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ACE Tips

Stinky air conditioning?

25 August 2022


Does your car air conditioning smell a bit musty or like a sweaty sock?

There's a few things that could be causing it, either mould, fungus or mildew could be growing on the evaporator. Or your cars cabin air filter whos job it is to to keep the air inside the car nice and clean might need changing. Try the following and see if it helps:

  • You could wear a gas mask...
  • Buy a air-con cleaning spray that will kill mould and bacteria. Start your car, turn the air-con on to cool and run the fan on high with the windows open. Spray the cleaner into the intake vents on the outside of your car below the windscreen. Then switch to heat and repeat the spray.
  • Or you can change your cabin air filter. Check your cars instruction manual to see how often you should change this. You may be able to do this yourself (check you tube for how to videos) or you can take your car in to your local mechanic and they can do it for you.
  • You could try some prevention tactics to stop mould, mildew or fungus growing on your evaporator. Basically your evaporator needs to dry out which means turning your air-con off 2 blocks before your destination, open your vents and put the fan on full.

Of course there is chance the issue could be a bit more technical and you may need to take your car to a mechanic or air-con expert to be fixed.


Tyre tread OK?

18 August 2022


When was the last time you checked your cars tyres?

The condition of your car tyres affects your grip on the road, your stopping distance and even your fuel bill. To keep you safe on the road AA New Zealand recommends:

  • Checking your tyre tread depth by getting a NZ 20c coin and inserting it into the tread. If you can see the whole of the number 20 on the coin it is time to replace your tyres (check out our image for an example). Most tyre shops will check your tread depth for free.
  • Check your tyre pressure at a service station. To see what your pressure should be look for a sticker inside the drivers door pillar, in your cars manual or use the handy tyre pressure tool at https://tools.genless.govt.nz/individuals/tyre-pressure-tool
  • Check the overall condition of your tyres. Take a quick look at your tyres and if you see any cracks or bubbles in the side of your tyre, or the tread is wearing unevenly take your car to a garage or tyre retailer. Turn your front tyres hard left and check the inside of the tyre, and repeat with them turned hard right.


Headlights OK?

11 August 2022


With these dark, dreary and often wet nights it is really important to make sure your car lights are working at full capacity to keep you safe.
Follow these easy steps to check you car lights:
  • Park your car facing a wall or garage door with the engine switched on but not running and hand brake applied
  • Turn headlights to Park function and then walk around your car checking that your park/tail lights are working. (You should have 1 light on each corner of your vehicle and 1 lighting your number plate)
  • Switch headlights on to low beam. Check the beam pattern in front of you on the wall and walk to the front of your car and check each light is working on low beam
  • Switch headlights to high beam. Your beam pattern should change to higher up the wall in front of you. Also walk to the front of your car and check that each light is working on high beam
  • If your car has fog lights, turn them on and walk to the front of your car and check that they are both working
  • Check your indicators by switching the hazard lights on. Walk around your vehicle and ensure both the front and back indicators are working.
  • Finally check Brake and Reverse Lights are working. Place your foot on the brake and get someone to check that both brake lights are working. Keeping your foot on the brake and the handbrake on, place your car in reverse gear and get someone to check that your reverse lights are working. If you don't have someone to help you, reverse your car up to a wall either in a dark garage or outside at night and you will be able to see the reflection of the lights on the wall.


Doing some DIY?

11 June 2022


Ever started a DIY project, got part way through, and realised you are missing a key item?
Planning is mostly definitely the key to a successful DIY project, particularly if you're new to DIY like me!
Here are some key questions to ask yourself:
  • Do I know the steps I need to complete my project - google is your friend!
  • What tools will I need and do I have them all?
  • What materials do I need? Make sure you measure twice so you get enough of your materials
  • What fasteners do I need - screws, nails, specialists glue, liquid nails?
  • Have I read the application instructions, eg letting glue partially dry before joining items together or unable to be used in wet areas
  • Do I need to do a patch test, eg glue won't show through fabric or paint will adhere to surface
  • Do I have enough time to complete my task or part of my task, eg is it going to rain before my paint is dry!
  • Can I do this alone or will I need help at some stage, eg to help brace, lift or move heavy items
  • Dress for the occasion - this applies to yourself (wear old clothes or coveralls) and the work area (eg protective sheets for painting)
  • How will I clean up any spills if they occur - check the label of the product you are using and make sure you have the right cleanup products on hand


Do you have a car emergency kit?

3 June 2022


Hands up if you're a pragmatist and like to have planned things 'just in case'? 
Most of the time when we are driving it's as simple as get into the car and drive, maybe use google maps to find out how to get there. 
However sometimes things don't go to plan and in those situations you will definitely thank yourself if you pack a car emergency kit. This is what's in mine:
  • First Aid Kit
  • Spare cash (very well hidden - at least so the kids can't find it!)
  • Umbrella or poncho
  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Jumper Leads or a Jumpstarter
  • High Vis Vest
  • Blanket
  • Torch (either dynamo or with spare batteries)
  • A multipurpose tool to break windows, cut seatbelts
  • Tow Rope
  • Gloves
  • Baby wipes


Trouble with your wiper blades?

7 May 2022


Are your wipers making an annoying squeaking sound? 
There is nothing worse than driving in the rain and your wipers just don't seem to be doing their job properly.
In general you should replace your wiper blades every 6 to 12 months. Give them a good check every couple of months to ensure there isn't any obvious rust, cracks, tears or missing parts, the wipers are straight, and there are no foreign objects. And if you spot any of these signs then grab yourself some new wipers.
You may also need to replace your wiper blades if:
  • Your wipers are squeaking or squealing
  • Your wipers are shuddering across the windscreen rather than a smooth wipe
  • Your wipers are smudging rather than clearing the windscreen
  • You have a new windscreen


Time to plant your bulbs?

29 April 2022

Vinyl Paint

There's nothing that says Spring is here more than when the bulbs are flowering.  I'm a novice gardener so I chatted to friends and googled instructions on planting bulbs to make sure I got the best result with my limited experience.
Here's what I did last year and ended up with a pretty nice crop:
  • Check the planting instructions for each type of bulb you are planting (on the pack or google) to see if you need to store them in fridge before planting and to ensure you plant at the right depth
  • Prepare your garden bed by digging in some compost and sheep pellets (I got ours out of our paddock!)
  • If you are planting in pots then you can use a mix of soil, compost and sheep pellets or a specialist bulb mix from a garden centre
  • Loosen the soil and pop a handful of a specialist bulb mix in the hole
  • Plant the pointy end up (or if you can't tell which is the pointy end you can plant on it's side and it will find it's way)
  • Fill in the hole with bulb mix and press gently around your bulb
  • Feed your bulbs with a liquid fertilizer and water well
  • Put a layer of mulch around the garden or in your pots to help retain moisture and keep those weeds away!
  • If you feed your bulbs with a liquid fertilizer when you see the green shoots they will flourish even more
  • Water your bulbs once a week to keep the soil moist


Car interior need a refresh?

11 March 2022

Vinyl Paint

Are you thinking about refreshing the dashboard, seats or carpet in your car?
Here are some tips to get the best result:
  • Make sure you give all surfaces a really good clean with a wax and grease remover
  • Mask off the areas you don't want to paint to avoid accidentally painting them
  • Check the application instructions for the paint you are using to see if you need to use a primer first
  • Make sure you are in a well ventilated area
  • Start with a light coat first, then follow up with two medium coats to build the colour
  • Leave to dry for at least 30 mins before removing the masking tape
  • Always check the manufacturers instructions for the paint you have before starting your renovation.


It's time to be sun smart

22 October 2021


Now that daylight savings has started it's time to get slip, slop, slapping to keep you sun safe. 
To make sure you are protected check out consumer.org.nz for the results of their sunscreen tests to make sure the sunscreen you are using is effective.
Follow these sun safety tips:
  • look for sunscreens with an SPF of 30 or above, plus water resistance and broad-spectrum protection
  • apply sunscreen at least 20 mins before being in the sun
  • apply about 2 teaspoons for each leg, 1 teaspoon for each arm, your back, your front and your face
  • reapply often, at least every 2 hours you are outside
  • reapply after swimming or lots of sweating
  • cover up with suitable clothing, a hat and sunglasses
  • spend as much time in the shade as you can especially between 10am and 4pm when the sun's rays are the most intense


Struggling with visibility?

8 October 2021

Rainex Tips

Struggling with visibility while you are driving during a rain storm?  Have you tried a water repellant?
These products coat your windscreen and essentially fill in the microscopic holes and gaps on the glass that water would normally cling to and sit on your windscreen until your window wiper moves them off. When water does not have the gaps to cling to it just beads up and slides off.
Our sales rep Bruce does a lot of driving and he swears by Rain-X Original, particularly on the side windows.
To use you:
1. Wash and dry your windscreen thoroughly
2. Apply Rain-X to a small folded, dry cloth
3. Wipe onto exterior glass using a firm, circular and overlapping motion
4. Allow product to dry, a slight haze may appear
5. Reapply Rain-X to ensure you have completely covered the window and allow to dry
6. Remove haze by buffing with a dry cloth or sprinkling water onto the haze and wiping away with a paper towel

Need a break from painting?

1 October 2021

Tar Spot cleaning hints tips

Need a break from painting but don't want to or can't be bothered rinsing your paint brush out?
Did you know that you can wrap your paintbrush in plastic wrap or a plastic bag like a bread bag (make sure there are no crumbs left first!)?
Saves you having to rinse the paint brush out and it won't dry out.
You can actually leave it like that for a few days - just make sure it's nice and tightly wrapped so no air gets in there.


Tar Spots on your car?

13 August 2021

Tar Spot cleaning hints tips

Did you know that if you leave tar on your car, over time it can ruin the finish and the paint?

Try using peanut butter. Yes, you read that right, peanut butter! Apply smooth peanut butter with a microfibre cloth by dabbing it on to the car on your car. Allow the peanut butter to penetrate the tar - this will take up to 30 mins. Then wipe the peanut butter off with the microfibre cloth and repeat if necessary.

You can also try WD40 by spraying it directly onto the tar spots and letting it soak in for 10 to 30 mins. Rub off with the microfibre cloth, and repeat if needed.

Finally you can try a commercial tar removing product like Bars Bugs Bug and Tar Remover. Just spray it on, let it sit for a while and wipe it off with a microfibre cloth.


Cold engine won't start?

11 August 2021

Cold Engine won't start tips tricks

Got that "rrr rrr rrr" sound when you are trying to start your cold car?

Your car battery produces less electrical current when it's cold, due to the chemical reaction being slower than on a warm day. Cold batteries simply don't produce the same amount of power as warm batteries, which is what could be causing your "rrr rrr rrr" sound.

Try turning all your accessories that use battery power off before you start your car - stereo, heater, windscreen wipers, headlights. That might just give you enough energy to start the car.  Still won't start?

Try spraying CRC Engine Start into the air intake (check your user manual to locate it). Hold the can 20cm away and spray for 2 seconds, try turning the engine on, and repeat if necessary.


Leaking radiator?

30 July 2021

Leaking radiator tips tricks

Ever backed your car out of the garage only to see a pool of fluid on the floor?
The good news is if it's coming from your radiator, chances are you can fix it yourself temporarily until you can get to your mechanic or radiator specialist.
When choosing a radiator stop leak product:
Read the label carefully!
Check the product matches your skill level, ie some require you to flush the entire system before adding the sealant
Some anti-leak products are specifically designed for certain models like Honda or Ford or engine types such as diesel or petrol
Confirm it will bond with the material you are trying to repair, ie is it aluminium, steel or plastic specific?
Is it compatible with your anti-freeze?
Does it need to be applied to a warm or cold engine?
Does your engine need to be running when pouring the product in?
If in any doubt, get in touch with your mechanic or radiator specialist and get some advice.

Got an oil stain problem?

23 July 2021

Oil stain cleaner eater degreaser remover

Has your car leaked oil in your garage or on your driveway?
Here's some tips to get that concrete looking sparkling clean again:
If the leak is fresh then mop up as much as you can as soon as you can and you may just prevent it staining
If the stain is small you might be able to get it off with some good old fashioned elbow grease of hot water, detergent and a steel brush. Pour detergent on, scrub with brush and wash away with hot water - repeat if required
If it's a large stain or it's been there for a while you'll need a specialist product like a degreaser or CRC Oil eater. Make sure you follow the instructions on the product to get the best result.

Jack frost iced up your windscreen?

16 July 2021

windscreen ice de-icer winter ice

Has Jack Frost visited you?
If you live in an area prone to frost or snow then you'll know that sinking feeling when you go outside to get into your car only for the windscreen to be iced up - normally when you're in a hurry! 
Here at ACE we are lucky enough to live in an area that rarely frosts but this is what we do when it does:
Prevention: if we remember (!) we cover our windscreen the night before with a sheet (you could use a car cover or even cardboard) so the ice forms on that, not our windscreen
Start our vehicle and turn on the front and rear window defrosters
Use a plastic ice scraper to remove the ice - don't use metal as it will scratch the glass
We sometimes pour warm water onto our windscreen. Make sure the water is not too hot or you may crack your windscreen and no one wants that drama first thing in the morning! 
To save us going back inside we have a specialist de-icing product like Prestone De-Icer in our car. We simply spray it on our windscreen and other windows and the ice melts making it easier to scrape off with the ice-scraper.
Hint: if the layer of ice is really think then score the ice with the scraper before you spray the product on.