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Just as oils aint oils, batteries aint batteries. The correct battery for your car will not be based on brand, but rather its capacity and output (does it have enough grunt to turn your engine) as well as its physically layout (are, for instance, the negative and positive terminals on the correct ends of the battery for your battery terminals to connect properly).
By `kick out’ I’ll assume you mean the starter motor doesn’t spin the car’s engine when you turn the key. There are lots of causes for this. The first is that you do, indeed, have the incorrect battery that doesn’t have enough cranking amperes to spin your engine and provide enough power to the vehicle’s ignition for the engine to fire. Or, you may simply have fitted a battery that’s low on charge for the same results. Buying a brand-new battery from a shop is no guarantee that the thing will be fully charged up. It’s always a good idea to charge any new battery overnight before trying to start a car with it, in case the battery has lost charge while sitting on the store’s shelf for weeks or months.
Beyond that, there are still plenty of reasons for a car to refuse to turn over. I’d start with checking the earth connections from the battery to the car’s body and engine and then do a test on the battery to see if it’s in decent health or not. Most workshops can do this simple test for you if you’re in doubt.
Home servicing is a great way to learn about your car and get a better idea of what makes it tick. It also means you might even become a more `mechanically sympathetic’ driver and be kinder to the car in a long-term sense.
The service booklet in the car’s glove-box will tell you a lot about what you need to know when it comes to what’s required for a service. But remember that not all services are the same: Some are minor services and some are major. Others require one-off actions such as changing a timing belt or checking the tension of a timing chain, but you can’t afford to ignore any of these things. Other things required by the factory service schedule include checking the thickness of brake material, changing fluid beyond just the oil and plenty of other tasks that might not occur to you naturally. Most of these tasks are either time or distance-covered dependent (sometimes both).
The bottom line is that you really need to be on top of these tasks and know how to do them before you rip the car apart in the driveway one Saturday and then discover you don’t know how it all goes back together. Home maintenance extends way beyond just oil changing, particularly on a modern design such as the Mercedes A-Class. Modern cars are very complex devices and keeping them running sweetly and safely is often the work of a specialist. That said, I’m loathe to try to dissuade you from tackling a job that can be very satisfying and could save you money in the process.
A lot of TAFE colleges once offered car-maintenance courses for the home mechanic, but sadly, many of these seem to have disappeared due to budget cuts across the education system. It would still be worth talking to your local TAFE, though, to see if there’s a short course that might help you out.
All Audi A3 variants in the current Audi Australia line-up feature both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. Audi A3 Apple CarPlay works wirelessly, while the Android Auto Audi A3 fitment still requires a cable to connect.
Some owners like to upgrade their car’s stereo and, in that case, the advice would be to go for a head unit that allowed wireless Android Auto as a worthwhile improvement.
The Audi system is not a simple retrofit to older Audi models thanks to the high degree of integration within the car’s controls and the system itself. That’s not to say it couldn’t be done, but it would probably not be cost effective compared with an aftermarket unit for an older car that still offered the desired functions.
Doing your own oil changes is a great way to learn a bit about how cars work and develop a relationship with your car. You might even save a few dollars, too, but there are caveats.
The actual act of changing the oil is relatively simple and requires just a couple of hand tools. Basically, you drain the old oil out of the engine via the sump-plug, remove the old oil filter, replace it with a new one and then add fresh oil via the filler cap on top of the engine. If that sounds simple, that’s because that is a very crude, thumbnail sketch of the procedure, but it does cover the basics. Whether you feel confident enough to take the plunge is the next question. A workshop manual is a great investment and will be invaluable down the track.
But other things to consider include the fact that a service is often not just an oil change. There are many other things (transmission, brakes, cooling system etc) to be checked and adjusted at the same time as a scheduled oil change, so doing it all at home requires a reasonably broad idea of what’s going on mechanically. Your service handbook should spell out what tasks are specified for each service (each service is not all the same, either, some are more complex than what’s called a minor service) so that would be a good place to start.
Don’t forget, too, that the old oil and filter has to be disposed of in an environmentally responsible way, something that a professional workshop service takes care of for you. But there’s definitely satisfaction to be gained from this maintenance job and it’s absolutely the best place to start learning.
The brand-new Kia SUV for Australia (due for release in October 2021) has finally brought Kia Sportage Apple CarPlay and Android connectivity to all models across the range. Previously, the base-model missed out on these fitments, but the all-new platform extends these features to every model.
All Sportages will now also get digital radio and multi-device connectivity. The base-model S variant gets an eight-inch touchscreen, while the SX and SX+ models have a 12.3-inch screen. The range-topping GT-Line model will get a curved 12.3-inch screen.
It’s really not viable to retro-fit the new Sportage’s system into an older car, and most owners have found that a more cost effective upgrade to a new aftermarket head unit will offer the features they want, including the ability to enjoy Apple CarPlay and Android Auto Kia Sportage style.
These systems often use wireless technology to send the low-pressure warning signal from the sensor inside the tyre to the car’s computer. Which is fine, but think about how many times your wireless internet signal fails or drops out. That could simply be what’s happening here; the computer is getting no signal, so it presumes there’s a problem.
In many cases, the problem can also be a flat battery in one of the tyre sensors. These usually last between five and 10 years, so on that basis, your car is a candidate for flat sensor batteries. Often, the batteries are not replaceable and you’ll have to replace the whole sensor. If that’s the case, replacing all four would make sense.
You might also find there’s a procedure for resetting the sensors so that they talk to the computer in a meaningful way. Your owner’s manual should detail this process, but it’s often a pretty convoluted one with a distinct time limit before the computer times out.
The stereo system in all Corollas starts with a six-speaker arrangement with an upgrade to eight speakers in the top-specification models which cost more. Bluetooth is also standard in the Corolla now, and the latest system is much better and easier to connect with than previous Toyota versions of this technology. The Corolla also offers digital radio across the board, putting it ahead of many of its competitors and the same price-point.
To retrofit the new system into an older Corolla would be costly and difficult. Most owners of older cars find that an update to an aftermarket head unit is a better, cheaper solution for adding Apple CarPlay and Android to their vehicles.
This model Swift was recalled to check and tighten, if necessary, the bolts that connect the torque converter to the car’s engine. However, if these were to fail or fall out (as happened in some cases) it would be a one-off event and the car then wouldn’t work at all.
Your problem sounds more like a worn transmission which is not accepting the load you put on it when you try to accelerate. This could be worn bands or some other component inside the transmission. CVTs are pretty complex things and rely on physical parts like bands and pulleys as well as hydraulic bits and pieces to take drive to the wheels. It would also be worth checking the torque converter, as a damaged or worn unit can also produce the symptoms you’re seeing. I’d start with checking that the recall was carried out and work backwards from there.
Given the move to a greener future with electric cars and solar panels, a lot of people wonder why don't electric cars have solar panels. The answer is rooted in practicality rather than science. Fundamentally, the concept would work, but the benefit would be so small as to be not worth the effort.
Solar panels mounted on electric cars sound like a match made in heaven. Whether it’s a fully electric vehicle or a plug in hybrid, the idea of a solar panel charging the car’s battery pack while the car is parked has all sorts of appeal. Unfortunately, even though modern solar panels are a lot more efficient than they ever were, the relatively small surface area a car offers means that the panels’ contribution would be a drop in the bucket compared with plugging the same car into the grid to recharge. In fact, it’s reckoned that you’d need about 90 hours (nearly four days) to recharge an electric vehicle from panels fitted to the car. And that’s in full sunlight.
Solar panels work by converting the sun’s energy (photons) into electricity by using the photons to knock an electron off the solar panel’s cells, thereby creating an electric current. It’s free power and completely renewable and it’s all thanks to that giant nuclear reactor we call the sun. The best way to take advantage of this is to have a huge array of solar panels – the more the better – to multiply the effect. Simply, an electric car’s body is too small to fit enough panels to charge its batteries in a timely way. That may well change as solar tech becomes more developed, but for now, that’s the reality.
The concept of solar panels on cars does have one real-world application, though. And that’s when it comes to 4X4 camping vehicles which often have a solar panel mounted on the roof. That panel can trickle charge the vehicle’s battery (or batteries, many off-road 4X4s have an extra 12-volt battery) keeping the on-board fridge running longer for extended stays at a camping site. Some owners prefer to use a portable solar panel for this, enabling them to move the panel into direct sunlight as the sun crosses the sky. While these panels are good at what they do, in terms of charging an electric vehicle, they’d take even longer than those 90 hours, compared with the few hours or even minutes that a high-voltage charging station can achieve.
Some car owners have fitted smaller panels to their cars to trickle-charge the battery while the car is parked. As soon as you park in a garage or the shade or on a cloudy day, however, the benefit is lost.
There’s one other application of solar panels for cars, and that’s the vehicles that compete in the Solar Challenge that runs from Adelaide to Darwin, 3000km through the Australia outback every second year (Covid permitting). These vehicles must run purely on power gained through solar panels, so their bodies are completely covered in panels while the rest of the vehicle is aimed at reducing drag, friction and maximising efficiency. Practical they are not, but they do point to a future where 'solar panels on car roof' might be an option-box you tick when you order you new electric car.
This is a weird one. I spoke to two different Holden service workshops (former Holden dealers) and the consensus was that the reverse lights on your car are not on a separate fused circuit. Certainly there’s no mention of such a fuse in the owner’s manual. That means, then, that the reverse lights share a circuit with other functions at the rear of the vehicles, possibly the tail-light circuit. Beyond that, nobody could be specific.
In turn, that suggests that it’s not the fuse at fault because, if it was, the whole rear of the vehicle would be blacked-out. Which brings us to the possibility that the problem, rather than being a blown fuse, is rather the adjustment of the switch that recognises the car is in reverse and turns on the lights and camera. This is located on the side of the transmission and, if it’s out of alignment or showing wear in its contacts or wiring, could lead to the problem you have.