How NRMA Patrols spend their Christmas day

Each Christmas, many NRMA Patrols are out on the road making sure you get to your Christmas celebrations. For a change, we thought we’d highlight those Patrols enjoying a rare Christmas day off the road.


CHRISTMAS CHEER: We are on hand to get you back on the road through Christmas

Prawns by the river
With a four day break up his sleeve this year, Patrol 338 John will be heading down the coast to where he has a couple of caravan sites booked for his family for their first Christmas together for five years. “We’ll prepare a ham at home and pick up some prawns and oysters from a great seafood farm next door to the caravan park”.

Canberra Christmas
Patrol 705 John S and his wife will drive to Canberra for Christmas to enjoy Christmas lunch with family. ‘We’re bringing the prawns and ham as our contribution. We’ll stay to the end of Boxing Day and no doubt the Sydney to Hobart yacht race will be on the TV in the background,’ he said.John worked the afternoon shift in the city last year. ‘We had our family Christmas together the week before. I joined the other Patrols during a quiet time on my shift on Christmas Day and we ate pizza at a restaurant in Liverpool Street.’

Full House
It will be a full house again this year for Patrol 157 Patrick and his wife when their four children, two with partners, and their granddaughter, arrive to stay at their home for Christmas Eve and lunch the next day. Patrick worked 25 December last year but came home for his meal break to eat Christmas lunch with his family. This year he can relax after lunch.

Santa George
This year Patrol 524 George will be home to enjoy Christmas and is looking forward to having one or two limoncellos (Italian lemon liqueur). George plans to dress up as Santa, as he does every year, and give out presents to his family.Last Christmas Day George enjoyed lunch with his family and then went back on shift.

Christmas Eve feast
With a Greek dad, Italian mum and his Brazilian wife , Patrol 719 Sam’s house will be a hive of activity from 5pm on Christmas Eve. ‘About 30 family members and friends will come over and everyone will bring a dish,’ said Sam.‘We’ll eat and have secret santa and countdown to midnight. The kids usually stay up because they’re so excited. We’ll sleep until 10am the next day and then visit friends and sit by their pool all Christmas Day.’

Backyard cricket
Patrol 748 Enzo will be sharing the cooking of the Christmas family feast with his family this year.‘To us, Christmas is all about getting together with family. ‘It’s a continuous eating festival of Australian and Italian food: roast turkey, ham, chicken, pavlovas, Christmas cake, lasagnes and pasta dishes, BBQ, cannoli and panettone, homemade Italian fruit cake. And lots of lollies and sweets for the kids.On Christmas morning the Letos will go to church and then family will come for lunch and a game of cricket in the backyard. Then in the evening, more family will arrive for dinner and a swim to top of a wonderdul day.

What’s your ideal Christmas Day?

In the event of a breakdown over the Christmas period, the NRMA will be working around the clock to get you back on the road. If in need, call 13 11 11 or download the NRMA Road Assist app. And remember to say Merry Christmas to your patrol.


NRMA Staff helping the community this Christmas

IT'S A WRAP: Tony and Louise wrap presents for Parramatta Mission

As part of our strategy to help people more often, teams across the NRMA have used their volunteer leave to give back this Christmas. Below is a sample of how we’ve helped the community so far.

Mission Australia

Australians have given generously to the Kmart Wishing Tree Appeal for 28 years, making it the largest gift giving appeal in the country. This year NRMA community partner, Mission Australia, was asked to distribute Wishing Tree gifts donated by the public to vulnerable Australians.

MotorServe employees from Campbelltown, Hornsby, Penrith, Marrickville, South Strathfield and Wagga Wagga have been volunteering their time and vehicles to transport gifts from Kmart stores to Mission Australia services. By Christmas Eve it is estimated that MotorServe alone will have delivered 14,000 gifts.

Parramatta Mission

The joy of Christmas often includes sharing a special meal with loved ones. For over 650 individuals and families who are homeless, facing crisis or living with mental illness, Parramatta Mission’s Christmas Food Appeal is the only way to experience this tradition.

In early December, People and Corporate Relations and Membership Products sorted donated food and gifts, packed Christmas hampers and decorated Parramatta Mission’s residential services. For those who volunteered, the gift was in the giving.

Conservation Volunteers Australia

Summer holidays are a great time to enjoy the magnificent coastline and marvel at our native flora and fauna. Plus, a few hours volunteering can ensure these natural beauties are around for the next generation of Australians.

Marketing, Brand and Acquisition spent the day volunteering at Botany Bay National Park. Over the course of a day, the team helped protect the environment, conserve important habitat for threatened species and reduce impacts of climate change.

10 Tips To Save You Petrol


  1. Shop around – Check out our petrol watch page for the cheapest daily petrol in Sydney.
  2. Refuel when prices are low – not when your tank is empty.
  3. Fill up early – Petrol is usually cheapest on Monday and Tuesday.
  4. Avoid hard acceleration and braking – Flow with the traffic – smooth driving can reduce fuel consumption by up to 30 per cent.
  5. Watch your speed – Keep in the left lane if travelling below the limit.
  6. Lighten the load – Take off roof-racks and bull bars if they’re not needed. Remove golf clubs or tools if you’re not using them.
  7. Tyre pressure – Keep pressure towards the top of the manufacturer’s recommended range. Under-inflated tyres respond poorly to steering and do not hold well on the road.
  8. Open the windows – When the weather is fine, switch off the air-conditioning. This can reduce fuel consumption by up to 10 per cent in urban driving.
  9. Shop smart – Take advantage of the range of petrol offers with companies such as Woolworths.
  10. Service your car regularly – Blocked air filters can increase fuel consumption significantly.

NRMA MotorServe carries out a 40 point Safety Check free as part of every general or log book service so you know exactly what your car needs. NRMA MotorServe is now open in 22 locations around Sydney, and have our first country store in Wagga Wagga. Bookings can be made by calling 1300 223 544 or online.

What to do when you get a flat battery

Flat battery

Flat batteries happen all the time, usually in completely inappropriate locations at inconvenient times. Only last weekend, I jump-started a car after a concert. And the last time my battery died, I was parked at a very busy shopping centre carpark on Christmas Eve.

Flat batteries can happen for a number of reasons, including leaving your lights on or your radio playing when parked (I’m guilty of this one). In fact, battery-related problems represent the highest number of NRMA callouts, with 579,000 battery jobs over the last year!

If you do get a flat battery, follow these tips:

  1. Make sure you’re in a safe location.
  2. Diagnose the problem. Is your engine struggling to turn on, or are you simply getting a ‘click’ with no further response? Are the lights dim? If so, it’s most likely the battery.
  3. Once you have identified the problem, try and identify the cause. Did you leave the lights on? Or is the battery old? Some batteries will show the date, whereas most will use an alphanumeric code. E.g. A2=January 2012.
  4. If you are a member of the NRMA, give us a call and we’ll diagnose it, jump-start it if possible or if needed, replace the battery. If not a member, give us a call 13 11 11 and sign up on the spot.
  5. If you’re not an NRMA member, have left the lights on and you drive a manual, try a push start.
  6. If a friend or nearby driver has jumper leads, a jump-start could do the trick. This won’t fully recharge the battery, even after a long drive but will get you home or to a mechanic. Before you jump-start, check the battery for damage. If you notice cracks or leaking battery acid, do not jump-start. Also, consider the age of your car. Jump-starting a modern car can cause additional problems. Consult the owner’s manual and if uncertain, call the NRMA.
  7. When back on the road, head into your mechanic to get your battery checked. As mentioned, a jump-start doesn’t fully recharge your battery. It’s life spam will have reduced considerable so head to your mechanic for a full recharge or if needed, a replacement.

To avoid a flat battery in future, follow these basic maintenance tips:

  • If the battery has removable caps, check the water level. Make sure it is only just touching the bottom of the refill hole.
  • Clean the battery terminals with a wire brush to ensure a good connection.
  • Keep your car garaged as this will help extend the battery’s life.
  • Ensure the battery is properly secured.
  • Inspect the battery. If you notice cracks, replace the battery right away.

Don’t let life’s little mishaps get in the way.

When was the last time you got a flat battery? Share your stories in the comments.

What to do when you get a flat tyre

Family stranded

Working at the NRMA, I feel like I should be able to change a flat tyre. And I have tried. Once. It was an ordeal, spending hours trying to loosen wheel nuts.

Now I just call the NRMA  (13 11 11) – as did 128,000 others over the last year – but here are some other helpful tips if you do get a flat:

  1. Make sure you’re in a safe location. Pull off to the side of the road, put your hazard lights on, apply the handbrake and try to stop on a flat surface. Try to avoid driving too far or fast on a flat tyre however to avoid further damage to the tyre.
  2. Stay calm. If you’re running late, call ahead and advise of your situation.
  3. If you’re a member of the NRMA, give us a call and let us take care of it.
  4. Check your phone battery. You will need to conserve your phone battery so that you can make and receive calls.
  5. If you aren’t a member of a roadside assistance provider, try changing the tyre yourself.
    1. Check the boot and locate your jack, wheel brace and spare tyre.
    2. Loosen wheel nuts using your wheel brace. Some cars have locking wheel nuts so make sure you have the right tools. Using your foot/body weight can help!  Buying a short length of steel pipe at the hardware that fits over the handle of the wheel brace will increase your leverage.
    3. Position the jack on the groove on the underside of your car near the wheel and when in position, turn the handle until the wheel is suspended above the ground. Loosening the wheel nuts before lifting the wheel will prevent spinning.
    4. Remove the wheel nuts, put them somewhere clean if you can and remove the wheel.
    5. Replace the wheel and replace and loosely fit the wheel nuts.  If one end of the nut is tapered, this goes towards the wheel.
    6. Lower the car and remove the jack.
    7. Tighten the wheel nuts and put the flat tyre in the boot. If you have a space saving tyre, chances are the old tyre won’t fit in the boot. If your car is full of luggage, you may need another vehicle to assist.
    8. Make sure you replace the spare tyre as soon as possible. You never know when a flat will strike again.

While impossible to completely avoid, the below tips may help to minimise the risk of getting a flat tyres and the associated stress involved if it does happen:

  • Regularly check your tyre pressure and roadworthiness of tyres.  NRMA recommends inflating tyres at the top end of the recommended pressure range – this reduces fuel consumption and minimises the risk the tyres are underinflated.
  • Make sure your spare tyre is roadworthy and pumped up to the correct pressure. A few more psi can’t hurt as spares are often forgotten about for long periods.
  • Make sure your NRMA membership is up to date and that you have the NRMA app on your phone for easy location finding.
  • Get a service before you head off on any long road trips.

Don’t let life’s little mishaps get in the way.

Have you ever changed a car tyre? Share your stories in the comments.