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keeping your car in check when not in use

Keeping Your Car In Check When You’re Not Using It

With COVID-19 keeping many of us at home, our cars haven’t received the same workout they usually would. Many Brisbane drivers have found a shudder in their car on starting or worse, a flat battery from its total non-use. Even if the pandemic hadn’t created the stay at home orders — extended holidays, a prolonged flu, whatever it is, sometimes we’ll give our cars a bit of a break. 

It’s essential to make sure you’re still giving it a little love and attention, so when you’re ready to start using it like you used to again, it’s ready to go for you. 

Make sure you’re still running your car

Your car will benefit so much from even just turning your car on. Try and get to it at least once a week and start the engine to get the engine’s fluids running through the car. Better than that of course, is actually taking your car for a drive. 

Driving your car just around the block is enough to warm it up and keep it going, but if your battery’s getting older, make sure you drive a bit further to keep the battery charging up. It’s ideal if you can do this once a week but at least once a fortnight is amazing if you can commit to it. 

Make sure it’s clean, inside & out

Try to make sure you’re cleaning your car often. Clean off any sap, bird droppings, or leaves and flowers off of your car. The sap fallen from trees and the acidic content of the bird droppings will actually burn and stain your car’s paint. 

As well as that, take any rubbish out of your car and give it a vacuum for crumbs and little food scraps. You want to ensure you’re not attracting bugs, rodents, or gross smells if you’re planning to leave your car alone for a while. 

Pay attention to the tyres

Even if you are taking your car for a weekly or fortnightly drive, make sure you’re checking the tyre pressure when you do. Tyres get flat spots when they sit on the road for prolonged periods. 

Particularly if your tyres are older, make sure you’re checking them for cracks, flakes, or deterioration of the tyre’s rubber — sitting cold on the road can wear your tyres terribly. 

Make sure your battery is happy

A newer car battery should be able to withstand a bit of a break from driving. If you have a slightly older battery though, make sure on your weekly or fortnightly drives that you’re going for long enough to recharge the battery. 

It’s important to remember that car batteries run on kinetic energy — where movement is what charges the battery. This is why newer cars will tell you to turn them off when you’re not in motion. Sitting with your radio, or especially your air conditioner running will drain the battery. 

So, if you’re just starting your car to drive around the block, say less than a kilometre, then the battery power your car used to turn itself on is more than it’ll be topped up with on that drive. Be sure to drive far enough or long enough to keep your car’s battery topped up and happy. 

We’d recommend covering your car

Especially if you’re parking on a tree-dense street with plenty of leaves, flowers, and the like to drop on your car, try and cover your car up. This will prevent these dirtying your car, causing stains or discolouration, and car covers can also work to prevent theft or break-ins for your car.

As well as that, it can protect your car from the sun. The sun can cause some fading to your car’s paint but it can also cause a lot of heat under the bonnet, which isn’t ideal for your engine or parts. A car cover can do wonders here.

Don’t drop routine car servicing

This is so, so important. Your car service sticker will usually have a date and a number of kilometres, telling you to service at whichever you reach first. Make sure you’re still following this guide. 

When you haven’t driven in six months, it can be super tempting to wait for those kilometres to come around before taking your car to your mechanic. Your car’s engine fluids though, will still need replacing. Especially if you’re not driving often, the fluids will become dirty and won’t serve your car the same as some fresh oil and coolant will.

—Bring your car into our Newstead, Woolloongabba, Milton, or Bulimba workshop for your next car service Brisbane.

maintaining your volvo

Maintaining Your Volvo

Volvo is a Swedish car brand known for innovation and creating safe, solid, and reliable cars. The Volvo company is actually responsible for a number of today’s most common safety features across all makes and models of cars. Plus, they offer a luxurious and comfortable experience for their drivers.

When it comes to owning such a luxurious car, it’s important to maintain your volvo properly. Here are our top tips for maintaining your volvo.

Maintaining your Volvo’s Engine

Ensuring your Volvo’s engine is receiving the maintenance it needs is absolutely essential. So, having your Volvo serviced at each service interval specified by your logbook is really important.  

We’ve talked before about how important it is, regardless of the make and model of your car, to have your car serviced regularly. Follow the service schedule outlined in your logbook to ensure your engine is being taken care of properly. Make sure you have your air conditioner serviced every two years to ensure the filters are clean, the air is fresh, and to keep it in perfect, working order. 

Maintaining your Volvo’s Exterior

The key to keeping the exterior of your Volvo looking good is to have it washed often. Remember that automatic drive thru car washes can be harsh on certain paints. The dirt and dust build up on the exterior of your Volvo can begin to wear out the paint if left for too long while droppings from animals, particularly birds, actually contain acids that will etch your paint.

As well as ensuring the exterior of your Volvo is cleaned regularly, don’t forget to make sure your tyres are maintained effectively too. Make sure you’re regularly checking the air pressure in your tyres, checking the tread, and getting your scheduled wheel alignments and balances. Learn more about the importance of tyre maintenance here

Maintaining your Volvo’s Interior

Volvo boasts a classy interior. It’s full of Scandi design elements, cool leathers, and a minimalistic design. The interior of your Volvo feels luxurious before you start the engine. So, it’s so important to maintain the interior to keep it in tip top shape. 

Steering Wheel

Volvo’s leather steering wheel isn’t designed to be covered. Well, generally, leather components need to breathe — so avoid steering wheel covers on these. You can actually get specialised Volvo wipes to clean your steering wheel, or you can just buy a generic leather cleaner and use it with a microfibre cloth. 

Seatbelts

Again, use your trust microfibre cloth to wipe your seat belts down. If they need a good clean, you can use a synthetic detergent. If you do use a spray on your seatbelts, make sure you dry off the entirety of the belt before allowing it to retract. 

The wooden, plastic, or metal interior elements

These interior elements of your Volvo just require a gentle wipe over and typically, no cleaning products — especially no stain removal products. Use a microfibre cloth that’s slightly dampened with water if needed.

Upholstery

To maintain the leather upholstery in your Volvo, it’s important to regularly use a leather cleaner on the upholstery. Volvo also recommends you use a protective cream on your leather upholstery at least once a year, but up to four times in a year. 

As for your fabric upholstery or the upholstery in your ceiling, it’s really important you clean this gently. Avoid scraping the fabric, using harsh cleaning products, or stain removers. 

Your centre console

As you drive your Volvo you’ll start to get a bit of a dirt and dust build up in your centre console and display. You might also see a bit of oil or grease from touching the screen with your fingertips. 

It’s recommended to turn off your centre display before you wipe it down. You can do this by holding down the ‘Home’ button. Use your microfibre to lightly wipe down the screen and the rest of your console. Don’t apply too much pressure as any loose dirt or dust may damage the screen with too much force. 

—We’re the experts in car servicing. Get in touch with us or book your next Volvo service here.

mercedes benz servicing schedules explained

Mercedes Service Schedule Explained: Service A & Service B

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. 

The difference between Mercedes Service A and Service B

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 Service A

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:

  • Replacement of oil filter and synthetic motor oil
  • All fluids and levels checked and corrected as per the manufacturer’s specifications
  • Check tyre pressure and correct
  • Brake inspection to find component issues
  • Resetting for the next Service A interval
  • Windscreen wiper blade replacement
  • Replace cabin dust/combination filter

Mercedes Service B

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:

  • Replacement of oil filter and synthetic motor oil 
  • Replacement of combination or cabin dust filter
  • Inspection of brakes for component issues & changing of brake fluids
  • Tyre pressure inspection and correction
  • Checking of all fluid levels and correcting them to manufacturers specifications
  • Resetting for the next Service B interval

These will vary from model to model

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.

Which car brands are the most expensive to maintain

Car Maintenance Cost: Which brands are the most expensive to maintain

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:

  • Registration
  • Insurance
  • Servicing
  • Possible Repairs
  • Fuel 
  • Tyre Maintenance

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?

Average 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. 

What are the cheapest cars to maintain? 

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. 

What are the most expensive cars to maintain?

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.

Credit: savings.com.au

Diesel car maintenance VS petrol:

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.

maintaining your Audi coolant system

How To Maintain The Coolant System In Your Audi

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. 

What does your Audi’s coolant system do?

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.

Check and maintain your coolant level

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.

Watch out for leaks

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.

Check the thermostat

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.

Take note of your temperature gauge

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.

Inspect your radiator

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.

— 

Think there might be a problem with your Audi’s coolant system? Bring your car down to one of our workshops across Woolloongabba, Milton, Bulimba, or Newstead. You can even book online. 

car dealership warranty blog image

Dealership Servicing & Car Warranties

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? 

Taking a look at your car 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. 

Why dealerships need you to go to them

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.

Do you need to use genuine parts?

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.

What about software?

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.

What about your logbook?

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.).”

So, where should you get your car serviced?

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.

maintaining your vw

Maintaining Your VW

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. 

Don’t perform DIY repairs

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. 

Always get it checked

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. 

Keep it clean, inside and out

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.

Service it regularly

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. 

Take care of your tyres

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

Carbon System Cleaning

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. 

illustration of hand on tyre with red background

How To Maintain Your Tyres

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. 

How long should tyres last?

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.

Tyre Pressure: the core of tyre maintenance

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. 

How often should I check my tyre pressure?

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. 

How do I put air in my tyres?

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. 

Wheel Alignments & Rotations

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:

  • Your car pulls to one side while travelling on a flat, straight road
  • Your steering wheel shakes
  • The handling of your steering wheel feels loose
  • Your steering wheel doesn’t naturally return to the centre after turning a corner
  • You’re seeing uneven or abnormal tyre wear

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. 

When to change tyres

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.

Adjust your driving habits

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.

handing keys over selling used car

What to look for when buying a used car

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. 

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. 

1. Check out the exterior for rust or previous crashes

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. 

2. Check out the tyres and wheels — including the spare

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!

3. Make sure the seatbelts, windows, and doors work 

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. 

4. Ensure lights, the air conditioner, indicators, and dashboard switches work

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. 

5. Make sure the front seats in the car adjust properly

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. 

6. Check the engine and engine fluids

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. 

7. Test drive time

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. 

How to buy a used car

Now you know what to look for when buying a used car, here’s how to buy a used car. 

1. Define a budget

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. 

2. Get an idea of what you can afford

Hop on Carsales, Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree, and car dealership websites to get an idea of what you can afford within your budget. 

3. Start looking for cars

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. 

4. Contact a seller

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?

5. Inspect the car

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…

6. Ask about the car’s history

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. 

7. Confirm the car’s history

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.

8. Take it for a test drive

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. 

9. Negotiate the price

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. 

10. Pay and sign the papers

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!

Dealership Vs. Private Seller

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 road trip, christmas tree, rear view mirror

How to Prepare Your Car for a Road Trip

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. 

1. Prepare early: don’t check it the day before you leave 

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. 

2. Get a car service if you need it

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. 

3. Check your engine over

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. 

4. Check your engine fluids

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. 

5. Check your tyres (and your spare)

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. 

6. Check all of your lights

Make sure all of your lights are working. Your reverse lights, brake lights, headlights, high beams, and even your interior lights. 

7. Clean up

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. 

8. Check your rego, insurance, roadside assistance

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. 

9. Pack safely

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.  

10. Pack entertainment

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?

11. Make sure your playlist is downloaded

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. 

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Think your car might benefit from a check over by a mechanic? Bring your car into one of our four workshops across Brisbane. 

Mechanic Milton

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Mechanic Woolloongabba

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