Working safely under your car

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Happy Holidays! For motoring enthusiasts lucky enough to have a bit of spare time over this busy period, you may choose to spend some of it working on your beloved car.

No matter if it’s carrying out a regular oil and filter change or perhaps something a little more involved, one of the most easily overlooked areas is safe practices while working under your car.

The potential safety risks associated with simply jacking up and incorrectly supporting your car are gravely serious. According to the ACCC, within the last decade there have been at least 46 reported cases where Australians have been killed and in excess of 160 injuries annually are caused  by failing jacks.

When preparing to carry out work underneath any car, here are some essential tips:

  • Ensure that the weight of the vehicle does not exceed the lifting capacity of the jack.
  • When preparing to jack up a vehicle,  it is essential that the vehicle is positioned on a hard level surface such as a concrete driveway or slab, ensuring that the vehicle’s jacking points are located (as outlined within the vehicles owner’s manual), the hand brake is applied with the non-suspended wheels choked.
  • Ensure that the head of the jack is located directly square under the lifting point of the vehicle. (Failure to do this will result in damage to the vehicle, or the vehicle slipping from the jack.) Commence jacking the vehicle, while paying close attention to the positioning of the head of the jack under the vehicle’s lifting point.
  • Once the vehicle has been raised, never allow any part of your person underneath the car, until the vehicle has been lowered entirely onto the jack stands.
  • If you do not own a set of jacking stands, placing the vehicle on car ramps is an alternative.
  • Once the vehicle has been mounted upon the stands, be sure to visually re-inspect the integrity of the jack stand mounting points and the positioning of the choked wheels. Only after this, may you then proceed to remove the jack and begin working under the vehicle.
  • Once your work is completed under the vehicle, make sure that the area around the vehicle is all clear of any objects. From here proceed to reposition the jack under the vehicle as previously described then once the vehicle is raised in the air be sure to remove the jack stands and gently lower the vehicle back to the ground.

PLEASE NOTE: Whenever you are preparing to raise or lower a vehicle using a jack and jack stands, it is vital to ensure that no part of your person and/or any animals remain near to or under the car during this time.  In addition, if you are not confident in correctly lowering and raising a vehicle using a jack and jack stands, it’s recommended that you consult your local mechanic who will be able to undertake any necessary work to your car on your behalf.

Have a safe and relaxing Easter break and look after yourself and your car!

The joy of commuting with kids

ROLL UP, ROLL UP: Come one come all to one of the biggest events of the year.

ROLL UP, ROLL UP: Come one come all to one of the biggest events of the year.

The Sydney Royal Easter show is a quintessential celebration of Australian culture; my family and I go every year to enjoy the rides and eat a downward dog… or cheese on a stick, or corn on a cob, or a super-sweet fresh lemonade, all whilst watching a bit of wood chopping!

The show attracts nearly 900,000 people each year and like many we chose to take advantage of the show link ticket which entitles you to free public transport to and from the show.

With two children under the age of four I quickly realise that there is no way to make this trip without planning for it. What form of transport will we catch, will I take a pram, are there stairs, when are peak travel times, what snacks will keep the kids quiet, where can mum and dad get their poison on route? (I am talking about caffeine people!)

Living in the Inner West means we are spoilt for choice when choosing a mode of transport but what is the best choice for me travelling with two children?

The bus stop is at the top of our street but there are a limited number of buses that accommodate prams and traffic could be bad. The light rail from Dulwich Hill is a new service and is pram friendly but it isn’t very close to where I live. There is no Ferry service along Cooks River so I can rule that option out. So that means the Train is our best option.

With two kids under four we definitely need the pram for this outing. Not the big clunky Hummer of a pram that looks great but is totally impractical. I’m talk about a compact, lightweight, slim pram or stroller that won’t take up too much room on board and will be easy to carry upstairs if need be. We also have a great gadget called the pram board which my eldest stands on whilst we push the pram. He thinks it’s like a ride and I love it because I know exactly where he is when walking through crowds.

Our local station does not have a regular service out of peak hour and has no lifts access so I look on the Transport NSW website to see what the best options are. The website helps me plan my train trip by setting a few preferences – pram/wheelchair friendly and fastest trip. There seems to be a train every 15 minutes to Central where I can interchange and go to Olympic Park. Both stations have lifts which will make it easier with the pram.

Travelling out of peak time is preferable if you want miss the moaning office workers as you try to squeeze your pram on the train. If you have to choose peak times try not to run over too many feet.

With my back pack full of snacks, water and the other essential we grab the tickets head out the door by pass the coffee shop and make our way to the station and off to the show.
From this experience planning seems to be the key when trying to find an accessible way of commuting with kids.

How have your train trips with the kids gone? What can be done to make it a better experience? Let us know in the Seeing Red on Rail survey for your chance to WIN an iPad Air and a double pass to see moveis for a year with NRMAtix!

Article by Amy Robinson, NRMA Advocacy team

New York International Auto Show preview

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The final touches are being put on the stands and displays, as the New York International Auto Show prepares to open its doors. It’s a popular show with the residents of America’s biggest city, along with tens of thousands of overseas visitors drawn to the Big Apple’s mild spring weather.

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There are, as always, a number of new and updated cars launched in New York – and one of the key players in an Australian sense, the new Kia Carnival (above), has jumped out of the blocks early – you can read our story at http://www.mynrma.com.au/motoring.htm The new Carnival is just that – all new from the ground up, and it promises to spark new life in to a newly revived people mover segment.

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Subaru, meanwhile, is being a bit more coy about its new Outback, only releasing a series of teasers (above) before the show kicks off in earnest tomorrow (Wednesday US time).

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There are fewer things more American than apple pie and Ford Mustangs, and the pony car celebrates its 50th birthday this year. We snapped this shot during show preparations, framed by another, newer American institution…

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New York is known as the City That Never Sleeps, and we’d believe that! We’ll bring you a full update and loads more pics as the show rolls out over the week. We’ll also be tweeting (twitter.com/nrma) what we see.

 

 

How safe are your tyres?

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As the Easter school holidays approaches and many families head off on road trips, it’s a good time to check the safety of your tyres. Here at NRMA we understand how critically important tyres are to road safety. They’re the only point of contact between your vehicle and the road, so they are fundamental to handling, braking and responsiveness on the road. In order for your car to operate safely on roads it’s important to ensure the tyres fitted to it are the correct size and type for your car and in good condition.

National Tyre Safety Week is a new initiative launched in Australia, aiming to raise awareness of the importance of tyre maintenance and safety on our roads. The campaign aims to build awareness of the need for regular maintenance by promoting expert safety checks at tyre dealers around the country. Tyreright has lent its support to the project and is offering free safety checks at any of its stores nationwide.

These checks include monitoring of tyre pressures, tread depths, tyre wear and a check of the spare tyre for the vehicle. National Tyre Safety Week is encouraging all motorists to have their tyres checked before their next roadtrip.

At NRMA, we are happy to support National Tyre Safety Week and the initiative to help keep our roads safe.

For more information on tyre safety visit the National Tyre Safety Week website.