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Auto Mechanic Tips Overview

These tips from our auto mechanics are provided from the diverse experience of our Auto-Tech trained mechanics located all around Australia.  This advice and tips are provided free of charge to help you gain more from your motoring.


Auto Repair Advice, Motoring Safety Tips, Travel Safety, Car Care Hints and more are all provided as a part of our service.  You may also benefit from the Repco Authorised Service Nationwide Warranty for 12 months/20,000 kms on all work performed, which is backed by Repco, one of Australia's biggest automotive companies

 

AUTO FACTS Hints and Tips 1:

What fluids should be changed during an oil change or car Service?

During any regular car service the mechanic should ensure that the engine oil is changed. But there are other oils in your car which unless drained periodically and replaced, could cause parts of your car to wear more quickly than they should.

See the Auto Facts video for Ancillary Oils here. 

 

AUTO FACTS Hints and Tips 2:

Changing cooling system and radiator hoses

If a radiator hose is nearing the end of its life it is better to have it replaced before it splits and causes the car engine to overheat and damage the radiator or other cooling system components.

 

AUTO FACTS Hints and Tips 3:

Buying a used car

If you're about to buy a used car, it pays to check the vehicle thoroughly to ensure that you are getting the best value for money.  There are a number of areas you should inspect, to ensure the vehicle condition is exactly as it seems. A written report from a mechanic can also be useful.

See the Auto Facts Video for Pre Purchase Inspection here.

 NB: There is now a law effective from January 2011: 

"When you buy a car (new or used) from a dealer, you now have the protection of legally enforceable consumer guarantees, including that the car is of acceptable quality (which includes being safe, free from defects and durable) and reasonably fit for any purpose you specify when buying it, such as towing." 

For the rest of the article click here.  

 

AUTO FACTS Hints and Tips 4:

Regular Car Servicing and Engine Oil Change

Many car manufacturers recommend car service intervals of 10,000km or more, but in the owner's manual they often reduce this interval. One particular reason for this is to change the engine oil to suit certain driving conditions.

See the Auto Facts Video for Service Intervals here. 


AUTO FACTS Hints and Tips 5:

Changing Timing belt or camshaft belt

The camshaft belt (or timing belt) carries a very high load and, as with any rubber component on a vehicle, it perishes with age and wears with use. If the timing belt is not replaced during the right car service, it may break or the drive teeth may strip, causing major engine damage.

See the Auto Facts Video for Timing Belts here.

  

AUTO FACTS Hints and Tips 6:

Brake Fluid and it's effect on brake performance

Brake fluid is the lifeblood of the brake system in your car. Brake fluid transfers the pressure you apply of the brake pedal to the brake master cylinder and ulimately the brake pads at the wheels of your car. Regular changing of the brake fluid provides safer brake operation.

See the Auto Facts video for Brake Fluid here.

 

AUTO FACTS Hints and Tips 7:

Power Steering

The most common forms of repair to power steering systems is the replacement of either the steering rack unit or the power steering box.  A fact that is often overlooked (even by a mechanic) is that the largest cause of failure in these items is due to a worn power steering pump.

Check the Auto Facts Video for Power Steering here.

  

AUTO FACTS Hints and Tips 8:

Car Service Intervals (Log Book Servicing)

The service interval best suited to your car will depend on a range of factors such as vehicle type, its age and the conditions under which the car is driven. A check of your manufacturers log book will generally verify this. If you are unsure, you should discuss your specific needs with a mechanic.

See the Auto Facts Video for Service Intervals here.

 

AUTO FACTS Hints and Tips 9:

Steering and CV Joint Boots

Replacing the steering rack or CV joint boots before they wear out is a good example of how money spent on car maintenance can keep are car safer, and also save a lot more money in repairs.

See the Auto Facts Video for Steering and CV Boots here.

 

AUTO FACTS Hints and Tips 10:

Why you need to change Radiator Coolant

Nearly all Australian manufactured vehicles require a Coolant or Anti-Freeze change every 2 years or 40,000 Kilometres in order to protect the vehicle radiator and cooling system. A well maintained cooling system will perform at maximum efficiency, thereby preventing the engine overheating.

 

AUTO FACTS Hints and Tips 11:

Exchange Engines

Replacing your cars engine with an exchange unit may be a wise alternative to buying a used car, especially if your trusted vehicle is in otherwise sound condition. If you are considering an exchange engine for your vehicle, it is important to do your research and ensure that you make an informed decision in order to receive the best value for money.

 

AUTO FACTS Hints and Tips 12:

Log Book Servicing

There are many misconceptions about car servicing on vehicles that are still under a NEW CAR WARRANTY. Car Dealers cannot maintain a monopoly on 'log book' Service. Nor can they suggest that a new car warranty is void if a service is carried out by other than the New Car Dealer. Details

Check out the Auto Facts Video for Repco Authorised Service's New Car Warranty Service here.  

 

AUTO FACTS Hints and Tips 13:

Oil Changes other than engine oils

What oils should be changed?

Every time your car is serviced the engine oil is changed, but there are other oils in your car which should be changed periodically.

 

What are these other oils?

The automatic transmission, manual gearbox, differential and power steering systems are all lubricated by oil or fluids of various types. Some of these systems don't have the luxury of an oil filter, like the engine uses.

 

Why change these oils?

Simply put, oil reduces friction between mechanical parts in a car and thus reduces wear. Unless these oils are drained periodically and replaced with clean oil, parts of your car can wear more quickly than they should. As oil gets older it collects abrasive impurities. Additives used in the oil to help it suit a certain application can diminish over time and with use. Heat produced, particularly in automatic transmissions, can also affect the oil's lubricating properties.

 

How often should the oil be changed?

This will vary depending on the particular oil, the job it does and the type of driving you do. You can refer to your vehicle owner's manual for recommended intervals or your Repco Auto Repair mechanic will be happy to advise you. We are happy to answer any more questions you may have regarding Service Intervals.

 

AUTO FACTS Hints and Tips 14:

Changing all cooling system hoses

If a radiator hose is nearing the end of its life it is better to have it replaced before it splits and causes the car engine to overheat. As the hoses get older, they can become soft and swollen and are more likely to split. Other times the rubber becomes hard and can crack and leak. If a hose needs replacing or has recently been replaced, consideration should be given to replace the rest of the hoses as they also are subject to the same wear and tear.

It is generally more economical to change the hoses at the same time. Rather than one by one this has the added advantage of allowing a thorough flush of the cooling system and only one dose of new coolant. It also saves the further inconvenience of another hose failing soon after one has been replaced.

The radiator cap and thermostat are also vital components in a cars cooling system and should also be considered for replacement.

The cost of this type of preventive maintenance is far less than repairing the consequences of a badly overheated engine.

 

AUTO FACTS Hints and Tips 15:

Engine Oil Change

Oil Change

Many car manufacturers are recommending service intervals of 10,000km even up to 20,000km but also in the car owner's manual they often recommend this interval be reduced under various conditions. One particular reason for this is to change the engine oil.


Reasons for Changing Engine Oil.

  • Engine oil has a limited useful life dependant on time and driving conditions
  • By products of combustion, particularly when the engine is cold, contaminate the oil and cause sludge build up inside the engine. Some of the sludge will gradually block the oil galleries in an engine and starve moving parts of lubrication.
  • Dilution from fuel will make the oil thinner and reduce its lubricating properties.
  • Metal deposits from wearing components builds up and accelerates wear.
  • Additives used in the oil can break down over time.
  • Oxidation of the fuel occurs from contact with air inside the crankcase and can cause a build up of gum deposits and acids.

Advantages of Regular Oil Changes?

Change oil regularly will reduce the effect of the problems listed above. This can greatly increase the life of your engine. This is important, as today's modern multi-valve engines are becoming increasingly more expensive to repair and overhaul.

 

AUTO FACTS Hints and Tips 16:

Timing Belts

What is a Cambelt?

Sometimes called a camshaft drive belt or timing belt: it is a reinforced, toothed rubber belt used in the engines of about 70% of today's motor cars. It is propelled by the engine crankshaft and drives the camshaft which opens the valves of the engine.

 

Where is it found?

It is at the front of the engine, usually under plastic covers to protect it from damage. It is behind the other more obvious drive belts such as the fan or alternator belts. As it cannot be seen without removing the covers and other components it is often neglected.

 

Why does it wear?

The cambelt carries a very high load in the engine and, as with any rubber component of the vehicle, it perishes with age and wears with use.

 

What will happen if it is not replaced on time?

If the belt is not replaced on time it may break or the drive teeth may strip. If this happens the camshaft in the engine stops rotating leaving some valves open, protruding into the cylinders, the crankshaft continues to rotate and can push the pistons into the valves and bend them. This causes major engine damage which is very costly and time consuming to repair.

 

When should it be replaced?

Most car manufacturers recommend replacement from 60,000km to 100,00km. We strongly recommend replacement at manufactures recommended interval. To replace the belt is only a fraction of the cost of repairing the damage caused should it break, not to mention the inconvenience of your car being out of use for many days.

P.S. It may also be wise to replace other drive belts at the same time, if they are worn, as they have to be removed to access the cambelt. The old belts could be kept in the boot as handy spares.

 

AUTO FACTS Hints and Tips 17:

Brake Fluid

Why replace it?

Regularly changing the brake fluid in your car allows safe brake operation and can also save money

 

What is brake fluid?

It is the lifeblood of the brake hydraulic system in your car. Brake fluid transfers the pressure you apply of the brake pedal to the brakes at the wheels of your car.

 

What happens as it ages?

Brake fluid is very hygroscopic, that is, it absorbs moisture very readily. This lowers the boiling point of the fluid and introduces moisture into the components of the brake system.

 

How does this affect safety?

With a lower boiling point, the heat generated from normal braking can cause old brake fluid to boil, which in turn causes loss of braking pressure or complete brake failure.

 

How can it save money?

The moisture in brake fluid causes brake components to corrode internally and therefore need replacement earlier than expected. Comparatively the cost of replacing the fluid is very low.

 

GT-LMA Brake Fluid. How often should it be replaced?

Repco Auto Repair recommend every two years. This is in line with most car manufacturers recommendations. But if there is any doubt as to its age we recommend replacing it.

 

AUTO FACTS Hints and Tips 18:

Service Intervals

What is involved in a Car Service?

A car service comprises three main components.

  • Safety Inspection
  • Preventative maintenance for reliability and cost saving
  • Oil and filter change

How often should my car be serviced?

The service interval best suited to your car will depend on a range of factors such as vehicle type, its age and the conditions under which it is driven. Generally we recommend an interval of 5,000 km or 6 months. A check of your car owner's manual will generally verify this.


Advantages of Regular Services?

  • To detect faults before they become a safety concern.
  • To change engine oil before its lubricating properties are reduced too much by time, contamination and use. Sludge build up in engine oil galleries caused by lack of oil changes is a prime cause of early engine wear.
  • To detect items that are wearing so they can be replaced before they fail causing inconvenience & expense.
  • Best of all Regular Servicing can greatly extend the life of your engine and your car.

 

AUTO FACTS Hints and Tips 19:

Steering Rack Boots

Why replace them?

If your Rack boots are perished or torn, replacing them early can save the added expense of replacing the components they protect.

 

What are steering rack boots?

They are rubber covers which seal each end of the car's steering rack while still allowing movement when steering. They seal in the lubricant and seal out dirt and water. If they tear, dirt and water from the road will enter the steering rack and wear it rapidly.

 

Why do they tear?

They are made of rubber and exposed to the elements under your car and are subject to a lot of movement. As they get older the rubber perishes and eventually will tear. Replacing the steering rack boots before they wear out is a good example of how money spent on car maintenance can save a lot more money in repairs.

 

Steering Rack Boot. When should they be replaced?

If your car is serviced regularly, Repco Auto Repair Mechanics will spot when they are nearing the end of their useful life and report this to you.

 

AUTO FACTS Hints and Tips 20:

Coolant Changes

Why Do You Need To Change Radiator Coolant?

An important requirement often over-looked in relatively new vehicles is the change period of the factory fitted coolant. It appears many people are not aware that nearly all Australian manufactured vehicles and the majority of overseas vehicles require a Coolant or Anti-Freeze change at 2 years or 40,000 Kilometres.

CHANGE YOUR COOLANT REGULARLY TO PREVENT COOLING SYSTEM CORROSION

 

What Is Radiator Coolant?

Today's Coolants are a sophisticated blend of Corrosion Inhibiting chemicals, Anti Foam agents, demineralised water and Mono Ethylene Glycol. The two main functions of a modern coolant are (1) To provide excellent corrosion protection to all the metals found in your cooling system. (2) To remove huge amounts of waste heat from the engine.

 

What happens As Coolant Ages?

As conventional Coolants or Anti Freezes protect the metal surfaces by coating them with a micro thin film of corrosion inhibitors this action over time consumes the active chemicals. Once the Coolants corrosion inhibitors have been depleted the coolant will give little or no corrosion protection to your engine.

 

How Can I Save Money By Regularly Servicing My Cooling System?

A well maintained cooling system will perform at maximum efficiency thereby stopping corrosion and the replacement of expensive engine components.

 

How Do I Select the Right Radiator Coolant?

The current Australian Standard AS 2108.1.97 has two types of compliance, Type A and Type B.

For later model cars a Type A is generally required and for earlier models a Type B is adequate.

 

Check out the Auto Facts Videos for more great information here.