Mechanical Safety Tips

Tips For Vehicle Maintaince

Periodic Vehicle Inspection
Becoming familiar with your vehicle will alert you to any problems that may arise. A visual inspection of the underbody, tyres and panel and testing of the lights and windscreen wipers can help maintain peace of mind and vehicle safety between scheduled servicing

Check Fluid Levels Regularly
Fluids are vital in keeping your vehicle running smoothly, by checking your oil, transmission and coolant levels regularly you may pick up on a problem before it becomes a costly repair. Always do these checks when the car is cool to avoid injury.

Maintain Your Vehicle's Recommended Service Schedule
Regular maintenance at selected kilometre and/or monthly intervals, as specified by the manufacturer will help ensure that your vehicle is running in its most effective and efficient manner

How do you know if you have a blown head gasket?
The head gasket is a seal located between the engine block piston cylinder head. It plays an important role in the car's engine, ensuring the pressure created by the spark plug ignition fumes remain inside the combustion chamber. It also acts as a passageway for coolant or engine oil, while keeping the chambers separated to prevent the mixing of fluids.
A blown gasket can lead to serious engine damage which can be costly to repair. The pressure in the combustion chamber keeps the pistons working, and once that pressure is released you will notice your vehicle's performance drop significantly. The oil and coolant passageways will leak into areas of the engine where they don't belong, causing further damage. There are a number of blown gasket symptoms to look out for – the quicker you repair your head gasket, the less damage to your engine.

  • High engine temperature. If your dashboard thermostat reads abnormally high, or the warning light flashes it could be a sign that your gasket has blown. High temperatures can cause head gasket to blow, and once it has been damaged the engine temperature will rise further
  • Low engine power/stalling engine. Compression loss leads to an idling engine. If your engine is running poorly, it could be a sign that your gasket is in need of repair
  • Lower coolant levels. Leaking in the gasket will cause low coolant levels, which results in high engine temperature
  • Oil may be milky white in colour. This is a result of the oil mixing with the coolant - oil is usually very dark, while coolant is light-coloured
  • Light smoke from exhaust pipe. This could mean the coolant has leaked into the combustion chamber and is burning.

If you suspect you may have a blown head gasket, it's important to seek repair immediately to prevent further damage to your vehicle's engine. Our experts at Goodyear Autocare can repair your gasket for you - request a quote or find your nearest store!

What to do if the check engine light is on?
The check engine light is part of your on-board computerised diagnostics system, and switches on to indicate that something is malfunctioning in the engine. It doesn't necessarily mean you need to pull over, or that the issue is serious. However, it's not a good idea to ignore the check engine light as neglecting a minor issue could lead to serious and costly repairs in the future. Some of the most common reasons that the check engine light stays on are:

  • Faulty oxygen sensors
  • Loose/missing gas cap
  • Blown head gasket
  • Catalytic converter problems
  • Worn spark plugs or ignition coil
  • Dead battery
  • Exhaust gas system recirculation (EGR) failure
  • Vacuum hose leak

This list is not exhaustive, and many of the items above will be cheap to fix. Your vehicle does need attention from time to time to stay functional – the best thing to do is to get a professional to diagnose the problem. If your check engine light is flashing it usually indicates a severe engine misfire that allows unburned fuel to leak into the catalytic converter. If this happens, it is likely you will need to have your car towed to the nearest mechanic due to the fire risk. Request a quote, or drop by your local store and speak to one of our experts today.

What to do if your radiator is leaking?
You radiator is an important component of your vehicle. It is responsible for keeping your engine at an optimal temperature.If your radiator is not functioning properly, your engine will overheat especially if you're in heavy, slow moving traffic. Radiator problems are common and arise when small particles of dirt and rust build up and clog the radiator elements, preventing it from being able to cool properly.

If your car is consistently low on coolant, it is likely you have a radiator leak. Radiator leaks result from corrosion of the elements, puncturing or a weak radiator cap. Various materials can collect inside the radiator and corrode the metal, causing a leak. A small radiator leak can be fixed temporarily, but the best thing to do would be to take it to your Goodyear Autocare professional.

What is the replacement cost of a timing belt?
The timing belt is a rubber belt attached underneath the engine cover which keeps the engine synchronised and running properly. It is connected to the crankshaft, camshafts and tensioner pulley which are all part of an elaborate system that coordinates the rotations. It serves an important function in the running of your vehicle. Failing to replace your timing belt when needed could result in your engine stalling, leaving you stranded on the road. Fortunately though, timing belt failure is easy to prevent.

There are two types of engines that determine the timing belt cost and replacement. The first is a non-interference engine, where the pistons and valves do not cross paths. In an interference engine internal damage may result when the timing belt breaks.

The timing belt should be replaced every 80,000 to 100,000 kilometres. It will attain wear over time due to the engine environment but things like oil leaks, dry climate and infrequent driving can affect the wear of the timing belt. The timing belt replacement cost can be expensive, the best thing to do is request a quote and we'll take a look at your timing belt and replace it if necessary.

When is it time to change your power steering fluid?
Power steering fluid is a vital component in the operation of your vehicle. It helps to make steering easier by pressurising it. If you notice that you use more force while steering, you may need to have a power steering flush. This involves draining the current fluid and replacing it with new power steering fluid.

Over time, O-ings, seals and other parts wear and break apart. They contaminate the fluid, which means the pump has to work harder to pump the small debris rather than just the fluid. Power steering fluid is the cheapest component of your power steering system, so it's important to service it when required. Replacing it will prolong the life of more expensive power steering parts.

You should get your power steering fluid checked if you:

  • Hear any noise while turning your steering wheel, as the pump may be about to fail
  • Notice any leaks
  • Notice that steering becomes more difficult

Visit your local Goodyear Autocare store to have your power steering fluid changed by one of our experts!

When to replace your windscreen wiper blades
Over time, your windscreen wipers will wear and require replacement. Even if you live in a dry climate, your wipers can become damaged due to lack of moisture. Using them often and on a dry windshield can also lessen the life of your windscreen wipers. If they are squeaking or streaking as they wipe it is definitely time to replace them! If left unchanged, the material can break off the arm, allowing the plastic or metal to scrape across the glass and cause damage to your windscreen which can be expensive to repair. The good news is that replacing your windscreen wipers is both simple and inexpensive.

Windscreen wiper blades should be changed every six to twelve months, though it depends on weather conditions and what material the blades are made from. Ordinary rubber blades won't last as long as halogen-hardened rubber blades but silicone blades have the longest lifespan some lasting for up to a year. Better quality wipers will of course set you back more than ordinary rubber blades.

Visit your local Goodyear store and we can fit your windscreen wipers for you.

Your Goodyear Autocare specialist can advise you as to the best maintaince schedule to suit your car and driving needs. Goodyear Autocare's network of dealers across Australia gives you local service with national support. Contact your local Goodyear Autocare on 13 23 43 or click here.

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