Forever! If only. There’s nothing more frustrating than turning the key in the ignition and getting nothing in response – and always when we’re running late. Given our reliance on their good health, it’s reasonable to ask how long car batteries last.

Here’s the answer. A new battery can be expected to keep the engine turning over for around four to six years. But, of course, it depends on the conditions the battery is kept in and the type of driving you do. Let’s go deeper.

How do car batteries work?

A simple turn of the key kicks off a chemical reaction that generates electricity. Specifically, your car’s battery contains cells – most likely six. Each cell holds a lead dioxide plate and a lead plate. These cells are submerged in sulfuric acid (the catalyst, for those taking notes), causing the lead dioxide plate to produce ions and lead sulphate. These ions react with the adjacent lead plate to create hydrogen and more lead sulphate. This chemical reaction produces electrons that race around the plates and generate electricity, which then flows out of the battery’s terminals to start the engine, turn on the lights and play the radio.

Still with us? Let’s move on to the factors that affect battery life.

What affects the life of a car battery?

Temperature

How long car batteries last depends on a number of factors. Car batteries don’t like it too hot or too cold. In hot weather, the chemical reaction is accelerated so that your engine turns over faster, but it also corrodes faster, reducing the battery’s life. In cold weather, the chemical reaction is slower. You may have noticed on particularly cold winter mornings that you have to turn the key several times before the engine starts. If the battery is in poor condition, it may not start at all. Also keep in mind that older batteries retain water which expands when frozen, damaging the cells.

Short drives

It takes around eight hours for the alternator to charge the battery. If your car is mostly used for short trips, it’s likely never able to reach a full charge. This can lead to sulphation, which happens when crystalline deposits form on the negative plates and prevent the battery from charging properly.

All those gadgets

Cars these days are like a computer on wheels and come with more options for entertainment than the average living room. There are screens with DVD players, auxiliary jacks to charge and listen to phones, GPS systems and Bluetooth capability, not to mention all those computers which control the engine, transmission and the whiz-bank safety features. All of these devices draw on the electrical output of the car’s battery. If you’re one of those who only use the car for short trips, a gadget-heavy cabin will most certainly further shorten the battery’s life.

Leaving those lights on

It’s a palm-to-the-forehead moment when you step out of the house in the morning and see the headlights have been left on. Or maybe it’s the cabin light. Before you even try the ignition, you know what’s coming. When the engine is off, the alternator can’t charge the battery, and any lights left on can easily drain it overnight. To be honest, though, with all the alarms and beeps that go off in a modern car when you open the driver’s door these days, how can we still be doing this?

How long does it take to charge a car battery?

How long it takes to charge a car’s battery to full capacity depends on the amperage of the charger. A cheap linear charger, which plugs into a wall socket and provide a continuous charge without interruption, can have an amperage as low as 2.7. A charger like this will take around 12 hours to fully charge a typical 12-volt car battery.

Multi-stage battery chargers charge a battery in bursts and with higher amperage. Not only can they charge a battery in less than an hour, but they won’t cause damage from overcharging like linear chargers potentially can.

A car’s battery can drain when not in use. To keep the battery at full charge during these times of idleness, you can use a trickle charger, which is connected to the battery for the entire time it sits in the garage, providing very low amperage to keep it topped up.

Many people also wonder how long they have to run the engine after jump-starting to make sure they can turn it off and start it again later. The answer to this is around thirty minutes. An alternator churns out somewhere between 50 and 100A, so it won’t take as long to charge the battery as external chargers might.

Test your car battery at BM Tech

Don’t wait until it happens on the morning of a big meeting. If your car is sluggish to start or the headlights seem dim, bring your car in to BM Tech so we can run a health check on your battery. We’ll also check the alternator to see if it is producing the correct the voltage. If it’s time for a replacement, we can guide you through the options and recommend the best car battery for your circumstances.

Nothing transforms a car quite like a towbar. One day a humble hatch, the next day a utility vehicle. Toorak tractor to caravan hauler. Glorified SUV to the real thing, carrying bikes for the whole family, headed for the You Yangs.

They may not be the most attractive accessory on the market, but there’s none that’s more practical. Whether you need to move house, get a trailer-load to the local transfer station, or join the grey brigade and head to the outback with a small house behind you, you’ll need the services of a towbar.

Now you know you need one, it’s time we turned to towbar installation.

Firstly, what are towbars?

Simply put, a towbar is a device that’s attached to your vehicle’s chassis (the structural frame) and, with the help of a coupling device (like a tow ball), connects to a trailer or caravan so you can tow it.

Which towbar do I need?

When people think about having a towbar installed, they think only of what they plan on towing. This is putting the cart before the horse. The first thing you need to do is make sure your car is up to the task. If you only plan on pulling a six by four (6’ x 4’) trailer around once in a blue moon, then a small hatch or sedan is strong enough for that. If, however, it’s time to haul a caravan around our dusty interior, it may be time to upgrade your small car before even thinking about what type of towbar you need.

To figure out how much your car can tow, dust off the owner’s manual. In there somewhere is your car’s GVM, or Gross Vehicle Mass. The combined weight of your car, its cargo and whatever it’s towing must not exceed the GVM, otherwise you’ll be operating the car illegally.

The types of towbars

There are three towbar classifications in Australia: Class 2, 3 and 4. The amount of weight you’ll be towing determines which class of towbar is appropriate for you.

Class 2 or Light Duty – small towing loads, such as 6’ x 4’ trailers and bike racks. Typically don’t have a removable tow-ball hitch or tongue. Rated up to 1200kg.

Class 3 or Medium Duty – can tow up to 1600kg, appropriate for boats and jet skis, enclosed trailers. Has an easily removable tow-ball tongue.

Class 4 or Heavy Duty – can usually tow up to the maximum capacity of the vehicle to which they’ve been fitted. Whatever needs pulling, these towbars can do it. Caravans, car trailers, superyachts.  

How do I install a towbar?

Now you’ve figured out what type of towbar you need, it’s time to install it. There are two options: do it yourself or hire a professional. If you have plenty of time, enjoy lying down on concrete, and you’re handy with tools, you might want to consider DIY installation. However, it’s worth noting that some towbar fittings require the rear bumper to be removed entirely and in some cases, modified, before installation. A wiring harness and programming might also be needed, in which case you’re much better off seeking the services of a professional. Not only will they get the job done properly, it’ll also come with a warranty on parts and labour.

Towbar installation with BM Tech

A towbar is a fantastic accessory for your car, turning it from a city slicker to a weekend warrior. However, it’s vitally important that you select the right type for your car and towing needs, and make sure it’s installed correctly. The last thing you want to see in your rear view mirror is cars swerving wildly as they avoid a caravan suddenly separated from its towbar, sparking it up as it grates along the bitumen.

At BM Tech, we offer complete and comprehensive towbar supply and installation services. We will advise you on the Class of towbar appropriate to you and make sure it’s fitted in the correct manner. Whatever you need to pull, you can do so with complete confidence that it will still be on the back of your car when you reach your destination.

At risk of stating the bleeding obvious, brake pads are important. So, the fact that you’re wondering how long brake pads last is a good thing. You should be thinking about your brakes and what condition they’re in because they’ll determine what condition you’re in when the ride is over.

The answer to your question is 15,000 kilometres to 70,000 kilometres. Probably not the specific answer you were hoping for but, as you’ll find out if you keep reading, there are a couple of factors that determine how long your brake pads will last.

Why do brake pads wear?

The best way to answer this is to briefly explain how brake pads work. When you put your foot on the brake pedal, calipers (adjustable clamps) squeeze brake pads against brake discs, also known as rotors (kind of look like metal Frisbees). When the pads are pressed against the discs, friction occurs, which is what slows your car down. Of course, the result of friction is wear and tear. Eventually, your brake pads will wear out and need to be replaced. It’s not something you’re doing wrong (unless they wear out quickly), it’s just the nature of their job.

How can I make my brake pads last longer?

Slow down

If you drive fast, you’ll either have to brake harder or for longer. Brake harder, the brake pad will be squeezed with more force against the brake disc, increasing friction and wear. Brake for longer, the brake pad will be squeezed for an extended period of time against the brake disc, again increasing wear.

Sometimes, we can’t avoid braking hard; that’s the reality of driving in dynamic, real-world places that involve other people, cars and objects. But we can drive at a sensible pace which means when predictable, foreseeable things occur – like a light turning orange or other cars slowing down for pedestrians – we don’t have to jam our foot in to the brake pedal.          

Engine braking

Ever seen those signs in small country towns asking trucks to avoid engine braking? This involves changing down through the gears to slow down instead of using the brakes. The rational is that it avoids wearing out the brake pads. It also produces lots of noise as the gears transition down into higher revs, which is why small towns don’t like it, especially considering lots of trucks are on the roads at night.

If you want to increase the longevity of your brake pads, engine braking is something to consider. Keep in mind, however, that while you won’t be wearing down your brake pads, you will be wearing down the clutch. When it comes to cars, there’s always friction somewhere.

Move somewhere flat

There are so many reasons why you’d want to live in Melbourne over Sydney already, but here’s another one for you. Melbourne, compared to our northern neighbour, is flat(ish). Constantly having to go up and down means more work for your brakes (and clutch). So avoid all those hills and one-way streets and live where it’s easier on your beloved car.

Get your brake pads checked at BM Tech and avoid the squeal

Your brake pads need to be in working order. If they aren’t in good condition, you won’t be able to stop effectively. Subconsciously, we’re always judging the distance between ourselves and the car in front based on what we believe our stopping distance to be. Of course, the stopping distance is based on functioning brakes. Worn brake pads do not equal functioning brakes.  

Also, if your brake pads wear down to their metal backing plate, you’ll do serious (and expensive) damage to other components of your car.

Get your brake pads replaced at BM Tech and you also won’t have to put up with that spine-tingling squeal new pads can sometimes emit. This is because we use two particular products on new brake pads that prevent this from happening. Check out this video to see how they work.

How often should you have your car serviced? Well, since you asked… every month. No – every week. Only on the days you drive it. All right – that’s a bit much. In all honesty (yes, mechanics can be honest), it depends… to a degree. Before you click away in frustration, let’s take a look at the general rule of thumb.

The general rule of thumb regarding car services

Cars are pretty intelligent these days. In fact, some can even tell when they need a service and they’ll pop a light up on the dashboard to let their owners know. Your car may not have this ability if it’s a few years old, but all cars have an owner’s manual which lists the service intervals and which operations must be carried out.

If your car is under warranty, you’ll want to stick closely to what the manual stipulates or your warranty may be voided.

If it’s not under warranty, or you threw the owner’s manual away because it was taking up too much space in the glovebox, the general rule of thumb is to have your car serviced every six-twelve months or every 10,000-15,000km – whichever comes first.

What if there’s nothing wrong with my car?

Excuse my bluntness, but how do you know? Cars are loyal, silent toilers, and they’ll put up with a lot before you’re aware there’s an issue. Just because it starts every time and makes the same noises, doesn’t mean your car isn’t in need of some TLC.

For instance, degradation of engine oil can cause massive problems that don’t become apparent until it’s too late. Engine oil lubricates all the moving metal parts that allow your car to function, keeping them clean and unworn. Over time, though, heat causes the oil to degrade, which leads to engine wear. This isn’t easy to notice as a driver, which is why we recommend six monthly oil check-ups.

Apart from engine and mechanical issues, wheels can cop a hammering on our roads, which can lead to misalignment and poor fuel economy. You’ll be forking out for new tyres sooner than is otherwise necessary and visiting the petrol station with ever-increasing frequency.

I only do short trips. Can I wait longer between services?

It’s true that the type of driving you do determines – to some degree – the wear to your car. If you don’t cover many kilometres and you mainly use your car for short errands, components like tyres, brakes, dampers and brushes will probably last longer than in other cars that cover a lot of ground.

BUT, some components wear in relation to time, not distance. Oil is one we’ve already covered. The timing belt is another. This can wear without you noticing. When it breaks, however, I guarantee that you WILL notice. A snapped timing belt can cause untold damage to your car, damage that will be far more expensive than replacing a worn timing belt before it breaks.

So, short trips may not wear certain components as quickly as long hauls, but this won’t stop other components from breaking down.

When in doubt, talk to your friendly mechanic

If you think your style of driving is unique and the general rule of thumb doesn’t apply to you, then come in and have a chat with us. Once we know how you treat your car and what it’s used for, we can provide you with a service calendar tailored to your habits.

If your engine were an orchestra, the timing chain would be the conductor. Opening and closing valves, moving pistons, connecting rods – all of this must happen at a given time and in a given sequence. Without the timing chain, you simply aren’t going anywhere.

Serving the same function as a timing belt (which most people would be more familiar with) which sits on the outside of the engine within its own casing, a timing chain actually sits within the engine itself. This is because it’s constructed from metal and needs the lubrication provided by engine oil. It looks much like a bike chain and is attached to a set of gears and pulleys.

Do timing chains need to be replaced?

The advantage of a timing chain over a timing belt is that it’s designed to last a lifetime – it should never need to be replaced. Of course, this is assuming correct and consistent maintenance of the vehicle, which – believe us – is rare. If the timing chain isn’t functioning at its best, or has failed entirely, other major components of the engine will suffer too. It’s worthwhile, therefore, knowing the signs of a failing timing chain.

Let’s take a look at what they are.

Signs of a worn timing chain

#1: A noisy engine

Your ears are the best diagnostic tool at your disposal to pick up on potential issues with your car. Like a mother picking out her newborn’s mewl in the maternity ward, we instinctively recognise the particular thrum of our engine (a slight exaggeration, perhaps). Point is, you don’t have to be a mechanic or a petrol head to notice an odd noise emanating from your car.

A loose or poorly functioning timing chain might be signalled by an odd vibration or rattling noise coming from the front of the engine. The silver lining of this issue is that the timing chain probably won’t be broken but maybe just a little loose and in need of a repair.

In any case, whenever your car sounds different, get it checked. Ten times out of ten, there’s an issue that needs to be attended to.

#2: Odd performance

We’re familiar with the note of our cars and we’re also familiar with their performance. If you notice excessive engine oil consumption or poor oil pressure, it could indicate an issue with the timing chain. If you’re visiting the bowser more than usual, that could also indicate something is amiss.

Misfiring, too, is a common indication of an unhealthy timing chain. If you find your car is stuttering or jerking, it could be because the timing chain has stretched with time and is now skipping a gear on the cam or crank shaft. A stretched timing chain is in danger of breaking and, when that happens, it may be more than the chain that needs replacing.

Whenever your car behaves oddly, it’s trying to tell you that something is wrong. Get it checked.

#3: Metal shavings

This is one your mechanic is more likely to pick up on. Engine oil degrades over time due to heat and natural solvents found in petrol. If it stops lubricating the engine properly, the timing chain can wear. When this happens, little pieces might start breaking off as it rubs up against other metal components within the engine and find their way into the oil pan.

If your mechanic detects metal shavings in the oil pan, the timing chain will most certainly have to be inspected for wear. If it is the culprit, it will have to be replaced.

What can you do to avoid timing chain problems?

To avoid issues with the timing chain, make sure that your car is maintained regularly. The best thing for timing chains is good quality, fresh oil, more often. That’s right, change the oil more often like halfway between what the manufacturer states. We seriously cannot overstate how important engine oil is to just about every component that allows your vehicle to function.

Cars are stoic, loyal and uncomplaining. Every day people walk out their front door, climb into their car, start the engine and drive off to their destination without a second thought. There are, however, those rare times when we turn the key and…nothing happens. Maybe there’s a ticking noise. Maybe it does start but there’s a strange vibration coming through the wheel, or the air conditioner doesn’t get cold, or there’s strange lights flashing from the dashboard…

They may be machines, but even cars need a little tlc once in a while, or issues will arise. Let’s take a look at some common car problems.

#1: Overheating engine

It’s a classic image of summer holidays. Bumper to bumper traffic snaking its way down the freeway, and every now and again a car pulled over on the shoulder, bonnet up, smoke billowing. With advancements in technology, this image is becoming rarer, but even modern engines can still overheat.

It could be that your car only needs a top up of coolant. However, the reasons why may be more sinister, such as a leak or faulty hoses. It might, instead, be the radiator fan, specifically the motor or the thermostat. It could even be that the fan has slipped and isn’t rotating correctly. Either way, get it checked by a qualified mechanic.

#2: It just won’t start

Why does this only happen when you’re running late? There are several reasons why a car won’t start. What happens when you turn the key can give a clue. If nothing happens, no lights or sluggish attempts from the engine, it may be a dead battery or alternator or a problem with the battery terminal cable connections. If it sounds like it’s trying but can’t quite get there, it may be spark plugs or a faulty fuel supply.

If a jumpstart gets the car going, then it was in all likelihood a flat battery that’s nearing the end of its life. Get it checked as soon as you can.

#3: Air conditioner not working

It’s a sticky situation when the air conditioner refuses to work and the summer sun is beating on the roof of the car. Most likely you’ve run out of refrigerant. The solution may be as simple as adding more, but if there’s a leak in the system somewhere, then that obviously needs to be attended to first.

This is something that should be done by a qualified mechanic. The system needs to be evacuated of all moisture and oxygen before a carefully measured amount of refrigerant is introduced, along with some lubricating oil for the moving parts.

#4: The car is pulling to one side

If you feel a slight vibration through the steering wheel or the car feels like it’s pulling to one side, you’re most likely in need of a wheel alignment. Your wheels can become misaligned gradually over time due to everyday driving, or more dramatically by driving over potholes and rough surfaces.

Wheel alignment should be checked whenever a tyre is replaced or rotated. Otherwise, a 10,000km check is recommended. If you continue to drive on misaligned wheels, your tyres will wear quicker than necessary.

#5: Prevention is the best medicine

All of these common car problems are potentially avoidable. It simply takes regular check-ups with your trusted mechanic. We can pick up on potential issues before they rear their ugly heads at an inconvenient time.

Of course, if you do find yourself in a pickle, we’re always here to help you out. And if your faithful metal steed hasn’t had a service in some time but everything seems okay, well, you’ve been warned…

There aren’t many silver linings to the pandemic, but one may be that we get to know our own country a little better. Europe can have Cinque Terra, the Dalmatian Coast and the Acropolis. America can keep its Yosemite, Aspen and swampy bayous. As wonderful and awe-inspiring as they are, they’re easily matched by our own Kimberley, Victoria’s high country, Tassie’s untamed south-west, the Pinnacles, the Bungle Bungles…

The list goes on. Point is, 2021 is a great opportunity to get in touch with the myriad landscapes that make up our sprawling country. And considering its sprawliness, preparation is key. Here are our top 10 tips to keep you on the straight and narrow on your off road trip.

#1: Vehicle check

This isn’t a quick trip to the supermarket. If you break down in the outback, there’s no air conditioned café serving decaf soy latte to while away the time in before road assist comes to the rescue. Obviously there’s nothing you can do to guarantee nothing will go wrong, but there are some simply things to check before you set off.

  • Check your fluid levels: oil, radiator and wipers.
  • Check your wiper blades and make sure they’re in good order – worn blades won’t be adequate in a downpour and can even scratch the glass.
  • Check the pressure and tread of your tyres. If they’re losing pressure quicker than normal, it’s time for a new set. Have a look at our guide on checking tread to make your tyres have the grip to keep you on the road.
  • Check your spare tyre – vital for an outback trip. Few make it there and back without a puncture or two. Does your spare have good tread and does it hold pressure? Also, is it a space saver or a full size that can deal with difficult terrain?
  • Check all the lights to make sure they’re working.

#2: Drive within your means

There are innumerable roads, tracks and trails to find and get lost on in Australia. It’s important that you never pick the ones that require more experience or skill than you possess, or test the capabilities of your vehicle. There are plenty of amazing destinations accessed by sealed roads to satisfy anyone without having to take unnecessary risks. Whenever you travel off road, drive to your capabilities, as well as those of your vehicle.

#3: Have a co-pilot

The classic Australian road trip involves many hours behind the wheel, so choose your co-pilot wisely. Always have water, snacks and good music on hand, and never access them yourself. Extend a hand for a bottle of water with lid removed. Open your mouth for a chip to be laid gently upon your tongue. And – the golden rule – the driver chooses the music. If they want Billy Joel’s Kohuept on repeat for three hours, so shall it be.

#4: Get coverage

It’s annoying when you lose coverage in the city. It’s dangerous losing coverage in the middle of nowhere on an off-road trip. Away from urban centres and towns with decent populations, you are likely to encounter areas that render your expensive mobile a simple repository for your favourite tunes. Nothing is more important than communication when your car breaks down or – heaven forbid – you become lost.

There are plenty of places to hire satellite phones from, even some car rentals. It’s an added expense, but it’s also a no-brainer. An added word of advice: when selecting a satellite phone, base your decision on the antenna technology, not the network.

#5: Tell a friend

Before you hurtle off into the dusty interior, map your route and tell someone about it. Make sure they know which places you’ll be in and on what dates. It doesn’t have to be a day-by-day blow, but you want someone back home to know your general whereabouts on certain days.

#6 Be flexible

We like to think that only Melbourne experience’s four seasons in a day, but inclement weather can surprise you anywhere. And inclement weather in some parts of Australia can amount to torrential rain or searing heat. If a river is running a little high for a safe crossing, don’t cross it. If the temperature climbs into the 40’s, perhaps consider a day indoors or by the motel pool.

Unsealed roads can disappear after heavy rains, so make sure you have up-to-date information before you set off each day. Just because it’s on the map, doesn’t mean it’ll be there when you need it. Always be willing to turn back, try another route, or wait it out. Don’t push your luck when going off road. 

#7 Trust the experts

If you’d like peace of mind, drop your car in at BM Tech for a general check-up to make sure it’s in good condition and fit for a road trip. We know all the things to look for so that you can enjoy the trip without any niggling doubts eating away at you. Remember, in remote areas, your car is your life raft. Take care of it and it will take care of you. Have fun!

A clutch is one of those things that we know of and use regularly, but know little about. Life is littered with such devices. I’m writing this blog on a laptop, the inner workings of which leave me befuddled. I simply press a button which sets off a chain of events, and now I’m typing away in a word doc.

A clutch is similar. All drivers use them (they’re even in automatic vehicles), but know little of their inner workings. While this knowledge isn’t necessary to drive a car, it can certainly help you be a better driver and take better care of your loyal and uncomplaining vehicle.

How does a clutch work?

The team at Eastern Tyres could talk about clutches for days, but we understand that most people don’t hold the same interests as us, so I’ll keep this brief. Basically, the engine in your car has components that are always spinning, and these components provide power to the wheels and get them rolling. Sometimes, however, we need to stop the tyres rolling so we can come to a stop, but have the engine still running (and spinning). In order for this to happen, the engine needs to be disconnected from the wheels – and this is exactly what a clutch allows. If not for a clutch, we’d have to turn the engine off every time we wanted to change gears.

When we compress the clutch (it’s that third pedal on the left, just in case you’re still wondering what we’re talking about), it disengages the engine from the transmission, allowing you to change gears while the engine is still running. It achieves this by pressing certain components together. Naturally, over time, these components will wear – as will anything that requires friction to work – but your clutch should still last years.

(That’s as brief as I could make it).

What is riding the clutch?

Premature wearing of the clutch can still occur, particularly when the driver is prone to riding the clutch. Riding the clutch happens when a driver leaves their foot on the clutch even when they’re not changing gears, compressing the pedal part of the way so that the clutch is partially engaged but not fully locked, creating more friction and wearing it out faster. Learner drivers, or nervous drivers, can make a habit of it, because they’re fearful of stalling. But experienced drivers are also guilty.

Replacing a clutch isn’t cheap, so let’s look at ways you can avoid riding it and prolong its life.

Ways to avoid riding the clutch

Relax!

Most cars have a little footrest to the left of the clutch pedal. Use it. When not changing gears, place your foot on this rest so that you’re not tempted to rest your foot on the clutch pedal itself, inadvertently compressing and partially engaging it.

Get comfortable

Too many drivers don’t have their seat adjusted to the position that best suits them. If you are too far forward, your legs may be too cramped to comfortably find a place for your foot to rest. Most cars allow you to move the seat back and forth and adjust the incline of the backrest. Ensure you can press the pedal all the way to the bulkhead, but still have enough room to lift your foot off the pedal and comfortably rest it to the left of the clutch.

Also, you should be able to hold the steering wheel at ten and two, with elbows slightly bent and shoulders relaxed. If you turn the steering wheel and your arm has to straighten to reach 12 o’clock, you are too far away. Driving isn’t about looking cool – it’s about getting places safely.

Take a look at the experts. Racing car drivers know more about this stuff than most, and you may be surprised at how bent their arms are.

Get confident

Sometimes – particularly if you’re learning – you lack confidence and might feel the need to hover your foot over the clutch to pre-empt stalling. Usually, more practice and more hours behind the wheel overcome this, but some people can’t help it.

If you find that your foot is always creeping towards the clutch pedal, then the simple answer is buying an automatic as your next car. There’s no shame in it and, to be honest, it’s what we’re all craving when doing the old crawl/stop in traffic.

Driving a manual car or stick-shift, whatever you want to call it, is still a handy skill to know, especially when travelling overseas. For some reason, Europe and the UK still drive more manuals than automatics, so when hiring cars over there, you’re more likely to be given a manual car. Autos are quite rare and when you ask for one, they usually charge you a hefty premium.

BM Tech Canterbury & Essendon NOW OPEN

You can now drive more than 5kms to have your car repaired at a brand specific specialist.

Great News! The Victorian Government has changed the rules so now Routine Car Servicing is permitted during Stage 4 to keep cars safe for everyone in the community. 

BM Tech is a brand specific specialist for BMW, Mini, Audi & VW, so this means you are allowed to go over the 5km zone from your home.

See official government ruling

Car Service and Repairs Allowed

Cars are essential in keeping the public moving and so the Government has officially allowed the public to have their cars serviced and repaired to keep them safe and reliable. 

New and Convenient Options for You

  • Free loan cars.
  • Full contactless process now available.
  • Credit Card payments can be made over the phone.
  • Bills can now be paid off over 3-6 months Interest Free using OpenPay 
  • Online Bookings available and can be made here

Great tip from a loyal customer: Have your Booking Confirmation Text Message handy as proof of your appointment.

Brake Specials

If your car worn or faulty brakes, we are offering 20% OFF Brake parts!

  • 20% OFF ALL BRAKE PARTS or
  • 25% OFF ALL BRAKE PARTS with a Service

Offer Includes ORIGINAL Brake Parts including the Ceramic ATE Brakes. Excludes some M Series & High Performance Models.

These prices are valid until 31 October 2020.  Remember to mention the code word, MUNICH!

The book contact:

Service Specials

BMW 1 Series, 2 Series, 3 Series, 4 Series, X1, X2, X3, X4 and All Mini Models:

  • 4 Cyl & 6 Cyl Petrol and 4 Cyl Diesel Engines $330.00
  • 6 Cyl Diesel Engines $390.00

BMW 5 Series, 6 Series, 7 Series, 8 Series, X5, X6. Most Audi & VW Models:

  • 4 Cyl Diesel & 6 Cyl Petrol Engines $330.00
  • 6 Cyl Diesel & 8 Cyl Petrol Engines $390.00 

BMW M Series and High Performance Audi & VW Models:

  • All engines $490.00

The book contact:

Looking after you and our staff

We are taking this Covid-19 Virus and the advice from the Government seriously and have introduced ALL necessary measures to reduce the spread of the virus and keep our customers and staff safe.

BM Tech now has an official Covid Safe Plan in operation.

Please refer to our Covid-19 Policy below or my video statement here:

Please stay safe and we look forward to being of service when you need us.

COVID-19 Policy

In light of the current situation with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), we wanted to take the opportunity to reassure you that BM Tech and Eastern Tyre Centre have the health and safety of our staff, customers and the broader community as our top priority.

In addition to our strict hygiene and cleaning standards, we have increased the frequency of many cleaning procedures with a focus on high-touch surfaces, such as reception areas, customer lounges, desks, door handles, EFTPOS terminals and bathrooms, including the mandatory wearing of face masks.

We have increased the supply of hand sanitiser throughout all our premises. All our staff have been briefed on our plans to maintain the highest levels of cleanliness and safety by following the required social distancing guidelines.

When working on customer vehicles, our service technicians wear protective gloves and apply disinfectant spray on any surfaces they touch. All our service loan cars are cleaned and wiped with disinfectant spray before and after every use.

To help us minimise the spread of this virus, we are asking our customers to practice good general hygiene, adhere to social distancing protocols, limit cash transactions by paying via contactless card or phone payment, and if feeling unwell to reschedule the booking.

We understand that some of our customers may still be concerned with the constantly evolving situation, which is why we are offering a number of no contact options. Please do not hesitate to telephone and discuss with one of our staff.

We will continue to operate with a business-as-usual attitude and work together with you to keep everyone safe and comfortable while visiting our businesses. As this is a rapidly evolving situation, we promise to act quickly and communicate any necessary updates through our digital and social media channels.

We all have a role to play in helping our community during this challenging time and thank you for your trust and support.

Not much escapes the inevitable march of marketing. Supermarket shelves are chock-full of products that can only be differentiated by the eye-catching packaging they come in. Don’t be fooled; everyone is selling the same thing they’ve always sold. It’s just the names that have changed.

Fuel hasn’t escaped this phenomenon.

Pop open your petrol flap and you’re likely to see something like ‘Unleaded Fuel Only’, or ‘Premium Unleaded Fuel’. Turn to the bowser, and you might be confronted with options such as ‘V-Power’ or ‘Bio e-Flex’. Sorry? Where’s the regular unleaded I’ve always used? What year is this? How long was I sleeping for?

Focus on the numbers

Filling up your car is supposed to be a no-brainer. Sure, you may not know how to change the oil or even change a tyre (if that’s you, we have a step-by-step guide to correct that), but pulling into the servo and topping up the tank was never a cause for concern. And it needn’t be. Just forget the fancy marketing names and focus on the numbers.

Before we get into the details, here’s the brief:

  • 91 is standard unleaded petrol
  • 95 and 98 are premium unleaded petrol
  • E10 is an ethanol-blended substitute for 91 unleaded (more on that soon)

So, what do the numbers mean? They refer to the fuel’s octane rating, which is a measurement of a fuel’s resistance to burning too early inside your engine. If the fuel burns too early, it can cause ‘pinging’, which can be mechanically devastating to an engine.

Can I damage my car with the wrong fuel?

In brief: you can use a higher-octane fuel than what your engine needs, but not a lower one.

For example, if your car requires 91 unleaded, then you can use 95 or 98 unleaded without doing any damage. Some fuel retailers actually say you’ll get better performance doing this, or better fuel economy (depending on how you drive). However, the improvement is so marginal that it is easily outweighed by the extra money you’ll be forking out for the premium fuels. In essence, you can use 95 or 98 in a car designed for 91 fuel without doing damage, but it’s money for jam.

However, if you use a lower octane-rated fuel in your car than is stipulated by the manufacturer (for instance, 91 in a car requiring 95 unleaded), you can do serious damage to the engine. If the fuel burns too early (which is what 91 will do when compared to 95 or 98), the temperature inside the combustion chamber will rise to levels that some components aren’t designed to handle. It is potentially an unmitigated disaster.

What is E10 fuel and can I use it?

E10 fuel is a response to our turbulent times. Australia consumes about 20 billion litres of petrol every year, and the vast majority of the crude oil required for that comes from regions rife with instability, like the Middle East. In an attempt to reduce our reliance on crude oil from these parts of the world, E10 fuel was introduced, which is simply unleaded made up with 10% locally-made ethanol.

Keep in mind that E10 fuel is not a substitute for premium unleaded; do not use it in cars requiring 95 or 98 octane fuel. It’s only a substitute for regular (91) unleaded. Most cars on Australian roads designed for regular unleaded can run on E10 fuel. To make sure yours can, check out this comprehensive list at FCAI.

Forget the fancy names

So, next time you pull up at the bowser, forget the marketing and focus on the numbers. If your fuel cap reads:

  • Unleaded fuel only, fill up with 91
  • Premium unleaded fuel, fill up with either 95 or 98
  • 98 octane unleaded only, fill up with 98