Dealing with common car dilemmas

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Driving comes with its fair share of challenges, and every now and then, we find ourselves facing unexpected situations on the road. From putting the wrong fuel into your car to dealing with overheating engines, here’s a guide to help you handle some common car dilemmas along with some tips.

Mistaken fuel: Wrong pump, right response

It happens to the best of us – you pull up to the fuel station, and in a moment of distraction, you choose the wrong fuel. If you’ve mistakenly filled your diesel engine with petrol or vice versa, don’t panic. Do not start the engine.

Get your car towed to your mechanic to sort it out for you. If you have driven the car, it will need more extensive repairs, stop as soon as you realise and get it towed.

Charging your car’s battery: Powering up safely

If you don’t drive regularly or only make short trips your battery may go flat. You can avoid a flat battery by using a battery charger if your car is sitting for long periods of time or if it has gone flat you may be able to re-charge it.

There are different types of batteries, so they all need different charging regimes. It’s best to do some research, talk to a mechanic or a battery expert before buying a charger.

Engine oil check: Keeping things lubricated

Checking your engine oil is a simple yet vital task for every driver.

• Park on level ground and have a rag or paper towel handy. Wait a few minutes for the oil to settle.

• Pop the bonnet and locate the dipstick. Before you remove the dipstick, take note of where it slots back into the engine.

• Remove the dipstick and wipe it clean with the cloth or paper towel.

• Re-insert the dipstick fully and then check the level, it should be between the low and high level markings – ideally, nearer the high mark.

• Additionally, pay attention to the oil’s colour and consistency. If it appears dark or gritty, it might be time for an oil change.

Overheating woes: Cooling down safely

An overheating engine is a driver’s nightmare.

If you notice your temperature gauge climbing, the check engine light or temperature warning light, look for somewhere safe and pull over immediately.

Open the bonnet only when it’s safe to do so, and never attempt to remove the radiator cap while the engine is hot (it can take up to an hour for the engine to cool down).

Check the coolant levels via the overflow bottle, and if needed, top up with the appropriate coolant or water. It may not be safe to drive in case you have done engine damage, its best to check with roadside service first or have it towed.

E10 Fuel: Understanding the trade-offs

E10 fuel has become more prevalent, promising a cleaner alternative.
However, drivers should be aware that it may result in reduced mileage and potential corrosion in certain components as ethanol attracts water.
It’s best to do some research and check with your mechanic.

Three rules for re-fuelling: A quick guide

When it comes to re-fuelling, follow these three golden rules:

• Turn off your engine and avoid using your mobile phone.

• Keep your receipts – if there’s a problem with your fuel you can go back to the service station and get them to investigate.

• Don’t fill up while a fuel tanker is there, it will stir up the water that naturally sits at the bottom of the tanks, which can potentially end up in your tank.

Arming yourself with knowledge and being prepared for unexpected situations on the road can make a significant difference. If you need any advice, contact us on 4732 3676.

Aaron Hills, Angus Car Service
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