Car Servicing and why is it important? And Why is it expensive at times?

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Perhaps major car components (engines and transmissions) will become disposable like batteries, tyres, mufflers and shock absorbers. We might one day see cars with engines like cassettes where you run it for a year then take it to a replacement centre which un-clicks the old engine and clicks in a new one.

In the meantime, we still need to take the car regularly to have its vital fluids checked or changed and other electronic and mechanical functions reviewed or adjusted. Pretty much the same we do with our own selves. The more we take care of our "System" the better, the sooner we find problems we can prevent others from occurring.

Technology in cars like electronic fuel injection and electronic control units certainly have simplified servicing and "tuning" a car if the right computer equipment is used but they have also made the process more involved for the mechanic (technician) who must be trained to a higher level.

There is much more to servicing a modern car than simply giving it a "grease and oil change." The old $35 dollar grease and oil might have passed muster a decade ago but is in most cases insufficient attention for a new car with its many sophisticated systems.

Car servicing can involve up to 50 or more component and system checks and adjustments. And despite complaints about the cost from some car owners, it's worth the money. Maintaining the engine in peak economy, performance and emissions condition requires electronic monitoring and fine adjustment according to the diagnostic computer read out. Think about when you go to the Doctor for a check up or the Dentist, they may find some other things that you did not notice before, and requires immediate attention (in this case an oil leak from the Gearbox, or Engine) Which should be fixed as soon as possible to prevent Engine or Gearbox failure down the road.

A correctly serviced and tuned engine will have a longer, more economical service life than one that is run into the ground with minimal or inappropriate attention. It can also pre-warn or potentially major problems with the engine and transmission, which can save you LOTS of dollars and Hair in the future! (As you can see from the pic below, this is a result of not maintaining the Engine, and usually results in damage to internal components over time)

 

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A full service will include fluid level checks and or changes depending on the system. Hydraulic fluid is hydroscopic (attracts and absorbs water) and should be changed at regular intervals. Water in hydraulic fluid has the potential to corrode the system from the inside with predictable results.

Coolant is another critical fluid to a car's performance and engine longevity. Coolant degrades over time and loses its ability to inhibit corrosion inside the engine and also its cooling efficiency. So make sure to ask for a radiator flush every time you take your Car for a full service.

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A full (Major) service will pick up any potential cooling system problem including leaks from the radiator, cap, water pump, cylinder head or gasket and hoses. A full service will also among other things, tell you the condition of the Brake pads, Battery condition, Steering alignment, Tyre tread depth, Suspension condition, Oil leaks of any sort, Exhaust leaks or Corrosion, or even how well the door locks are working.

And the best thing apart from having a fully functional, safe car is that with a complete service history, the car will be worth more when you sell it! And also remains safe for the next person to drive.

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Standard Service:

(The following are included)

  • Oil is drained and changed
  • Oil filter is changed
  • Brake fluid is topped up
  • Battery is checked
  • Other car fluids are topped up
  • Brakes checked
  • Tyres checked
  • Suspension checked
    4 cyl - $89
    6 cyl - $99
    8 cyl - $109

Major Service

(the following are included)

  • Spark plugs are changed (Standard and Premium plugs available)
  • Air filter is changed
  • Oil is drained and changed
  • Oil filter is replaced
  • Brake fluid is topped up
  • Battery is checked
  • Other car fluids are topped up
  • Brakes checked
  • Tyres checked
  • Suspension checked

 

Standard Spark Plugs

4 cyl - $189
6 cyl - $280
8 cyl - $240

Premium Spark Plugs

4 cyl - $289
6 cyl - $389
8 cyl - $489

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Spark Plugs Explained:

Copper core spark plugs are by far the cheapest ones you can buy. Costing anywhere between 1-3 dollars per plug, you can expect to receive 20,000-40,000 miles per use. By far the longest conductors, you are capable of getting the best performance out of them.

Iridium spark plugs are are made of a much less conductive material. Because of this, they operate optimally at a much lower temperature, lasting in average of 40,000 – 60,000 miles (compared to copper). Performance is not as great, but longevity is by far the greatest when compared to copper.

Platinum much like iridium, operate under lower temperature. Although prone to overheating, they can last 2x longer than an ordinary copper spark plug. Performance may be down, these spark plugs will enable you to get the most out of them before having to get a new pair.

Double platinum spark plugs are improved versions of single plated platinum plugs. A MUCH longer life span and improved engine performance are what makes these plugs very good. Again, not the best conductors but by far the greatest life span you can get from any set of plugs.

 

When to change spark plugs:

1. Engine has a rough idle

Your engine idles when it is a stationary and in this position the engine normally produces around 1000rpm. The sound the engine gives off is constant and smooth but if your spark plugs aren’t performing as they should, your engine will produce a rough and jittery sound while producing larger vibrations through the car. Not having this checked can lead to costly damage being done.

2. Having trouble starting your car?

Many people put their car not starting down to being out of fuel or having a flat battery. One possibility you may overlook is having bad or worn spark plugs. If your spark plugs don’t produce the spark needed to get the vehicle moving, then you’re going nowhere. It is also possible that faulty spark plugs are causing your battery to drain. If so you need to have your battery and spark plugs changed as soon as possible.

3. Your engine misfires

When your engine misfires it causes the vehicle to halt for a fraction of a second and then continues it’s usual movement. This means the vehicle isn’t functioning as smoothly as it should because one or more cylinders aren’t firing properly, which can also lead to higher amounts of emissions.

4. Engine surging

When a vehicle sucks in more air than usual in the combustion process it can cause the vehicle to jerk and then slow down or continually start and stop, which means the vehicles engine is working inefficiently. This is also known as engine hesitation and dangerous situation can arise if this occurs in traffic.

5. High fuel consumption

If your spark plugs have deteriorated you’ll notice that your vehicles fuel economy can decrease by up to 30% due to incomplete combustion. If you notice you’re having to fill up more often than usual it can be caused by deteriorating spark plugs. To get back to your vehicle’s optimum level of fuel consumption all you’ll need to do is have your spark plugs changed.

6. Lack of acceleration

If your vehicle is accelerating poorly it is fairly easy to tell. It feels as if the vehicle doesn’t want to respond when you put your foot down, or it does but not instantly as you’ve become accustomed to. It can also feel as if your vehicle is trying really hard to pull itself along. This ‘sluggishness’ can be easily fixed by having the vehicle serviced with a spark plug change.

Brakes & Disc Rotors:

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old and new disc rotors

Types of Disc Rotors

There are two major types of high-performance brake rotors -- drilled and slotted. We'll discuss the drilled rotors here and move on to the slotted rotors on the next page. Drilled brake rotors, as the name implies, have holes drilled in them. Having a holes drilled into any of your brake parts may seem counterintuitive, especially the brake rotors -- after all, a rotor full of holes means that there's less surface area for the brake pads to grab and stop the car -- but there are a few reasons drilled rotors make sense. 

The first is heat. When the brake pad grabs the rotor, it creates friction, which creates heat. If that heat can't escape, it leads to brake fade, which reduces the brakes' stopping power. The second reason is gas build up. This actually isn't much of a problem any more; however, the materials used in some older types of brake pads caused gas to build up between the rotors and pads. That gas also limited stopping power. The last reason is water. If a car drives through a puddle, a car-wash or even a rainstorm, the brake rotors can get wet. A wet brake rotor is slippery and difficult for the brake pads to grab. Having drilled holes on a brake rotor makes it easy for heat, gas and water to be quickly moved away from the rotor surface, keeping the brake performance strong. The downside of using drilled rotors on your vehicle is that all of those holes tend to weaken the rotors -- just like punching holes in the wall of a house would weaken the wall. After repeated stressful driving, the rotors can even crack. 

But what if you're into driving performance? Are drilled rotors right for you, or should you consider another kind of brake part for your spirited driving? Keep reading to find out.

The downside of using drilled rotors on your vehicle is that all of those holes tend to weaken the rotors -- just like punching holes in the wall of a house would weaken the wall. After repeated stressful driving, the rotors can even crack. 

But what if you're into driving performance? Are drilled rotors right for you, or should you consider another kind of brake part for your spirited driving? Keep reading to find out.

Slotted brake rotors are popular with performance car drivers because the type of driving they do puts a lot of stress on the rotors. As we mentioned on the previous page, drilled rotors have been weakened, which makes them prone to cracking around the holes, particularly when they've been repeatedly driven hard. Because they tend to be a little more durable than the drilled brake rotors, slotted brake rotors may be a better brake part choice for some performance car drivers.

Of course, slotted brake rotors aren't perfect, either. They tend to wear down brake pads very quickly. Because of this, the most common type of performance brake rotors found on production performance cars are of the drilled variety. While that type of construction is seen as too weak for racing applications, most everyday drivers should have no trouble with drilled rotors on their street cars and can save the slotted rotors for cars that are racetrack-bound.

How Brake Pads Work

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At first glance, a brake pad does not seem like much, yet it is a crucial part of the braking system. Do not be deceived by its simplistic square appearance. A great deal of technology has gone into engineering the perfect brake pad for modern cars. These little pads are responsible for stopping everything from heavy commercial trucks to 400 Hp engines.

When a driver presses on the brakes, the brake pad system is then engaged. The pad moves forward automatically, providing friction against the rotor located behind the wheel. This rotor is responsible for spinning the wheel. Once the brake pad interferes with the rotor, the wheels slow down, and the car stops. As the driver lifts his foot off the brakes, the brake pad moves away from the rotor, allowing the wheels to spin again.

Replacing Brake Pads

Since the purpose of the brake pad is to provide friction against the rotor, this action typically creates a lot of heat and pressure. The rotor is spinning so fast that it shaves off some of the brake pad every time the two come into contact, creating brake dust. Over time, the brake pad becomes so worn from constantly rubbing against the rotor that it needs to be replaced. Squeaking brakes, for example, occur primarily because the upper layer of the brake pad has completely eroded, and the hard bottom layer is rubbing against the rotor. If the pad is not replaced soon, owners are going to have to purchase both new brake pads and rotors.

Brake Pad Types

There are three main types of brake pads: organic, semi-metallic, and ceramic. Each type uses a pad made from a different substance. Once upon a time there were even asbestos brake pads, but since these pads created hazardous asbestos dust when used, they are no longer made.

Organic Brake Pads

Organic brake pads are the oldest type. They became popular after asbestos brakes were banned, and are still sometimes called organic non asbestos brake pads. These pads are made from a composite of glass, rubber, resin and Kevlar fibres. As far as brake pads go, they are relatively environmentally friendly and affordable.

Car Type

Organic pads are softer than other types, which also makes them a quieter option. However, the downside is that their softness makes them wear down faster than other brake pads. How fast a brake pad wears down depends on the weight and speed of the car it has to stop. Therefore, owners of large trucks or high performance vehicles with big engines, should look elsewhere for brake pads. Organic pads work best for owners who do not speed, tailgate, or practise other forms of aggressive driving. They are also ideal for small cars without a lot of horsepower. Most motorcycle brake pads are organic because their lightweight frame does not wear down the brakes as fast as cars do.

Semi-Metallic Brake Pads

Buyers who need a stronger brake pad can opt for semi-metallics. They are the second oldest type, but do not get confused by their name. Much more than simple slabs of metal, semi-metallic brake pads are made from mixing together iron, steel, copper and graphite. The result is a highly durable brake pad that is highly resistant to daily wear. In fact, this type of pad does more damage to the rotor than one might think.

Most buyers prefer to replace less expensive brake pads, as opposed to purchasing expensive rotors. The metal base also makes this pad very heavy, and it does produce a slight drain on fuel economy. Finally, while these pads also excel at transferring heat from the rotors, they do not do well in colder conditions. Drivers who live in colder climates usually find that it takes their semi-metallic brake pads a little longer to work properly on colder days.

Car Type

Most passenger cars and trucks on the road today use semi-metallic brake pads. Cars come straight out of the factory with these brake pads, and most owners choose to keep using them simply because they are so affordable. However, this style is not meant for very aggressive drivers since it can end up costing a small fortune in rotor repair. Performance vehicles do not use them because of the extra weight they add to the car. For average drivers who are generally careful on the road, semi-metallic brakes perform exceptionally well.

Ceramic Brake Pads

For years organic and semi-metallic brake pads were the only options on the market. Drivers had to choose between light organic brake pads that did not last long, and heavy semi-metallic pads that damaged their rotors. Ceramic pads were invented to fix some of the issues with the other types. These are excellent pads, combining superior braking performance with lightweight durability. Ceramic pads are strong enough to stop even the fastest cars without damaging the rotors.

As their name suggests, they are made from ceramic fibres along with filling material and bonding agents. Some brands even include a little bit of copper fibres into the pad. Ceramic is an amazing material for dispersing heat, which means drivers can depend on the pad to stop their car over and over again without problems. They also produce less brake dust, helping the wheels to achieve a cleaner look.

The main downside to ceramic brakes is the price. In fact, this is the reason car manufacturers do not automatically include them with their vehicles. Buyers who want the extra performance offered by ceramic brake pads can buy them as an aftermarket part from auto shops or on eBay.

Car Types:

Ceramic brakes can work on any car, but they have become a popular choice for high performance vehicles. These are the cars that come with big engines and high amounts of horsepower. Ceramic pads excel at getting the car to stop within a few seconds, without destroying the braking system. They are strong enough to withstand the ferocious stopping patterns of race cars, while being lightweight enough to not affect a vehicle's speed. Therefore, buyers who own a very fast sports car, or those who drive aggressively, should take a second look at ceramic brakes. For slow drivers, the overall price of the brakes outweighs their other advantages.

Conclusion:

Brakes are a crucial part of the car, and have a big impact on safe driving habits. The brake pad is at the heart of the brake system, but it is also the part that needs frequent replacing depending on the type of pad and style of the driver. Organic brake pads are optimal for lightweight vehicles like small cars and motorcycles, but they are usually not strong enough to last for awhile on larger cars.

Semi-metallic brakes are stronger than organic ones, and some say they are almost too strong. These metallic brakes can damage the rotor, and lead to costly repairs if the driver is not careful. Ceramic brakes combine the best of organic and semi-metallic brakes into a single type, without the negative drawbacks. However, they are typically expensive pads that are out of the price range for most drivers. Buyers who are shopping on eBay can easily purchase the correct type of brake pad they need for their car and driving habits.

Brakes are an integral part of your vehicles safety and should be changed yearly depending on vehicle. Signs that they need to be changed: Squeeling when braking. Increased braking time. Shuddering, steering shaking when coming to a stop. If you are still unsure please bring your vehicle in for a complimentary brake check.

Standard (Prima) per pair fitted: $140

Premium (Bendix) per pair fitted: $170

 

Rego check

E safety check: $25

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An eSafety (or pink slip) inspection report verifies that your vehicle is safe and ready for the road. ... When your vehicle passes the eSafety check, your Mechanic will electronically send the report to Roads and Maritime Services.

Suspensions

STARTING from $380 per pair.
(Prices vary on make of Vehicle and Parts)

suspension

The role of the shock absorber is to keep the car's tyres in permanent contact with the road, helping to provide optimum grip, when cornering and braking. Shock absorbers are part of the suspension, so if the shocks are worn, the vehicle's ride and comfort is compromised.

Wheel Alignment

Passenger Vehicle: $55
SUV, 4WD, Heavy Vehicles: $65
Tyre fitting and wheel balancing from: $10

Wheel-Alignment

If your vehicle tracks as straight as an arrow, you're wheels likely are properly aligned. Even so, it's a good idea to have your alignment checked annually, such as when you have your tires rotated. You certainly should have it done when you buy new tires so they don't immediately start to wear unevenly.

Major mechanical

Cost of Major Mechanical repairs are quoted upon inspection.

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