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    The air conditioner in your car uses a lot of energy to cool you down which means that your motor is working overtime as you are driving. While it is a lovely temperature inside your car, your motor is using up considerably more petrol than usual helping you chill out.


    The car battery is a very important part of the vehicle and needs to be regularly checked for signs of corrosion or wear. It is also useful to carry a set of jumper-leads in the car. Be careful when connecting and disconnecting them and if in doubt ask someone who is confident using jumper-leads to help. Just remember that some 4WD vehicles have a
    24 volt electrical system so be especially careful using jumper-leads on these kinds of vehicles.


    Try to buy petrol early in the week. Petrol outlets can differ greatly from week to week so keep an eye out for fuel bargins. Petrol costs generally rise at the end of the week to take advantage of weekend travelers, so start comparing prices from early in the week.


    If your brakes are feeling unusual or there is a grinding sound when you slow down, then it is likely that they need to be checked. The steering wheel may pull to the left or right when you are preparing to stop which is also a sign that you need to have your brakes checked. If you are not confident checking them yourself, ask a mechanically minded friend to have a look at them for you or head to your local mechanic for a check up.


    Check the fluids and lubricants in your car regularly. Make sure that you regularly top up the lubricant levels in your car including the oil, water, brake fluid, power steering fluid etc.
    Anti-freeze additives are available at most petrol stations or retail outlets that sell general car maintenance items.


    Car headlights have two beams - low beam and high beam. The best way to check that your car lights are aimed correctly is to face the car toward a wall/garage preferably at night, with your lights on and to slowly reverse away from the wall. Switch the lights between high beam and low beam – the low beam lights should dip to the left.

    To check the rear lights slowly reverse back toward the wall. You should also be able to see the stop lights reflected against the wall/garage when you brake. Better still, get a friend to help out and let you know if they are working and aimed correctly.


    Remove excess weight from the car. Carrying heavy things around in your boot of your car will have a big effect on your fuel usage. Try to minimise the amount of non-essential items that you have in the car which will improve your mileage and reduce the amount of money you are spending on petrol.


    Check these regularly for water, dust and general wear and tear. Get a friend to take a look every once and a while and let you know if everything is working properly. If the indicator sounds strange or is clicking unusually fast when you turn it on, you could have a blown globe or need to replace a fuse. If you are not mechanically minded, get a friend to help or head to your nearest mechanic for advice.


    Using public transport is an excellent way to save money on fuel bills and take some time to enjoy the scenery of your local community. Ballarat has access to excellent public transport networks including local buses, regional trains and coaches, taxis and the airport shuttle bus.

    Bus Timetables for Ballarat 

    Regional Coach and Train Timetables

    Ballarat Taxi Co-op Ltd, Ballarat Taxi Co-op currently maintains a fleet of 57 vehicles – 50 standard taxis and 7 WAT’s (Wheelchair Accessible Taxi’s). Taxis are available for travelling around town or for longer journeys if required. To book a Taxi in Ballarat call: 131 008


    If you are 18 years old or currently studying Year 12 at school, head to the RACV website and search for the ‘Free2GO’ program.

    Read about some great roadside assistance offers for young adults.



    By law all seatbelts must be retractable. You can check the operation of seat belts by pulling the seatbelt firmly and checking the holding power. Remember to check the seat belt mechanism for signs of dust and/or fatigue from time to time. Ragged or rough edges mean its time to replace the seat belts. Nylon belts deteriorate in sunlight over time so watch for signs of disintegration. If in doubt have your seatbelts checked by a professional mechanic.


    Check your tyres regularly. Under inflated tyres can waste fuel and may cause tyres to wear more quickly than usual. Keep track of wear and tear and remember that worn tyres are not only dangerous but are also considered unroadworthy, which means you might end up being issued with a defect notice by the police.


    The working life of windscreen wipers is about two seasons. Plastic backed wiper blades can become brittle in the cold so if you live in a cold climate, stainless steel blades are a much better choice.

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