Volkswagen Group Australia commences diesel emission recall

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FIRST CAB OFF RANK: Volkswagen Group Australia has announced that the Amarok is the first vehicle in line for the diesel emissions recall program.

Volkswagen Group Australia has begun its voluntary recall program to address vehicles affected by the global emissions matter, starting with 8,694 affected Amaroks. Other models in the program will follow in the coming months.

Owners of affected Amarok vehicles have been contacted via email this morning, and will also receive a letter from Volkswagen Group Australia, inviting them to make an appointment with their local Volkswagen dealer.

The recall will involve a software upgrade performed by a Volkswagen dealer technician in under half-an-hour, at no cost to customers.

Volkswagen Group Australia assures its customers that the implementation of the measure does not lead to a deterioration of the fuel consumption, CO2 emissions, engine performance, torque and vehicle acoustics and all vehicle values related to type approval remain unchanged; and continue to outperform the minimum emissions requirements of both Euro 4 and Euro 5 standards.

Recalls for other Volkswagen Group models with 2.0 litre EA189 diesel engines will continue throughout the year, progressing model-by-model. A recall for affected 1.6 litre vehicles will commence later this year.

Volkswagen Group Australia is working closely with its national dealer network to ensure the issue is resolved for its customers as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Customers should wait until they receive a letter from Volkswagen Australia before booking a dealer appointment. Volkswagen and ŠKODA customers who remain unsure if their vehicle is affected can enter their Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) via a link on the relevant brand websites: www.volkswagen.com.au, www.skoda.com.au and www.volkswagen-commercial.com.au

Customers can also contact a dedicated customer care number on 1800 504 076.

- What the VW recall really means for consumers

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8 Reasons Not To Miss Australia’s Best Cars

This Thursday, Australia’s Best Cars are revealed in Sydney. It’s a huge day on the Australian motoring calendar, where car buyers and manufacturers discover the year’s best cars, as judged by an independent panel of motoring experts from Australia’s seven car clubs.

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There are eight key factors that make Australia’s Best Cars stand out as the nation’s most important car awards program, and make the all new Best Car tool (see below) an essential resource for car buyers.

1. Independent: Australia’s Best Cars is the most objective car assessment program in Australia. Unlike other award programs, ABC is wholly funded by the Australian Motoring Clubs and does not rely on advertising revenue. Therefore, the results are based on pure data, resulting from rigorous, independent testing with no external influences or bias.

2. Transparent: ABC is the only awards program in the country, and one of the only in the world, that has total transparency across the judging process. All scores are published for our Members, the wider public and manufacturers to scrutinise.

3. Expert: ABC’s 12 judges have more than 141 years of road testing experience, combined with backgrounds in vehicle engineering, vehicle testing and motoring advice.

4. Comprehensive: ABC evaluates 180 eligible cars on the market (not just new cars for that year) over a wide range of criteria. The testing takes place on 3000 kilometres of driving trackon on bitumen, dirt and off road. There is a yearlong evaluation period to develop the shortlist of 45 finalists.

5. Detailed:  Under the three headings Value for MoneyDesign and Function, and On the Road, there are up to eight criteria. Each criterion is given a score between 1 and 10, with 10 being the best score possible, the higher the score the better. The program’s strength is its numbers – there is a number scored for every criteria and the total shows why each car won.

6. Consistent:  The Driving centre at The Australian Automotive Research Centre Test Facility, in Anglesea, Victoria gives the judges repeatability – allowing the same car to be driven over same piece of road.

7. Practical: The ABC uses criteria our Members value, ensuring relevance to the Aussie car buyer. The scores for each criterion are weighted according to their importance to buyers and vary by category. Each year, every car in the program is re-evaluated and we compile and publish in-depth scoring tables so we can give Members a valuable, up to date, reference point that is especially useful if you’re looking to purchase a new car.

8. Influential: The panel of expert judges have a genuine impact on the future of the automotive industry and manufacturers have previously made improvements to their vehicles based on feedback from the program. ABC operates to the benefit of consumers with the Motoring Clubs investing each year to promote safe and affordable motoring.

This year, the NRMA is launching a new Best Cars tool that packages the data from the Australia’s Best Cars Awards program into a portal that allows you to choose the Best Car for you. The new website allows Members to select the criteria that best suits your needs and will re-sort the cars in each category based on your preferences. The Best Car website will go live at midday on Thursday February 25 after the official results are announced. To access the site head to Australia’s Best Cars and follow the link.

How cars are rated to win Australia’s Best Cars

Behind-the-scenes of Australia’s Best Cars

Down and dirty – off-road at Australia’s Best Cars testing

Do you have The NRMA‘s legendary Road Assist? Don’t get caught without it.

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Top 10 Most Misunderstood Road Rules

During Road Rules Awareness Week 2016 (22-28 Feb), road users are encouraged to phone the RMS contact centre on 13 22 13 to have their questions answered. Road safety experts can help provide advice. Road users are also invited to view the NSW Road Users Handbook.

Should slow cars keep left?

TEST-TIME: Use this list to cross your Ls and dot your Ps.

Should slow cars keep left? Do you need to indicate at roundabouts? Are you allowed to drive through a yellow light?

These are The 10 Most Misunderstood Road Rules in the state, according to Transport for NSW. Download the pamphlet, check out these videos or read the summary below.

1. ROUNDABOUTS: Drivers approaching a roundabout must use their indicators when turning left, right or making a U-turn, but not when going straight ahead (as this would mislead other drivers into thinking you are going left or right). When exiting a roundabout, whether you are turning left, right or even going straight ahead, you must always indicate a left turn just before you exit, unless it is not practical to do so (when travelling straight ahead on a small single lane roundabout, it may be impractical to indicate left when exiting).

2. GIVING WAY TO PEDESTRIANS: If a driver is turning left or right at an intersection, the driver must give way to any pedestrian crossing the road the driver is entering. This applies to intersections with and without traffic lights.

3. MOBILE PHONES: A mobile phone can only be used while driving if it’s secured in a commercially designed and manufactured mounting fixed to the vehicle or operated by Bluetooth technology or voice activation. This includes the navigational or GPS function and audio functions of the device.

4. MERGING: When a driver is travelling on a road without lane markings and the number of lanes is reduced, they must merge by giving way to any vehicle that is ahead of them. However a driver who is moving from one lane, marked by broken lines (whether or not the lane is ending) to another must give way to any vehicle already travelling in the same direction.

5. KEEPING LEFT: On roads with a speed limit of more than 80km/h, motorists must not drive in the right-hand lane unless overtaking, turning right or making a U-turn, avoiding an obstacle or driving in congested traffic. If a ‘Keep Left Unless Overtaking’ sign is displayed, then you must keep left regardless of the speed limit.

6. HEADLIGHT AND FOG LIGHT USE: High beam is not permitted if travelling less than 200 metres behind a car going in the same direction or less than 200 metres from an oncoming vehicle. It is an offence to flash the vehicle’s headlights unless the vehicle is being used to respond to an emergency. A driver is only permitted to use fog lights if driving in fog, mist or other atmospheric condition that restricts visibility.

7. U-TURNS: When making a U-turn a driver must have a clear view of any approaching traffic and give way to all vehicles and pedestrians. Drivers are not allowed to make a U-turn across: a) a single continuous dividing line; b) a single continuous dividing line to the left of a broken line; c) two parallel continuous dividing lines. You must not make a U-turn at traffic lights unless there is a ‘U-turn permitted’ sign displayed.

8. SAFE FOLLOWING DISTANCE: Drivers should stay three seconds behind vehicles in front of them. In poor conditions such as rain, gravel roads or dim light, it may be necessary to increase the travelling distance to four seconds to increase the crash avoidance space.

9. SCHOOL ZONES: A school zone is the area around a school with a speed limit of 40km/h normally from 8am to 9.30am and between 2.30pm and 4pm on school days. Details on NSW gazetted school days can be located here. There are a small number of non-standard school zone times in NSW. These zones are identified by red/orange school zone signs which indicate non-standard times. Signs at these schools display the times which apply.

10. YELLOW TRAFFIC LIGHTS: A driver approaching traffic lights showing a yellow traffic light must stop if they can do so safely. Penalties apply for drivers who fail to stop at a yellow light, unless it is unsafe to do so.

How did you go? Do many NSW drivers misunderstand these rules?

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How to stay safe when your car overheats

We remind our Members and all motorists to be wary of the potential dangers associated with overheating vehicles and advise following these simple steps to stay safe. 

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With the warmer summer weather, our Roadside Patrols have reported an increase in jobs where Members’ vehicles overheat, leading to breakdown.

Although it is rare with modern engines, even a well-tuned vehicle can overheat.A vehicle running normally has some very hot components in the engine bay.

While driving, monitor your dashboard warning lights and/or your car’s temperature gauge. The first sign of a vehicle overheating is either when the needle on the temperature gauge enters the red zone or the “Check Engine” or “Temperature” warning light on the dashboard illuminates.

Left alone, the liquid in the radiator eventually boils and steam will rise from under the bonnet.

If these indicators are present, NRMA Members should follow these simple steps.

  1. Pull over to a safe location as soon as overheating is detected. Continuing to drive, even for a short distance, could greatly increase damage.
  2. Call the NRMA and our call centre staff will despatch a road service patrol to assist. While waiting for a patrol, do not open the bonnet. It is very dangerous to remove the radiator cap from a hot engine. A severely overheated engine can take several hours to cool. Do not touch or try to remove any engine components. Avoid opening the bonnet until the NRMA Patrol arrives.

If a vehicle requires towing after overheating, it is because it has, or is suspected of suffering, major damage, or the cause could not be found or fixed at the roadside. Prevention is better than cure. Regular checks of your car’s cooling system and proper servicing will reduce the risk of overheating.

Is driving with headphones legal?

Driving with earphones

TAKE THEM OUT: Don’t drive with earphones

Have you seen people drive while wearing headphones?

Although wearing headphones while driving is not explicitly illegal, the practice is dangerous and could result in prosecution if deemed to be the cause of an accident.

A distraction, including wearing headphones emitting loud music while driving, could come under NSW Road Rule 297(1). This section of the Road Rules is a catch all provision that covers any distraction that causes a driver not to have proper control of a vehicle and, for example, have an accident.

In some circumstances it may also be possible that the sound coming from the headphones causes a significant enough distraction for the driver not to have proper control of a vehicle, that a police officer issues an infringement notice even where there isn’t an accident (for example where there is a near miss situation).

It’s also worth noting that loud music being emitted from vehicles causing an ‘offensive noise’ comes under Sections 16 & 17 of the Protection of the Environment Operations (Noise Control) Regulation 2008. However, this would likely be difficult to prosecute and would not be an issue with headphones.

Drivers should always be alert to what is happening around them. By using headphones, the driver is likely to be less aware of the surrounding traffic conditions. If you wear headphones that dull or block out other sounds, you may not hear sirens or horns, which could get you and other drivers into big trouble. It’s simple, your hearing is an essential tool in your overall driving skills package.

Do you often see people driving with headphones? Do you think this practice should be made illegal?

Do you have Road Assist from The NRMA? Don’t get caught without it.

- Renew your NRMA Membership
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