Reverse assist – more choices for your vehicle

Park Assist/ Reversing cameras are now a standard feature on many new cars. NRMA’s Motoring Advice team has been asked how good they are and if it is worth fitting after–market systems to cars without such devices? 

ReversePark

BLINDSIDE: Most modern vehicles suffer from poor rear visibility, with some having blind zones in excess of 10 metres

From navigating your car into a tight spot to drastically improving rear vision, reversing technologies can help make driving easier and help reduce the risk of collisions with another vehicle, or anything else.

The market is filled with a range of aftermarket options to help improve rear visibility and prevent collisions. Knowing how each technology works can help you decide what is best for your car.

Reverse cameras

Reverse cameras are generally easy to install with options of hard-wired or wireless setup, depending on your vehicle. The camera can be discretely mounted  above or below a rear number plate to allow you to view real-time footage from an LCD screen which is mounted on or around the dashboard.   

Small children, animals and objects are easily obscured from view when behind, even the smallest of vehicles. By giving better visibility, reverse cameras can increase safety, convenience and give extra peace of mind. However, reading the screen and gaining confidence may require some practice.

Parking sensors

These are proximity sensors and detect objects in the path of the reversing vehicle within a defined distance range. The driver is alerted via audible beeps. Some systems may also incorporate a camera.  They are installed into the rear bumper bar of a vehicle. The devices use sensors that increase in frequency of the beep as an object gets closer, working from a range of approximately 0.3 to 3 meters.

Although these devices are useful aids, drivers should not rely on them to guide the car out of a tight situation. It’s important to keep in mind that these items merely ‘assist’ with parking and reversing of the vehicle. Responsibility for handling a vehicle safely still lies with the driver.

Does your car have reverse assist technology? Do you think it has improved your awareness and safety when driving? 

Have any motoring related questions that you would like us to answer? Our Motoring Advice Team provides professional advice for NRMA Members. You can reach the team on 13 11 22 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm).

Let’s shed some light on indicators

According to one of our recent Facebook posts, many motorists still don’t have a complete understanding of when to correctly indicate their intended direction of travel.  We’ll go through some of the questions we’ve received to hopefully shed some light on this “lost art”. 

BLINKING MADE

ON THE BLINK: A simple signal that does a lot of good.  

Indicating distance – How long should I indicate for? indicating distance

It’s important to indicate to let other motorists know what you plan to do. While there is not a specific distance, you must give plenty of warning by signalling before you turn or change lanes to avoid a collision.

Make sure your indicator is turned off after each lane change. If your indicators are not working, not clearly visible or your vehicle does not have indicator lights then you must give a hand signal when turning right or stopping.

Indicating at a Roundabout toni

Drivers approaching a roundabout must use their indicator if they intend to turn left or right, or make a U-turn at the roundabout. They must give other road users sufficient notice of their intent to turn.

There is no requirement for drivers to signal when approaching the roundabout, if they are going straight ahead. susan roundabout blinker

Just like exiting any road, drivers must signal left when leaving a roundabout, if it is practical to do so, and stop indicating as soon as they have exited the roundabout.

When travelling straight ahead on a small single lane roundabout, it may be impractical to indicate if exiting.

Although that little stick hiding behind the steering wheel should be used in the majority of instances, it is equally important to know when to indicate correctly to avoid further frustration.

Do you think motorists are using their indicator correctly – or at all? Please let us know if there are any other indicator questions you would like us to clarify. 

Replacing your car tyres – what to look for?

Whether you are looking for a slight tyre profile change or a complete wheel/tyre diameter increase, to comply with registration requirements, and for insurance purposes replacement tyres must meet the tyre designation as on the tyre placard of your vehicle. 

placard-resize

KNOW YOUR NUMBERS: Referring to your vehicles tyre placard is an essential way to ensure that your vehicle complies with the manufacturers specifications.

Since 1973, all cars have been fitted with a tyre placard, which is usually located inside the driver’s door, glove box or fuel filler cap. The placard specifies the wheel and tyre combinations provided by the vehicle manufacturer as well as the recommended air pressure, load capacity and speed rating of tyres.

When considering the choice of a new tyre, refer to your vehicle’s tyre placard to ensure that your vehicle complies with the manufacturer’s specifications.

The choice of tyre will also depend on which characteristics you are looking for, including:

  • wet/dry grip,
  • off road capability,
  • noise reduction,
  •  or simply for fuel economy.

The NRMA has no specific brand recommendations. However, we suggest  you stay with a mainstream brand that you are familiar with.This may be as simple as replacing worn tyres with your car’s existing brand if you’ve been satisfied with them.

As an NRMA Member you can also receive discounts on tyres through Tyreright or Beaurepairs. Your local NRMA MotorServe or NRMA Approved Repairer can also provide guidance on the best tyres for your vehicle.

Do you know the location of your vehicle’s placard? Do you used this information when servicing your tyres? 

Have any motoring related questions that you would like us to answer? Our Motoring Advice Team provides professional advice for NRMA Members. You can reach the team on 13 11 22 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm).

Engine repairs – when to replace or walk away

When it comes to car repairs, the decision to either replace a damaged engine or sell your pride and joy can be a tough choice to make. 

STEAM FREE: Many drivers routinely check their oil and battery levels, however coolant is often overlooked.

STEAM FREE: Many drivers routinely check their oil and battery levels, however coolant is often overlooked.

There is no simple answer, but there are a few things to consider to help you make an informed decision.

If it’s a purely financial decision, the cost of engine replacement should be compared with the market value of your car and you should make a call based on which is more cost effective. Also bear in mind that if you do not repair or replace the engine in your car, its market value will be significantly lower.

As a general rule, an older/higher kilometre car is more likely to develop other faults in other areas due to general wear and tear. Unless you are keen to keep your old car for sentimental reasons or you do not wish to spend more money on repairs, it may be worthwhile replacing your car.

Knowing the signs of engine problems can also save you from having to make any decision in the first instance. Typical symptoms of a possible engine problems may include:

  • excessive smoke from tailpipe,
  • excessive oil consumption,
  • knocking or tapping sounds in and around engine area,
  • low oil pressure/low compression,
  • water mixing in oil,
  • seized engine.

Regular maintenance and servicing will prolong the life of your vehicle and identify and potential issues that may lead to a hefty repair bill. When in doubt you can always speak to your NRMA MotorServe to discuss your options

Have you ever replaced your vehicle’s engine? Do you think that it was the best option in the long run?  

Have any motoring related questions that you would like us to answer? Our Motoring Advice Team provides professional advice for NRMA Members. You can reach the team on 13 11 22 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm)

Dashboard Warning Lights Explained

Picture this: you’re driving down the M1 Motorway towards your holiday destination, then all of a sudden an orange warning light illuminates on your cars dash. What does it mean? 

WARNING LIGHT WOES:  If your car’s dashboard is lit up like a Christmas tree, or even if there’s one, small blinking light, it’s important to get it checked out.

WARNING LIGHT WOES: If your car’s dashboard is lit up like a Christmas tree, or even if there’s one small blinking light, it’s important to get it checked out.

Modern cars are filled with electronics and packed with sensors to monitor both how your vehicle is behaving and to let you know when there is a problem.

There are two types of warning lights: red and orange. Red warning lights suggest that you must act immediately, as these lights may represent a variety of issues including engine overheating, braking system problems or engine oil pressure.

Orange lights mean that the engine management system has detected a fault, and if this happens you may continue to drive however, you will need to take your car to your local servicing dealer/mechanic for a diagnosis and repair as soon as possible.

It’s important to know what the car dashboard warning lights actually mean because they can pre-empt a car breakdown, potentially saving you from an expensive repair bill and meaning you stay safer on the road.

In the event that you experience a red or orange warning light appear on your dash, do not ignore it. Instead, calmly consult your owner’s handbook as this will tell you the type of problem encountered.

If a light momentarily flashes on and then disappears, this does not necessarily indicate a problem. However, it is still recommended to raise this issue with your local mechanic/NRMA MotorServe who will put your mind at ease.

When in doubt, call our Road Assist team, who offer NRMA Members a quick check and advice or can arrange towing if needed, 24/7.

Do you know what the warning lights on your vehicle mean? Have you ever ignored them and found out the hard way?

Have any motoring related questions that you would like us to answer? Our Motoring Advice Team provides professional advice for NRMA Members. You can reach the team on 13 11 22 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm)