Lost your Keys? The NRMA can help

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You reach into your pocket and it feels disconcertingly empty. So you rifle through your bag with increasing desperation and scour your surroundings for clues. When you finally accept your keys are gone, you feel the familiar panic of having lost something important that is difficult to replace.

If this happens more often than you’d like to admit, you may be interested in NRMA’s Key Tag Return Service. This little known service helps us reunite NRMA Members with their lost keys by connecting the person who has found the keys to their owner through their unique NRMA keyring.

When you receive your NRMA Membership Card, it has a key tag section (with a hole at the top) attached to the Credit Card sized Membership Card. To attach it to your keys, separate the key tag section from the rest of the Membership card and attach it to your keys using the pre-cut hole

When someone finds a set of lost keys with the NRMA Membership card key tag attached, they typically call the NRMA Call centre to report the missing keys. Our NRMA team will then obtain their permission to forward on their contact details to the owner to collect.

If this is a privacy issue, we will ask that they hand over the lost keys into a nearby NRMA Branch or Police Station, where we will contact the Member by their contact information in our database and inform them of the whereabouts of their keys.

The NRMA are proud to say that they have helped over 702 Members with lost keys over the last year. If we can’t get in contact with the Member after a few attempts then we will send out a letter advising them to contact us regarding their lost keys that have been found. If it is too difficult for the Member to pick up their keys (as they may be on holidays), we will pay up to $30 for a courier to help arrange a reunion!

Did you know about this service?

Ps. You may also be interested in NRMA’s Keys Plus add on product. In the event of an emergency where your vehicle keys are lost or damaged, a locksmith will come out to your vehicle and replace your keys on the spot. The locksmith will open your vehicle, cut keys and get you back on the road again.

Keeping your car healthy in winter

Frost Scraper

WINTER IS COMING: There are plenty of maintenance items you can tick off.

How time flies when your car has been running well throughout the summer months. Now the weather has turned cold and you’ve done nothing to it since spring, beyond changing the oil and replacing a tyre. 

Contrary to popular thinking, vehicles do require seasonal attention to be kept safe and dependable. More to the point, their owners may need a seasonal reminder to pay attention to their vehicles needs.

During winter a vehicle’s cooling system takes on a slightly different role and in colder areas the system’s antifreeze stops the coolant from freezing if you’re parking your vehicle overnight.However, if you have been filling your cooling system with water, you may have altered the ratio of water and anti-freeze, making it less effective in doing its job.

To avoid any hassles, you should have your car serviced or checked by an expert. We recommend NRMA MotorServe, which is currently offering a comprehensive winter health check for $39 (was $120), which includes wiper blades. However, there are still plenty of other maintenance items you can tick off yourself.

  1. Check your tyre pressures including the spare. If the load is greater than normal, inflate accordingly using the manufacturer’s recommendation on the tyre placard.
  2. Check the tyres’ tread depth while you’re at it, and if they are close to the wear limiters, consider replacing.
  3. If your windscreen wipers left fine lines on the glass last time you used them, now’s the time to replace the rubber blades and add some windscreen cleaner to the washer bottle. Windscreen wiper blades can deteriorate even on a new car that has been sitting in storage. The rubber in the blades is vulnerable to the elements as well as road contaminants. That’s why blades should be changed periodically, ideally twice a year, as a preventative measure
  4. Give the windscreen a good clean inside. If you’re travelling to alpine regions pack a plastic scraper in your kit to remove ice from the windscreen and door glass. Never use hot water on the glass, and remember, a small stone chip can grow into a large crack as the temperature lowers.
  5. Check that all the lights are operating – especially high beam.
  6. Cold temperatures put additional strain on your battery. If you’re driving an older car and the starter sounds sluggish on start-up on colder mornings, check the age and condition of the battery. Most batteries are maintenance-free these days, but if your battery has caps check the level and top up as necessary. Battery testing, as well as delivery and installation by a qualified technician, is free for NRMA Members.

Has your car ever got caught in cold conditions? Any advice to share? 

- Driving in the snow
- Tips for driving in the snow

 

Car batteries and cold weather

AdobeStock_48470325Is the recent cold snap affecting your car? Is it harder to start in the morning than usual?

There are a range of reasons why cars can be hard to start, from engine tune issues to fuel problems or simply a lack of oil.  But nothing can be affected more by cold weather than the battery.

On average the life of a car battery is 31/2 years so it’s worth asking yourself, when was the last time you replaced your battery or at least had it checked?  The good news is that new batteries use a lead-calcium-silver alloy construction which can deliver up to 20% longer service life than conventional lead acid batteries.

Unlike a noisy engine in need of a tune-up or the squeal of worn-out brakes, you often get no warning before your battery runs out.  And a car battery on its way out can cause problems to the starter motor, alternator and car electrics.

If you’re concerned about the condition of your battery, Members can call NRMA Batteries for a free health check on 13 11 22 or visit your local NRMA MotorServe.

Have you had problems starting your car in the cold weather? And was the problem the battery or was it actually something else?

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

- Renew your NRMA Membership
- Join the NRMA
- Find more about Membership options

The hidden costs of buying a second hand car

 

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Buying a car is a big financial commitment, so it’s common sense that you take steps to ensure that the vehicle you’re looking at buying won’t cost you a mint down the track.

Part of a vehicle’s overall value is determined by the condition it’s in. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, you may miss important repairs in places you can’t see, short of jacking the car up and having a professional take a look. Missing these prior to purchasing could see you parting with hefty sums of money, on top of the purchase price.

Did you know that you could get any prospective car inspected before going ahead with a purchase?

If you’ve found a car you would really like to purchase, having a pre-sale inspection of the vehicle conducted, will ensure that any hidden nasties are revealed before you fork over your hard-earned cash. Any discoveries can then be used to negotiate a reduction of the sale price.

Cars purchased interstate can also come with their share of risk, as interstate vehicle laws are different with regards to registration to those registered in NSW. So that nice car you purchased from someone in Queensland, it may cost you more just to get it on the road.

NRMA MotorServe pre-sale inspections are more than just a safety check. They also include:

  • A comprehensive visual check of the interior, exterior, underbody and engine compartment.
  • A driving test.
  • Test of the battery, electrics and pressure.
  • Paint gauge.
  • Fluid checks.

We’ll also check the vehicle’s compliance, log books, spare tyre, paint and panel; providing you with a comprehensive report, including photographs, which will provide information on any issues found.

We provide you with peace of mind in providing you with the knowledge of anything that may compromise the vehicle’s value or lead to ongoing costs.

For enquiries and bookings, call 1300 770 116 or check out the webpage.

Towing? Do your research

Four wheel drive with caravan

When we’re in the market for a new vehicle it’s customary to take into account its looks, level of comfort and fuel economy, as well as other factors like safety and handling, before we even contemplate signing the dotted line.

But if you intend to use it to tow a caravan, boat, trailer etc., you must do your research. Otherwise you might find out on the wrong part of your holiday that your SUV can’t tow 3000 kilograms of caravan after all. Sometimes the towing limits change with specification levels, tow bar type, engine or transmission choice and with model updates.

Before purchasing the vehicle you need to understand a few things:

  • the legal requirements for towing;
  • the manufacturer’s recommended towing specifications;
  • the vehicle’s towbar specifications – many manufacturers offer different levels of towing ability depending on the tow bar package purchased.

Did the dealer explain the towing capacity when the trailer is braked or unbraked?

Most vehicles are able to tow up to 750kg without the need for brakes to be fitted to the trailer. However, if you do want to tow a caravan, boat, horse float or trailer that weighs more, it will need to be fitted with its own brakes that activate when you press the brakes in the vehicle. We recommend an inertial or motion sensing brake controller for the best performance.

While they may assure you the car is up to the task, you can’t take their word for granted. If you’re not provided with enough information, you might feel like they just want a sale – and you could be right.

On the other hand, when buying a caravan you’ll need to shop within the limitations of your car. There’s no point buying the perfect caravan that weighs 200kg more than your vehicle can tow, or one that will put too much load on your tow ball, because you’ll never be able to tow it anywhere or you’ll have to buy a new car. Again, double-check the facts. If you’re not provided with the necessary information, don’t do the deal.

Do you have any other tips?

- For more information on towing, check out our Learning how to tow story.
- Make sure your caravan or trailer is covered next time you hit the road. NRMA Road Assist Premium Care covers up to 3.5 tonnes including trailers and caravans and Premium Plus covers anything up to 10 tonnes including up to $3,000 in breakdown benefits.