Car Rentals: 3 Things You Overlook that Could Save You Lots of Money

Getting a rental car can be the most convenient solution when going to a new place for a short while, since it gives you the convenience of dictating your own schedule and routes. However, many people still don’t know how to go about the entire process, including valuable tips that could help them make significant savings off their car rentals, and so they end up making these costly mistakes.

Buying insurance when you don’t need to

Car rentals typically offer insurance to cover you during your trip. Even though it’s a good idea, sometimes you may not need the insurance they offer. Check with your auto-insurer first; if you have comprehensive coverage, the policy considers rentals a replacement car (because your own is unavailable). This applies even if the rental car isn’t the same model as your own, so you don’t have to worry about getting a car that’s exactly like the one you own. However, claiming insurance on a rental car after an incident may increase your premiums.

If you don’t have comprehensive cover, the next place to check is with your credit card company (of course, it has to be the card with which you’re paying for the rental). Some credit card companies provide insurance that’s just as good as the insurance policy you’re paying for, but then you wouldn’t have to incur the additional cost of paying a premium. Before taking up the insurance offered, check with your auto insurer and the credit companies of the cards you own to see if you’re already protected.

Not taking the inspection seriously

This applies to inspection prior to and following departure. It’s important to have a camera with you, as well as a member of staff from the rental company to inspect the vehicle with you at both times. Give it a thorough going over inside and out, looking out for scuffs, scratches, loose parts, mirrors and operation of power windows among others. Don’t just walk around the car perfunctorily. Take lots of pictures or even a video in the presence of the staffer, so that you have them as evidence when you return the car.

This also applies to your final inspection. Do not just return the car and leave without having an agent inspect to ensure everything is in place. If you do this and there’s a dispute over damages (these will come later on), it will be your word against the company since you cannot prove that you returned the car in the condition you took it in. Always ensure that an agent signs off on the condition of the car before you leave. Again, take pictures or a video in their presence.

Paying for fuel in advance

Paying the rental company to fuel the car for you can increase your convenience, but it can also shave a lot off your pocket. Even though most car rentals have metres that charge only for the fuel you use, they’ll also charge extra to cover the cost of the service. There are fuel stations virtually everywhere; bear the inconvenience of fuelling the car yourself, which allows you fill up only as much as you will use. You can also shop around cheaper fuel stations, or take advantage of coupons and deals, e.g. those offered by credit card companies. Unless you’re on a strict timeline or headed for the middle of nowhere, prepaying for fuel is a cost you can avoid.

For more information, talk to a professional like 1300 Meteor Rentals.

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Understanding What You See On Your Old Spark Plugs

Spark plugs are one of the important parts of your car’s engine. They are used to initiate the combustion of the fuel in the engine to convert chemical energy into mechanical energy that enables your car to move. This means that spark plugs are exposed to lot of engine heat and they are bound to wear out with time. Since spark plugs wear out and require replacement, it is important for you to check their condition regularly so that you can replace them in good time. In most vehicles, the spark plugs are located on the side or top of the engine in a row. Using a spark plug wrench, you should remove each spark, check it and screw it back into position. When checking the condition of your spark plugs, here are some of the things that you might find:

Spark Plug in Good Condition

If a spark plug is in good condition, they will have a grey or brownish shade on the electrode. The electrode is a small projection on the other end of the spark plug that is immersed in the engine. In such a case, you wipe the spark plug with a clean, dry cloth and put it back into position.

Spark Plugs Fouled in Oil

Sometimes, the engine oil can leak and find its way to the spark plugs. In such a case, you will find black deposits on different sections of the parts that are capped into the engine. The oil deposits may be wet. This is an indication of a leakage from loose or worn out valves and pistons in the engine. In such a case, you should clean the by scraping off the tough deposits with stiff wire brush or knife. Do not use abrasives. After cleaning, put the spark plug back into position and replace them as soon as possible. Lastly, you need to have the source of the leak checked and rectified.

Burned Spark Plug

If the spark plug is burned, you will find blisters on the tip of the side immersed in the engine. This is a sign that your engine is overheating or the fuel you have been using is too lean therefore causing too much combustion. It may also be an indication that you have the wrong spark plug and it doesn’t fit well. After inspection, put the spark plug back into position and replace them as soon as possible.

You can find different things on each spark plug. Some may be fine while others have complications. For optimal engine performance, you should replace all your spark plugs should you find a problem on any of them. For more information, contact a company that carries automotive parts like Subaru parts

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The Difference between Genuine, OEM and Replacement Parts

4X4 car drivers are known to take pride in their vehicles, having opted for more power and often sacrificing speed or (depending on the make) aesthetic appeal. Getting 4X4 parts can be a headache though, especially without knowing the basic distinctions between genuine, OEM and replacement parts.

Genuine Parts

Car manufacturers supply these parts and in most cases they have the company logo and/or marking to show this. Land Rover, for instance, has parts with company brand marks. For certain clients, this is important and a sign of trust which translates to a purchase.

OEM Parts

The acronym stands for ‘original equipment manufacturer’. Such manufacturers usually have an arrangement or agreement with the vehicle maker. They brand their own products even though they are bought and fitted by vehicle makers just like many other parts found in the vehicle. These parts are available separate from the automotive company in spite of their being in many ways identical to the original parts.

Replacement Parts

These are also called aftermarket parts. They are made by many different manufacturers as alternatives that cost less than the original parts. It has been discovered however, that the quality is inconsistent and dubious. Having said so, it is important to note that there are cases in which some replacement parts are even better than the original and those from more reputable firms.

When sourcing for parts for consumers most companies make the following considerations:

  • Are there genuine/OEM parts especially older ones for older vehicles?
  • What do the genuine/OEM parts cost? Finding new and genuine parts for some vehicles may be impossible and therefore going for a replacement part is the better option.
  • What is the part’s purpose? Parts to be used for competing or transit of heavy goods are definitely available but at a higher cost. It is still better to focus on quality than price because of safety concerns.
  • Value? Companies monitor the different parts being added to their stock and reject items that do not meet their quality standards.

These companies rely on vehicle manufacturers, other parts manufacturing companies and auction sites or even wrecking sites where 4×4 auto parts are by the plenty. This is the reason if a part cannot be found in the shop you enter, then other links are followed until that part is available for the client to use.

For more information on 4×4 parts, talk to a professional.

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Choose the Right Towing Company with These Tips

When your car breaks down at the road side, you may not have an immediate resolution to the emergency. You may think of grabbing your phone and reaching out for Google to search for the next company that appears for towing services. How reliable may this company be? It is important to secure a pre-determined towing company that can be trusted when such situations arise. Unreliable towing companies can cause more damage to your vehicle or even take advantage by deliberately overcharging you. Have a close look at some tips to help you choose the right company for a good experience.

Have an Idea of the Reason for Your Car Breakdown

There are certain vehicle complications that may be hard to tell when you experience an emergency situation at the road side. However, it is important to know where the exact problem is or have a slight idea. As you call out for your towing company, they will offer the service you need when they know where to start from.

Find a Company That Addresses Your Specific Concern

A variety of towing companies exist such as collision tows, mechanical tows, and many others. Therefore, find a company that specialises in the main reason for your car break down. The tow truck hired should be well equipped to handle the emergency situation you have experienced. You will be able to avoid the additional hustle of getting another company and having to deal with different people in order to fix your vehicle.

Choose a Nearby Towing company

Look for a nearby towing company to help you manage your situation. With distant companies, your vehicle will be towed miles away where you have to drive back. The mileage covered may also be added to the towing charges. Save your money and time by going for local companies.

Examine the Kind of Equipment Used

A series of towing configurations exist with changing technology. Some designs are made to tow small vehicles while others heavy commercial vehicles. Make an effort to understand the various configurations that exist in the market to know if a towing company will offer you the best for your situation.

Talk to Your Auto Insurance Company

For cases where you need your auto insurance company to be involved, contact them about their preferred towing company. This makes the reimbursement process easy if the insurance company has an alliance with their preferred towing company.

For more information or assistance, contact towing services like Dickies.

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Five Things You Need If You Want to Paint Over a Scratch on Your Truck

If you’ve scratched the paint of your truck, you may be able to fix it yourself with a bit of spray paint. You just need a few simple items to ensure the job goes smoothly and looks right when you’re done. Here’s what to gather:

1. Sandpaper

Before you can paint over the scratch, you should use some sandpaper to prepare the area for painting. Rub the sandpaper back and forth over the scratch following the grain of the existing paint. The sandpaper should remove extra bits of flaking paint, and it will smooth the area so that when you apply the spray paint, it looks more professional.

2. Denatured alcohol

Denatured alcohol is a strong cleaner that works on everything from glass to metal. It also evaporates quickly, ensuring that no residue is left behind that may disrupt the paint. Simply apply the alcohol with a soft cloth and rub gently over the scratch on your truck to remove any dust or dirt.

3. Degreaser

If grease is on your truck when you try to apply the spray paint, the paint will just sit on top of the grease. It won’t actually adhere to the car. To prevent that from happening, apply a degreaser to the scratch and the area around it. Make sure that the surface is fully dry before doing anything else.

4. Newspaper and Tape

Once the scratched area is clean, you are almost ready to start the painting process. So that you don’t get paint on other parts of your truck, arrange newspapers around the scratched area, and tape them in place. If you’re only painting a very small area of your truck, you can skip the newspapers. Instead, just use tape to create a frame around the scratch and prevent the paint from hitting the rest of your truck.

5. Primer

If any of the metal of your truck is showing underneath the scratch, you cannot just paint it. Rather, you need to apply primer. Paint alone will allow the metal to show through, and that can prevent the paint you apply from matching the rest of the paint on your truck.

Finally, let the primer dry, and apply the spray paint. To apply it evenly, use short bursts and move it back and forth in a side-to-side motion. Let each layer dry before applying a new layer. Otherwise, the paint may get too heavy, and it may run.

For more information, contact B.T Ryan Smash Repairs or a similar company.

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How Oversize Loads Are Stabilised on Trucks

Some owners of oversize cargo (cargo that exceeds the normal dimensions of permissible loads on roads) worry that their expensive equipment will become unbalanced and be damaged during transit. This article discusses some techniques that oversize haulers may use to secure the cargo so that it is not damaged while in transit. Use this information to seek for additional clarification on the exact methods used by your preferred shipping company to secure oversize cargo that they transport on their oversize trucks.

Rigging Materials Options

Oversize loads can be secured onto trucks using a combination of different rigging materials (such as nylon webbing and metal cables) in order to prevent that cargo from tipping over during transit. The different materials back up each other. Thus, the cargo will remain secure even if one of the rigging methods fails. For example, the metal chains can remain holding the cargo when the ropes fail.

Determine How to Balance the Load

Oversize transporters can use their vast experience to determine how the cargo should be placed on the heavy load truck so that the load is stable. This placement may utilise awareness of the center of gravity of the cargo in order to determine where it is critical to place rigging materials so that the load is stable on the truck.

Selection of the Right Truck

Oversize haulers have a huge variety of trucks to choose from (such as trucks with extendable beds and tilt trucks). No amount of rigging can safeguard a load if that load is placed on the wrong truck for that kind of cargo. The hauler may use this knowledge to pick the best truck for your cargo so that nothing can go amiss during transit. For example, the shipping company can decide to use a low-loader to transport your heavy construction machinery because such a truck has a bed that is very close to the ground. It is easy to load the equipment onto such a truck. Such a truck also has a very low center of gravity, so there will be a reduced chance that the load will be unstable during transit.

As you can see, oversize shippers do everything in their power to secure a load onto a truck so that it does not sustain any damage during transit. You should take your time when selecting an oversize transport firm so that you are sure that their professionalism and experience will deliver your cargo undamaged.

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4 Questions to Ask a Used Car Dealership

When you are looking to buy a used car, there are some things you need to ask the dealership before choosing a vehicle. Make sure you go over these questions before you sign a financing agreement or purchase a used car.

Can you see the service records?

When a car dealership is selling a used car, it should preferably provide you with the service records. Even if the salesperson convinces you that the car is in good condition and it only had one driver, you should verify this on your own. Either run a service report on your own by getting the car’s VIN number, or ask to see a copy of the report. If they have one to provide to you, look at the date on the report to make sure it is recent. If the service records are from a year ago, who knows what other repairs could have been done in that period of time? Also verify that the records are for the right car by looking at the license plate number and VIN number for the vehicle.

How many owners did the vehicle have?

Also ask the dealership for information about the vehicle’s previous owner. You need to know how many owners it had and whether they learned anything about the condition of the car when it was turned in. Even with the service records, it helps to know a little about the person who owned it. Was the car owned by multiple people? If so, that might indicate some mechanical issues or that the car doesn’t operate smoothly, which is why the owners kept selling it. If the car had a single owner, but they were someone who drove the car strictly on the freeway at high speeds, that is another thing to know. The dealership might not have all this information, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.

Is it a certified pre-owned vehicle?

When you buy a used vehicle, you want to know it is in good condition. Not only should the dealership have had the vehicle inspected thoroughly, but they should have certified it. Certified pre-owned vehicles go through a more complex inspection, making sure it is as close to a new vehicle as possible.

What type of warranty does it come with?

Finally, ask about the available warranties and details about what those warranties cover. Don’t just assume an extended warranty lasting five years will cover all incidents and repairs for the next five years. It might have limitations, such as not covering repairs following a collision, or not providing repairs for major mechanical issues, like engine or transmission repairs. 

For more help and peace of mind, you might consider having a pre-purchase car inspection done.

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3 Simple Ways to Save Money While Hiring a Bus

Have you ever thought of how expensive it is, to hire a bus for at least a day? Well, you are not alone. Many people who want to have fun with their peers are held back at how much they have to pay for renting a bus. To avoid this, read this article is to help you minimize bus renting fees so that you can enjoy your next road trip with your peers, classmates, colleagues, friends, or relatives.

Book in advance to void rushing

Book the bus hire service at least three months in advance to avoid paying a lot of money at the last minute during the peak time. Discuss and agree with your travel-mates on the most suitable date for the trip. Then, discuss with your chosen bus hire company to see if they can agree on the specified date. Booking in advance comes with many advantages; the ability to adjust the travel plans or date since there are still many days left, price discounts for early bookers and avoiding to compete for the available buses on the last minute. So, like booking for a flight, it also pays a lot to hire the bus ahead of time.

Mind the budget, not the looks of a bus

If you really want to save on hiring a bus, you should always consider the cheapest option, not which one looks better. There are very many bus options that hire companies have in their fleet, and these can accommodate any number of people, from small groups to big groups. Never hire a bigger bus yet you are a small group. While a deluxe or an executive coach can be marvelous, it might not be what your group needs. If luxury coaches can’t fit within your budget, then bus hire companies will be happy to inform you about other bus options which you may be able afford. Your options include chartering a school bus, minibus or a trolley bus.

If possible, try booking off season

You should know that summer season and festive holidays are very competitive days with many people going off to their holiday destinations. Because of this bee-hive activity, bus hire prices will be so high due to the increased demand. For this reason, it’s better that you consider hiring the bus during off-peak seasons such as spring, or autumn. This will greatly help you avoid the price-craze rush for buses during peak time.

In addition to the above money saving options, there are many other ways you and your group can hire a bus on a price that fits your planned budget trip. These include, taking advantage of price discounts, limiting the number of hours and other on-board services provided by the bus hire service. No matter the budget you have got, you will always find the right alternative for you and your group to enjoy the road trip.

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Things to think about when buying a used 4×4 car for off road purposes

Buying a used car can be a complicated process for anyone, regardless of how much you know about cars and how well you know the seller. Buying an 4×4 vehicle to use for off road purposes can be even more complicated, as this means you have more components in the vehicle that you need to make sure are in the right shape before you buy it. To buy a used 4×4 vehicle that you intend to use as an off road vehicle, you need to keep an eye on more things than if you were buying an ordinary car, but if you know what to look for, the process doesn’t have to be a hassle.


Suspension might be the most important thing in a vehicle you intend to use for off road purposes. Even if you just need a car to handle dirt roads, you still need to give the suspension an extra look. Make sure that the suspension is clean and that there’s no dirt or debris that is lodged in the system. This could just be a sign that the owner hasn’t cleaned the car properly for your inspection, but it could also mean that is has been there for a long time. That’s negative as it most certainly has started to wear on the components of the suspension.


This is a part of a car that could use some investigation before you set out to buy it. The gears on a car made for tougher environments than ordinary vehicles can be even more prone to become unnecessarily worn or break. Examining a gearbox, however, takes quite a lot of experience and knowledge. An easy way to make sure the gears on your new car is up to standard without having to call in the mechanic is to only look for manual cars. Even if the gears need replacing, manual gears are cheaper and easier to replace than automatic as the system is less complicated. Manual cars also tend to be cheaper than automatic cars.


Even if you’re looking for a used car, you should still aim to get a car as new as possible, such as a 2015 subaru outback. This means all safety systems are up to date and you won’t have to replace or install anything to make it appropriate to drive. You should, however, still have a look at the logbook and ask the seller for any checkups or repairs that has been made to the car. Even if it’s a fairly new car, you might not want to use the exact same equipment that the previous owner got when they bought the car new depending on how far it has gone and under what circumstances. 

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Common Mistakes Most Car Owners Make When Spray Painting Their Own Cars

It is possible to give your car a fresh coat of paint on your own, with spray paint meant for metal surfaces and a lot of time and prep work. This can save you money on getting the car painted by a professional, but it’s vital that you understand what’s involved with car spray painting so you know you get it done right. Note a few common mistakes most car owners make when spray painting their own cars so you can avoid these yourself.

1. Not removing old sections of metal

When sections of a car are suffering severe rust, you don’t want to assume that a coat of paint can cover this damage. Paint is not very forgiving when it comes to covering rust, meaning that much of it will usually still show through, and remember that rust spreads so that the metal may simply continue to show holes and other damage even after it’s painted. One of the best ways to deal with old sections of metal that are very rusted is to cut them away and replace them completely. You can weld, bolt, or use rivets to connect the new metal and this will give you a good surface for holding the fresh paint.

2. Using poor-quality body filler

Poor-quality body filler will not last very long after your paint job, as it may begin to peel away from the body of the car as the adhesion breaks down. In turn, your paint may start to bubble or crack. Poor-quality body fillers are also usually harder to sand down and make smooth so you have a good surface for the paint itself. It can be tempting to use the cheapest body filler you have for covering over small holes and dents in the body of your car, but in the long run, it’s usually best to invest in a high-quality body filler that’s easy to sand and which will last longer.

3. Not using the proper technique for spray paint

Spray painting is not like painting with a brush or roller; when you use a spray, you want to keep the can or paint sprayer moving so that paint cannot glob or start to drip. It’s also better to use thin coats and build on these, rather than trying to get the finish you want in one thick coat of paint that may be more prone to scratches. When spray painting your car, be sure you understand the best technique and take the time to apply several thin coats of paint versus a few thicker coats.

For more information, contact Brisbane Collision Centre or a similar location.

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About Me

Welcome to my blog. My name is Gary, and my favourite possession is my vintage car. I spent over a decade replacing parts and getting my car into pristine condition, and now, I thoroughly enjoy taking my car to shows and participating in a car club. In this blog, I am going to include a range of posts on vintage cars as well as other automotive topics. I love to write, and I am excited about creating this blog. I have a wife, three kids at uni, and a dog. Besides cars, my main hobbies are gardening and reading. Thanks for reading, and if you like my posts, share them!

June 2016
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