Safety checks to keep your car sound


Q: At the four-year ser­vice, when my Mazda had only done 15,000km, my ser­vice guy rec­om­mended about $300 of ex­tra work on the ve­hi­cle, such as in­jec­tion clean­ing, which is not in the Mazda ser­vice. I was a bit shocked and asked if he was aware the car had only done only 15,000km and that I was sur­prised they thought this work was needed. He then said no and I asked if he had even both­ered to look at the ve­hi­cle and he said no. I then asked if he was a me­chanic and he replied no. Is this over­ser­vic­ing, or is it gen­uine work that needs to be done on­myve­hi­cle?

Peter Sauer­berg, email.

A: I think you can as­sume it is over­ser­vic­ing. Some deal­ers en­cour­age their staff to try to sell cus­tomers ser­vices they don’t re­ally need. In­jec­tor clean­ing is one of the ser­vices that reg­u­larly crops up here at Cars­guide. You did the right thing by ques­tion­ing the caller in­stead of blindly agree­ing to the work.

Q: The driver’s door elec­tric win­dow on my Mazda 626 goes down when the but­ton is pressed, but I have to wait about 5-10 min­utes be­fore it will rise when the but­ton is pressed to close the win­dow. As the win­dow rises it will go up to about the half-way mark be­fore it grinds to a halt and some­times slides back down again some of the way. If I switch off the mo­tor and leave it off for 3-5 min­utes I can of­ten get the win­dow to rise all the way when the ig­ni­tion is switched back on. Do you know what the prob­lem might be and can I swap ei­ther the rear win­dow mo­tor or the pas­sen­ger win­dow mo­tor for the driver’s win­dow?

Chris H, email.

A: It’s most likely the win­dow win­der mo­tor that’s the prob­lem and you should be able to switch the mo­tor from one of the other doors to the driver’s door. Now that the cooler weather is upon us we should be check­ing our cars to make sure they are safe and sound for the most chal­leng­ing driv­ing months ahead of us.

With longer hours of dark­ness we of­ten are leav­ing for work in the dark and get­ting home in the dark. That makes vis­i­bil­ity crit­i­cal. It not only is im­por­tant we can see the road ahead, but it also is im­por­tant other mo­torists see us.

Have a fam­ily mem­ber check the op­er­a­tion of the lights on our car, per­haps even make it a game the kids can be in­volved in.

Check head­lights, low and high beam, the front and rear turn sig­nals and the side in­di­ca­tors, and the brake lights. Have any not work­ing fixed. Check the op­er­a­tion of the wind­screen wipers and wash­ers.

Washer noz­zles of­ten be­come clogged when not in use over the sum­mer and need clean­ing be­fore win­ter sets in.

Reg­u­larly check the washer res- er­voir and top up when needed.

Check the op­er­a­tion of the wind­screen demis­ter to en­sure it is func­tion­ing cor­rectly.

Keep­ing the in­side of the wind­screen clear of fog is just as im­por­tant as keep­ing the wind­screen clean on the out­side.

Check the op­er­a­tion of win­dow demis­ter.

While vis­i­bil­ity is im­por­tant to safety on the road in win­ter, so too is grip.

Check the con­di­tion of your cars


rear tyres, par­tic­u­larly of tread they have.

The pri­mary func­tion of the tread is to re­move wa­ter from the area of the tyre in con­tact with the road, and the tyres’ abil­ity to drain the con­tact patch is re­duced as the tread wears down.

It is im­por­tant to main­tain in­fla­tion pres­sure.

The tyres’ con­tact patch is re­duced when tyres are un­der­in­flated or over-in­flated.

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