SuperCheap Auto were selling these the other day,

and these CrashCards seem like a really clever idea:

Ever been in a car crash or know of someone that was in one and found yourself scratching around for a pen and paper so you can get all the right information for your insurance company, only to find that neither pen or paper are at hand and more often than not the anxiety and stress of the situation has thrown  all rational thinking out the car.

This situation is happening nearly every minute every day and is the inspiration behind an exciting new product CRASHCARD. My business partner and I decided to develop a very simple inexpensive process that could be used by all drivers regardless of age, gender or experience , After many months of research and development and with consultation with Insurance assessors , police and the dept of road safety we developed CRASHCARD .

Its simple and easy to follow as its packaged in a blister pack the card itself is durable and rigid and being a DL size format makes for easy postage. The crashcard pen is locked into place this guarantees you won’t be looking for a pen when you need it the most. But best of all it cost less than two gold coins  , just store it in the glove-box and feel comforted knowing its there

I have one of these in my glovebox. Hopefully I’ll never need to use it.

Running on empty

Running on emptyThey say Harry Firth, that great Australian race team manager would calibrate fuel gauges in the race cars he managed.  I know he did this with the A9X race car.  The reason is to allow pit stops to be planned accurately.  Removes the uncertainly.

I don’t like uncertainly either, so I did a test on my 1990 Toyota Corolla.

I didn’t change my driving style, so the mileage I got was what I’d expect in normal city driving.

Results as follows:


AE92 1990 Toyota Corolla Automatic with 4A-F engine

Fuel Tank Capacity 50 litres
Range until low fuel light 307 kilometres
Total range 386 kilometres
Low Fuel Light triggers when x litres left 5 to 10 litres left.

Don’t want to do this test yourself?  You could try a site like Tank on empty for tests other people have done.

Fitting a larger oil filter to a Toyota 4A engine

Oil filtersThere is a theory that the more oil capacity you have, the cooler the oil should run*.

So I’d thought I’d give it a try in my Toyota Corolla.  It has a 4AFC engine.  It’s normal filter is on the left (Ryco part no. Z386).

Ryco Filters have a feature on their website which allows you to search for filters based on their dimensions.  The dimensions we care about are Seam Diameter, Seal Diameter & Thread type.  Looking up the details for the Z386, shows 68.00mm | 63.00mm | 3/4-16-UNF-2B.

We plug the Seal and Seam dimensions into “Search for Dimensions” tool, and it returns the following results:
Search results

The Z442 is the one we want.  It’s 10mm longer.  The extra amount of capacity that give me?  36 cubic centimetres (36 CC).  Which looks like this:

* Other things to be aware of

  • The main reason why people fit a larger oil filter is so that the oil has a much bigger filtration area.  ie. more filter paper to filter the oil though.
  • If your oil filter has a bypass valve, then be aware that a different filter to the recommended one may have a different strength bypass spring.

Disclaimer: use a non-standard filter at your own risk.

Changing the remote key battery on a Hyundai Getz 2006-2009 model

You’ll need:

  • a Panasonic CR1220 battery, or equivalent.
  • a Pozidriv PZ00, or similarly sized, phillips screw driver.
  • a bowl

Key in bowlTaking the key apart is self-explanatory, just undo the screws.

This is where the bowl comes in.  You want to unscrew the screws in a dish, or a tray.  This is because they are about the same size as a pencil lead tip.

And if you drop them on carpet, you’ll waste time trying to find them.  Drop the screws onto a tiled floor, and they’ll bounce and bounce and bounce away.

Gently lever the battery out, and place the new battery in.

Put the screws back in, and you’re done.

The rules of lending a car, and why rental/company cars are more fun.

half fullA friend has let me borrow her car.

You can tell she’s clueless in the “let someone borrow your car” caper.  It’s got half a tank of fuel in it!

Doesn’t she know that you only lend a car when it has a quarter tank full of fuel in it???  Or less fuel preferably.  Provided it’s got enough gas in it to get to the closest gas station, that’s the way it’s done.

As far as a car goes, it’s ok.  Sure it’s hard to get the thing sliding sideways around corners, it’s got Electronic Stability Control.

It’s also got Anti-lock Braking as well.  So no locking all four wheels up.

And by jingo’s, it’s an automatic!  So no frying of a clutch plate is possible.

Sure, I could pull the electric fuses for the ABS and ESC systems, that was the trick with earlier company cars.

But I’ve been drilled in the lessons of bastardy known as the Army Q-Stores.

We didn’t issue it to you like that soldier, so double away and clean it so it’s shinier than new.

So it’s been washed, and it might even have a full tank of full in it.
[Geeze woman, what were you thinking when you parked it under a tree?!?  It became the preferred toilet space for every bird in a five mile range.  “Oh look, shiny clean car. Bombs away chaps! Splat!!”]

So I’ve covered off the rules of lending a friends car (no fuel, leave it grotty); now on to why company and rental cars are more fun!  From before the days of the internet, I present:

How to Recognise a Company Car

  1. They travel faster in all gears, especially reverse.
  2. They accelerate at a phenomenal rate.
  3. They enjoy much shorter braking distances.
  4. They can take speed bumps at twice the speed of private cars.
  5. They have a much tighter turning circle
  6. Battery and oil fluid levels; and tire pressures does not need to be checked
  7. The floor is shaped just like an ashtray.
  8. There is no limitation on the cheapest fuel that they can use.
  9. They do not have to be garaged at night.
  10. They can be driven up to 100 kilometres / 60 miles with the oil warning light on.
  11. They need cleaning less often, especially inside.
  12. The suspension is reinforced to allow carriage of concrete slabs and other heavy building materials.
  13. They are adapted to allow reverse to be engaged while the car is still moving forward.
  14. The tire side walls are designed for bumping into and over curbs.
  15. Unusual and alarming engine noises are easily eliminated by the adjustment of the radio volume control.
  16. No security is needed. They may be left anywhere, unlocked, with the keys in the ignition.
  17. They are built just right for towing boats and caravans.

Dear Europcar, if you want my feedback, you should make it easy.

Europcar Feedback form - error produced on screen

I’m giving you information to improve your business. If I don’t want to provide my phone number to you, you should not force me to by producing the error:
Please provide an answer to all questions before submitting.


  • I’m doing you a favour by replying.
  • I don’t want you to give me a call, about the average customer service.
  • In any case, you already have my number (from the rental agreement).

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Shame about the seat …

Peugeot 308 XS Had the chance to take the Peugeot 308 for a spin the other day.

A basic no-frills bottom-of-the-range XS Peugeot 308.

And it wasn’t bad at all. 

At $26,990 list price, was it $8,000 better than a Nissan Tiida?

Well, no.

My biggest gripe was that the seat in this model doesn’t have any lumber adjustment, so it was like an S&M session, but without any of the pleasure.  A set of Recaro seats would fix that.  Or an upgrade to the XSE version, but that is $34,500 list.

My second gripe was the front screen pillar obscures your view going around right-hand bends.  It’s an annoyance when you are trying to proceed along at speed.

My final gripe is that the clutch pedal is far too close to the transmission tunnel.  And it leaves no place for your size 10-4E shoe to rest.

Things I liked were that performance and handling was good/great for a luxury shopping trolley (well that’s what it’ would be used for) and the gearbox was smooth.

On price alone, I wouldn’t buy a Peugeot 308.  And if I had $26,990 to spare, I’d probably buy a Subaru Impreza 5 door hatch (new) or a MGB V8 GT (used), instead.

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If I was a traffic cop for a day,

Quick, to the Bat Van!       as you hear people say.

I have an idea.

Fit cameras to unmarked cars, which members of the public drive.

When the driver sees a particularly horrible traffic offense, they hit the record button.  This causes the video camera to dump the last 60 seconds of (buffered) video to disk, and causes the camera to record for the next minute.

At the end of the day, the recorded offenses are uploaded to the camera office.  Then reviewed, and tickets issued.

I reckon it would sharpen up people’s driving skills pretty damn quick.  Or, at least, take the numpties off the road.

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Do machines have souls?

wheel_graveyard Yes, some do.

You can feel this in how they behave.

Let’s speak of cars. I think the most reliable brand of car is Toyota.

But are their cars exciting??? NO!, they are as boring as dishwater.

The car I find most exciting is the HK GTS-327 Monaro. Which brings us onto the subject on museums.

I think it must be a dreary way to end your useful existence. Full of sound and fury one moment, gathering cobwebs the next.

I think static museums SUCK! A couple of hours on Sunday (long ago) were spent at the Tramway Museum, out at Bylands.

Now, gentle reader, I’m not a Gunzel, Roundhead or Foamer; but someone who is, explained the terms to me.

w2_in_the_bush After handing over my 8 gold coins, I was offered a ride on a SW2 class tram. Once the air compressor had finished going “chokka chokka chokka”, we were off.

It was like riding a W tram in Melbourne, but surreal in the sense that you’re in middle of cattle country.

Now the old bloke who accompanied me must have been a foamer. “W2 644 was built in 1953, and was rebuilt as an SW2 in 19xy due to an accident…”

It was good to see someone so dedicated to their hobby. After the tram ride, I wandered the sheds, sighting one or two trams I remembered from when they were in service. Took some photos too, most of them suck. Conclusion: if you’re interested in trams, or photography, there’s plenty to see at TMSV. Website of the day: The Dome of Foam

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