The Road Ahead : April May 2007
FEATURES APR/MAY 07 19 STORY CHRIS BISHOP PHOTO ROSS PATTEN RACQ's road patrols are seen as 'miracle workers' who nearly always get a crotchety car back on the road. The Club's network of 100 south-east Queensland patrols and 175 contracted ser vice providers statewide attend about one million call-outs each year. Crucially, they are able to get about 90 percent of motorists mobile. With hundreds of types of vehicular ailments on last year's list, there's more than a hint of truth to the Road Ser vice's 'guardian angel' status. However, road ser vice patrols manager Wayne McCloud says some call-outs could be avoided. "RACQ prides itself on being able to help members in a moment of crisis, but there are times when motorists could help to avoid the problem," Mr McCloud said. "It's apparent to patrols that many drivers aren't familiar with the content of their handbook, a vital source of information on how to operate and maintain a complex piece of machiner y. "Motorists also need to appreciate that routine maintenance is not something that can be ignored. As well as sticking to recommended ser vicing schedules, drivers may be able to identify looming problems through regular checks of water and oil levels and tyre pressures." RACQ has identified several problems for motorists to avoid. • Even if your remote locking device won't unlock the car, the key itself can be used to open, lock or star t the car, until the remote's power source can be replaced. This may activate the alarm for a shor t period. • If your house has more than one vehicle, check that the key you are tr ying to use is the right one for that car. • If the key won't turn in the ignition, it may be because the steering wheel has been locked. Tr y to release the tension in the steering by turning the wheel while also turning the key. • Many fuel systems can be flooded if a vehicle is moved over shor t distances and cannot complete its warm-up cycle. When moving a car around the home, allow it to complete its warm-up (usually 2-3 mins). • Avoid switching interior lights to the 'on' mode. It is better to leave the interior light linked to the doors, which avoids the risk of forgetting to switch it off. • If you're unsure, don't be embarrassed to ask a vehicle salesperson, mechanic or RACQ technical advisor for tips on how to change a flat tyre. • If your car is going to be left idle for weeks, arrange for it to be star ted periodically. All cars have electrical systems that slowly drain batteries over time. Alternatively, contact your manufacturer for advice on how to maintain batter y charge. • Always remove the key from your vehicle, as some electric systems remain powered and can discharge a batter y. • Many cars require a foot on the brake or clutch pedal when star ting, while some have separate star t buttons. ON PATROL IN 2006 • The RACQ attended almost one million breakdowns. • More than 87 percent of members received ser vice within 40 minutes in Queensland. • The 'go' rate was 91 percent. • Nearly 40 percent of all road ser vice calls related to batteries and electrical systems. Wheels and tyres, fuel systems and ignition problems are also problem areas. • RACQ patrols rescued more than 1200 children and 300 animals trapped in vehicles. Roadside rescue RACQ's Road Service strives to get you going.
June July 2007