How to keep your car looking good
Q: The clutch in my Subaru Outback had been slipping so it was returned to the dealer. My wife was told the clutch was ‘‘full of sand’’. It was repaired under warranty, but how can sand get inside the clutch? I have driven it once on Stockton Beach. It has also been driven off-road around Newnes. Last year my wife and I towed a camper trailer to the Red Centre and back, and during that trip we drove along the Birdsville Track as far as the flooded Cooper Creek and then the Oodnadatta Track. I am concerned that the replacement clutch will also fill with sand. Guy Freeman, e-mail. A: Subaru’s answer: ‘‘As with most brands, gearboxes are not totally sealed units. If the vehicle is exposed to very heavy sand, the clutch may fail and sand could be evident during replacement.’’ You shouldn’t drive through heavy sand.
Q: I have four vehicles and occasionally need to charge the batteries. The cars are a 1990 Ford Capri, a 2003 Toyota Landcruiser 100 V8, a 2006 Suzuki Swift, and a 2006 Hyundai Getz. Do I need to disconnect the battery before charging? Barry Robert, e-mail. A: There’s no reason to disconnect, as long as the ignition is off when you do it. WE choose the colour of our car based on how it looks when we see it sitting in the dealer’s showroom, but rarely do we think about how we’re going to keep it looking good.
There it sits, perfectly clean and shining brightly, but how will it look after a few months on the road after it’s been rained on, pelted with hail, buried in snow, sprayed with dust and tar, covered in dirt and grime, and crashed into at the supermarket?
The time to think about that is before you buy it. Here are some tips:
Colours that contain a lot of pearl or are heavy in metallic flake can be very difficult to match in the event of a fender-bender.
If you’ve got your heart set on such a colour buy a car that has been painted in a premium quality paint, like Glasurit, Speis-Hecker, or Standox, as they have the most accurate refinishing formulas for matching the factory colours.
Don’t buy black, unless you like washing your car. Black cars are very hard to keep clean, whereas silver, white and champagne stand up well and don’t require as much work to keep clean.
Don’t get sucked into buying a paint protection product the dealer tells you will keep your paint pristine for the life of the car. They don’t work and they’re a waste of money. Wash your car regularly using fresh water only. Dry it with a chamois. Don’t use soap or detergent, unless it’s very dirty, and only use a small amount.
Avoid parking under trees or power lines. Trees will leave sap deposits on your car, while birds love to perch on power lines and poop on your pride and joy. If you do find deposits on your car remove them as soon as possible.
The longer you leave them the greater the chance of your paint being damaged. Bird poo will eat into your paint if not removed.
Wax your car every six months with a good quality carnauba wax, one that is hard to apply and hard to remove. Cars left parked in the street will need to be waxed even more frequently.