April 28th, 2017 by Paul Halhead
March 27th, 2017 by Paul Halhead
It’s easy to forget about regular car maintenance, especially when everything with you car seems to be fine. However, neglecting proper maintenance can end up costing you unnecessary dollars in the long run, shorten the life of your vehicle and threaten your safety. Here are 5 of the most common (and costly) car maintenance mistakes to avoid:
Not Checking Tire pressure Regularly
Tire pressure isn’t just about avoiding flat tires (although that is important) – it’s also about maintaining your fuel economy. When tires are under-inflated, it can cause your car to use more petrol than necessary, and the costs of this will add up. We recommend that you check your tires every few months – if you’re not sure what pressure your tires are supposed to be, have a look at your car’s manual. Never judge the pressure of your tires by eye, as looks can be deceiving.
Every car needs regular oil changes. The average oil change interval for today’s cars is around 12500 km. However, if you drive an older car, we recommend that you change your oil every 5000 km or so. Don’t be tempted to skip oil changes – when motor oil is left in an engine for too long it begins to break down, and this can lead to deposits of sludge in your engine which can be very damaging for your car. It’s simple – if you want your car to last, get regular oil changes.
Brakes are the most important safety function of your car – so make sure that you have your mechanic inspect them regularly. Although changing your brake pads can be a little expensive, if you leave it too long they will wear down completely and start to work away at the rotators, which will entail an even more expensive repair.
Signs you need new brakes:
- Reduced brake responsiveness
- Grinding, growling, screeching or clicking noise when braking
- Car pulls to one side when braking
Not rotating tires
Tires wear out unevenly. Rotating tires helps them to wear out evenly and therefore makes them last longer. Most manufacturers recommend rotating your tires every 8000-16000 km – but we recommend you check your car manual or ask your mechanic to find out exactly how often you should be rotating.
Old Windscreen Wipers
Windscreen wipers degrade over time. They are a cheap and easy fix, yet many people neglect to replace them as often as they should. How do you know if your wipers need replacing? Check for streaks on the windscreen and cracks in the wiper blades. If in doubt, we recommend changing them every 6 months or so. Windscreen wipers are essential for safety in wet weather – so make sure that yours are as effective as possible.
Generally speaking, a car should be serviced every 6 months or so to check the above and more. Servicing your car regularly will save you money in the long term, ensure the longevity of your vehicle and make sure your car is safe to drive. For more information about car maintenance or our wide range of car finance services, don’t hesitate to contact us.
February 28th, 2017 by Paul Halhead
What is an electric car?
An electric car is a vehicle that is powered by an electric motor instead of a traditional combustion engine. Electric cars, also known as an electric vehicle or EV, use energy stored in rechargeable batteries, meaning these cars can be charged using common household electricity. There are 3 types of electric vehicles:
- All-electric (must be plugged in and charged up, does not use fuel at all).
- Plug-in hybrid (relies on a battery but also has a petrol tank to extend its range).
- Hybrid electric vehicle (has a petrol tank and also uses other innovative forms of energy generation like regenerative brakes).
In this post we’re going to focus on the pros and cons of all-electric vehicles. So, if you’ve considered purchasing an electric car to save money on fuel costs, here are some things to consider before you do:
Pros of Electric Cars
Electric cars are charged by batteries – meaning if you drive an all-electric car, you will never need to purchase fuel again. According to the Guardian, the total cost of owning an electric car, including purchasing and running costs, will be cheaper than that of traditional cars by 2022.
Better for the Environment
Electric cars run on renewable energy, which means they don’t produce greenhouse gas emissions. According to the Victorian Government, road transport makes up for 12.7 percent of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore, the use of electric cars and commercial vehicles could drastically reduce our carbon footprint. According to the Australian Conservation Foundation, “charging electric vehicles using sustainable renewable energy could provide carbon neutral travel, but also reduce toxic air pollution and noise. Imagine being able to open windows in buildings close to busy roads, reducing air conditioning use and increasing property values – all this becomes possible”. However, it’s important to consider that manufacturing any car produces greenhouse gas, and due to the large batteries in electric cars, the manufacturing process may produce more emissions than that of a conventional vehicle.
Easy to Charge and Maintain
One of the most convenient aspects of electric cars is that they can be charged from home. This means owners can simply drive home from work, charge them overnight and then leave in the morning with a fully charged car.
Regarding maintenance, all cars with combustion engines come with a long maintenance checklist, including checking and changing the oil, transmission, brake fluid, spark plugs, wires, timing belts, air filters and battery. All of these add up and increase the total cost of the vehicle. Electric cars, on the other hand, require significantly less maintenance, which makes them much cheaper to run in the long term (despite their higher initial costs).
According to FleetCarma, electric cars are safer than cars with internal combustion engines. Why? Because it is practically impossible for a battery powered car to explode on impact, and thanks to the heavy battery packs in electric cars, their centre of mass is much lower and they are less likely to rollover. Electric cars are also equipped with all of the safety features that are standard in vehicles, and many EVs exceed safety standards. Read more here.
Cons of Electric Cars
Despite the numerous advantages of owning an electric car, there are, of course, disadvantages that need to be considered. The potential cons of EVs include:
Limited Range and Charging Infrastructure
Most electric cars have a limit of about 80-200 kilometres until they need to be recharged. This means that it can be very difficult to take electric cars on long journeys, since – as of yet – there isn’t much public charging infrastructure available. This limited range contributes to something called ‘range anxiety’, which is the fear that an electric car will run out of battery before reaching an intended destination. There is a great app to make up for this lack of public charging facilities – it’s called PlugShare, and it’s a huge worldwide map of available charging stations (including chargers in people’s homes as well as non-residential charging bays).
Another potential issue with EVs is the length of time they take to reach 100% charge – up to 8 hours (which is fine for overnight charging… but not ideal for long journeys). Most new models, however, come with rapid charging capabilities.
In the coming years, the limited range and charging time of EVs is sure to increase, as will the availability of public chargers. For the meantime, if you plan on driving long distances in your car, we recommend sticking to a petrol car or considering a hybrid.
Higher Initial Cost
Electric cars cost more upfront than their gasoline or diesel powered counterparts. However, most EVs start to pay for themselves very quickly thanks to their fuel savings and lower maintenance costs. As we mentioned before, electric cars are set to become the overall cheaper option in the next 5 years, thanks to the “plummeting cost of batteries”.
Electric cars are quiet… perhaps too quiet. Some road users, such as pedestrians, cyclists and the vision impaired, rely on noise to know if a vehicle is approaching. Which is why the USA and Europe have made the addition of noise to EVs compulsory. In late 2016, the USA set in place the ‘Quiet Car Safety Standard’. Under this standard, all hybrid and electric vehicles with four wheels and a gross weight of 10,000 pounds (about 4500 kgs) or less will be required to make audible noise when traveling forwards or in reverse at speeds of up to 30 kilometres per hour. At higher speeds, artificial sound is not required because factors such as tire and wind noise provide adequate warning to pedestrians. Similar rules are also in place in Europe.
The future of EVs looks very bright, and technological advances are soon to rule out many of their disadvantages. If you’d love to help the environment and experience the benefits of an electric car, but don’t quite feel ready to commit to an all-electric vehicle, hybrids are a great compromise.
For more information about electric vehicles, or to discuss our range of car finance options, don’t hesitate to contact us.
January 25th, 2017 by Paul Halhead
Do you spend a lot of time in your car? If so, these 5 nifty gadgets are sure to enhance your driving experience.
This dash grip is perfect for keeping your keys, spare change and GPS devices organised. It also prevents your belongings from slipping around your dashboard and flying out the window! The specially formulated DashGrip gel is moveable between cars and leaves no residue when removed.
You can buy it here.
‘Wondergel’ Seat Cover
This seat cover uses patented gel to provide exceptional comfort and support. This cushion uses a unique pressure equalisation technology to deliver hours of amazing sitting comfort, and it is specifically designed for long duration seating. Traffic jams have never been comfier!
Buy it here.
Steering Wheel Food Tray
This portable tray (which is only to be used when your car is stationary!!) attaches to your steering wheel and can be used as a makeshift in-car dining table or desk. This little tray table is essential if you often need to eat or work from your car. You can buy the tray here, and there is also this nifty variation for the back seats.
Belkin Cassette Adaptor
Okay… there aren’t many cars with cassette players around these days, but we still reckon this gadget is pretty handy. If you drive an old banger but want modern sound, this cassette adaptor is for you. The adaptor easily connects your phone’s music to your stereo via your car’s in-dash cassette player. It provides an easy way to transfer quality sound from any portable audio device to your stereo whilst on the road.
You can buy it here.
Car Gap Protectors
Sick of dropping your phone, keys, card or other small objects down the gap next to your car seat? Then this car gap protector will come in pretty handy. These gap fillers will fit securely in any car or truck model – just think, you’ll never have to reach your hand into the abyss again!
Buy it here.
There are plenty more accessories we could list… but we’ll save them for next time. At Car Finance Australia, we provide a range of car finance services including car loans, leases and more in Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and Darwin. Don’t hesitate to contact usfor more information.
June 6th, 2016 by Paul Halhead
Lots of people make the mistake of buying a used car without first making sure that it ticks all the right boxes. Here are some tips to help you make the right decision when it comes to your purchase – because we don’t want you to get ripped off.
Set a Budget + Assess your needs
Your first step is to set yourself a realistic and manageable budget based on your earnings. Don’t forget to consider ongoing costs like fuel, maintenance, insurance and interest on the finance if you are taking out a loan. Once you have set yourself a budget, you need to ascertain what you want most out of your vehicle – safety features? Great fuel economy? A comfortable interior? Helpful driver assistance? Make a list of all the qualities you would like your car to have, and use these to guide your research.
Do the Research
Now that you have set yourself a budget and figured out what you want in your car, you need to research what’s out there. When searching, make sure to look up the fuel consumption and emissions rating of prospective cars. The Green Vehicle Guide can help you with this.
Once you find a vehicle that you like, research it to death – don’t stop until you know all of its weak points, typical repair and costs intervals and price points.
Note – Beware of cars that seem ridiculously cheap! If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Contact the seller
Once you’ve found a car that sounds like it meets your needs, it’s time to contact the seller. Before you do this, write up a list of questions that you need to ask the seller, including (but definitely not limited to):
- How long have they owned the car?
- Why are they selling it?
- Has the car ever been damaged? Are there any issues with the car that aren’t shown in photos or listed in the description?
- Has it passed a roadworthy inspection?
- How detailed is the car’s service history and does the seller have it on hand?
- Is it registered? If so, when does the registration run out?
Arrange an inspection
If you are purchasing the car from a private seller, arrange to see the car at their home address. If the vendor isn’t willing to show you the car at their home, it could indicate that they aren’t being truthful about legally owning the vehicle.
Check the car’s history
Regardless of how great the car seems or how nice the seller appears, you need to check that the vehicle isn’t stolen or tied to an outstanding loan. All you need to perform this check is the car’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), which you enter into your State Government’s Vehicle Information Check.
Here are the links to the Australian car check databases:
Inspect the car
Never purchase a car without first seeing it in the flesh! Here are some tips for your personal inspection:
- Inspect the car in daylight. Never inspect in the rain or at night as this can be a seller’s opportunity to conceal dents, rust, marks, scratches and other unwanted defects.
- Check underneath the body, bonnet and carpet for rust and any signs that the car might have been repaired after a crash (like evidence of welding, paint overspray or gaps between the car’s body panels).
- Under the bonnet – check for oil leaks. Use the dipstick to check the amount of oil. If the level is low, it can indicate that the owner hasn’t taken care of the car.
- Look around the oil filter cap – if you see a white mayonnaise-like substance, this can be an indication of a leaking head gasket, which can be very pricey to fix.
- Check the tires – make sure that there is plenty of tread and that they are wearing evenly.
- Make sure that the seat belts, seats, switches, windows and other features are working as they should be.
- If possible, start the car when the engine is cold – a lagging start or smoke indicate engine wear issues. If the seller has warmed the car up when you arrive, they might be hiding something.
- Check the number of kilometres the car has done. An average car will wrack up about 20,000kms per year. If the car appears to have done significantly more than this per year, consider asking for a discounted price.
*Make sure to take notes of any irregularities that you notice.
Once you’ve checked the car over, you need to take it for a test drive.
Tips for you test drive:
- Drive with the radio off so you can listen out for irregular engine noises.
- If possible, take the car onto the highway and over a range of different surfaces.
- Take the car up steep hills and check the handbrake.
- If the car is manual, check the gears and make sure that the clutch doesn’t slip and that it actuates smoothly.
*Again, take notes of any irregularities that you notice!
Take it to your mechanic
Even if you are happy with the car and haven’t noticed any signs of damage, have your mechanic perform a check so that you can be 100% sure. If you ended up making notes during the inspection or test drive, bring these to show them.
When you are finalising the deal, don’t forget that there is always room to negotiate (reasonably!).
If you noticed any faults with the car, negotiate based on how much it will cost to fix these impairments. If you did not notice any faults, suggest a reasonable figure below the asking price, and the seller will either accept, decline or suggest another price. Work through this process until you and the seller are satisfied with the amount.
And one final thing, before you drive away in your new (used) car…
Obtain all necessary paperwork!
Make sure that you have all of the car’s paperwork (original copies), including:
- Service history documents
- Receipts – when making a purchase or putting down a deposit, make sure that you get a receipt with the seller’s details on it.
For more information about buying a used car, or if you are looking to explore your lease, loan or insurance options, don’t hesitate to contact us. We provide a range of car finance services in Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and Darwin.
Nissan chose the 2016 New York International Auto Show to unveil its newly refreshed 2017 GT-R supercar.
The current R35-generation Nissan GT-R has been with us since late 2007, with a replacement reportedly a few years away. That’s why Nissan chose to give the GT-R a significant facelift for the 2017 model year.
We’ve summarised the top 5 things you need to know about the refreshed GT-R:
1. It’s had a facelift
Nissan made some big changes to the front and rear of the car to bring it up to date with the company’s latest styling. This meant an all-new front bumper, grille, and hood, new side sills, and a new rear bumper with a prominent diffuser and functional vents. To finish the look, Nissan added new 20-inch forged aluminum wheels. Nissan claims the new bodywork increases aerodynamic efficiency and downforce, though it retains the same 0.26 coefficient of drag.
2. It’s got more power
Thanks to a reworking of the twin-turbo V6 that’s attached to the four-wheel drive system, the engine now delivers 562bhp at 6,800 rpm, and 469lb ft of torque.
3. Its wheel and tyre game is on point
The new GT-R’s more rigid body structure and new suspension, allied with new tyres and 20in, 15-spoke forged aluminium wheels help grip, which in turn gives is said to provide better stability through quick lateral transitions and higher overall cornering speed.
4. It’s what’s inside that counts
Nissan completely revamped the interior of the GT-R. The dashboard and center stack are all-new and complemented by a new instrument cluster wrapped in a single piece of leather. The center stack now sports an 8-inch touchscreen (up from 7) that can now also be controlled by a new Display Command controller on the center console. Worth mentioning is the stylish new leather-bound steering wheel and relocation of the paddle shifters from the column to just behind the wheel itself.
5. A new, light exhaust system
The refreshed Nissan GT-R has a new titanium exhaust system, which is accompanied by Active Noise Cancellation to block unwanted noise in the cabin and Active Sound Enhancement to improve spirited sound in its place.
No word on price yet, however the 2017 Nissan GTR is expected to hit the showrooms by the end of summer this year.
See the gallery below: