Summer is fast approaching, and that means the holiday season is almost here. Nothing’s more Australian than packing up the car and heading off on a road trip adventure, but before you load the kids and suitcases, there’s a few things you should check to make sure your car will get you there and back safely. At AME, we are Perth’s leading automotive mechanics offering affordable car service packages that will give you the confidence you need to take your vehicle anywhere you want to go this summer. From fluids and tyres to battery and brakes, here’s our guide for things to check to ensure your car is road-trip ready.
Even if your car has recently been serviced and the fluid levels have been checked, it’s wise to double check fluid levels are near-full. If you are going on a long road trip, especially to remote areas, it’s recommended to keep a backup supply of each on hand. Common fluids that are easy check yourself are:
Oil – critical for an engine, oil lubricates moving components like the pistons, crankshaft, and camshaft so they can move smoothly without friction. Oil should be changed every 5,000 to 10,000 kilometres or every six months, whichever comes first. Even if you have had a recent oil change, it’s still a good idea to check the oil condition and fill level before a long trip.
Radiator fluid – also known as coolant or antifreeze, radiator fluid works to extract heat from the engine and dissipate it through the radiator. A low coolant level will also likely result in overheating, so check your coolant and top it up if need be. The last thing you want is to be stuck on the side of the road in the blistering sun with an overheated car.
Brake fluid – brake fluid transfers the effort applied to the brake pedal by the driver’s foot to the components that stop the vehicle. Over time, brake fluid absorbs moisture from the atmosphere, this reduces its boiling point and corrodes brake system components. To avoid any issues such as brake fade on your road trip, ensure you check the brake fluid before you head off, especially if it has not been changed within the last 12 months.
Windscreen washer fluid – while a low fluid level will not affect the engine or performance of your car, there’s nothing on the exterior of a car that’s more important to keep clean than the windscreen. After all, you have to be able to see where you’re going. Adding windscreen washer fluid is very simple – get a jug of water with a small amount of specific windscreen wash added, then simply use a funnel to fill up your reservoir if it is low.
Tyres are essential for safe driving as they are the only link between your vehicle and the road. Even if you routinely monitor the condition and pressure of your tyres, before setting off on a road trip make sure you check the following:
Air pressure – road trips are long, and that means using a lot of fuel to get you where you need to go. The best way to ensure optimum fuel efficiency, is to check your tyres are properly inflated. Check the air pressure before you head off, and continue to check your pressure every 2,500km. Incorrect air pressure not only causes greater fuel consumption, it can cause wear and damage to tyres which could impact the overall safety of the car.
Condition – check tyre tread and look for signs of strain, bulges, or other damage. Even if you think your tyres are in decent condition, it is best to get a professional opinion, especially if you haven’t rotated or replaced your tyres recently. Also remember to check the condition of your spare tyre, you would hate to have a puncture and then find out you can’t use your spare.
Other General Maintenance Before a Long Trip
Flush the radiator – high temperatures can cause your car to overheat so to ensure you don’t end up steaming on the side of the road consider having your radiator flushed and filled, especially if it’s been over a year since your last service.
Check the lights – brake lights, indicators, high and low beams — test them all in the dark. Properly working headlights and taillights will avoid you being unnecessarily pulled over by the police and, most importantly, improve safety while driving at night.
Check the battery – look for loose connections, frayed or broken cables, dirt and corrosion, as well as cracked cases or oozing liquid.
Replace the wiper blades – summer can bring rain, especially if you are road-tripping to the tropical north of the country so it’s a good idea to make sure your wiper blades still work efficiently and replace them if needed.
If you are planning a summer road trip, make it a priority to perform these simple checks before you head off. Don’t ruin your holiday by ending up on the side of the road or the back of a tow truck. Book your car in with the experts at AME Automotive before your summer holiday, we have a range of car service packages that will ensure the safety of you and your family on the road this holiday season. Call us today on (08) 9455 3225.
The two most critical alignment settings for front-end tyre
wear. Toe describes whether the fronts of the tyres are closer (toe-in) or
farther apart (toe-out) than the rears of the tyres and is the most commonly
needed alignment adjustment. Having too much toe, either in or out, will make
the front wheels fight each other, resulting in instability at higher speeds,
and substantially increased tyre wear. Tracking, or thrust, is gauged relative
to the vehicle centreline, and tracking misalignment also causes inside and
outside tyre wear.
Camber is the tilt of the top of the tyre according to
how it sits on the road and is important for several reasons. Its main purpose
is to keep the tyre flat on the road while the vehicle is loaded and in motion.
If you are looking at the wheels on a vehicle, having the top of the tyre
tilting in towards the vehicle is called negative camber, and if the top of the
wheel is tilting out from the vehicle, this is positive camber. To allow for
even tyre wear, most vehicles are set to neutral or slightly negative camber. Having
too much negative camber will wear the inside of the tyres, and having too much
positive camber will cause the outside of the tyre to wear quicker. Camber is
the one adjustment that can be set according to driving habits.
Caster is the angle of the steering axis and is only set
on the front suspension of a vehicle. Caster is important to steering feel and
high-speed stability, and it does not usually affect tyre wear. On most
vehicles caster angle is set in a positive manner which assists in steering and
vehicle stability at higher speeds. Caster also helps the steering wheel return
to the centre after turning,
Signs You Need a Wheel Alignment
There are some noticeable signs that could indicate your
vehicle needs a wheel alignment. You may be able to spot poor alignment by
sight, but there are other common signs including:
The vehicle excessively pulls to one side – A vehicle
should drive straight ahead with very little effort on the steering wheel. If
your vehicle pulls to the left or the right, it’s time to have your alignment
checked and corrected.
The steering wheel is not straight/centred – If
you’re driving straight down a flat, level road, the steering wheel should be
sitting close to perfectly straight. If the wheel is off centre by more than a
few degrees, you need a wheel alignment.
Uneven tyre wear – Wear on only the inside or
outside edges of tyres indicates a problem with the camber adjustment.
Feathering of the tyres often indicates a problem with the toe adjustment.
Loose handling – If your steering feels a bit
unstable or loose while driving, you should have the alignment checked.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, then book
your vehicle in for a wheel alignment with a qualified mechanic. Incorrect
wheel alignment can create a host of problems, so it’s best to get the vehicle
inspected as soon as it’s noticed.
A regular car service should happen every 6 months or 10,000kms, whichever comes first. Sometimes, however, an issue comes up unexpectedly with your vehicle. If your car won’t start or your engine is blowing smoke then these are clear signs there’s a problem that needs attention, but what are some of the less obvious signs? At AME Automotive, we are the car service specialists in Perth. We’ve put together a list of six signs that you need to book your car in for a service.
A normal illuminated check engine light is not a cause
for panic, but instead an indicator that you should have your engine checked
sooner rather than later. Pay attention to any other warning lights, dashboard
warning lights are configured to illuminate when the area they are monitoring
is not functioning properly, so they are a sign your engine needs attention.
All cars should still have a crisp and strong start. When
you turn the key in the ignition, the engine should come to life quickly and
then settle into a steady hum before you drive off. If you have noticed any
change to this, there is likely to be a problem. Some allowance should be given
for seasonal conditions – a car may start a little slower on a cold winter
morning, but overall it should be quick and punchy every time the key is
Keep an eye and ear out for vibrations and shudders that
are not down to the surface of the road. This could be an indicator of worn
tyres that are in need of balancing or even a weakening in a joint or loosening
of a bearing. This is something that is better left to the professionals to
If you hear a noise that sounds unusual, it is important
to get it checked. Noises are often a solid indicator of an underlying issue. Some
noises indicate certain problems:
A high pitched squeal when turning the ignition
on could indicate that the belt is worn or loose
Squealing noises when on the move could indicate
that your power steering fluid could need replacing
Squealing or grinding when slowing down is clear
indication that your brakes need to be checked
A dragging or droning noise may be coming from
your wheels, either in the front or the back, and could be a wheel bearing or differential
bearing going bad
If you notice any unusual noises, take your vehicle into
your local automotive mechanic for a service. A qualified mechanic will be able
to provide further diagnosis.
If you notice any excessive clouds of smoke or you are
frequently leaving black clouds in your rear view mirror, it could be a sign of
an oil leak, blockage or build-up. Check your rear bumper and if you come
across a black residue you need to book your car in for a service immediately.
If you notice any major leaks underneath your car on the
ground where you normally park, especially if any of the above symptoms are
regularly occurring, take it to your mechanic as soon as possible. Common leaks
may be bright green (coolant) or dark red/brown (transmission oil, engine oil
or brake fluid).
If you are experiencing any of the above
symptoms then don’t wait, book your
car in for a service with the trustworthy and professional team at AME
Automotive. With over 30 years of experience and knowledge, there’s a
reason we have earned our reputation as a provider of the best car service
Perth has to offer. We even clean and wash your car after we’ve done your
service! – book an appointment today.
Is your vehicle bouncing around more when you’re driving or is there a clunking sound when you go over speed hump? These could be signs that your suspension springs need replacing. While many people know that suspension springs absorb impact when driving over bumps and rough terrain ensuring a smooth and safe ride, most people do not realize the importance of suspension springs to the vehicle’s overall safety. Worn out springs can reduce the stability of the car, reduce driver control and lead to wear and tear on other critical components so it’s essential that you can recognize the warning signs of worn out springs.
Vehicle bottoming out
One of the best indicators of worn out springs is if the vehicle bottoms out while driving over dips or negotiating obstacles on the road. The spring insulators allow the suspension to control the amount that the vehicle’s front or rear end moves up and down. If your car bottoms out, you will notice a hard hit which can cause significant damage to the undercarriage of the vehicle and other parts on the car including transmission, steering and drive shaft.
Excessive road noise
The spring insulators absorb vibration in the road and by doing so, help control road noise. If you begin to notice noise from the road is louder than normal from the front or rear end of your vehicle, it’s a good indication that the spring insulators aren’t performing at their peak. Often excessive road noise means the damage has already been done and the spring insulators will need replacing so contact a licensed mechanic immediately.
Vehicle leaning to one side
Suspension springs help to keep the car balanced on all sides. When a spring is worn out or is showing signs of wear and tear, one of the noticeable side effects will be that one side of the car will appear to be higher than the other. If you notice that the left or right side of your vehicle appears higher or lower than the other side, contact a certified mechanic to inspect the problem. Other aspects of the vehicle may be affected such as steering and braking so it’s crucial the problem is rectified quickly.
It’s important to examine your tyres for wear and tear on a frequent basis, however most people typically don’t perform this check regularly as they simply forget or don’t know what to look for. If your tyres seem to be wearing more on the inside or outside this is a common side effect of a suspension alignment issue and one of the main offenders of misaligned suspension is a spring that is either wearing out or needs to be replaced.
One of the main jobs of the springs is to keep the car from bouncing around, especially when you strike potholes or road bumps. When the suspension spring starts to wear out, they compresses quite easily meaning the vehicle’s suspension will move up and down and feel like it is ‘bouncing’ more frequently. If you notice that your vehicle is bouncing more in normal driving conditions it’s a good indication that you may need replacement springs.
Tyres are arguably one of the most important factors in your cars safety, performance and efficiency. Worn out tyres can have a negative impact on many areas of your car so it’s crucial regular checks are done and important to know when they need to be replaced. But with so many different brands and types on the market, how do you know which ones are best for your car? Not all tyres are created equal, in fact different tyres serve very different functions. Here’s a few considerations you must make before purchasing new tyres for your car.
One size does not fit all and it’s crucial to that you select the right size tyre for your car. It’s important to take note of the specifications including the type, width, aspect ratio, maximum load and maximum speed. If you are unsure, you can find out what kind of tyres you need by looking on the side wall of your current tyres, referring to your vehicle’s placard – this may be found on the driver’s door, under the bonnet or in the glove box or else you can refer to the specifications in the owner’s manual. If you have trouble working out which size you need, it’s best to contact a knowledgeable or professional automotive mechanic.
Work out your needs and your budget
All tyres have different strengths and weaknesses. Some are longer lasting, some offer better grip, others offer a smoother and quieter ride. There isn’t one perfect tyre, but there will be a tyre that’s perfect for your needs. Do you go off road often? Do you only do city driving? Do you frequently do long trips or drive in the wet? These sorts of questions will help you work out what’s best for your car. You don’t have to spend a fortune to know your tyres are safe. From budget to premium, there are many tyre brands that will ensure your safety and enhance your driving experience. If you have trouble deciding which tyres are
Other things to consider
Do your research. There are so many ways to find out the features of benefits of different brands, and be sure to only buy only from brands that are trusted and proven in terms of quality. Additionally, ensure the company fitting your new tyres offers a wheel alignment. A wheel alignment will ensure good handling, will promote increased fuel economy and help to prolong the life of your new tyres.
We all know that servicing and maintenance is one of the duties of being a responsible car owner, but do we actually know what can happen if regular check-ups aren’t performed by a licensed automotive mechanic? We spend thousands of dollars choosing the perfect car for our needs but when it comes to maintaining it so many of us try to save a dollar skipping regular services, using inferior parts and products or even worse, performing a do-it-yourself job watching online tutorials. Cars, like people, need regular tune-ups by qualified professionals and here’s why:
Keep your family safe
A regular car service can help to identify possible issues before they become an expensive reality. Just because a car feels fine to drive, doesn’t mean there isn’t any underlying issues caused by normal wear and tear. Your automotive mechanic in Perth will carry out essential checks to critical components of your car such as brakes & clutch repairs, exhaust, transmission and suspension. All of these mechanisms can quite easily let you down and have disastrous consequences if not regularly checked and maintained. Servicing is the best way to ensure you and your passengers get home safely.
Maintain the value of your car
We know that cars don’t necessarily hold their value the same as other assets might, but the best way to ensure you get a top price if you choose to sell or upgrade is to ensure the service history is completely up-to-date. The used vehicle market is unbelievably competitive so an easy way to have the edge over the competition is to make sure you don’t skip any scheduled services. If you are thinking of selling, or if you’re just behind with servicing, a great way to get a car into its peak condition is with a car service package. Car service packages can include full electronic tune, a full safety check, brake inspection and added extras such as a complete interior and exterior clean. Perfect for giving any car a little bit of love.
Save money in the long run
Quite simply, regular servicing will save you money. It may not seem like it at the time, but scheduled maintenance will not only identify issues before they become costly it will also save you money at the fuel pump. A regularly service will lead to a smoother running motor improving fuel efficiency and reliability.
For a top quality car service or car service package in Perth contact the friendly staff at AME Automotive.