Your Common Car Questions Answered

The average vehicle has roughly 30,000 parts, so it’s no surprise that this complex machine we use daily can still manage to overwhelm or confuse the average car owner & leave them with many car questions. You may have learned the basics; like checking & topping up the main fluid levels or checking your tyre’s air pressure, but there is still a lot of assumed general knowledge regarding vehicles.

Therefore, it stands to reason that there may be some things you just never learned & perhaps have some car questions you’ve been too self-conscious to ask. Read on as we’ve compiled a list of 11 common car questions below to help you out…


What is a logbook service?

A logbook service is a series of scheduled services; usually every 6 months or 10,000km, whichever comes first. The Logbook is a guide (& a record) by the vehicle’s manufacturer which provides the specific information on the components that need to be checked or replaced at certain intervals. Your car is serviced in line with these manufacturer’s specifications, which vary depending on a car’s make and model.

Do I have to have my car serviced by the dealership to have it covered by my warranty?

A popular car question (& a common misconception) is that you need to take your car back to the dealership for your logbook service. However, this is not actually the case. At Burleigh’s Mobile Mechanic we only use manufacturer-approved replacement parts and maintenance materials so you’ll never void your factory warranty.

What does a wheel alignment do?

If you notice a wobbling in your steering wheel, or that your car is drifting to one side of the road, your wheels could be out of alignment. Wheel alignment is aligning the wheels and axles so they can go in a straight line. Proper wheel alignment can ensure your car handles better, stops vibration, helps fuel consumption and reduces premature wear and tear.

How frequently should my tyres be rotated?

Different vehicles will wear their tyres at different rates. For example; a front-wheel drive car will wear its tyres very differently from a rear-wheel drive car. Station wagons and Utes (because of the lack of weight over the rear wheels) will also wear at varying rates. Manufacturers’ recommendations differ, but a tyre rotation roughly every 8,000km – 10,000km is a safe guide; even if you don’t notice any obvious wear.

How do I know what my tyre pressure should be?

Another one of the common car questions we hear is; “How do I find the correct tyre pressure for my car?” The answer is to look under the bonnet, or on the label inside the door. The number will usually be between 32 – 40 psi. PSI stands for Pounds per Square Inch.

Ideally, the pressure should be checked when the tyres are cold because heat causes air to expand. If the tyres are hot, or you are carrying a heavy load, you should add around 4 PSI to the recommended pressure to help with the extra strain on the tyres. Inflate your vehicle’s tyres to the highest pressure recommended by the manufacture and make sure your wheels are properly aligned. Looking after your tyres will not only reduce your fuel consumption, but it will also extend tyre life and improve handling.

When is the best time to fill up?

  • Don’t wait until your petrol light comes on

If you wait until you’re running low on petrol, you will be left at the mercy of the price of petrol on that particular day. Get into the habit of keeping an eye on the cheapest day of the week to fill up in your area. In most cities, petrol is cheapest on a Tuesday and Wednesday due to less consumer demand. Thursdays and Fridays tend to be the most expensive days as people fill up after a long work week and in preparation for the weekend. Obviously, with long weekends and public holidays you will generally see a price hike, so try to get in early.

  • Fill up in the morning  

The best time to fill up is early in the morning. This is because petroleum is stored underground and is denser in the morning when the ground is still cool. As the temperature rises during the day, the petroleum expands & you will be getting less value for your dollar. 

Which petrol is best for my car?

  • You can put a higher octane fuel in your car over what is recommended, (for example using a 95 instead of a 91). However, the benefits of doing so are usually very minimum and not worth the extra expense at the bowser. Your car may run slightly better, but it is not a smart choice economically in the long run.
  • You cannot put a lower octane fuel in your car than the minimum recommended. For example, putting a 91 in a car requiring a minimum 95 can cause serious damage.
  • If your car is incompatible with E10 and you are currently using 91, and find the phasing of 91 has seen it become unavailable in your area, you will need to use the next level fuel; for example the premium unleaded 95.

What is the difference between petrol & diesel vehicles?

The biggest difference between a diesel and petrol vehicle (apart from the fuel) is how the combustion (how the engine ignites the fuel) occurs. Both are combustible engines. A petrol engine combines the fuel with air, before using a spark plug to ignite the fuel inside the cylinder. A diesel engine uses a much higher compression ratio within the cylinder to heat the air inside. The fuel is then injected, at which point the combustion is instantaneous.

What do I do if I put the wrong fuel in my car?

If you’ve put the wrong fuel in your vehicle, don’t worry! It’s an easy mistake to make and happens more than you’d think. Whether you’ve put petrol in your diesel engine or diesel in your petrol engine…

  • Stay calm.
  • Stay with your vehicle in a safe place.
  • Don’t start your vehicle- don’t even turn the key as this can cause the fuel to be circulated through the fuel system, even without starting the engine.
  • If you have started or driven the car, stop it safely as soon as you realise you have the wrong fuel, then turn off the engine.
  • Call Burleigh’s Mobile Mechanic & we’ll come to your rescue.
  • In situations where the fuel has been put in the tank, but the engine hasn’t been started, the system will need to be drained and the correct fuel added.
  • In the case of a vehicle having been started and driven, repairs will depend on the extent of the damage. Rectifying the issue usually involves draining the fuel, flushing the system, changing the fuel filter and refilling with the correct fuel.

How fast can I go in reverse?

If you’ve ever wondered how fast you could go in reverse if the need arose; the answer is you can’t go any faster than the speed achieved in the first gear. The gearbox is designed with just the one gear for reverse. The RPM will continue to increase after a certain point, but the vehicle will not go faster.

What should I do if I drive through floodwater?

If you have driven through high water & your vehicle has disc brakes, they will most likely work immediately. However you should still test them as soon as possible after driving through flood water by ‘pumping’ them. Doing so will cause the brake pad to rub against the disc, helping to wipe off any excess water.

Contact your mechanic if:

  • Your engine stalled when driving through water
  • You hear abnormal noises
  • Any of your electrical systems are not working properly
  • There is engine misfire
  • The engine sounds ‘rough’
  • The fuel warning light on the dash comes on
  • The vehicle is blowing white smoke
  • The engine warning light comes on
  • If you have any concerns after experiencing floodwaters

Remember, the damage caused by a flooded vehicle is not always immediately apparent. It is always better to be safe than sorry & contact a qualified technician to perform a vehicle inspection.

Service You Can Trust

At Burleigh’s Mobile Mechanic we aim to educate you about all aspects of your vehicle. If you have any vehicle issues or any car questions, we are here to help!

Give one of our friendly team a call on 0412 161 776 & remember to follow us on Facebook for more information, tips and specials.