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Top 8 Tips to help Maintain Your Car

Oil SVS Autocare
Oil SVS Autocare

We’re always asked “how can I keep my car running for years?” our response is always…maintenance and making a few simple checks in between services.

How can I get my car up to and over the 200,000 kms mark?

It’s very likely that you know ‘someone’ who has had their car for years, never had any ‘major’ issues with it and thinks that their car is the best thing since sliced bread. That’s great for the person who owns the car, what about the rest of us who only wish we could say that about our cars.

So what’s their secret?

The fact is, some cars are just great, while others are just… not so great! We’ve all heard the joke about a car being ‘built on a Friday afternoon’, and it’s true, there are some cars that we’d have to file under this title, however these are far and few between as build quality of most cars is generally of a very high standard.

The secret is that proper care and maintenance plays a huge role in helping your car continue in good health for many years. It’s that simple.

Our advice to you would be that in order to get your car up to and over the 200,000 kms mark, it basically comes down to proper care and maintenance, not just by regular servicing but also by thorough inspection and use of appropriate fluids, including engine oils and automatic transmission fluids.

Make sure that the correct type of engine oil, automatic transmission fluid, power steering and brake fluid is used – however, the best oil and fluids in the world will do your engine or automatic transmission system no good if you never change it.

Keep to the manufacturers scheduled servicing, change the items recommended by the manufacturer at each service interval and ensure that the Service Technician who ‘looks after your car’ is doing just that, he’s looking after your car! By that we mean, at the time of servicing, inspecting for wear and tear items on your car and noting if any items are showing signs of wear, for example, inspecting the water pump, is it leaking? How is the power steering pump performing? How does the suspension appear? Is the brake fluid in need of replacement? If costly repairs are to be avoided and or budgeted for, wouldn’t it be good to monitor these items and replace them only when needed? This would avoid large service invoices as repairs can be completed on your timescale not because the repair has been identified as in need of urgent requirement.

Here are our Top 8 Tips to help Maintain Your Car

Tip 1: Check and Change Engine Oil

oilThis is the most important part of maintaining your car. Use the correct engine oil as specified in the manufacturer’s handbook for your car and replace the oil filter – this will ensure your engine runs smoothly for many years.

We recommend: Checking your car’s engine oil level at least monthly to ensure the oil level stays within the engine’s specifications. If you are unsure, pop by the workshop, one of our technicians will gladly check the oil level for you in between services at no cost.

Tip 2: Service the Automatic Transmission

autotransIt’s as important to ensure the automatic transmission fluids are replaced in accordance with the manufacturers’ recommendations as it is to replace engine oil. Automatic Transmission Fluid does not need to be replaced as quickly as engine oil, however it degrades the same as engine oil and becomes ‘sludgy’, which can cause internal damage.

We recommend: Not delaying the automatic transmission service. Check your service book or call us to confirm when the automatic transmission service for your car is due as it differs from each vehicle.

Tip 3: Check and Complete a Brake Fluid Flush


Brake fluid is a hydroscopic fluid, which means that it absorbs moisture.  The more moisture in the brake fluid the less efficient the braking system will perform.

We recommend: Annual checks of the brake fluid to monitor the moisture level. Particularly for our climate, brake fluid often requires replacement due to the humidity on the Sunshine Coast.

Tip 4: Flush the Coolant System

coolantThe coolant system helps maintain correct engine temperature and protects internal components of the engine, preventing corrosion and deposits from building up. If the coolant level drops it may cause the engine to overheat, which may cause significant engine damage.

We recommend:  Flushing the coolant system as per the service schedule.  We also recommend checking the level of the coolant at the same time as when you check the engine oil.

 Tip 5: Replace Front and Rear Diff Oils

The ‘diff’ (differential) ‘drives’ the wheels while allowing them to rotate at different speeds. In vehicles without a differential, both driving wheels are forced to rotate at the same speed. It is important to replace the diff oils in accordance with the service schedules to ensure smooth running of the drive train.

We recommend: Replacing the diff oils as per the service schedule.

 Tip 6: Grease Moving Parts

Anything with moving parts needs grease! Including the wheel bearings, u-joints, balls joints, some suspension components and even door mechanisms.

We recommend: Ensure that the ‘moving’ components are greased as part of the annual service.

Tip 7: Protect the interior of Your Car


The harsh sun in our region can cause interior trims to discolour and degrade causing the car to appear older and devalue quicker.

We recommend: If possible park in the shade, use a sun shade and apply a UV protectant to prevent interior trims to dry out.

Tip 8: Protect the Exterior of Your Car

exteriorRegularly clean the exterior of your car and apply a good quality wax at least every six months. Ensure to wash the underside of your car to remove any sand from driving close to or on the beach.

We recommend: If possible wash your car weekly and apply a good quality wax every six months, once before summer and again before winter to help protect the paintwork.

We hope you’ve enjoyed reading our top tips, please feel free to call us for any further information, or register to attend one of our information events where we demonstrate these tips.

Happy and Safe Motoring from the team at SVS Autocare.

From the Bentley factory in the UK to SVS Autocare on the Sunshine Coast

IMG 3940
IMG 3940

Fortunately for SVS Autocare, we have one of the Bentley Factory Master Technicians in our midst. Nicholas Wilkinson joined SVS Autocare just over a year ago and has fast become a valued member of our ‘family’. Nicholas worked alongside his father and brother at the Bentley factory, Crewe, UK for many years before moving to the Sunshine Coast. He brings with him a great appreciation for the finer things in life, such as quality craftsmanship and expertise.

Bentley Motors was founded by W.O. Bentley. The first car to bear his name pulled out of New Street Mews, London in 1919. From modest beginnings, the company moved from strength to strength – in a relentless pursuit of both luxury and performance.

Were it not for the brand’s five victories at Le Mans in the 1920s, plus a sixth in 2003, this combination could be seen as a contradiction in terms. In which case, it could be said that Bentley continues to create the most acclaimed contradictions on the road today. Almost a century later, W.O.’s vision continues to guide Bentley’s beliefs, actions and ambitions. Located in Crewe, England and owned by Volkswagen AG since 1998, Bentley Motors remains the definitive British luxury car company, crafting the world’s most desirable high performance grand tourers.

Our growing customer base of Bentley owners love nothing more than dropping by for a chat with Nicholas who most recently worked on this car, not only while it was being built in the Crewe workshop in the UK but also for its regular servicing at SVS Autocare on the Sunshine Coast.

Nicholas offers a clear window into the world of the Bentley brand. Pop in for a chat to Nicholas.

IMG_3942.JPG CarImage

What exactly do Power Steering Pumps do?

The Power steering system in your car (also known as power assisted steering (PAS) or steering assist system) helps you steer without a large amount of effort at the steering wheel. Hydraulic or electric actuators add controlled energy to the steering mechanism, so the driver needs to provide only modest effort regardless of conditions. Power steering helps considerably when a vehicle is stopped or moving slowly. Also, power steering provides some feedback of forces acting on the front wheels to give an ongoing sense of how the wheels are interacting with the road; this is typically called “r?ad feel”.

Representative power steering systems for cars augment steering effort via an actuator, a hydraulic cylinder, which is part of a servo system. These systems have a direct mechanical connection between the steering wheel and the linkage that steers the wheels. This means that power-steering system failure (to augment effort) still permits the vehicle to be steered using manual effort alone.

Other power steering systems (such as those in the largest off-road construction vehicles) have no direct mechanical connection to the steering linkage; they require electrical power. Systems of this kind, with no mechanical connection, are sometimes called “drive by wire” or “steer by wire”, by analogy with aviation’s “fly-by-wire”. In this context, “wire” refers to electrical cables that carry power and data, not thin-wire-rope mechanical control cables.

In other power steering systems, electric motors provide the assistance instead of hydraulic systems. As with hydraulic types, power to the actuator (motor, in this case) is controlled by the rest of the power-steering system.

Some construction vehicles have a two-part frame with a rugged hinge in the middle; this hinge allows the front and rear axles to become non-parallel to steer the vehicle. Opposing hydraulic cylinders move the halves of the frame relative to each other to steer.

Most power steering systems work by using a hydraulic system to multiply force applied to the steering wheel inputs to the vehicle’s steered (usually front) road wheels.[11] The hydraulic pressure typically comes from a gerotor or rotary vane pump driven by the vehicle’s engine. A double-acting hydraulic cylinder applies a force to the steering gear, which in turn steers the roadwheels. The steering wheel operates valves to control flow to the cylinder. The more torque the driver applies to the steering wheel and column, the more fluid the valves allow through to the cylinder, and so the more force is applied to steer the wheels.[12]

One design for measuring the torque applied to the steering wheel has a torque sensor – a torsion bar at the lower end of the steering column. As the steering wheel rotates, so does the steering column, as well as the upper end of the torsion bar. Since the torsion bar is relatively thin and flexible, and the bottom end usually resists being rotated, the bar will twist by an amount proportional to the applied torque. The difference in position between the opposite ends of the torsion bar controls a valve. The valve allows fluid to flow to the cylinder which provides steering assistance; the greater the “twist” of the torsion bar, the greater the force.

Since the hydraulic pumps are positive-displacement type, the flow rate they deliver is directly proportional to the speed of the engine. This means that at high engine speeds the steering would naturally operate faster than at low engine speeds. Because this would be undesirable, a restricting orifice and flow-control valve direct some of the pump’s output back to the hydraulic reservoir at high engine speeds. A pressure relief valve prevents a dangerous build-up of pressure when the hydraulic cylinder’s piston reaches the end of its stroke.

The steering booster is arranged so that should the booster fail, the steering will continue to work (although the wheel will feel heavier). Loss of power steering can significantly affect the handling of a vehicle. Each vehicle owner’s manual gives instructions for inspection of fluid levels and regular maintenance of the power steering system.

The working liquid, also called “hydraulic fluid” or “oil”, is the medium by which pressure is transmitted. Common working liquids are based on mineral oil. Some modern systems also include an electronic control valve to reduce the hydraulic supply pressure as the vehicle’s speed increases; this is variable-assist power steering.

source: wikipedia

SRS Warning Light! What you need to know…it’s a safety issue..

Have you ever had that annoying light illuminated at your instrument cluster and wondered what it meant?

The SRS warning light refers to the Supplemental Restraint System (SRS) and is most commonly known as the airbag system light. This is a computer controlled system designed to deploy one or more driver, passenger, and side airbags. The computer also tightens the seat belts to protect the vehicle occupants from physical harm during an impact caused by a collision.

The SRS system is also referred to as a passive restraint system because the vehicle occupants do not need to do anything in order to activate the SRS system when the enabling criteria—speed and deceleration—are met. In contrast, seat belts are an active restraint system. The vehicle occupants must proactively latch each seat belt in order for the seat belt to do its job. Even automatic seat belt systems have a lap belt that must be manually latched.

The Bulb Check: SRS Warning Light

When the vehicle is first started, the SRS light should illuminate for 1 to 5 seconds while the system goes through a self-test sequence. If the light goes out, then the system is ready. If the light stays on, there is a fault somewhere in the SRS system. The system is disabled at this point. In the case of a collision, the airbags will not deploy and the seat belts will not tighten, nor will any additional features activate.

What to Do: SRS Warning Light

If the SRS light stays on after the self-test, then you should take the vehicle to a qualified repair shop to be properly diagnosed and inspected. It is a good idea to check your vehicle’s potential manufacturer recalls because some airbag system repairs may be covered under recalls or extended warranties. Don’t delay—you may not be properly protected in the case of an accident or collision.

It is not commonly knows that the SRS system contains a “black box” very much like a commercial airplane. It not only records the data from an accident such as the speed, “G” forces, how many seat belts were latched etc., but it also how long the SRS system was disabled due to a fault condition. If the insurance company determines that the SRS system was in a fault mode for what they consider to be a long time, they may not be willing to cover any injuries, especially if they determine that a working airbag system would have prevented the injuries.
If the SRS light is blinking or stays on, take it seriously. There is a fault condition and the vehicle’s safety systems are compromised, putting you and your passengers at risk.

Background Information: SRS Warning Light

The SRS computer system continuously evaluates the input data sent to it by motion or “G” sensors, vehicle speed sensors, steering system sensors, vehicle angle sensors, and seat belt sensors. When the enabling criteria have been met—such as a vehicle speed above 25 MPH and a highly abnormal rate of deceleration—the SRS system will choose which, if any, airbags to deploy and which seat belts to pull tight. The purpose of the airbags is to cushion or prevent the vehicle occupants from hitting and slamming their body parts, especially the head, into the steering wheel or dashboard. The seat belts tighten in order to restrict the forward movement of the vehicle occupants.

Newer, more enhanced SRS systems recline the front seat backs, lowering the driver and passenger into a prone position to better absorb the whiplash/recoil phase of a collision and hopefully prevent any neck or spinal injury. Many newer vehicles have side airbags to protect the vehicle occupants from hitting the side pillars, especially with their heads. Some new vehicles also have SRS curtains that come down to protect the occupants from breaking glass from windshields and windows.

Source:  Wikipedia

Worried about Genuine Parts?

We use OEM Parts…they are just as good!

Original equipment manufacturer (OEM) is a term used when one company makes a part that is used in another company’s end product.

The term is used in several ways and sometimes refers to a part or subassembly maker, sometimes to a final assembly maker, and sometimes to a mental category comprising those two in contrast to all other third party makers of parts or subassemblies from the aftermarket.

  • In the first usage, the OEM is the company that makes a part that is marketed by another company, typically as a component of the second company’s own product. For example, if Acme Manufacturing Co. makes power cords that are used on IBM computers, Acme is regarded as the OEM of the power cords.
  • In the second usage, OEM refers to companies like value-added resellers, which are the second manufacturer in the definition above. If, for example, Hewlett-Packard sells circuit boards to Acme Systems for use in Acme’s security systems, H-P refers to Acme as an OEM.
  • In the third usage, OEM is a mental category for all of the makers involved when a final assembly was first built (originally equipped)—in contrast to whoever made aftermarket parts that were installed later. For example, if Ford used Autolite spark plugs, Exide batteries, Bosch fuel injectors, and Ford’s own engine blocks and heads when building a car, then car restorers and collectors consider all of those brands as OEM brands, in contrast to aftermarket brands (such as Champion plugs, DieHard batteries, Kinsler fuel injectors, and BMP engine blocks and heads). This can mean that Bosch injectors are considered OEM parts on one car model and aftermarket parts on another model.



Confusing huh? Well, let’s put it into SVS Autocare perspective and talk about Automotive parts:

When referring to automotive parts, OEM designates a replacement part made by the manufacturer of the original part. As most cars are originally assembled with parts made by companies other than the one whose badge appears on the vehicle, it may happen that a car company sells OEM spare parts without claiming to have manufactured the part itself.

An automobile part may carry the designation OEM if it is made by the same manufacturer that made the original part used when building and selling the vehicle.

The term aftermarket is often used for non-OEM spare parts.

Unless your car is in new car warranty and or you ask for genuine parts, SVS Autocare will source parts that have OEM prominently displayed but followed by a qualifier such as “meets OEM standards”. Such auto parts are not OEM; they are simply claiming to have been manufactured to the same specifications as the OEM parts—specifications that may well be unpublished and unknowable. We only use trusted and known parts that are of extremely high quality.

Volkswagen Genuine Timing Belts – Staying safely on track

In 2013, Volkswagen (VW) reduced the interval (both kilometres and time) recommended to replace the timing belt on VW vehicles.

On certain engines with overhead camshafts, the timing belt has a limited lifespan.  The timing belt is an essential component of the engine.  It turns the camshaft(s) at exactly ½ the speed of the crankshaft whilst maintaining precise engine alignment and it’s responsible for adjusting the engine’s valve operation.  The timing belt effects the fuel consumption and emissions.

During timing belt replacement, the water pump is also changed therefore the cost of labour involved on replacing these parts are incurred only once.

If you have purchased a VW that does not have a recorded or known history of the timing belt being replaced, we strongly advise that you undertake this important maintenance item.  Failure of the timing belt (if it breaks) can cause catastrophic engine damage and lead to a very costly repair.

The above information is an overview only and intended for awareness purposes. 

Source:  Volkswagen Australia website 

What Our Clients Say

As a former sales rep in the automotive industry, I’ve had the opportunity to visit over a thousand workshops between Brisbane and Bundaberg, including all of the major prestige dealerships. The SVS Autocare workshop is one of the most pristine …

Michael Lane

We have had a cars serviced with SVS Autocare several times and they are amazing!! From the moment you walk through the door, the service is fantastic and they go above and beyond what they have to. All of the …

Katrina Scotland

I’d like to thank the crew at SVS Autocare for their great service throughout the years. My car broke down last week and from the first second on the phone they were 100% professional and understanding to my needs as …

Alexander Symonds

A few months ago I had an issue with the timing chain on my Mercedes CLS. This immediately became a MAJOR problem when I received a quote from the local Mercedes dealer for over $19,000!!! As I was familiar with …

Natalee Nancarrow

I can’t speak highly enough of the service and workmanship of all at SVS. My experience began with a friendly, warm reception by the owners wife and staff. After a sympathetic ear, the owner / technician was summoned and came …

Stephen G Rado

Dear Catherine, Martin and the fabulous team at SVS, I would like to say a very big thank you to everyone who had a hand in putting my Mitsubishi Pajero back on the road. After the months of drama and …


The service provided by SVS Autocare is secondary to none. All their staff are friendly, efficient and knowledgeable. They send regular reminders. They pick up our cars from work and drop them back before the end of the day or …

Dr Oliver Gunson