Everything You Need to Know About Changing a Tyre

Knowing how to change a tyre is an essential skill for every driver. It not only prepares you to confidently handle roadside emergencies but also ensures that you’re not left stranded on the side of the road, waiting for help.

Mastering this skill can significantly reduce the downtime and costs associated with calling for roadside assistance services.

Know Your Vehicle

Before tackling a tyre change, familiarise yourself with your vehicle’s specific needs, which can be found in your owner’s manual. Key details to note include:

  • Recommended Jack Lifting Points: Identify safe spots for lifting your vehicle to prevent damage and ensure safety.
  • Suitable Jack Type: Learn which jack is compatible with your car to support it properly during a lift.
  • Correct Tyre Pressure: Check the manual for ideal tyre pressure levels to ensure optimal performance and safety.

Understanding these points can ensure a smoother and safer tyre-changing process.

Always Be Prepared for a Car Tyre Change

Being prepared for tyre troubles means you’re never caught off guard. Before disaster strikes, it’s important to equip your vehicle with:

  • A Spare Tyre: Regularly inspect its condition and ensure it’s properly inflated.
  • A Sturdy Jack: Verify it can support your vehicle’s weight.
  • Wheel Brace or Lug Wrench: Essential for loosening and tightening the nuts.
  • Wheel Chocks or Wood Pieces: Use these to prevent your vehicle from rolling.
  • Reflective Warning Signs: Keep these handy for night tyre changes to alert oncoming traffic.
  • Waterproof Mat/Cardboard: This provides comfort when changing tyres on wet surfaces.
  • Flashlight: Just in case you need to change your tyre in a poorly lit area at night.

Flat Tyre Safety

Safety should always be your top priority, both for you and everyone else on the road. In the event of a flat tyre:

  • Find a Safe Spot: Slow down gradually and steer your vehicle to a level area, a safe distance from traffic.
  • Alert Others: Turn on your hazard lights to alert passing drivers.
  • Secure the Vehicle: Apply the parking brake and place wheel chocks under the tyres opposite to the flat to prevent rolling.
  • Assess the Situation: If you’re on a busy freeway or feel unsafe changing the tyre yourself, don’t hesitate to call for roadside assistance.

These steps ensure that you prioritise safety above all when dealing with a tyre change.

You Have a Flat Tyre – What Should You Do?

  1. Loosen the Wheel Nuts: Start by loosening the wheel nuts a turn or two with the wheel brace or lug wrench, but don’t remove them completely yet.
  2. Lift the Vehicle: Use the jack to lift your car. Place it under the car’s recommended lifting point and raise the vehicle until the flat tyre is about five centimetres off the ground. Remember, never place any part of your body under the vehicle while it is lifted.
  3. Remove the Flat Tyre: Now fully remove the loosened wheel nuts and carefully take off the flat tyre. Lay it flat on the ground to avoid it rolling away.
  4. Lower the Vehicle and Secure the Nuts: Gently lower the car back to the ground. Once the vehicle is fully lowered, use the brace to tighten the wheel nuts firmly, again following a criss-cross pattern.

Once the Tyre Change is Complete

After successfully changing your tyre, follow these important steps:

  • Check the Pressure: Especially if you’ve installed a space-saver (temporary) spare, verify its pressure immediately. Remember, these tyres have specific speed and distance limitations.
  • Pack Away: Return the flat tyre and all tools used during the change back to their respective places in your vehicle.
  • Regularly Check the Changed Tyre: After driving for about 10 to 20 kilometres, find a safe place to stop and recheck the wheel nuts’ tightness.
  • Repair The Damaged Tyre: It’s important to get professional help with a repair or replacement for the flat tyre so that it’s available next time you need it.

Highfields Mechanical for Wheels and Tyres – Toowoomba Experts

Changing a tyre might initially appear intimidating, but it becomes simple with the appropriate tools and know-how. Should you encounter any issues or suspect your wheel has suffered damage, Highfields Mechanical is ready to support all your automotive needs. Whether it’s a simple tyre change or a more thorough wheel alignment service, our team is here to help.

For expert advice, professional repairs, or to schedule a service, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Contact our friendly team at (07) 4646 1780 or complete our contact form today.

Your Complete Car Maintenance Checklist

Over time, cars undergo wear and tear that requires regular checks and maintenance to ensure safe handling and longevity. Basic car maintenance helps identify issues before they become more serious problems which could leave you stuck on the side of the road.

Car owners should follow these easy car maintenance tips alongside their annual general car service:

Engine Oil Check

Engine oil lubricates moving parts, reducing damage caused from heat and friction. It is important to check your engine oil regularly to ensure you aren’t running low. Engine oil will degrade over time, even if the vehicle is left stationary. It is recommended to change your oil every 6 months or 10,000 kilometres to prevent damage to the engine.

Check Car Tyre Pressure

Your tyres play a critical role in the safe handling of your car, acting as the only point of contact between your vehicle and the road. Driving with the incorrect air pressure can affect handling, fuel efficiency and tyre longevity.
Check the label inside your driver side door or your vehicle’s owner manual if you are unsure of your car’s ideal tyre pressure. Service stations typically have tyre pressure gauges that are free to use. It is recommended that you perform a tyre pressure check every three months or before and after a long trip.

Replace Windshield Wipers

Windshield wipers are essential for protecting you during poor weather conditions by maintaining visibility. With time, wiper blades may deteriorate, causing them to tear, crack or even split.
Damaged wipers can affect your ability to see hazards on the road in poor weather and can also scratch your windshield. Observe your wiper blades regularly for signs of damage and replace as soon as it is needed.

Check Your Car Fluids

Coolant and brake fluid are the most common fluids that require topping up. You should check your car’s coolant levels every few months or before a long trip. As part of your regular scheduled service, your brake fluid will be checked. If you notice your engine temperature gauge rising, pull over where it is safe to do so and check your coolant levels once your engine has cooled down.
Your owner’s manual has helpful information regarding the types of fluid and recommended maintenance period specific to your vehicle.

Replace Air Filters

Over time, contaminants can build in the filter and reduce the quantity of air flow into your engine. This can lead to issues with your car’s performance, may decrease the cabin’s air quality and increase your fuel consumption. Air filters also trap debris and dust, preventing them from entering the cabin. Your vehicle’s owner’s manual can provide helpful instructions on how and when to replace air filters.

Schedule a Professional Car Service

Following the above maintenance tips can help protect your vehicle, but does not substitute the first-hand experience of a professional mechanic. It is recommended to schedule a general car service every six months or 10,000 kilometres driven.

The experts here at Highfields Mechanical are committed to serving you and your car’s needs with transparency and passion. Contact our friendly team at (07) 4646 1780 or complete our contact form today.

Understanding the Importance of Transmission Fluid

While transmission fluid may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of your car’s health, in truth, it is a vital component in the smooth operation of every vehicle. Whether you drive a manual or automatic, the transmission fluid is indispensable in ensuring smooth gear shifts and optimising the longevity of the transmission system. 

Serving as both a lubricant and a coolant, car transmission fluid minimises friction between the moving parts inside the transmission and aids in regulating the transmission’s temperature, preventing it from overheating. 

A vehicle running on deteriorated transmission fluid can experience sluggish gear shifts, increased wear and even transmission failure.

What is the transmission in a car?

The transmission system in a vehicle serves a pivotal role in directing power from the engine and translating it into movement. By seamlessly shifting between gears, the transmission ensures that the engine operates within an optimal range of speeds, allowing for efficient fuel consumption and power delivery.

The gears, controlled by the transmission, ensure a smooth and responsive driving experience. Because of this, transmission fluid serves as the lifeblood of this intricate system.

Does my transmission fluid need changing?

Over time, as your vehicle faces wear and tear, the transmission fluid will start showing signs that it needs to be changed. Notably, if the fluid takes on a burnt smell or turns from its typical reddish hue to a dark brown or black, it’s an indication that it’s no longer providing the lubrication and cooling the transmission needs. 

Additionally, if you experience issues like erratic shifting, slipping gears, unexplained grinding noises or delays in movement after shifting, these might be symptomatic of transmission fluid that needs to be changed. Regularly checking and changing the fluid when these signs appear can prevent more severe transmission problems in the future.

How to check transmission fluid

Checking your transmission fluid is a straightforward task that every vehicle owner should be familiar with. The first thing you should do to check transmission fluid level and quality is make sure your car is on level ground. Start the engine and let it run for a few minutes to warm up. This is crucial, as you may not get accurate readings if the engine is off.

With the engine running, carefully open the hood and locate the transmission dipstick. Pull out the dipstick, wipe it clean with a lint-free rag, reinsert it fully, and then pull it out again to check the level.

Some modern vehicles have a transmission dipstick which is much harder to access. If you have any trouble, the friendly team at Highfields Mechanical are happy to assist you.

What to do when your car leaks transmission fluid

Discovering a transmission fluid leak can be unsettling, and immediate action by a professional is crucial to prevent further complications. The experienced team at Highfields Mechanical possesses the expertise to accurately diagnose and repair transmission leaks, ensuring your vehicle remains in peak condition. 

Trust the Experts at Highfields Mechanical

Understanding your vehicle’s transmission fluid and its crucial role is vital for the longevity and performance of your car. Whether you’re concerned about potential leaks, considering a fluid change, or simply seeking advice, the professional team at Highfields Mechanical is always ready to help.If you’re facing any issues with your vehicle, don’t hesitate to reach out. Our team is committed to ensuring your vehicle runs smoothly and safely.

Contact us today on (07) 4696 7116 or complete our contact form for our trusted expertise and your complete peace of mind.

Does My Car Need a Logbook Service?

A logbook service involves a qualified mechanic servicing your vehicle in accordance with manufacturers’ guidelines. Typically, manufacturers recommend a logbook service every six months or every 10,000 kilometres driven. This regular maintenance is crucial for ensuring the safe and efficient operation of your vehicle.

For newer cars, the dealership sets the logbook service schedule, and adhering to it is necessary to maintain the validity of your vehicle’s warranty. 

Along with changing and topping up vital fluids, logbook servicing plays a vital role in identifying and addressing minor issues before they escalate into major problems. By adopting a proactive approach to long-term vehicle maintenance, you can significantly prolong your car’s lifespan.

Preserve Your Warranty with Logbook Servicing

Following your car service logbook schedule is not only important for new vehicles, but also for second-hand cars that are still covered by their warranty. By adhering to the recommended schedule provided by manufacturers, you can potentially save substantial amounts of money on future repair costs while safeguarding your car’s warranty.

Increase Resale Value

Well-maintained vehicles are proven to command a higher resale price compared to those that have not been regularly serviced. To provide potential buyers with peace of mind, it is beneficial to provide proof of logbook servicing, showing that your vehicle has been well taken care of.

What Is the Difference Between a General Car Service and Logbook Servicing?

Car services typically encompass a range of important examinations to ensure your vehicle’s safety and performance. The service schedule documented in your car’s logbook is specifically designed to help maintain every component.

The log book service price is typically influenced by several factors, such as your car’s age, make, and model. To determine the recommended date and type of your next car service, you should consult your vehicle’s logbook.

These services are usually scheduled based on the guidelines provided in your car’s logbook. While the specifics of each logbook service may vary depending on your vehicle, they typically require two to four hours to complete. During this time, the mechanic will conduct various checks on your car’s systems to ensure that you are driving away in a safe and dependable vehicle.

Your car’s logbook may also outline another type of service known as a basic, or a regular car service. Generally, these minor services can take up to two hours and usually involve the replacement of essential fluids in your car. Additionally, they may include general safety checks on your car’s brakes, tires, lights, steering, and suspension.

What Does a Logbook Service Include?

While the specific inclusions of a logbook service may differ based on your vehicle’s requirements, they typically include the following checks and repairs:

  • Vehicle diagnostics
  • Safety checks relevant to your vehicle
  • Replacement of crucial car fluids in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations
  • Replacement of any worn-out parts
  • Other general maintenance and services

It is important to note that there is a widespread misconception that car owners must have their vehicles serviced exclusively at the dealership where they made the purchase. However, you are able to choose any qualified logbook service mechanic to perform the task. This includes those in the Bosch Car Service Network. 

When it’s time for your scheduled service, Highfields Mechanical is ready to assist you. Our team of skilled and knowledgeable mechanics is dedicated to providing top-notch logbook car services that uphold your vehicle’s warranty. Contact our friendly team at (07) 4696 7116 or conveniently book your next logbook service by filling out our simple online form.

Why Is My Engine Overheating?

Your engine overheating is a huge problem that can cause significant damage to your vehicle if not addressed quickly. Understanding the causes and symptoms of engine damage from overheating and taking preventive measures are essential for every car owner.

By understanding the common reasons for an overheating engine and how to keep your engine cool, you can take steps toward preventing problems down the road.

Common Causes of Engine Overheating

There are several factors that can contribute to an overheating engine. By knowing how to identify and address these issues, you can prevent damage to your engine and whilst maintaining your vehicle’s performance. The most common causes of overheating include:

Low coolant levels

Engine coolant is a vital component of your car’s cooling system, responsible for absorbing and dissipating heat from the engine. A coolant leak or insufficient coolant levels will lead to your engine overheating, as the heat can no longer be efficiently removed.

Radiator problems

The radiator plays a crucial role in dissipating heat from the engine coolant. Issues like clogs, leaks or a damaged radiator can impede its function, resulting in an overheating engine.

Malfunctioning water pump

The water pump circulates engine coolant throughout the cooling system. A faulty water pump can lead to poor coolant circulation and eventually cause overheating.

Thermostat issues

The thermostat regulates coolant flow through the engine. A malfunctioning thermostat may not open properly, restricting coolant flow and leading to problems.

Cooling fan failures

The cooling fan helps to draw heat away from the radiator. If the fan fails, the radiator’s cooling efficiency will decrease, causing engine temperature to rise.

Signs of an Overheating Engine

Knowing the signs of an overheating engine is crucial for early detection and timely intervention. Keep an eye out for these indicators to help prevent engine damage:

High engine temperature gauge readings

An unusually high reading on your engine temperature gauge is the biggest indication of an overheating issue. If the temperature gauge suddenly spikes too hot, safely bring your car to an immediate stop to prevent significant engine damage.

Steam from under the hood

Steam or smoke coming from the engine compartment is a telltale sign of an engine in trouble. As with a spike in the temperature gauge, this should be taken seriously and you should safely pull over and turn the engine off immediately.

Loss of engine power

Overheating can cause the engine to lose power, as the excessive heat may lead to damage or component failure. If your engine’s performance is struggling, it may be time to have a mechanic check whether there is damage from overheating.

How to Prevent Engine Overheating

Proper maintenance can help keep your engine running as it should be and prevent overheating. If you want to maintain the longevity of your vehicle, it is best to do the following:

Regular coolant checks

Inspect your engine coolant levels frequently, as coolant levels will drop slowly over time due to evaporation. You should top up your coolant (with the type recommended by your vehicle’s manufacturer) as necessary and check for signs of coolant leaks if the level seems to be dropping rapidly.

Routine radiator inspections

Examine your radiator for visible damage, clogs or leaks. Have your radiator professionally cleaned or repaired as needed to ensure optimal cooling performance.

Timely water pump and thermostat replacements

Over time your water pump and thermostat will begin to wear out and need to be replaced. Your manufacturer will have recommendations around when it is time to replace each component in order to maintain efficient coolant circulation.

Highfields Mechanical – Your Engine Experts

An overheating engine can be a severe and costly issue for any car owner. By understanding the common causes of engine overheating, recognising the symptoms and completing regular maintenance, you can keep your engine in best working order while extending the longevity of your vehicle.

If you have any concerns about your vehicle, the team at Highfields Mechanical is happy to help. Simply give us a call on (07) 4646 1780 or complete our online contact form to hear back from us soon.

Getting Your Car Ready for Winter

As the weather starts to cool down and foggy mornings get more common across Queensland, it becomes more important to get your car ready for winter. 

Whether you are heading south in search of snow, going somewhere rainy, or staying local this winter, having a mechanic check over your car will drastically increase your safety on the road.

The Highfields Mechanical team is here with all the winter driving tips you need to stay safe when faced with the difficult conditions the colder months can present.

Be prepared for different conditions

When it comes to winter driving, Queensland locals generally don’t have to worry about heavy rain, since the wet months have already passed. Instead, thick fog caused by high humidity can present a significant challenge to drivers, especially during early mornings. 

When driving through fog, always keep your headlights on, in addition to your fog lights if you have them. It is also worth making sure your windshield wipers are replaced if needed, as you may need them to help defog your windows.

Although Queensland is much warmer than other Australian states during the winter, having your car’s heating system checked over by a professional will help you stay comfortable during crisp mornings and cool nights.

Check your brakes

One of the most important things to remember when getting your car ready for winter is to check your brakes and have them serviced if necessary. Foggy conditions mean that your visibility on the road is significantly decreased, which is why having brakes in good condition is essential.

It is recommended to have a brake service every six months, or once a year at the very least. A few seconds can make all the difference in an emergency, so whether you’re driving around Toowoomba or along the Bruce Highway, quality brakes in good condition can save your life.

Check your tyres

After a long summer of hot and wet conditions, your tyre tread may be wearing thin. You can check the tread of your tyres yourself, or you can bring your vehicle to a qualified mechanic for some basic car servicing and a tyre check-up. 

Given that visibility can be reduced on foggy mornings, it is important to make sure your tyres are always in good condition. Regularly checking your tyres for punctures and rips, as well as keeping the pressure at the right levels will make a big difference when it comes to your safety on the road.

Check your lights and battery

The final point on your car checklist for winter is to check that the electrical components of your vehicle are in good condition. This is the biggest reason to book your annual general car service for a month or so before winter arrives, as an auto electrician will be able to diagnose any electrical issues present.

The last thing any driver wants on a foggy morning is to find that their headlights aren’t working due to an electrical fault, or get stuck with a dying car battery. Cold weather can cause the battery to become sluggish, and its ability to supply power to your car can be diminished. 

Even after having an auto electrician check your battery’s health, it is always a good idea to check that your headlights and tail lights are working properly before driving in foggy conditions.

Trust us to get your car ready for winter

If you want peace of mind that you’ve done everything right on your winter car maintenance checklist before the cold weather arrives, the team at Highfields Mechanical is here to help. Driving with a recently serviced car during winter can make all the difference to your safety on the road.

If you need a car service in the Toowoomba area, get in touch with the Highfields Mechanical team on (07) 4646 1780 or complete our online booking form to make an appointment today.

What You Need to Know About Electrical Issues in Your Car

From the starter motor to the cooling system, virtually every component of your car relies on electricity. While this technology can enhance your driving experience, making it more enjoyable and secure, an increased number of electrical components also means more chances of auto electrical problems.

The auto electrics in your car are part of a complex system; when something goes wrong with the battery or other components, it can cause a range of issues throughout the vehicle.

The main signs that your car requires an auto repair because of an electrical fault include:

  • Dimming or flickering lights
  • Inability to switch on the radio
  • Central locking malfunctions
  • An inconsistent starter motor

A qualified auto electrical mechanic can help to identify the precise cause of these problems and resolve them.

Common Auto Electrical Issues

In most cases, your battery or alternator is the culprit behind electrical issues in your vehicle. Some of the more frequently encountered auto electrical problems include:

Flat Battery

A flat battery is the most obvious sign of electrical problems, since when this occurs you will not be able to turn your car on. Flat batteries are usually a result of your car using too much electricity without being recharged by the alternator. Common ways to flatten your car’s battery include accidentally leaving your radio or lights on when the car is switched off. To fix a flat or dead battery, an auto electrician will need to jump start your vehicle to give the battery enough charge to turn on again.

Alternator Problems

The alternator is a crucial electrical component that charges your car’s battery while you drive. Ideally, your car should be able to start up and run efficiently from the moment you turn on the ignition. However, if your car is struggling to start, it could be a sign that the alternator is not working properly. If you are experiencing trouble starting your car – even with a new car battery – you should get in contact with a mechanic for auto electric repairs.

Battery Not Charging

Older batteries, especially ones that have run flat too many times, are more likely to experience serious charging issues. If you are noticing your battery isn’t charging correctly, or that it’s losing charge faster than expected, the only solution is to replace the battery. Ensuring your vehicle gets a regular auto electrical service is one of the easiest ways to stay on top of your battery’s health, as a qualified auto electrician will perform a diagnostic test on your battery and advise you if it needs to be replaced.

Damaged or Loose Wiring

There are some electrical problems that are not caused by your car’s battery or alternator. All it takes is a loose wire or a damaged cable connection to cause the electrical components to malfunction. Over time, the cables that are connected to the battery can become corroded and cause the battery to go flat, which prevents your car from starting. An auto electrician can help identify whether the issues are related to the cables or the battery itself.

Highfields Mechanical is Here to Help

The most effective way to prevent auto electrical issues in your vehicle is to ensure it receives regular maintenance by a trusted auto electrician. It is generally recommended that you schedule an automotive service every six months or 10,000 km. The expert team at Highfields Mechanical is here to help you stay on top of your car’s auto electrical needs.

If your car requires an auto electrical service or repair, give us a call on (07) 4646 1780 or complete our online form, and one of our friendly technicians will be in touch.

 

5 Signs Your Car’s Air Conditioning Needs Repair

On hot days, your car’s air conditioning system is one of the most important features of your vehicle. However, it’s also a system that is prone to the wear and tear that inevitably comes with frequent usage. If your car’s air con fails on a hot day, it can turn a comfortable drive into a sweaty nightmare.

To prevent untimely air con failures, it’s important to have your vehicle regularly checked, serviced, and repaired as necessary. Knowing when your vehicle is in need of a car air con service can be challenging, but there are ways to determine you’re due for an aircon regas. Here are four of the most common signs of a damaged air conditioning system that let you know you should book an appointment with a qualified mechanic.

Weak Airflow

One of the most obvious signs of an air conditioning system in need of a service is weak airflow from the cabin vents. This weak airflow may mean the air is having trouble reaching your air vents. This is often caused by a buildup of mould or mildew in the evaporator core, or a broken ventilation fan. However, it can also be caused by other issues such as an opened core case seal, house seal, or evaporator core case seal, as well as a loose blower house – all of which can make the car aircon blower weak.

There are several different issues that can impact the amount of air reaching the cabin of your car. If you regularly notice a weak airflow, it’s important to get your air conditioning checked by an expert who can properly diagnose and fix the problem before it becomes a larger issue.

Car Air Con Noise

If you’re constantly hearing a strange rattling noise when you turn your car’s air conditioning on, or if you hear the car aircon making hissing noise, it’s likely there is an issue with a component within the system. It’s impossible to know exactly what is causing the rattles in your air vents without getting the air conditioner serviced by a qualified mechanic. A rattling noise is often a sign of a broken fan belt or condenser. However, it could also be a result of debris or a crucial component has come loose. If you do hear an unusual noise, it’s best to get it checked as soon as possible as it can indicate a more serious issue.  

Bad Smell

If your air conditioning smells like sweaty clothes, this can be a sign that your cabin air filter is damaged. This filter should be regularly cleaned, or replaced as necessary, to prevent long-term damage to the air conditioning system. By properly maintaining the cabin air filter, you’ll not only keep the air inside your car clean and fresh, but you’ll also save money by reducing fuel consumption.

Another common cause of unpleasant odours is a mouldy evaporator case or air vent. This is particularly concerning, since some people are allergic to moulds. To prevent this problem, it’s important to regularly have your car’s evaporator case and air vent cleaned. You should pay attention to any strange odours in your car, since certain smells can indicate problems that require immediate attention in order to keep you safe on the roads.

Only Warm Air 

Sometimes when your air conditioning system isn’t functioning, the vents initially blow cold air that turns warm over time. This can be caused by a number of underlying issues, including a clogged expansion valve that restricts flow from the refrigerant into the evaporator. It can also indicate a damaged compressor, or a blown fuse – all of which are problems you should get checked right away. When your air con blows hot air, a straightforward repair by a mechanic can restore the system to its full efficiency. This means a more comfortable and safer driving experience for you and your passengers during those hot summer months.

Australia’s Auto Air Con Experts 

At Highfields Mechanical, our experienced team specialises in car air conditioning maintenance and repair. We are fully equipped with the latest temperature control tools and diagnostic equipment, and always ensure any repairs or servicing will comply with your vehicle manufacturer requirements. 

When you next need a car air con repair, Highfields Mechanical can get you back on the road with cool air to keep you comfortable. Give us a call today on (07) 4646 1780 or fill out our online contact form and we will be in touch.

When should I get my brakes serviced?

The brakes on your car are arguably the most important safety feature, ensuring that you and your family have stopping control in an emergency situation. Common car brake issues can be dangerous for this reason, and it’s vital that you look after your brakes with regular servicing.

How to know you need a brake service

There are many signs you should be on the lookout for when driving your car that will let you know when it’s time to have your brakes examined. They include:

Dashboard warning lights

The clearest signal that you’re in need of a brake service will come from your car itself. A warning light will appear on your dashboard as soon as your car detects that there is an issue with the braking system. This will usually present in most models of car as a circle with a ‘!’ in the centre, and the word ‘BRAKE!’ written nearby (usually below or above). 

This can indicate a range of issues, from simply needing a mechanic to top up your brake fluid, or something more serious that needs fixing. Whatever the problem ends up being, it is considered unsafe to drive a car that is showing this brake warning, and it should be taken to a mechanic as quickly as possible.

Concerning noises while braking

By paying attention to the noises your car makes as you’re driving and braking, you may catch problems early. Listen carefully when you apply pressure to the brake pedal for anything out of the ordinary. This could be the common squeaky brakes that you may have experienced before, something more concerning like a squealing or screeching noise, or even a grinding, crunching sound coming from your brake disc.

As soon as you consistently hear something that’s out of the ordinary, get in touch with a mechanic so they can diagnose and fix the problem.

Brake response issues

Your brakes may also suffer when it comes to their actual performance. If you’ve noticed that your vehicle isn’t stopping as reliably as it used to, this can be a sign of a serious issue. A delay of less than a second in an emergency situation can be the difference between an accident and a near-miss. 

You might also experience a difference in how your brake pedal feels when applying pressure. If it is taking more pressure to push the pedal down, or it’s feeling more slack or ‘spongy’ under foot, then something is wrong and you’ll need to organise a brake check as soon as possible.

Shuddering when you brake

Similar to the pressure that you’ll feel from your brake pedal, it’s important to take note of any concerning shaking or vibrating coming from the pedal. This can often travel up the steering column and into the steering wheel, resulting in your wheel shaking while you brake. If you notice this, it’s vital that you seek a brake service immediately.

Burning smell

Another obvious sign to look out for is if you notice a sharp burning smell after you’ve applied your brakes or returned from a drive. Smells from your car are reasons for real concern, but can often be missed by drivers because they don’t make it into the cabin or can only be noticed once the car is parked. If you’ve noticed any other issues with the brake, make sure to assess whether there’s a concerning smell alongside it, and immediately ask a mechanic to take a look as well.

Even if you aren’t noticing any of these signs from your car, brake servicing is recommended every six months. This will ensure that your mechanic catches any potential problems early and may prevent a costly brake repair later on. 

Your local brake service experts

The team at Highfields Mechanical are experts at all things brake servicing, and will make sure that your car is safe for you and your family, and that your brakes will look after you when you need them most. To book in for a brake service, or any of our car services, get in touch on (07) 4646 1780, or fill out our online contact form.

Do electric cars need servicing?

Electric vehicles (EV) are becoming more common with each passing day, as internal combustion engines (ICE) become less standard and electric cars gradually become more popular. But for many people, how they actually work and how they need to be maintained is still a bit of a mystery.

The expert mechanics at Highfields Mechanical are here to help answer any questions you might have about electric vehicle servicing and what you need to know about maintaining an electric car.

What needs servicing in an electric car?

One question you might have is: do electric cars need mechanics at all? It can be easy to think your electric car would only need an auto electrician, but in reality, electric vehicles do need a professional mechanic, just like the car you grew up with. 

Your specially-trained electric vehicle mechanic will be able to perform all of the necessary checks and maintenance that your car needs to keep running smoothly. But what exactly makes an electric car service different from a standard service?

What’s different from a regular service?

The main and most obvious difference between maintenance on EV and ICE vehicles is that EVs don’t have an engine that needs to be serviced regularly. The electric motor itself is a fully enclosed unit that doesn’t require any internal maintenance like a traditional car might. In fact, most of these motors are expected to last between 15–20 years without needing to be replaced or even opened.

This means that there’s no need to swap out all of the small consumable parts that make up an internal combustion engine, such as the various belts, fans, spark plugs and filters that are part of a traditional mechanic’s checklist during a routine service. There are also no emissions-related systems like the muffler, exhaust pipes or catalytic converters – with an EV, they simply aren’t needed.

What’s the same as a regular service?

There are still quite a few components in an EV that would be familiar to a traditional mechanic and require the same or similar type of servicing. Most of these fall under the category of ‘auxiliary’ items that do something other than moving the car. They include:

  • Monitoring safety systems, such as the traction control and airbags
  • Checking the health of the 12V battery that runs the cars internal systems
  • Inspecting and replacing windshield wipers and fluid as required
  • Assessing the general condition and air pressure of the tyres

All of these are relatively standard operations that are no different in an EV but are still important to the safety and comfort of driving your car.

How to look after your electric car

As a driver, it’s also vital that you understand how best to maintain your EV so that you’re not putting any unnecessary stress on the car and to keep it running smoothly for as long as possible. There are a few simple things to keep in mind as you drive.

More than anything, you need to make sure that you’re looking after your battery. As batteries age, they’re able to hold less and less of a charge, meaning your vehicle will be unable to reach the same range as when it was new. The trick to EV battery maintenance is to keep it as close to 80% charged as often as you can; it’s actually bad for the battery’s health in the long term to be consistently charging it to full, due to its complex chemical makeup.

It’s also important that you regularly inspect your vehicle’s tyres – EVs are much heavier than traditional cars that are a similar size, as the batteries contribute a surprising amount of weight. This means that your EV will be harder on the tyres, and they may wear out sooner than you were expecting.

The best thing you can do to maintain your EV’s health is to find a qualified EV mechanic that will look after it properly and bring it in for its service at least once every 12 months, or every 10,000km (the same as a traditional car servicing schedule).

The electric car mechanic you can trust

If you have any questions about what it’s like to own an EV or how different they are to service, get in touch with the expert team at Highfields Mechanical today. Our staff have the right training to make sure that your electric vehicle is performing safely and at its best. 

Give us a call today on (07) 4646 1780 or fill out our online contact form at any time.