Home' Motoring Plus : June 4th 2014 Contents 3.5 TONNE PULLING POWER • 1 TONNE PAYLOAD • TRAILER SWAY CONTROL
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Broken down? What next?
When your car faults, it
will be at the most
inconvenient time, says
Won’t start?: It
could be one or
several of a
Let’s not consider the following
story as something that can only
happen to the nosey neighbour or
your good friend down the road.
We all assume that if we
maintain our car in tip-top
condition, the following scenario
can’t or just won’t occur. Regular
maintenance of your vehicle will
obviously help in minimising the
possibility of this most
inconvenient outcome occurring,
but it can never be totally
When you’re dealing with the
mechanics of a motor vehicle,
anything could fault. And when it
does fault you can be assured it
will happen at the most
So here’s the scenario. You’ve
driven home from a hard day’s
work, rushed inside to give your
wife the bag of potatoes she
desperately required for dinner.
You feel proud that you hadn’t
forgotten to perform this major
task for your loved one! However,
in your haste you have omitted to
fully close the boot lid. The
interior boot light remained on
but was not noticed.
You enjoyed your scrumptious
tea with baked potatoes and after
an evening of TV entertainment
it was off to bed. Well, nothing out
of the ordinary with all of that.
However, in the garage there was
a little something going on – and
you would find out all about in
When you walk to the garage
for your morning drive to work,
you notice the boot lid is slightly
elevated, so you close it. Your
wife gently reminds you of the
car’s scheduled oil and filter
service, and not to drop it off late.
But when you turn the ignition
key, all you get from your car is a
weak and dismal whimper. Then
it all clicks – the boot lid was ajar
all night and therefore the
interior boot light would have
also been illuminated all night.
Darn it, you say, you’ve got a flat
When you went to school you
learned all about ‘‘ohms law’’. A
quick calculation of the battery
volts, the current draw and the
battery’s reserve capacity clearly
indicate that a small low-wattage
light bulb could not have
flattened the battery over the past
12 hours! However you are
beginning to run late for work, so
you decide it should be a simple
matter of jump-starting the car
with an additional battery.
So you attach a good second
battery to the car–(+)positive
to positive terminal and(-)
negative to negative terminal and
remembering to attach the
negative terminals last – and this
should now permit the car to
start. But nothing happened. Just
a wee moan still coming from the
starter motor. So what could the
problem be now?
You remember the contents of a
previous Mike’s Motoring Tips,
so you check the battery
terminal, and you discover that a
terminal has corrosion around it.
With hand protection applied, the
battery terminal is checked for
tightness. It is loose, and moves
when you twist it.
Your wife suggests you now re-
try the starting procedure – and
this time the car starts. The
twisting motion applied to the
battery terminal has obviously
helped make a better terminal
connection. It’s a temporary fix,
but at least the car has started.
I continuously harp on about
the need to maintain a regular bi-
annual or 10,000km service
schedule for your car. It is
extremely important to perform
this simple oil and filter service
that should always include an
inspection of the car’s possible
fault areas – including battery
Shop around for a service price.
You will uncover varying prices
with varying degrees of
inspection procedures performed.
Select the procedure you require
or seek advice from your trusted
automotive mechanic. Some
items offered are great value for
money. Prior to setting up a
regular maintenance programme
with your garage, why not ask the
■ What grade and brand of
engine oil will be used?
■ What brand of oil filter will be
installed? Don’t be fooled by low-
cost inferior quality items.
■ What additional work will be
performed within the price
structure of the service
programme, and is all the
additional work necessary?
■ Will there be a follow-up
advisory note offered when the
next service is due?
■ To lessen my inconvenience,
will the service be performed on a
‘‘while you wait basis’’, and how
long will I need to wait?
■ If a choice of service type is
available, what will the costs be
for the differing service
I can’t emphasise enough the
importance of a good sound
programme for your car. If you
are able to perform these duties
yourself, then that’s just fantastic.
But be sure you maintain a
regular service programme that
won’t exceed 10,000km or 12
If unable to perform this work
yourself, shop around; ask the
questions outlined above and if in
doubt seek advice from a
trustworthy mechanic, but most
importantly, simply do something
THE NELSON MAIL Wednesday, June 4, 2014 — 9
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