Car safety in wet weather

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Autumn has arrived and with it has come some pretty severe weather – heavy rain, flooding and even a cyclone. Here are some tips to keep you safe in your car in autumn and winter.

Before you hit the road

Check wiper blades:  Keep yourself safe during storms – change your wiper blades at least once or twice a year to ensure they always work properly. Don’t neglect this easy yet important task.

Check your tyres: Check the amount of tread and how the tyres are wearing. Also keep an eye on your tyre pressure – having the right tyre pressure improves your safety on the roads.

Check your lights: Make sure you’re visible on grey and overcast days. And remember that at night, low-beams are better, as high beams reflect back on the raindrops and reduce your field of vision.

Plan your trip. Leave a little earlier if you need to be somewhere at a certain time and the weather is looking pretty shabby, best to give yourself plenty of time to avoid rushing.

On the road again

Slow down: Yes, yes, we’re all in a hurry. But when the road is wet it will take longer to stop when you brake and you’re going to be a helluva lot later if you wind up rear ending someone.

De-mist: Cold air outside + body warmth inside = foggy windows and reduced visibility. Use your air conditioning as a de-mister on both the front and back windows.

Don’t skid: Minimise the amount of water between your tires and the road by driving in the tracks left behind by the car in front. Just remember to keep a safe distance.

If it’s flooded, forget it: Did you know more than half of flood related deaths in Queensland are the result of people driving through floodwater? Never drive through flood water

In the garage

Prepare cover: Obviously parking undercover is the best solution, but if you can’t try and avoid parking your car under trees during storms. Maybe also invest in a car cover to minimise hail damage.

Check your insurance: Remember that third party, and third party, fire and theft, insurance do not cover vehicles damaged due to hail, flooding and other storm related activities, like fallen trees.

 

Need a new car, or want to sell one? Check out www.carwant.com.au.

Do you know what your car knows?

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The Australian Automobile Association (AAA) recently launched the My Car My Data campaign and website to help inform Australians of the emergence of ‘connected’ cars, and what the potential benefits and risks associated with these vehicles might be.

What is a connected car?

Any vehicle that can connect with devices and networks as well as with third parties to provide information about the condition or operation of the vehicle or to assist the driver in safely operating the vehicle. This can include details about the driver/owner.

This includes Vehicle to Infrastructure (V2I), Vehicle to Vehicle (V2V), or Vehicle to a third party such as your vehicle’s manufacturer.

‘Telematics’ is the technology behind connected vehicles.

What data is being collected/transmitted?

Engine performance, including component maintenance of failures

  • Seat belt use
  • GPS location and speed
  • Driving behaviour, such as erratic acceleration and excessive braking
  • Occupant details, through sensors in the seats, seat belt and airbags
  • Mobile phone use and personal information stored on the phone
  • And more.

This can be used to create a detailed profile of driver behaviour and habits, real-time vehicle location and direction, or the use of communication devices.

What are the advantages and disadvantages?

AAA Chief Executive Michael Bradley said: “Connected cars offer many consumer benefits. For example, these vehicles can talk to the world around them, helping drivers to be aware of and avoid traffic snarls or dangers on the road. This can help drivers reach their destination more quickly, more safely and more fuel efficiently. In the event of an accident a connected car can alert emergency services bringing help more quickly.

“But the control of the data generated by these vehicles – and the emerging debate surrounding who gets to access it – is set to pose potential privacy risks and possibly drive up running and repair costs due to impaired competition.

“Like with many other aspects of our modern lives, car technology is evolving far faster than our laws. Governments around the world are wrestling with how to balance innovation and consumer protection.”

Why didn’t I know about this?

At the moment there is no standardised, customer-friendly way in which car makers are required to make customers aware of what data their new car may collect, where it is sent and who owns it.

Where can I go for more information?

www.mycarmydata.com.au

 

Looking to buy or sell a used car? Visit www.carwant.com.au.

SUV popularity continues to surge

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Motor vehicle sales across Australia got off to a solid start in January, with SUVs leading the way and petrol preferred over diesel.

Total sales for January, including passenger cars, SUVs, light and heavy commercial vehicles totalled 84,910 for the month, 0.6 percent up on the same month in 2016, according to the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries.

Within the segments, light commercials fell 3.9 per cent, passenger car sales declined slightly (down 0.8 per cent), while SUVs continued their consistent growth pattern with a gain of 3.2 per cent.

The SUV segment in January accounted for 40.2 per cent of the total market, compared with passenger cars at 41.1.

Within the SUV segment, medium-sized models are the most popular recording 13,956 sales for the month, a gain of 8.6 per cent on January 2016. Sales in this medium SUV segment marginally exceeded that of all light commercials sold nationally (13,942) in January.

Private purchasers, both in passenger cars and SUVs, provided a significant proportion of the market activity in January. Private sales of SUVs were up by 7.7 per cent over January last year, while private passenger car sales rose 2.1 per cent. Business sales in passenger cars fell 9.3 per cent, while government sales declined 13.4 per cent.

One of the interesting shifts during January was within the private SUV segment, in which sales of diesels declined 6.9 per cent whilst petrol engine models rose 14 per cent over January 2016.

The nation’s top five best-selling vehicles in January were the Mazda3 (3,473 sales), Toyota Corolla (2,943), Toyota Hilux (2,702), Ford Ranger (2,622) and Hyundai i30 (2,018).

Toyota led the market in January with a 14.8 per cent share, followed by Mazda (11.9 per cent), Holden (8.5), Hyundai (7.9) and Ford (7.0).

Chief Executive of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, Tony Weber, said the steady industry sales result was very encouraging for the year ahead.

“Coming off the back of another record sales year, we’re pleased to see a modest gain, with private buyers active in the market and taking advantage of the offers out there from the brands,” Mr Weber said.

“It’s a very good indicator for the year to come. We remain confident that given unchanged economic conditions, the market will remain buoyant.”

Looking for a SUV, or want to buy one? Check out www.carwant.com.au.

Record New Car Sales Year for 2016

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For the first time ever, Australia’s best-selling car of 2016 is not a car at all, but Toyota’s HiLux ute.

According to the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries sales report, Australians bought 42,104 new HiLuxes, beating last year’s best seller, Toyota Corolla by 1,774. Hyundai’s i30 secured third place with 37,772, followed by another ute, Ford Ranger (36,934) and Mazda3 (36,107).

Overall, Australia purchased 1,178,133 new passenger cars, up 2% from 2015, driven by business sales (up 13%) and rental sales (up 6%). Private sales declined by 5.8% and government purchases by 1.4%.

FCAI Chief Executive Tony Weber said “Calendar year 2016 marks the seventh year in a row that the Australian new car market has topped 1 million sales, and this result posts the industry’s third record in four years”

Australia’s best-selling brands of 2016:

  1. Toyota (17.8%)
  2. Mazda (10%)
  3. Hyundai (8.6%)
  4. Holden (8%)
  5. Ford (6.9%)

Valentine’s Day gifts for the car lover in your life

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Here are four fabulous gift ideas for the man or woman in your life this Valentine’s Day.

TrackR bravo

If your Valentine is always losing their keys, TrackR have the solution. Basically you attach the coin-sized TrackR bravo to your keys and use the TrackR app to find them. Thanks to a handy distance indicator, the TrackR app will show if you’re getting closer to finding your keys.

Warm, warmer, hot …

Looking for some extra Valentine’s Day synergies? The catch phrase for the TrackR bravo is ‘Your search is over’ and we’re sure you can romantically weave that into the Valentine’s Day card.

Lamborghini leather bracelet

Lamborghini is quite possibly the Tiffany & Co equivalent for car lovers.

Made in Italy from the same genuine leather used in the interior upholstery of the Lamborghini cars, the stylish braided wrap-around leather strap is enhanced by a steal clasp and silver coloured Automobili Lamborghini shield pendant.

And it comes in a gift box!

Sure, it might look a little wanky on the wrist of an actual Lambo owner, but imagine how fabulous and ironic it would be hanging from the rearview mirror of a lowered Honda Civic, or whatever.

Make it work for you!

Car show or race tickets

Sometimes the best gifts are experiences. Plan a nice day out for you and your Valentine, and create some lasting memories. You might even be able to pick up an extra present on the day.

A new car

There’s nothing like finding a new set of car keys in your Valentine’s Day card. Your Valentine won’t be expecting anything more than the card and then – voila! The ultimate surprise. Start your search for a new or used car at carwant.com.au. Need more ideas? Check out our list of Christmas gift ideas for some more inspiration.

RIP In 2016 – The Cars That Wont Be Returning In 2017

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2016 was a big year with our choice of new cars ever expanding, from the Ford Mustang through to the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class and everything in between. There were cars released for enthusiasts, an expansion of electric vehicles and more dual-cabs to capture this forever growing segment.

2016 was also a year the industry lost some cars and the first of our major car manufacturing plants. Here’s some examples for the history books:    

 

New Year’s resolutions for car owners

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Here are seven things you can do in 2017 to keep your car in tip top shape.

  1. Check your tyres

They could save your life. Check the amount of tread and how the tyres are wearing. If it looks to be uneven, you should get your vehicle’s alignment measured and adjusted. Also keep an eye on your tyre pressure – having the right tyre pressure reduces strain on your car’s suspension, improves the mileage you get on your petrol and improves your safety on the roads. Read more about tyre maintenance here>

  1. Learn how to change a tyre

Flat tyres always seem to happen when you’re in the middle of nowhere. And, if you do have roadside assistance, it can take ages for them to get to you. Worse, if you don’t have roadside assistance, you’re going to have to coax someone into helping you. It’s much easier if you have the knowhow and required items to do it yourself. Here’s a how to guide>

  1. Check oil and water

Accurate warning lights and the improved reliability of the modern car mean that checking under the bonnet has become a less frequent pastime for drivers. However, most manufacturers agree that you should regularly check oil and water levels. Here’s how to check your car’s oil and water>

  1. Check your battery

The only worse thing than a flat tyre in the middle of nowhere is a flat battery – because you’ll definitely need someone to help you then. In this case, preventative maintenance is key. Every four years or so, it’s a good idea to check your battery and see if it needs replacing. Your service centre should let you know, if you get your car serviced regularly.

  1. Change your wiper blades

Wiper blades are an easy car feature to forget. That is, until you’re caught in a rain – and let’s face it, we’re experiencing some pretty crazy weather conditions on the storm front in Australia. Keep yourself safe during storms – change your wiper blades at least once or twice a year to ensure they always work properly.

  1. Schedule bi-annual services

Check your owner’s manual. This will specify how frequently your car should be serviced and the most important components and systems for checking. Generally speaking, a car should be serviced at least every six months (and therefore twice a year). Of course, if you notice that your car is underperforming, this is a sign that attention is necessary. Find out what servicing includes here>

  1. Keep it clean

Washing your car regularly – and the right way – will keep it looking younger for longer. And the more regularly you do it the less time consuming it will be. Here are 23 Ways To Make Your Car Cleaner Than It’s Ever Been courtesy of BuzzFeed>

Carwant.com.au is where buyers and sellers converge when they want a fast and fuss free car purchase process.

Basically, buyers post a free ad, requesting the kind of car they want and indicating what their price range is. Sellers advertise their used cars for sale in the same way. And when there is a match, CarWant sends both parties an automatic notification.

To view what is currently wanted for purchase or available for sale, and find out how to connect with the relevant buyers or sellers, visit www.carwant.com.au.

Christmas gift ideas for car lovers

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November is the perfect time to do all your online Christmas shopping to ensure it’s delivered in time. At carwant.com.au, we’ve navigated our way around the World Wide Web to bring you what we think are the top 10 gift ideas for car lovers this Christmas.

  1. Personalised plates –There are a variety of plates you can order, with options such as background colour, letters, numbers and style of plate. Find out what you’ll need and where to go (in NSW) by clicking here>
  2. Driving experience – Know someone who’s prone to racing around corners and speeding down straights? Sounds like you need to send them on a driving day. Find an experience here>
  3. Massage cushion – A fabulous idea for those who do long distance driving. Choose from those that keep the driver cool while helping stimulate blood flow or those that heat up and include a multifunction remote to control the vibrating action. Find one here>
  4. Phone car cradle – Each state has different legislation but in NSW, for example, you basically can’t touch your phone while operating a vehicle. This can using the GPS functionality pretty difficult. Find a phone car cradle here>
  5. Drivemocion LED Car Sign – It’s time to move on from the stick figure families and tell the driver behind you what you really think of them. This remote controlled LED car messaging sign offers 16 messages or faces. Buy one here, or Google for more providers>
  6. Funky air fresheners – We couldn’t go past the Breaking Bad Heisenberg Air Freshener… smells like strawberry, not like meth! “Perfect if you’ve dropped a few pieces of fried chicken from Los Pollos Hermanos under the seat or if you’ve got a slightly unkempt passenger often traveling with you,” according to this website> If you’re not a fan of Breaking Bad, it’s definitely worth a Google to find the themed air freshener of your choice!
  7. Car inspired cufflinks – Your favourite car enthusiast or automotive mechanic is probably used to spending his days getting dirty under the hood… give him a reason to dress up and look sharp with this exquisite selection of automotive cufflinks! Check out the range here> Etsy and eBay also have some great options available.
  8. Car wash kit – You can probably pick up a pre-packaged detailing kit at your local automotive store, but if you’re a DIYer just grab some car cleaning products, an air freshener or two, throw it in a bucket with some cellophane and a ribbon, and hey presto! Some spare L or P plates can add the personal touch when applicable.
  9. Gift card or certificate – A gift card for the automotive store is a safe bet, but you could also go a gift certificate for a professional detail or service. Short on cash? How about a coupon for you to clean your friend of family member’s car?
  10. A new car – There’s nothing quite like finding a new set of car keys under the Christmas tree! Start your search for a new or used car at carwant.com.au.

National Name Your Car Day

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Today, 2 October 2016, is National Name Your Car Day. So if you haven’t yet named your car or you have a new car yet to be named, today is the day!

No, we didn’t just make this up – National Name Your Car Day has been on the unofficial event calendar for many years now.

In fact …

In 2012, SWNS.com reported six million British motorists have names for their car, based on survey of 2,000 UK car owners conducted by Continental Tyres.

In 2013, Forbes reported close to 25% of Americans named their cars, based on a survey of 1000 US car owners conducted by Nationwide Insurance.

Statistics are hard to come across in Australia, but it’s certainly a trend.

So why do we name our cars?

University of Chicago professor Nicolas Epley says it makes us feel safer; naming cars humanises them and humans behave in ways we can anticipate – mostly.

Perhaps naming our cars makes us feel like their more reliable or reliably unreliable – for example, ‘poor old Betsy being on the blink’ is way different to ‘the bloody car not starting again’ – which brings us back to Epley’s humanisation point.

Maybe you just spend a lot of your time in the car and it has come to feel almost like a trusted companion, getting you from A to B safely. Hmmm… still comes back to Epley’s argument about names humanising cars.

If you wanted to go down a different route though, here’s one for the narcissists; perhaps we view our cars as an extension of ourselves, or as a reflection of our personality, and naming the car gives us the opportunity to convey certain things about ourselves to others.

For now, on National Name Your Car Day 2016, it officially remains one of the many mysteries of the mystical bond between man and machine.

So what are we calling our cars?

Colour seems to be a big driver.

Come on, we’re in Australia. We’re fans of being quite literal in our naming of things – red back spider, brown snake, blue tongue lizard, etc.

When it comes to cars we’ll generally combine the colour with a word that conveys speed – Red Rocket, White Lightning, etc. Or we’ll convey power by naming the car something obvious, like The Beast.

Otherwise we seem to enjoy a little bit of word play.

Rhymes seem to float our boat; think Rhonda the Honda. We also like names that cleverly combine the make of our car with the name of a celebrity of fictional character; think Penelope Cruze or Taylor Swift.

No idea what to call your car, BuzzFeed has just the quiz for you!

Selling a car or looking for a new one?

Carwant.com.au is where buyers and sellers converge when they want a fast and fuss free car purchase process.

Basically, buyers post a free ad, requesting the kind of car they want and indicating what their price range is. Sellers advertise their used cars for sale in the same way. And when there is a match, CarWant sends both parties an automatic notification.

To view what is currently wanted for purchase or available for sale, and find out how to connect with the relevant buyers or sellers, visit www.carwant.com.au.

 

Car security tips

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Leaving for work, you step out, coffee and keys in hand. When your car is not where you remember parking it, you stand on the side of the road, scratching your head, looking up and down the street.

It’s not quite the cold sweat you break out in when you think you’ve lost your phone. Obviously misplacing something that weighs less than 10 grams seems much more reasonable than misplacing a tonne of metal and glass.

Slowly it dawns on you … Someone’s stolen your car.

And if you think that’s bad, the process that follows isn’t much fun either! So here we consider how to reduce the risk of this happening.

 Firstly, what’s the likelihood of my car being stolen?

You’re pCAR STATSrobably thinking, this won’t happen to me, but according to the National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council, it could.

Their data shows motor vehicle theft in Australia increased 6 per cent in the 12 months to March 2016 to 53,110 vehicles stolen.

Short term passenger/light commercial (PLC) thefts accounted for the highest proportion of the rise (10 per cent), with profit motivated motorcycle theft also up 5 per cent.

The performance of individual jurisdictions was mixed with strong reductions in profit motivated theft in NSW and WA and increases in total thefts in VIC, QLD and WA.

The National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council offers a five star rating system that shows the theft risk of vehicles in Australia, which can be accessed here https://carsafe.com.au/risk-rating. The more stars, the lower the risk.

 

 

OK, so what can I do to keep my car safe?

  1. Lock up – it sounds obvious, but ensure all doors, windows and sunroofs are locked before leaving your car.
  2. Leave nothing behind – valuables include money, clothing and handbags, luggage and electronics of any description.
  3. Park wisely – obviously in a garage is best, or in front of your home (consider installing a motion sensing light), otherwise choose well-lit areas with high foot traffic.
  4. Sound the alarm – Consider installing a car alarm and engine immobiliser. If you don’t have the budget for this, steering wheel locks are a more affordable, less noisy deterrent.
  5. Protect your keys – Never leave your keys in the ignition. Also never hide spare keys on your vehicle, or in obvious, easily accessible locations around the home or office.

Other vehicle security tips

  • Do not leave any important documents including identification cards and papers in your vehicle.
  • Secure your number plates by purchasing one way, anti-theft screws. These can be installed using a standard screwdriver, but they require a special tool to remove.
  • Insure your vehicle against theft and make sure your policy is up- to-date.
  • Remember many vehicle insurance policies will be void if you don’t take adequate precautions to protect your vehicle.

What should I do if my car is stolen?

  1. Call the police. You’ll need to file a stolen car report and the police will need all the information relating to your vehicle including make, model, year, colour, registration number and VIN number.
  2. Call your insurance provider. You’ll need to report the theft and confirm your policy number and level of cover. Also report any personal items that were in the car at the time
  3. Inform other contacts. If your wallet was in the car and contained credit cards – tsk, tsk, task! – notify your bank. If your house keys were in the car, have your locks changed, particularly if there was paperwork identifying your address in the vehicle. If you still owe money on your car, you will also need to call the finance company to report it as stolen.

What you shouldn’t do

If you’re able to pinpoint the location of your car using GPS technology, do not try to find the car on your own. It can be dangerous. Report the location to police.

Buy and sell cars at www.carwant.com.au. It’s fast and it’s free.