Thursday, 1 December 2011

Detailing Part 2: Polishing, Waxing and Drying

** after claying, the next step in the detailing process is polishing, what polishing does is it evens out the paint surface to remove scratches and to give a car a bigger shine

** polishing can be done by either machine or hand, it is recommended by many that cars be polished in the shade or under cover

** I prefer to polish under direct sunlight, I use the heat from the sunlight to assist in the polishing process rather than generating heat manually and tiring myself through physical exertion

Detailing Part 1: Removing Dirt, Grime and Fall-Out on Paint

** wash cars on cool or overcast days, if not possible, wash vehicle under cover or shade

** start from the upper half of the car starting with the roof and work your way down, once the top half is done, do the bottom half of the vehicle, make sure detergent is clean and that sponge or wash mit is cleaned of debris or grit which can damage clear coat and paint

** after washing painted surfaces and hosing off detergent, DO NOT dry car as the water will help the following detailing steps

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Wheels and Tyres

** Check tyre (tire) tread depth, the deepest groove in a tyre has a tread depth indicator which is a small hump in the groove, the side of a tyre also has an arrow or small triangle which shows where the tread depth indicators are located

** Most tyres start with either 10/32" or 11/32" of an inch of tread. When the tread depth indicator is level with the height of the tread (2/32"), this means it is time to change tyres. The usable amount of tyre is on most instances 8 to 9/32"

** When tyres are fitted to wheels, wheel weights are fitted to a wheel to help balance the wheel/tyre combo and to remove vibrations when driving, the less weight  fitted the better the build quality of the tyre and/or wheel in general. If many wheel weights are added, it means the build quality of the tyre or wheel may be poor

Oil Changes

Basic tips I follow when doing my own oil changes -

** Make sure the hand or foot brake is on. If car is auto, put selector in park, for manual leave in 1st gear

** Place brick behind either rear wheel

** Change oil when the engine is warm, wear disposable gloves so you don't get burned or get your hands covered in used oil, keep rags or paper towels close by in case of mess

** Remove the oil cap and dipstick when draining oil to drain oil trapped by engine vacuum

Monday, 14 November 2011

Post Sale Tactics at Dealerships

The deal is done. The contract has been signed. It's almost time to drive off into the sunset with your new car that you have just purchased from the dealer.

If you used your own money or a finance plan that you organised before buying, I'd like to say well done and congratulations. Good stuff!! I only wish more people did the same and I hope to spread this message with my blog.

After a sale, a dealer will try to get you to sign up to all sorts of crazy stuff you will not need. They will try to gouge more money out of your wallet if they were unsuccessful with the car deal.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Easy Driver

Does driving get any easier?


Down here in Melbourne, I have noticed over the past 10 years that the standard of driving seems to be getting worse despite advances in vehicle design, road infrastructure, education and policing.

As a courier, I would often see accidents and events on the road which would make most people shake their head in disbelief and think WTF? Did that just happen?

Monday, 7 November 2011

The Test Drive

The best way to organise a test drive at a dealer or from a private seller is to initiate contact using the phone.

By choosing a day and time in advance, I am able to let the seller know when it is suitable to view and drive the car. Usually this depends on whether anyone else is test driving the car or whether the car is available, which the seller should inform you of.

The best time to drive is usually Monday to Friday from 10am to 2pm since most people will be at work and there will be less traffic on the road. Weekend test drives are busier since most people don't work weekends.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Shopping Online for Cars

Thanks to the internet, it is becoming much easier to shop online and to research products or services we as consumers are interested in buying or selling.

Cars are no exception. As a result, I do all my shopping for cars or car stuff online and you know that I prefer to buy and sell cars privately due to the savings.

Rather than wasting time and money, driving from dealer to dealer or house to house looking at cars which may or may not interest me, it's all too easy to jump online and to search from the comfort of home.

Thursday, 3 November 2011

GM Holden going to China?

It was announced today on the news and confirmed by Holden that Australia's number one selling car, the Holden Commodore, will very likely be no longer manufactured or designed from 2014 here down under.

Can I say that I am not surprised despite being the owner of a Holden car?

The reason I say this is because there has been an enormous shift from buyers into smaller and more fuel efficient vehicles.

Monday, 31 October 2011

Big Money, Big Business and Unions

If you are watching TV or reading the news from anywhere around the world, you will know by now that Qantas has cancelled all flights and grounded them until an agreement is struck between management, workers and unions.

Meanwhile, passengers are stuck all around the world waiting to be redirected to new flights to get them to where they need to be.

What is happening with Qantas is VERY relevant to what is happening around the world in any large global organisation. Qantas cannot compete internationally and would like to move their base of operations offshore to another country.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Taking delivery of a car as a new owner

So you have signed the contract and the money has been handed over. Now it is time to pick up your new or used car from the dealer.

Check and make sure that any options you ordered have been fitted to the car. Check the mileage.

Go over the entire car and look out for any damage on the exterior, interior, in the boot or under the bonnet. I have seen brand new cars damaged whilst being transported by dealer staff or when fitting accessories ordered by the buyer.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Tsunami Cars

I was reminded of the horrible nuclear disaster in Japan earlier this year when I came across this article on Nine MSN

"Radiation contaminated cars sold in Japan"

It does not surprise me the least that some Japanese car dealers are trying to offload and sell cars to the public that are contaminated with nuclear radiation. The issue isn't going to disappear by simply giving the car a wash, vaccuum or replacing parts.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

A driver's greatest fear?

I was eating breakfast when I came across a story in the local paper that caught my eye.

The title of the story stated "drivers live in fear of breakdowns" and was written in response to a survey conducted by a car insurance company.

Interesting to note that this survey was conducted by one insurance provider, rather than several as a group. I wonder how much this insurance company paid the newspaper to advertise for them? Do potential customers get discount insurance quotes? 

Anyhow, back to the word "fear". My interpretation and understanding of fear is, being afraid of someone or something that you don't know or don't understand, which leads to the following question.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Hybrid vs Diesel

There is little doubt as to the direction car manufacturers are headed when it comes to cars of the future.

As oil prices continue to rise, the race is on amongst car manufacturers to mass produce an electric car that is affordable to buy, service and maintain. Zero fuel, zero emissions.

Fuel efficient cars come in various sizes, fuel types and engine configurations.

If you are chasing just pure numbers when it comes to best fuel economy and long range mileage, you can't go past a diesel car. Most modern diesels are fitted with turbo chargers which not only boost fuel efficiency, but also increase horsepower and torque.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Regular or premium?

Today's cars can often run on both regular and premium fuel. Some manufacturers recommend that their cars only use fuel with an octane level of 95 or higher. Note that recommend does not mean "must".

Most modern cars have sensors which can detect the type of fuel you use and will adjust the settings in the car's computer to control how your car runs on that particular type of fuel.

Using premium fuel decreases the chances of an engine knocking (pinging). To my ears, knocking sounds like marbles being rattled around in a plastic box. You can try to make your car knock by accelerating lightly uphill in a higher gear (3rd, 4th, 5th or 6th). Have the windows up and any other noisey accessories switched off to help listen out for it.

Is knocking bad for your engine? YES!!

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Odometer wound back?

I often come across people who can't tell if the mileage on a car is genuine. The odometer reading can either be in analogue or digital. This usually involves cars which are more than 3 years old with very low mileage recorded on them.

That being said, I have sold a car with low mileage myself and own a car which travels only 5,000km (3000 miles) a year.

It is a sad fact that some sellers will alter and tamper with the odometer or swap instrument clusters to obtain a lower reading so as to get a higher sale price. This practice is illegal but I will inform you of a method I use to determine how genuine the mileage on a car is, it doesn't matter how old the car.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Improving fuel economy

There are several basic simple tips anyone can do which can improve the fuel economy of your car. I am almost always asked this question repeatedly by people when they find out that I drive a V8.

"How do you afford the fuel bill?" they always ask.
Not surprisingly, the truth is, simple and uncomplicated. It is not rocket science. 

I budget and plan my trips. Ta da!! Who would have thought? :)

Below I have listed 8 methods I have used to lower my fuel costs and to save money.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Get your finances in order

So you have decided which car you want to buy, next comes the buying process.

I can't stress enough how important it is to have your finances in order prior to buying a car from a dealer or a private seller. Once you know your budget, then you are in a position to negotiate a purchase price on your terms.

Buy a car privately or from a dealer?

The safest and most uncomplicated way to buy a car is from a licensed car dealer. The laws
ensure that cars sold by dealers are not stolen, do not have money owing on them, they are
safe to drive on the road and come with a warranty.

That being said, that doesn't mean that there are dealers out there who won't bend the laws
when it comes to selling a car. In general, car dealers which sell brand new cars (cars with zero or delivery mileage) will be less likely to pull a blindfold over you than those who don't.

I have seen cars purchased from new car dealers which turn out to be written off and repaired. So be warned and tread carefully, these risks are real and they do exist, though are less likely.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Which car to buy?

Having worked in the auto industry, the question I am often asked is, which car is the one to buy?

My response always leads to the following questions. What do you need the car for? What features are you after? How much do you want to spend?

This is understandable due to the many brands and vehicles on offer which can often be overwhelming and confusing.