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maintaining your vehicle NZ
off the smell of an oily rag
I found out from my pensioner neighbour that Monday to
Friday, around 9am, I can catch a free bus (because I am a
pensioner) outside my house and travel to Tauranga,
returning about 2.30pm. Whilst in Tauranga I can travel free
anywhere the yellow buses go. e.g Papamoa,Bethlehem, Welcome
Bay, etc. The Katikati bus is run by Environment B.O.P.
- D.M, Katikati.
a used car
Buying or keeping a car over 40 years old results in
considerably reduced registration fees and insurance is a
lot cheaper as well. Depreciation is no longer a factor and
if you buy the right type of car the worth may actually be
going up. Gas mileages on well maintained cars are usually
quite good. You also have the chance to meet new people via
car clubs etc - never mind the stares from owners of a new
car that has just lost them $10000 by their taking delivery.
Plus you are recycling in a big way by not replacing your
old car with something newer. -
A reader has a few tips when buying a used car. "I
always get what's called a 'Vehicle Information Report'. It
tells you thngs like whether the vehicle has been reported
stolen, whether there is money owned on it, how many kms it
had done at the last WOF check, its milage, the number of
owners, when the WOF and registration expires, and so on.
The web site is https://www.vir.co.nz.
It costs $30 but it is money well spent.".
details about how to go about changing vehcile ownership see
Think about colour when buying a car. I read the other day
that white cars hold their value best. Greens and maroons
are the worst. The study was done by sed-car pricing experts
in Britain. It found white cars typically hold about 5 per
cent more of their value than the market average for a
typical used car. – Johnboyracer, Kaikohe.
When it has been raining, wipe down your car with an old
towel, including the windows. This saves on wash and polish
costs. I only need to polish the car before summer and again
before winter to preserve it. – Alex, Auckland.
variation to hiring a car or a cab is catching on overseas
and was first tried in this country in 2007 - car-share
clubs. The idea behind the clubs is to reduce the cost of
owning a car and the hassle of parking it in big cities. For
an annual fee or one-off membership charge club members can
book for as little as 30 minutes
or as long as 6 months. The cost is based on how long you
have the car, and how many km’s are travelled. At the end
of each month the club sends out an account to the member. They
basically work a bit like this. Members wanting to book a
car either log on to a website or phone the host company.
They then go to the nearest depot, swipe an access card on a
reader on the dash to gain entry, and then collect the keys
from the glove box. Membership costs about $50, the hourly
rate is $12 or a daily rate of $60, and a per km rate of
about 15 cents for every km above a free daily allowance of
100km. Petrol is included. See www.cityhop.co.nz
Buy the best car you
can afford for cash. Old cars don't depreciate as fast as
new ones and sometimes even appreciate in value. I bought an
old English car for $505 in 2006. It got another warrant
this week (May 09). It still goes really well and is still
worth at least $500. In 2000 I bought an old Ford Falcon in
Dunedin for $580 and it served the family well for over 3
years including 3 trips to Northland. I still have that car
in the shed. Its a bit rusty but it still runs okay. I've
seen several rougher ones for sale on Trademe recently for
more than $1000. So what that the Falcon only gets 22 miles
to the gallon. Its simple technology with no computer
controlled engine management system, fuel injection,
power-steering, abs or traction control, so if it does break
down its easy and cheap to fix. And even at 22 MPG it can
still be driven a very long way on the price of a new car. -
biggest cost is resale value (depreciation). Even if you
never turn the ignition key you can expect to lose 20% of
the car’s value each year. So if you fork out $5,000 for a
car, it is likely to lose $1,000 in value in year 1, $800 in
year 2, etc. And it gets worse if you bought a new car.
should think about the hidden costs of owning a vehicle.
Someone who ties up $10,000 in a car, is missing out on the
income they could have earned.
for freebies, like a free glass with every $20 fill. I
collected a whole cupboard full of glasses this way. When
I filled up with $40 worth of petrol I asked for 2 glasses!
rid of that second or third car if it spends most of the
time sitting in the garage. Those few kilometers per year
are very expensive – it would be cheaper to hire a taxi or
rent a car!
you have borrowed money to buy a car – sell it! Repay the
loan and use the remaining cash (if there is any remaining!)
to buy something you can afford (even if it is only a
out of the habit of driving down to the local store to get
the paper or a carton of milk. Get fit off the smell of an
oily rag – walk!
fill your fuel tank right up….driving around with a tank
full of fuel your vehicle will weigh more which will reduce
fuel economy. - H, Canterbury. [For the record, the average
car holds about 55 litres of fuel, and 1 litre weighs about
0.71kg (but varies on type of petrol of temperature). So a
full tank of petrol weighs about 40kg. - oily rag ed]
fuel costs rising we chanced on a little diesel Peugeot 205,
and the way we drive we get about 59 miles to a gallon.
Prius eat your heart out! - H M K, Waipukurau
Since getting my recent car which shows your fuel
consumption as you drive I have adopted the 'using gravity'
approach to driving. I was amazed to see that when cruising
I'm using around 7 or 8 litres per 100 km but when accelerating
you can use in excess of 20 litres per 100, do the maths
yourself. The converse to accelerating is braking. Take your
foot of the accelerator well in advance of your braking
point and let the car slow down. You will save money while
not accelerating and jumping on the brakes at the last
minute. Driving smoother can also save lives as well as
money... happy motoring. - Nige, Wellington.
When the supermarket
has a 20 cent off per litre promotion do this. Go to the
customer service and buy the amount you need to spend to get
the discount voucher. Example $200 gift card/voucher, you
will then get a voucher. After doing your grocery shopping
use the voucher to pay for groceries and you will get
another voucher. Essentially you receive 2 vouchers for the
1 $200 spend. - Grant, Christchurch.
When fuelling up at service station you try and stop pump at
05 cents for example $20.05,then pay cash instead of card it
will be rounded down to $20.00. - JT, Canterbury.
Never start the engine until you have the seat belts on and
are totally ready to go. At the other end, turn off the
engine as soon as practical, then turn the key back on
without starting the engine to shut the windows etc. -
your gear in nuetral when going down-hill in your car. See how far you can
go without changing back into gear (safety first though!). - H.C.
In response to H.C's tip about using neutral downhill: if
the hill is steep enough (ie: the Ngauranga Gorge), it's
more economical to stay in drive with your foot off the
accelerator and let your motion turn the engine without
using any fuel at all. If
you're in neutral going down there your engine is idling and
burning fuel. I
confirmed this with the consumption gauge in my car. -
When going downhill or coasting in your car if it is left in
gear the engine uses no petrol at all compared to taking it
out of gear. an engine at idle still uses petrol. T.J., New
your speed and save money. Slowing down from 110 km to 100
km will result in a 15% fuel saving, and you will avoid
speeding tickets! Maniac type driving not only costs money
but aggravates everyone, endangers yourself, your
passengers and the public. - O.R.
sure tyre pressures are right. According to Beaurepairs, every
under the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended tyre
pressure costs about 2.5%
in extra fuel consumption.
your own oil changes. Buying a take-home oil pack is a lot
cheaper than topping up at the petrol station.
efficient is your car? Fuelsaver.govt.nz
petroleum expert with 31 years in the industry has some tips
and tricks to get more of your money's worth for every
buy or fill up your car in the early morning when the ground
temperature is still cold. Remember that all service stations
have their storage tanks buried below ground. The colder the
ground the more dense the fuel, when it gets warmer petrol
expands, so buying in the afternoon or in the evening your
litre is not exactly a litre.
you're filling up do not squeeze the trigger of the nozzle to
a fast mode. If you look you will see that the trigger has
three (3) stages: low, middle, and high. In slow mode you
should be pumping on low speed, thereby minimizing the vapours
that are created while you are pumping. All hoses at the pump
have a vapour return. If you are pumping on the fast rate,
some of the liquid that goes to your tank becomes vapour.
Those vapours are being sucked up and back into the
underground storage tank so you're getting less worth for your
- One of
the most important tips is to fill up when your tank is
half-full. The more fuel you have in your tank the less air
occupying its empty space. Petrol evaporates faster than you
can imagine. Petroleum storage tanks have an internal floating
roof. This roof serves as zero clearance between the petrol
and the atmosphere, so it minimizes the evaporation. Unlike
service stations, here where I work, every truck that we load
is temperature compensated so that every litre is actually the
there is a fuel truck pumping into the storage tanks when you
stop to buy, do not fill up - most likely the petrol/diesel is
being stirred up as the fuel is being delivered, and you might
pick up some of the dirt that normally settles on the bottom.
To keep your window washer clean & screen clear, pop a
SMALL amount of washing soda in the wee washer tank. Cheers
from A to B and elsewhere is a major cost for most, and
therefore an obvious area for savings for many. It’s also
one of the cost areas that have increased the greatest in
the last year, with rising fuel costs and creeping ACC
charges included in the annual relicencing fee.
we have been running the motoring cost numbers using figures
published by the AA in late 2011 and this is what we have
come up with. In all of these figures we have only looked at
actual cash costs incurred in any one year. We have excluded
depreciation, which is a whole story in itself and would
make the figures much worse.
costs (registration, insurance, and warrant of fitness)
range from about $1,100 for a small car (under 1500cc) to
$1,650 for a large car (+3500cc). You pay these costs even
when the car is parked up in the garage. Fixed costs
represent roughly about a third of the total cash cost for
the average 14,000 km a year motorist.
costs make up the other two-thirds, and of this between
two-thirds and three-quarters is fuel. The petrol cost alone
of running a small car is 13 cents per km click, 15 cents
per km for what’s called a compact vehicle (1501cc to
2000cc), 21 cents for a medium sized car (2001cc to 3500cc)
and 25 cents for a large car.
top of that there is the cost of tyre wear, repairs, oil and
so on which takes the running cost per km to 20 cents, 22,
28 and 33 cents for a small, compact, medium and large car
think of your bank account clicking down every time your
odometer clicks up and you will get the general picture of
how the numbers work.
other thing to consider is the cash cost of a vehicle you
are not using. For example, having a large vehicle (like the
ones people use to tow a boat or caravan) just sitting in
the garage for a year costs about $1,600, or $30 a week. For
example, a large car that is only used for say 2,500 kms a
year is actually costs $1 a km in cash per every km
travelled! On top of that, time is eroding its value so when
you eventually sell the vehicle the loss in resale value is
have an old, but very tidy car, a 1983 Ford laser, which I
bought 3 years ago from an old man. I have never had to put
oil in the car and two new tyres cost me $110, which
included alignment and balancing! Of course I get it
serviced every year but on the whole I have been very lucky
and haven’t had to spend a lot of money on it! – J.O.
The cost of replacing a
security coded car key can be substantial especially if the
car security system needs to be recoded. I have placed a
small tag on my key ring with my cell phone number on it and
an offer of a reward to someone who finds and returns it.
This has "saved" me twice so far and the persons
returning the keys refused to accept any reward. – BF,
it is better value to rent a vehicle than take your own, especially if your
vehicle is an older one. You get an almost new vehicle to use, it will
probably be cheaper to run petrol-wise, more comfortable to drive, and you
get no wear and tear on your own car. By shopping around and booking early
if possible you can get absurdly cheap deals. We rang around the rental
companies as we wanted to go from Kaitaia to tauranga and back on a Friday
to a Monday. For unlimited K's and including GST and insurance the prices
ranged from $162 to $349. If we took our own vehicle the wear and tear and
depreciation alone woud outweight the $162. Also if you own an older vehicle
which may be unrealiable a newer rental is a far better proposition for
piece-of-mind motoring. - F.A.
wheels and tyres
wheels can add vfalue to the resale value of car. A few years back I
worked for a company that dealt with car sales yards all over the country.
Upon visiting these yards, time and time again I was told how they would
have a vehicle for months on the lot with no interest. As soon as they
fitted alloy wheels to the vehicle it would sell, normally within days if
not the same day. - F.A.
you go about buying tyres, it might pay to know a
little about what you are buying. The
tyre has a lot of hieroglyphics actually say
something. Here’s an example. The tires on a Toyota Corolla
might be labelled:
stands for passenger vehicle.
175 - The width of the tire is 175 mm at the widest
65 - Indicates that the height of the side-wall of the
tire is 65% of the width - 114 mm.
R - This is a radial tire.
14 - This tire fits 14 inch diameter rims.
81 - The load index per wheel. The maximum load for an
81 tyre is 462kg (in other words a total weight of
1,848 kg for the entire vehicle).
H - The speed index. The maximum speed for an H tyre
is 210 kmh.
speed rating codes
load index - weights
is usually a lot more information on a tyre as well:
production date, DOT 3204 = 32nd week in 2004
TL – Tubeless
TT - tyre with an inner-tube (tubetype)
Made in - country of production
C (commercial) - tyres for light trucks (eg 185R14C)
XL (extra load) - tyre for heavy loads
- reinforced tyre
you run two cars and can manage with one do as we did. Buy a
Motor Scooter (runs on the smell of an oily rag). I shopped
at supermarket, took home frozen goods, and my husband
picked up rest of my shopping on his way home from work. The
scooter came with a basket but we invested in a locking box
on the back as well. - J.J.
around for parts, especially in places where there are a large number of
parts suppliers. An example of this is when we priced a CV joint for a
Nissan Sunny. From a wrecker it was $250 and we had to take it off
ourselves. The cost of a new part from a dealer was $189, but in the end it
was cheaper to drive to Auckland and have the whole job done for $90. - F.A.
parts from a wrecker can be a huge trap for the unknowing. More often than
not (from personal experience) a wrecker will charge as good as or more than
the retail price for a part. Aloso there is a danger of buying a part that
may be worn and not last long in any case. Obviously trim and other pieces
are better bought second hand than new, but again it's worth checking the
new price. I have not bought anything from a wrecker in years; in the long
run it's simply not worth it. - F.A.
It's possible to cut travel costs and enjoy driving free
rental cars and campervans in New Zealand by checking out
the online transfer deals. Most of the time drivers also
receive a free tank of petrol! How does this work? Rental
car companies need to reposition their fleet for new hires
and usually spend large amounts of money to do this using
trucks for transportation. Having a free driver return the
car to its home base is a win-win - for the traveller and
the rental company, and it works well when combined with a
cheap one-way flight. -
P.L., Auckland (Have a
look at transfercar.co.nz.
- Oily Rag ed.)