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Car Tips

12 Dos and Don’ts When Caring for Your Car Battery

All cars — even the most powerful, expensive, and technologically advanced, are completely helpless when their car batteries are dead. This should make you think twice about taking yours for granted.

Even your battery needs TLC every now and then. Here are some of the things you should and shouldn’t do when caring for your car’s battery:


Mechanic repairing a car

1. Do familiarize your senses on your car’s engine so you can easily spot signs of impending battery death.

Training yourself to notice how your car works normally allows you to easily recognize signs of problems For instance:

  • How bright is your car’s headlights when functioning properly?
  • What does your car smell like? Are there strange smells coming from your car that you’re not familiar with?

When you get used to how your car and its engine function normally, your senses will be more attuned if things are out of place. A murky headlight means that the car’s battery might be going down, while a surphuric smell can indicate leaking batteries — or catalytic converter problems.

Whatever the case, knowing that something is wrong with your car allows you to take steps to solve the problems earlier that waiting for things to get worse.

2. Do inspect the terminal clamps to see if they are tight and free from corrosion.

Corrosion is the bane of all car parts — including batteries. You can clean them by mixing one or two tablespoons of baking soda and water, then brushing the corroded part with a wire brush. By the way, before you do this, make sure to turn off the engine first and disconnect the cables. Once you do this, you can brush both the negative and positive posts on the battery with a wire brush.

If there’s a lot of corrosion, it would be best to have them cleaned by professionals, instead.

3. Do disconnect the battery if you plan to keep your car in storage for a long time.

It’s normal for batteries to self-discharge slowly even if you’re not using your car. You can prevent unnecessary battery drain by simply disconnecting them — especially if you don’t plan to use your vehicle for a long time.

4. Do keep jumper cables inside your emergency kit / tools.

You should always have jumper cables in your car, because there’s always a possibility that your batteries can die out on you in an instant. If this happens on you, then you can always ask a friend or any random driver that passes by to help you jump-start your car. This can at least make you mobile enough to go to a nearest car mechanic or station to have your car inspected for problems.

5. Do protect your battery by using a special grease or spray designed for them.

These sprays are specially designed for car batteries so they don’t get rusty and corroded.

Don’tsMechanic checking a car's vitals

1. Don’t make it a habit to completely discharge your battery.

Your car’s battery often works by harnessing the power generated by its lead cells. Discharging your battery can damage them fast.

2. Don’t let your car sit in hot places.

Heat is another enemy of car batteries. Hot temperatures actually cause the battery fluid to evaporate, which shortens its life in the process.

3. Don’t idle your car.

It’s easy to wait for someone even in your car. Just turn on your aircon, listen to the radio — and even charge your phone while you’re at it. This practice is not only gas-guzzling, but it can also be hard on your battery. It’s much better to turn the engine on from time to time so your car’s battery doesn’t do all the work when your car’s idle..

4. Don’t leave the lights on.

It’s one of the most common mistakes that people make — leaving their headlights or cabin lights on after they go home. This can drain your battery overnight, so do double checks before you get out of your car at night.

5. Don’t use your car’s alternator to charge a dead battery.

Your alternator is not designed to act as your battery’s charger, and doing so will damage or shorten your battery’s life.

6. Don’t disconnect the positive cable first when removing your car’s battery.

Always start with the negative cable first; otherwise, you might cause your battery to short-circuit.

7. Don’t use a high-charge setting when you’re charging your battery yourself.

Many chargers have a low-charge setting, and you should use this first as a safety precaution. If you don’t have this setting, then it’s better (and much safer) to let a professional do it for you.

Car Tips

Top Tips For Maintaining Your Car’s Air Conditioning System

Summer in Australia can get exponentially hot. Temperatures can reach up to 30 °C, so it pays to prepare for the blazing days ahead. Usually, people would remind themselves to stay hydrated and wear lighter pieces of clothing. However, one of the most important yet often overlooked tasks that should be done during this season is maintaining a car’s air conditioning system.

You use your car’s A/C almost every day, and it practically becomes a necessity once summer hits. Unfortunately, this can lead to overworked car air conditioners, which have a higher chance of malfunctioning when you least expect it. Because of this, it’s smart to keep these following tips in mind to help keep your car’s air conditioning system in good shape:

1. Have it Cleaned by the Pros

Letting a professional clean your vehicle’s A/C will ensure that the air will stay fresh and cool. The professionals, after all, have the proper equipment and experience to thoroughly clean the air conditioning system.

2. Regular Professional Maintenance Is a Must

It’s crucial to take your car to a reliable car air conditioning service regularly. When you allow car experts to take a look what’s under the hood, they can easily spot A/C-related problems and fix them before they can do more harm to the entire system.

3. Don’t Always Rely on DIY Jobs

Even if you say you have experience fixing your car’s air conditioner, it’s still in your best interest to let a mechanic take care of the repairs. The professionals have the experience, skill, and tools to fix any air conditioning issue without compromising your car’s health.

4. Have the Problems Addressed Quickly

The moment you notice your car’s A/C is acting up, you need to bring it to a nearby car air conditioning service center ASAP. It’s unwise to ignore the early warning signs of a damaged air conditioning system because it can affect the other components of your vehicle like the wiring.

5. Let the A/C Run for About 10 Minutes Every Week

Letting the air conditioning run for 10 minutes a week will help keep its gas pressure at an optimum level. It’ll also ensure that the compressor will work properly during summer. To do this properly, however, you need to turn on the system to its coolest setting and highest fan speed.

6. Let the A/C’s Defrost Mode Run for About 5 to 10 Minutes

Another thing you need to leave running for about 10 minutes is the air conditioner’s defrost function. Doing so will eliminate excess moisture in the system, preventing mildew buildup and musty odours as a result.

7. Remember to Recirculate the Air From Within

Switching to the A/C’s recirculation mode will keep the vehicle’s interior cool even when it’s hot outside. This mode is the best way to maximise an air conditioner’s operating power since it’ll only pull air that’s within the cabin.

8. Keep the Car’s Interior Clean

Dust, dirt, and other particles can hinder the air conditioner from working efficiently. For this reason, your car’s carpets, mats, and seats must be vacuumed regularly.

9. Don’t Pre-Cool Your Car

Although sliding into a pre-cooled car is comfortable, it can affect the air conditioner’s performance. The car’s air conditioning system can cool things more effectively when there’s airflow. Thus, instead of waiting until the car’s interior is cold, switch on the A/C once the vehicle starts cruising through the roads.

10. Park Under the Shade

When you leave your car under the sun for too long, its interior can get considerably hot. As a result, the car’s A/C will have to work twice as hard just to get the temperature down. That’s why it’s smart to park under a shade or install sun shades to avoid causing this problem.

Staying cool during Australia’s summer months will be easier if you keep your car’s air conditioning system in good shape. Plus, if you make it a habit of following these A/C maintenance tips regularly, your vehicle’s air conditioner will remain efficient all year round. 

Auto Electrical Car Tips

Car Warning Light Symbols | Complete Repair Guide

Our vehicles are equipped with warning lights to alert us of potential issues within the vehicle. These warning lights are a direct connection to the computer. When the computer detects an issue with one of the vehicle’s systems, it will illuminate the warning light, to prompt you to check it out for possible repair. Sometimes the issue may not exactly be what is illuminated, but may be a system connected to it. The computer mainly looks at the relays and sometimes, this is misread. This is why it is a good idea to have the vehicle diagnosed with a computer and an automotive electrician, so they can find the exact problem and then repair it.

All the warning lights are in the dashboard right in front of the driver. Here are different warning lights and what they represent:

  • ABS light – This signals there may be serious issues with the ABS and brakes, and this needs attention immediately.
  • Air bag light – This indicates there may be a malfunction with the air bag, it may not inflate properly or may engage without warning.
  • Battery / charge light – This indicates the battery does not have enough charge. It could be loose cable connections, or a low battery.
  • Brake light – could be an issue with the brakes such as pads wearing out or low.
  • Engine light – This may be different reasons from anything electrical to emissions, to a sensor. It is wise to have a diagnostics run if the engine light illuminates and then take care of the issue.
  • Coolant light – This is indicative of three possibilities, either the coolant level is low, or there is containments in the fluid, or a failed circuit which happens sometimes when a sensor is going out.
  • Door light – 99% of the time this means a door is ajar.
  • Fuel light – This means the fuel level is low. When this warning illuminates, it is time to go right then to fill up with fuel.
  • Oil light – This means there is either low oil pressure, low oil level or the oil sensor is on the fritz.
  • Park brake light – This means the parking brake is set.
  • Seat belt light – This means the driver or one of the passengers do not have their seat belt on.

Always pay attention to the warning lights in the vehicle dash. Have the issues at least looked at by someone like a qualified





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LED Car Specialty Brake/Tail Light

The brakes lights are among the most important lights on the vehicle. Grant it, most of the lights are vital, but the brake lights serve as a warning to the drivers following behind you. If you do not have brake lights, the driver behind you may not know to slow their vehicle when you slow and stop and a rear-end collision may occur because of the absent of working lights. Not to mention, having no brake lights is illegal, that is all brake lights need to function properly to comply with roadworthy laws. Therefore, it is very vital to make sure the lights work right, no matter what. If you have an issue with the brake lights, you need to have them looked at as soon as possible by an auto electrician.

Newer cars have brake lights that connect to a circuit board. This keeps the bulbs working individually, so if one bulb goes out, then the others will continue working. The brake lights actually serve two purposes. One purpose is to illuminate when the lights are on, for night driving. This low intensity light shows that the car is in motion and the lights will be on in the front as well. When the brake pedal is applied, the brake light brightens in intensity, serving to alert the driver behind you; the car is slowing down or stopping.

Some vehicles have brake lights in the middle position (normally above in the rear window or on the rear spoiler). This brake light may be even brighter than the ones near the signal lights, and they serve to get more attention to vehicles behind. The third brake light comes on at the same time as the other two, so there are triple warning lights, which will help to get the other driver’s attention faster. Brake light bulbs need to be replaced as soon as they go out. There are several ways of checking for this.

Some vehicles now use LED lights which are usually smaller bulbs, generally last longer, and will save energy.  There are usually multiple LED lights used in conjunction and if one does not operate the others will still function.

The brake light may share a lens with the signal lights, and if this is the case, the bulb with two elements is the brake light bulb. Otherwise, the brake light is behind a red lens and the turn signal is behind a yellow lens or sometimes clear external lens. The third brake light, if there is one, is usually in the middle away from the signal lights. If there are any issues with brake lights, call on Canberra Auto Electrical to send out an auto electrician to help take care of the vehicle’s lights. They are experienced and capable of replacing brake lights as well as any of the lights on the vehicle or anything with the electrical system.

Auto Electrical Car Tips View All

How Electric Brakes Work

Electric brakes work off an electric motor that powers them. The system is backwards from a regular electrical motor. A regular motor works the shaft with electricity forcing it to turn.

The way an electric motor works is by the electricity moving through the wires in effort to move a centralized shaft by way of an attached magnet. The magnet helps the shaft to turn, giving it torque, when they turn off, the torque, or turning stops. If the magnet changes orientation, the magnetic fields of electric wires will work or not work according to the orientation. Unless you are an expert at how this works and you try to break into the system to repair it you may mess it up more. Only qualified electricians should attend to the inner workings of electrical motors.

The electric brake is a big part of the electrical system; it is not something you want to go out, if it ever did, always call a qualified auto electrician to repair it.

When the electricity stops flowing, the shaft that turns the wheels are forced to spin the opposite way. This is what helps the vehicle to brake. The faster the vehicle travels, the more revolutions goes with each minute, the more force it makes for braking with the vehicle. This actually helps to preserve brake pads, and because it produces electricity, it helps to build up the battery charge. Ironically the effectiveness of electric brakes goes down at slower speeds, because the magnet in the center is spinning at a slower speed. This is why it is important to have friction brakes to help vehicles completely stop when needed.

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Truths about Engine Oil Heating

Why do I need to heat the engine oil? We have an engine heater so I don’t need to heat the oil.

Heating an engine before use is great but it’s like only putting one shoe on! Only half the job is done! Sure any oil that is in the pan will get some heat transfer from the heated cooling system, but the oil inside a dry sump tank is still cold. What happens when you start the engine is that the oil pump tries to suck the cold oil from the tank into the engine. When oil is cold the viscosity is very thick. On a racing engine with tight clearances this could be catastrophic! It can cause bearing failure, valve train failure and excessive wear on the cylinder walls. Any failure will cost money! The thick viscosity of the cold oil may not allow it to flow through the tight orifices of an oil system meaning that the oil cannot lubricate the entire engine properly. Additionally, due to the high oil pump pressures it may get the oil to the top of the engine but when the oil tries to drain back unpressurised it takes an extended amount of time creating unwanted oil pooling in the cylinder head.

By heating the oil in the dry sump oil tank prior to engine starting will allow the oil pump to flow the oil throughout the engine as designed for optimum performance.

Should I only heat the oil at the start of the night?

Not always. Have you seen cars start a feature race and blow smoke for the first few laps? This can be caused by the oil losing temperature from the last race. The oil viscosity increases and is pumped to the top of the engine but is still too thick to drain back to the pan. All the oil is “stuck” at the top of the engine and finds a way to leak out the valve cover and drips onto the hot headers.

It is best to keep your oil warm throughout the nights racing. Oil heating all night is common in the Spring and Autumn months of the racing season but may be required in summer if the ambient temperature drops in the evening.

P1 Australia’s oil tank heat mats quickly allow you to heat the oil inside the dry sump tank to optimum temperature.

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How Does a Fuel Injector Work? Increase Your Gas Mileage.

Increase Your Gas Mileage.


It’s a good question and one that deserves an appropriate answer.

For those people who remember carburetors in older cars or who still use them, there is a fondness for the old-style engineering.

However, fuel injection has given us the means to increase fuel efficiency and meet the constantly changing standards issued by governments.

There were a variety of reasons for ending their use in modern automobiles.


How Does a Fuel Injector Work?

First, the carburetor was simply unable to keep up with the increased standards for fuel efficiency and exhaust emissions.

Unfortunately, these new carburetors became too complex for many cars to use and eventually needed to be replaced. Fuel-injection had been used in some high-performance cars.

The single-point fuel injector was first used by automakers since it was easy to simply bolt into place where the carburetor would have been.

Although a great advancement, automakers soon realized the need for multi-point fuel injectors that would individually deliver fuel to each cylinder.

In doing so, the multiple injectors could more easily control the amount of fuel use while delivering that fuel as a fine vapor or mist. 

The oxygen sensor in the exhaust system monitors the amount of oxygen leaving the cylinders. It allows the car’s computer to adjust the richness of the fuel mixture.

The engine control unit (ECU) maintains control of the amount of fuel released by the fuel injectors. As you apply pressure to the accelerator pedal, an air throttle opens to allow air inside the engine. The ECU “sees” this opening and measures how much air enters the engine. Then, it uses this information to determine how much fuel to release through the injectors. A small electromagnet inside each injector causes a plunger to move. Opening the end of the injector to allow a small amount of fuel to enter the cylinder valve directly.

The amount of fuel needed determines how long the plunger remains open. Each cylinder has its own fuel injector and on occasion one or more injectors may need replacement as they age.

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What to do if your car has a flat battery? Common Reasons for a Flat Battery

A “flat battery” is one that has lost its electrical energy and has left you stranded in a parking lot or along the side of the road. There are many things that may contribute to this problem, but the seven most common are:

  1. The battery has reached the end of its useful life. 

    Most batteries will survive five or more years of service in the average car. There are few signs that the battery is about to fail until it suddenly does not start the car or the car stalls. Recharge may help, but replacement may be necessary.

  2. The battery is faulty or defective. 

    Some new batteries are defective due to a manufacturing error. Some brands of batteries are believed to have up to a 7% defective rate within the first year of usage.

  3. You have left the headlights on. 

    Although many cars have headlights that automatically turn off after a few minutes, there are still many on the road today that will not. Be certain your headlights are off as you walk away from your car.

  4. The interior lights did not turn off. 

    As with the headlights, many cars will automatically turn off the interior lights, even if a door is left ajar. Make sure the interior lights go off before walking away. It could save your battery.

  5. The electrical load on the battery is too great. 

    Usage of multiple electrical accessories while the car is parked and the engine is off could run down the battery. If you plan to park for awhile, leave the engine running or turn off high-drain electrical accessories such as interior lights and other devices.

  6. Temperature extremes can affect the life of your battery. 

    Whether the environment your car is operating in is very cold or hot, the ability of your battery to operate at maximum capacity can be affected. Lengthy exposure to temperature extremes will almost always have an effect on the longevity of any car battery.

  7. The alternator is not functioning. 

    This small device is found near the engine and charges the battery while the engine is running. Alternators will commonly last for several years, but at some point will fail. An indicator light on the dashboard of most cars can let a driver know when there is insufficient charge flowing back to the battery. Have your alternator and battery inspected immediately after the first signs of battery failure.
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