European car service.
The price of a car service depends on which state you’re in, whether you’re located regionally or in the city, and on your mechanic. Did you know Western Australia is the cheapest state to get your car serviced in? While the ACT is the most expensive for it.
More specific considerations, made by your workshop are: labour costs, parts costs, and whether there’s a large maintenance event due. Large maintenance events include service items like: timing belts, clutches, and air conditioner services. These items are costly to repair and replace — and the parts themselves are typically expensive. So, certain logbook car services will cost more as well, because they require these large maintenance events.
Then, you’ll find pricing differences between a car service for a hatchback and for an SUV. There’ll be pricing differences between services for a Japanese or Korean car and an Australia-manufactured car too — because the former’s parts will usually be cheaper. Then of course, there’s another jump in price to service a European car or a luxury car.
Your Mechanic crunched the numbers here and back in 2016, they found that the most expensive car brands (not just European car brands) to maintain over a ten year period were:
However, that’s talking maintenance. In maintenance, researchers include the depreciation costs, insurance, registration, and fuel.
More recently RACQ has weighed up similar data. They considered the weekly and annual costs of running a car. They based this on a car being purchased with a five-year loan and travelling 15,000km a year, taking into account expenses like: loan interest, tyres, fuel, services, insurance, registration, and depreciation.
Across the 140 different cars they considered, the average cost was $237 a week — $12,300 a year. The cheapest vehicle was a Mitsubishi Mirage ES manual hatch at $6,000 per year. The most expensive? The BMW X5 at $23,000 per year.
Electric cars are providing the cheapest maintenance costs at the moment. Tesla is among the cheapest of luxury cars when it comes to servicing. This is because, unlike any other European brands, luxury cars, and basically any vehicle that releases emissions, electric vehicles don’t have the same service requirements. Electric cars don’t need oil changes, fuel filter changes, or spark plug replacements.
Firstly, the dealership tax. Like we touched on earlier, getting your car serviced at the dealership is almost always more expensive. However, especially with a European car service, car owners can feel scared to take their cars elsewhere. Each car’s engine is different, however, up until recently European cars and their technologies were quite different. Today, European cars will usually have slightly more sophisticated engines. So, there may be higher labour costs if your mechanic isn’t totally familiar with the brand (but this shouldn’t be a noticeable amount).
The big kicker though, is the parts. European car parts are more expensive than other cars’ parts. Firstly, a lot of workshops won’t keep European car parts in stock how they would with Hyundai spare parts. So, often they need to order the parts in. Secondly, European car parts are usually of a higher quality already — so they’re already expensive without the special ordering and shipping.
While we know dealerships are certain to be more expensive than a generic workshop, some workshops do apply a luxury car tax. Typically though, servicing your car with a generic mechanic will be cheaper. The truth is though, it depends on your mechanic, the workshop, the kilometre service you’re up to, your city… the list goes on.
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Oil changes are completed at every routine car service but knowing how to change your oil is an excellent skill. It’s an essential of simple DIY car maintenance and it can save you some cash along the way. Changing your oil should take about an hour for a beginner but once you’ve done it a few times, it might take closer to half an hour.
The rule of thumb here is that you should change your oil every 10,000 kilometres or every six months — the same as your car service. However, each manufacturer specifies varying intervals for kilometres travelled and time limits when it comes to oil changes. Older cars will typically need their oil changed more frequently than a newer car. A lot of new car models now have lights that indicate you might need an oil change too.
Step 1: Work out which kind of oil you need and how much
Step 2: Prepare your car, tools, a container, and a towel
Step 3: Find the oil drain plug & drain the oil
Step 4: Remove the oil filter
Step 5: Tighten the oil drain plug
Step 6: Replace the oil filter
Step 7: Add new oil
Step 8: Check the oil level
The first step of an oil change is working out which oil you’ll need and how much of it. Your car’s owner manual should specify which oil you need. If you’re unable to find your owner’s manual, there are other resources online too or your local car shop, like Supercheap Auto, can usually help you out.
Your manual should let you know how much oil you’ll need too. Always buy a little bit of extra oil — but, if you’re planning to buy the oil in bulk, make sure you’ll be able to lift it, and hold it steady while you pour.
Make sure you’ve got all of your tools, oil, and cleaning equipment ready to go. Prepare your car too. Your engine will need to be warm, but not hot. So let it sit there long enough that it cools down, but not long enough to go cold. The car should be parked on a flat and level surface. It should be in ‘park’ or in gear, turned off, and the handbrake should be on.
You might need to raise your car to get better access — now is the time to do it. You can use a trolley jack and axle stands for this. If you’re not lifting the car, putting chocks in front of your wheels is a good idea.
If you have a newer car, your engine might have an undercover over the engine. You’ll need to remove this to access your oil filter and drain plug.
What you’ll need:
Now is the time to put on a pair of gloves — this will help with the heat of the engine and save hand-washing time later on. Find your drain plug, your drain plug is a large nut or plug and can be found underneath the oil pan at the bottom of your engine.
Position your oil container or pan underneath the plug before unscrewing, so it’s ready to catch the oil. Make sure to note that it won’t pour directly down, it’ll pour on an angle so your pan should be positioned properly. You can sort of cap the drain with your finger while you work out where’s best for the pan.
You may be able to unscrew the plug with your fingers but usually this will require a wrench. The oil should now drain into the container. To help get the oil flowing nicely, you can remove the top oil cap too.
While the oil’s draining you can give the drain plug a clean.
If you have two oil pans, you can do this step while you wait for the oil to drain out of the plug. If you don’t, you’ll need to wait and use the pan here as well. Oil filters aren’t attached very tight during your car service, but their sealing gaskets can swell over time, making them tighter to get out. If this happens, you can give it a tug with a wrench.
As soon as your filter is loosened, oil will gush out. So only use the wrench to loosen the filter and then remove it slowly, keeping your oil pan in position. Once the filter is coming off, don’t let go of it and don’t let it drop into the pan. Be prepared for a bit of a mess at this stage.
Take either your new, replacement drain plug or your old, cleaned up drain plug and tighten it back on. You’ll know the drain plug has been tightened properly if you’ve used the square end of a combination wrench to tighten the plug as much as possible — without using a hammer or other tool for extra leverage. You want to tighten the nut well, but not too much as this can strip the nut of its threading.
It’s important to make sure the old filter’s O-ring is removed — a double up of these means the oil won’t travel through the engine properly, which causes huge issues. Grab your new filter and dab a bit of the new oil around the O-ring.
To install the new filter, spin it on really gently until the O-ring first makes contact with the seal. Your oil filter should be tightened from three quarters of a turn to a full turn. You don’t want to over-tighten the filter here so it’s a good idea to check the specification in your owner’s manual.
It’s time to add the oil now. At this stage of the oil change, it’s best to double check that both the drain plug and oil filter are properly in place and tightened well. Pour in the new oil, but make sure to pour in about one litre (1L) less than is recommended.
Now, replace the oil cap and start your car’s engine. Run it for 30 seconds or so, so that the oil runs through the engine. Then, you can turn the engine back off and check underneath the car for leaks.
Once you’re happy the change has been completed perfectly and there are no leaks, you can bring your car back down to flat and level ground. Then you can check your oil — it should be a bit lower than full because we didn’t add in that extra litre. Pour in the extra litre or so now.
Your first oil change is complete!