Frequently Asked Questions about Vehicle Maintenance
John Moriarty Automotive Services has been in the automotive business for a long time and over the years we’ve noticed that customers often have questions about the same things.
To save you time, we’ve created this page with answers to the most common questions we hear, or have dealt with ourselves.
Read on for helpful tips from our team of automotive experts on the Central Coast.
Car Maintenance FAQs
Your tyre placard provides important information on the correct tyre pressures for your vehicle.
It is often found on the drivers door pillar (when you open the door) or sometimes in the glovebox. Some manufacturers may also place the placard inside the fuel cap or under the bonnet.
Your owners manual should describe the correct type of oil for your vehicle. Most modern engines will use a 5W30 or 5W40 oil which is generally a thinner oil. A thinner oil helps the engine to turn over more easily, and ensures that the oil can circulate quickly around the engine soon after start up. Older vehicles tend to run a thicker oil, and there are now some special oil formulations for high mileage vehicles. These oils contain additive to conditions seals in the engine.
If you’re unsure which oil your car needs, get in touch with us
- Ensure your vehicle is on a flat surface
- Make sure the engine is cold or been off for at least 10 minutes
- Pull out the dip stick and wipe it with a clean rag
- Insert the dip stick back into the holder you withdrew it from
- Pull it out again and look at the oil on the stick. It should be reading between the words; ‘Add’ and ‘Full’
If you need to add oil, be sure to add a small amount at a time, and give it time to settle into the engine (3 or 4 minutes) before checking the oil level again. Be sure to add the oil by removing the oil cap on top of the engine. Do not attempt to add oil through the dipstick pipe – it will just leave a lot of mess.
A car battery usually needs to be replaced inside of 3 years, although modern batteries these days can last up to 7. Many factors can influence the lifespan of a battery including the climate you live in and your driving habits.
Signs to look out for in an ageing battery can include;
- car is slow to turn over
- the check engine light is on
- the battery itself is bloated or leaking acid
Follow these simple steps to change a tyre.
- Pull over somewhere safe and as flat as possible. Make sure the handbrake is on.
- Take out your spare wheel along with the jack and wheel brace. These are usually found under the lining in the boot. Some vehicles such as SUVs and dual cab utes may have the tyre underneath the vehicle itself.
- Loosen the wheelnuts one by one BEFORE jacking up the car. Turn the wheel brace counter-clockwise
- Place your jack under the car near the flat tyre. You vehicle’s manual will usually advise where to place it.
- Raise the car by slowly winding the jack clockwise. Keep going until there is a 5-10cm gap between the ground and your tyre.
- Remove all of the wheelnuts and keep them in a safe place where thy won’t roll away
- Replace the flat tyre with your spare – as a safety measure, place the flat tyre under the vehicle, just in case the jack gives way. Place the spare tyre onto the car by lining up the holes in the wheel
- Put the wheel nuts back on, but just finger tight for now
- Remove the spare tyre from under the car and slowly let the jack down
- Tighten all of the wheel nuts. You should now be able to drive your vehicle safely.
If the car comes with a space saver tyre, it may be speed limited to approximately 80kmh an hour. This will be indicated on the wheel if this is the case.
The can be a few reasons why your cars air conditioning is not blowing cold air. The most common is low refrigerant which is the gas that cools the air. Low refrigerant may occur from leaks or a failed component in the system.
Other possible causes are a blocked or broken condenser or a restriction in the system.
It’s important to check your coolant level regularly. By keeping it topped up, you’ll avoid the engine overheating and your vehicle breaking down.
Note: Never remove the radiator cap when the engine is hot
- Ensure that the engine is cool
- Look for the plastic overflow bottle that is connected to the radiator
- On the bottle, there will be low and high marks
- Your coolant level should be between these two marks
- If you do not have coolant handy, you can add water to top up the level and keep the car running at the correct temperature
At the first opportunity, you should add coolant as contains anti-freeze and also stops components within the cooling system of the vehicle corroding.