How Often Do You Need to RE-Gas Your AC

Why does it always seem like you car air conditioner breaks down when you need it the most? We all wish the air conditioner would just work all of the time, but unfortunately, a little care and upkeep is required to avoid uncomfortable drives on hot days.


How do you ensure your car’s air conditioning system never lets you down? How often should you be servicing it and what are the signs that it may be in need of some care? Sandgate Auto Electrics are car repair experts, and we have all of the answers you need right here in this article. With our help, you’ll never confuse your car for a sauna again!


How often does your car air conditioner need re-gassing?


It’s always better to be safe than sorry, and we often find ourselves in trouble due to neglect or complacency. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it, right? Not quite. A better saying might be “if it ain’t broke, make sure it stays that way.”


A reliable rule of thumb is to have your vehicle’s heating and cooling system serviced or re-gassed no less frequently than every two years. Many cars, especially newer ones, are usually fine to last a little longer, but your compressor (the device that transfers gas into the condenser) will thank you if you give it regular upkeep. Most vehicles lose at least 10 percent of their aircon gas every year. A regular car aircon re-gas is the easiest way to ensure you are never caught without access to cold air.

air conditioner need re-gassing

What is car air conditioning re-gassing?

Re-gassing is the process of removing old refrigerant gas from your car air conditioner to replace with new refrigerant. The evaporator in your car is very susceptible to corrosion as its main job is reducing the heat inside of your vehicle to help cool it.


You really want to avoid a corroded evaporator; this is often irreparable damage that can be costly to replace. This is yet another reason why regular air conditioning maintenance will ensure the various wiring and components of the unit steer clear of damage. It is also vital that an air conditioning specialist performs this work for the optimal safety and quality.


Leaking car air conditioning system


Leakages are a definite sign that your air conditioning system requires a service. It is also important to be aware that a broken unit can cause leakages, so it may be happening even if you don’t see or notice it.


Leak detection is part of air conditioner servicing which will also check the status of things like drive belt pulleys, hoses, temperatures and more.

signs your car air conditioning is fauly

Warning signs your air conditioning is faulty


Leakages aren’t the only warning sign your system may be sending you while asking for help. If you notice strange odours when you turn the unit on it means bacteria or mould has built up in the unit and is coming out via the air vents. This does more than just create an unpleasant smell; it can also lead to viruses and allergic reactions for you and your passengers.


As this bacteria builds up every time you use your system, it is essential to ensure this is regularly cleaned out to avoid further harm.


Lack of correct temperature control is another sign. Your system may look like it is on,  lights and all, but for some reason, your vehicle isn’t cooling down? It’s past time for you to bring it in.


Low air flow


If you feel as though your system isn’t pushing out as much air as it usually does, there is a number of things that could be causing a blockage. The obvious issue is an obstruction in the air duct system, but there may also be debris in the evaporator housing which is blocking air circulation.


The issue can also be caused by a low blower motor voltage or a loose wheel on the motor shaft. If you notice a dip in the power of your air, let a professional know so they can correctly diagnose and fix the issue.


Why avoid cheap car air conditioning service providers?


At Sandgate Auto Electrics, we know we offer excellent prices for high-quality work. We also know how attractive it may be to go with the cheapest option for air conditioner repairs but be warned, there are some elements of your vehicle that you don’t want to skimp on quality for.


Cheap air conditioning re-gassing will not only harm the environment, but it also isn’t great for your car. Cheaper servicing options will often use an M30 refrigerant which is highly flammable, bad for your vehicle and the environment and most importantly, your health.


Refrigerant gases can cause significant damage to the ozone layer which is why qualified professionals are experts in the proper methods for disposing of old gasses to produce the least environmental impact. In many cases, it is possible to recycle refrigerant gasses, which is the best way to protect the environment and reduce our carbon footprint.

Automotive service technician

Why you need a professional

We love the DIY work ethic however car air conditioning servicing does not fall into the possible options for this ethos. Very particular equipment is required to service your air conditioning unit, and it isn’t the type of stuff you find laying around the garden shed.


Along with the equipment, the refrigerant in the system is tricky to deal with, and it is imperative that it is all recovered. It is illegal to vent the refrigerant into the environment and extremely harmful to the environment. Australian law prohibits the depleting of substances and synthetic greenhouse gases into the open air, and only technicians with specific licenses are allowed to perform the work to ensure it is done correctly.


We should also mention that the refrigerants have a low boiling point that can cause freeze burns if mishandled and touch the skin or eyes. As you can see, there are many reasons to let the professionals at Sandgate Auto Electrics handle this for you.


Fun facts about air conditioning


We love air conditioning; it keeps us very comfortable after all, especially in the heat. You may be interested to know that everything has heat with the exception of absolute zero (-238.C).


Two of our favourite refrigeration rules are:


  1. Refrigeration is the act of removing heat: Cold is the absence of heat
  2. Heat will pass to anything that has less heat; this can merely be slowed and not stopped


The costs of a car aircon re-gas


The cost of a quality car aircon re-gas will vary based on the model and year of your car, as well as the level of service required.


This is another reason why regular servicing keeps costs low over a more extended period. It may seem like you are spending money on a more regular basis, but paying the lowest possible price per service will beat a huge bill when you need to replace your whole system or repair more severe damage.


How long does it take to re-gas air conditioning?


Once again, timeframes come down to the severity of your service (as well as how busy the service provider is). A standard car re-gas can usually be done while you wait, however. Sandgate Auto Electrics work as efficiently as possible, as we realise how valuable your time is, and ensuring you’re happy is our number one priority!


We stock a wide range of parts, which means same day repairs are on offer for most jobs. Once the new gas is installed the temperature change in your car should be instant.


Look after your vehicle, book with Sandgate Auto Electrics today


Look after your vehicle and ensure you never get caught in the heat without working air conditioning. Call Sandgate Auto Electrics today to book in for a free quote, and we’ll confirm the necessary repairs and price before we start any work.


Our talented car air conditioning repair technicians are also on hand to answer any questions you may have if you are unsure about something that doesn’t seem right in your vehicle. They also love to offer advice, for example, we strongly recommend that you run your car air conditioning throughout the year, even when you don’t necessarily need it. Obviously, we don’t mean throwing on the aircon when it’s snowing outside, but intermittent use will keep the system lubricated and leak tight. This is due to the refrigerant carrying the oil that lubricates the system and compressor. By keeping the seals and hoses wet, they won’t dry out or crack, which is often the cause of most leakages.We aim to educate our customers about repairs and the best ways to efficiently use their aircon for maximum longevity and cost-efficiency.


Sandgate Auto Electrics and Air Conditioning are well versed in all things auto mechanic/electrical so call us for all of your vehicle repairs and services. It doesn’t matter if you own a car, truck, 4WD or Boat, we have the knowledge and experience to make sure you stay safe and avoid any costly issues.


How to choose an auto mechanic?

Have you ever been running late for work and then your car won’t start? Or have you ever loaded your ute for an outback getaway to realise you’ll have to cancel your trip when you jump in the driver’s seat? Choosing the right mechanic to maintain your vehicle is crucial. As we become more reliant on cars for work, travel and exploring, we need to keep on top of our vehicle servicing. So, how do you find the right mechanic? Take a look at our top tips below.

Auto mechanic services

 Types of Mechanic Services

The main types of mechanic services are:

  • New car dealers
  • Independent operators
  • Sub-component specialists
  • Mobile workshops


So, what do each of these mechanics offer? New car dealers offer full services and usually use only genuine parts for your car. This option is generally more expensive. However, these mechanics are specialised and can diagnose issues quickly and accurately. Independent operators offer services to a wide range of vehicles. They can be a less expensive option. These mechanics can usually complete servicing that doesn’t impact your car warranty.

Sub-component specialists specialise in certain aspects of vehicle servicing. This can include gearbox repairs and auto electrical issues. If you know there is a specific issue with your car, this is  the best option. Mobile workshops act as the most convenient way for vehicle servicing. As they are mobile, they can come to you and fix any issues with your vehicle. This is handy if you break down at home, work or on the go.

Auto Mechanic Services

 Don’t Jump in With a Big Service

It is always best to find your go-to mechanic before you are facing a major problem. If you have no issues with your car now, why not book in for a scheduled maintenance task? This could be an oil change or a tyre rotation. This way, you can check out your new mechanic’s skills, professionalism and quality while they’re in the workshop and help you get a better understanding of their prices. If you have to go to a new mechanic for a big repair, we recommend asking as many questions as you can. This will help you feel more comfortable and give you peace of mind that your vehicle is in safe hands and at a reasonable price. This should also show that your mechanic knows what the issue is and how to fix it.

Car Mechanic

What Questions Should You Ask When Choosing a Mechanic?

Before you jump in for your service, it is important to make sure you’re asking the right questions. Although a mechanic may offer a great rate, there are still some extra things that are worth checking. Take a look at our suggestions below that will make you feel more confident with your new mechanic.

What Are Your Accreditations?

Formal mechanics must have a qualification. This can include a TAFE certificate or a formal apprenticeship. Another thing to check is if they belong to a motor industry association. This is no guarantee of quality, but it does help determine if the mechanic is qualified to do the job. It’s worth asking the question if there are no recent certifications displayed on the office wall.

What Are Your Warranties and Guarantees?

It is within your rights to choose exactly which mechanic services your vehicle. As long as they use genuine or equivalent parts, you can pick your mechanic. However, if your vehicle is covered under warranty, that’s a different story. Warranty servicing must be completed by the dealership’s mechanic or an authorised mechanic. Make sure you ask about your new mechanic’s warranties and guarantees. They may offer a few sweet deals or be able to cover your warranty servicing as an authorised mechanic.

Car Maintenance

What Brands and Models Do You Service?

4x4s, family sedans and everything in between will have different servicing needs. When choosing your mechanic, make sure you check what experience they have. If you have a heavy vehicle or commercial car, you may want to find a specialist who focuses on your type of vehicle.

It is also important to check if your mechanic is familiar with the brand and model of your car. Some brands may have similar issues across all their models, which can be useful if you need to take your car in. If your mechanic is familiar with the brand, they may fix the issue quicker and save you money in labour costs.

Check Out the Workshop Before You Book in

The standard of the workshop could be an indicator of the service quality. If you’ve found a mechanic that you like the sound of, why not check out the workshop before you book in for a service? If it looks disorganised and messy, you may find that they aren’t able to deliver on time. Maybe they aren’t able to take the best care of your vehicle. If you take a look and the workshop is clean and tidy, it will give you confidence that you’re dealing with someone that takes care and pride in their space. It could also be they don’t have any work and so spend all their time organising themselves. You will know if this is the case by the number of vehicles being serviced in the workshop.

 Do Your Homework

However you find your mechanic, make sure you do your homework and ask the right questions. Take a look at their website and reviews online to see what other people are saying. You can also find out how long they’ve been in the business, what their operating hours are and look at their social media for recent jobs. Your online research will help you compare mechanics quickly and easily before making contact.

Reliable Mechanics in South East Queensland

Sandgate Auto Electrics has a team of mechanics who can solve any problem. From log book servicing, insurance repairs and advice, we can help.  We are an RACQ approved repairer with a nationally recognised warranty. We are an approved auto electrician and mechanic that locals have trusted for over 50 years.

Not only do we service premium brands, but we also pride ourselves on being affordable. We use the latest computer technology to reliably diagnose and fix any issues. We are located in Sandgate, North Brisbane, and we look after clients from  Brisbane right through to the Sunshine Coast and Toowoomba. Contact us on (07) 3269 3158 or via our contact page for a free quote or to book a service.

Got a Question for Us?


Towbars Brisbane – A Beginners Guide to Choosing The Right Towbar

Love to take your boat down to the river for a spot of fishing? Or drive around Australia with a caravan? Well, it’s essential to have the right towbar on your vehicle. Doing so will avoid damage to what you are towing, or the vehicle itself.

No matter what type of trailer you plan on towing, you will need a towbar to do so.

But, towbars come in an assortment of different sizes, weights, and shapes. This can make it very difficult to know which towbar is the right one for you. It depends on what you’re towing and the type of vehicle you drive.

Like most people, you probably have no idea what the difference between towbars is.

Well, no need to worry, we’ve got you covered!

Here we discuss the most important points you need to know about towbars. We help you decide on the right towbar. This depends on your vehicle, what you are towing and where you plan on venturing. We visually present the components of the towbar system. What it looks like and what they are called. We go through the top problems, what to watch out for legally and with regards to your safety. Get started with our beginners guide to choosing the right towbar.

Types of Towbars

Usually, there are four different types of towbar styles to choose from:

– Rear Step

– Flat Tongue

– Horizontal Hitch

– Swan Neck

But, the names given to towbar types doesn’t make it any easier to know what is the difference between them.

Rear Step Towbar

Rear Step Towbar


Rear step towbars are designed to be used usually on 4WDs only. This type of towbar sticks out further from the rear of the vehicle than other towbars do. Then a rear step is fitted onto it.

What makes these towbars suitable for 4WDs exactly? Well, they are much better suited for off-road use than a regular towbar. Rear Step towbars also provide better ground clearance. A downside is that they are much heavier, and only manufactured for specific models of 4WDs and utes.

Flat Tongue Towbar

Flat Tongue Towbar


Flat tongue towbars are designed only for lighter vehicles and loads. The flat tongue tow bar incorporates a detachable tow ball. This fits into a horizontal slot on the towbar.

The ‘tongue’ of the tow ball is then secured by using two large bolts. The bolts are placed through the top of the hitch and offer security you can trust and rely on.

Horizontal Hitch Towbar

Horizontal Hitch Towbar


A hitch refers to the reinforced metal structure attached to the vehicle. A hitch has two components. A Trailer hitch attaches to the vehicle. The receiver hitch slides into the trailer hitch and has a surface for the towball to be bolted on.

The horizontal hitch is best suited for when you need to haul heavier loads. The Horizontal hitch tow bar has a square tongue which connects to the trailer hitch. It is like the Flat Tongue towbar but taken to the next level, and is available in two various sizes:

– 40mm which is for towing medium-sized loads

– 50mm which is for heavy-duty towing

A sturdy metal pin is securely inserted through the side of the hitch to keep the receiver secure. The Horizontal Hitch towbar is also compatible with a weight distribution hitch.

Swan Neck Towbar

Swan Neck Towbar


Swan Neck towbars are popular in Europe, and Non-European manufacturers rarely use them. A Swan Neck towbar is generally attached to the towbar permanently. This eliminates the need for it to be connected and detached for each use.

Swan Neck towbars have a U-shape or a rounded L-shape. Modern vertical hitch towbars resemble the look of a swan neck, which is how they received their name.

In Australia, it’s often difficult to find these towbars. They most likely will have to be imported from overseas, making them more expensive than other local options.

Choosing the Right Hitch

Now that we’ve covered the different types of towbars, it’s time to move onto hitches. A hitch is a device for the trailer coupling to connect to. A Tow ball is the most common type of hitch.

The touring you plan to do will often decide on the type of hitch you will need for you. Using the right hitch is essential. Selecting the wrong one for your setup could lead to disastrous results. The wrong hitch can damage both your trailer and tow vehicle.

Choosing the Right Hitch
Choosing the Right Hitch
Choosing the Right Hitch

50mm Tow Ball

You are likely to find that most towbars will come with a 50mm tow ball as the standard option. Most trailers come with a 50mm coupling which connects with this kind of hitch.

A benefit of the standard 50mm tow ball is that it allows for a variety of other uses. It is ideal for mounting a spare wheel or attaching bike carriers.

For most towing scenarios, a standard 50mm tow ball is suitable. But, they allow less articulation and swiveling than off-road couplings do.

If you push a 50mm tow ball past its limits, it’s possible that the trailer coupling may completely detach from the tow ball. Otherwise, it may cause damage to the towbar.

Articulating Hitches (Off-Road Couplings)

Articulating hitches are also commonly known as off-road couplings. In the event that your trailer loses control and flips. A full articulating hitch allows the trailer to roll independently of the tow vehicle. This allows the tow vehicle to maintain control and keep the driver and passengers safe. Here is a video demonstration from the Advanced Offroad Trailers Incorporated crew.

Articulating hitches connect to a 50mm standard tow ball. Another option is, if they came with a tongue, they could be put into the hitch receiver instead.

Articulating Hitches


Weight Distribution Hitch

A weight distribution hitch ensures the towing vehicle and the trailer are kept level. Using a standard 50mm tow ball with a heavy trailer can cause the trailer to pull down the back of the vehicle. If this happens, it will cause a dangerous handling and steering problem for both of the trailer and tow vehicle.

Weight Distribution Hitch


Install a weight distribution hitch and tune it. This will ensure that the weight is evenly spread across the chassis of the two vehicles. Without a weight distribution hitch, the weight will be focussed on the tow ball.

Weight Distribution Hitch


This hitch is essential if you plan to drive a heavy caravan.

Weight distribution hitches come in a variety of sizes to suit your trailer. They range from heavy duty all the way down to mini.

Some of these hitches are not designed to work with an OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) tow bar, and not all hitches work with all vehicles. It’s important first to check that your vehicle is capable of using one.

Towbar Classes and Why It Matters to You

Towbars are separated into weight classes. The classes are used to measure the tow capacity of a towbar. The weight classes are usually based on the type of towbar as well as the way it is mounted to the vehicle.

It’s important to make sure that you have the right towbar class based on your load and vehicle. Using a towbar to tow more than its weight rating can cause serious damage to your rig. The brakes and handling can become obstructed. By towing too much weight, it puts pressure on the engine. The extra pressure can cause the engine to overheat. The brakes will also wear faster. There is a chance the transmission may also fail. Unseen damage can shorten the life of your vehicle.

Towbars are rated into three different classes: Class 2, Class 3 and Class 4. The class determines the difference between the style of towbar and towing capacity.

Class 2 Standard Towbars

Class 2 towbars are the lightest of all the classes. They can carry a load of up to 1200 Kg. Class 2 is only suited for towing single motorcycle trailers or a small six by four-metre trailer.

Class 2 towbars generally will only use a flat tongue hitch.


Type:  Light-duty

Weight Rating: 1200 Kg

Hitch Type: Flat Tongue

Example Vehicle: Hatchback

Example Load: Small Box Trailer

Weight Distribution Hitch Compatible: No


Class 3 Towbars

Class 3 towbars are made to carry medium weight loads, with a rating of up to 1600 Kgs. They are best suited for towing small boats, multi-motorcycle trailers, and compact cars.

Class 3 towbars are the least popular choice. For a small increase in price, it’s possible to buy a class 4 towbar which can tow more than double the weight.


Type: Medium-duty

Weight Rating: 1600 Kg

Hitch Type: Horizontal Hitch

Example Vehicle: Family Sedan

Example Load: Large Box Trailer

Weight Distribution Hitch Compatible: No


Class 4 Heavy-duty Towbars

The main purpose of Class 4 towbars is for heavy-duty towing, as they have a rating of up to 3500 Kg. When you have a large and heavy load like a caravan, car trailer, horse float, or boat, you will need a class 4 towbar.  This is the only class of towbar that is compatible with weight distribution hitches.


Type: Heavy-duty

Weight Rating: 3500 Kg

Hitch Type: Horizontal Hitch

Example Vehicle: 4WD

Example Load: Caravan

Weight Distribution Hitch Compatible: Yes

The specs of each class provide a quick breakdown of each towbar class. This makes it easier to find the correct class for you based on the hitch type and weight rating.


Choosing the Right Towbar for Your Vehicle

What towbar is right for me? How many different kinds are there? What is the difference? I need to tow a trailer. What class is right?  

These are some of the questions which are probably going through your mind. Since when did buying a towbar become so confusing?

The easiest way to determine which type of towbar is right for you is to look in the owner’s manual of your vehicle. Or check your vehicles identification plate located in the doorjamb. Each car manufacturer lists how much weight your vehicle can tow. The weight limit tells you which type of towbar is the right fit for you.

Choosing the Right Towbar for Your Vehicle

There is no point to attach a heavier class towbar to a vehicle which is unable to tow that much weight.

As an example, a small hatchback car may only be able to tow up to 1000 Kg. So using a heavy-duty towbar with a 3500 Kg capacity instead will still be limited to 1000 Kg.

Then there are some vehicles which will only be compatible with higher class towbars.

For example, an SUV which can tow 3500Kg is likely only to have the option to have a class four towbar. People who drive an SUV usually don’t want or need to use a light-duty towbar.

Make sure you always check what your vehicle’s tow capacity is. Also, check that what you are towing will not exceed this capacity. Always select the towbar which is suited for what load you are towing.

First, confirm that your vehicle can tow the load you will be carrying. Then choose the weight class of towbar which is appropriate for your vehicle.


What to Look Out For

When it comes time to choosing the right towbar, there are many factors which you need to consider. It depends on what you plan on towing. Do you only plan on towing a dirt bike on a small trailer to the local track? Then a class 2 flat tongue towbar is sufficient for your needs. But, if you plan to haul a large caravan across Australia, a class 4 horizontal hitch towbar is what you need.

Here are a few things to look out for when choosing your next towbar:

Does The Towbar Meet Australian Standards?

If you buy a towbar in Australia, it must meet the Australian Standard for towbars, AS/NZS 4177. All towbars should be tested in a NATA accredited laboratory.

But what if you plan on importing a towbar from overseas from Asia or Europe? Well, you must make sure that it is compliant. If your towbar is not compliant, you may have an unroadworthy towbar which may be a safety risk.

If you are unsure if your towbar meets the Australian Standard, you can look for the compliance plate which is usually located under the towbar or on the inside frame.

Does The Towbar Meet Australian Standards?


If you aren’t sure, it’s advisable to contact the towbar manufacturer to find out if the towbar is compliant.

What If There Is No Towbar Available For My New Vehicle?

If you’ve just purchased a brand shining new model vehicle, it may not have a towbar available for it yet.

It’s a little-known fact that towbar manufacturers may wish to design a new towbar by using your vehicle. They may also offer a heavily discounted price, or give it to you for free in exchange for using your vehicle.

It’s worth reaching out to towbar manufacturers to ask.

Vehicle Warranty With a Towbar

Are you worried that an aftermarket towbar may void your new vehicle warranty? As long as it meets the Australian Design Standard approval, then the warranty will not be voided.

What if there was an issue or an accident? Then the vehicle manufacturer would need to prove that the towbar was responsible for the fault. If it were the aftermarket towbar at fault, then you need to notify the supplier. They would then follow up the problem with the vehicle manufacturer.

Luckily, you are covered by your comprehensive insurance in either scenario if you buy an aftermarket towbar. Many towbar manufacturers offer a lifetime warranty on their towbar.

Will Reversing Sensors be Affected by a Towbar?

Generally, by adding a towbar to your vehicle, it won’t interfere with a reverse sensor or camera system. But each model is different. Some vehicles have very low mounted sensors. It’s possible they may pick up the tow ball. So checking with the towbar manufacturer is highly recommended.

An easy workaround is to remove the tow ball from the hitch receiver when not being used.

Reverse sensors will still go off anytime you are towing a trailer and reversing. Some aftermarket reversing sensors do have a cut off switch installed. But, anyone using OEM reverse sensors will have to just put up with the beeping.

Installing your Towbar: DIY or Professional

So you’ve selected the right towbar for your vehicle and your needs, what next? You will need to decide whether you plan to install your towbar DIY or have it installed by a professional. Both options have advantages and disadvantages.

By using a professional to install your towbar, it’s easier to make a warranty claim. The installer will likely be held responsible in case something was to happen. There are some vehicles which will need cutouts to the bumper to be made. If you don’t feel comfortable to do this yourself, then it’s best to have professional help.

Connecting the wiring looms is a straightforward and simple process. Many people feel confident to do it on their own.

There are many towbars which offer plug and play wiring looms. This has made installation much easier, as well as improved reliability.

Over the last ten years, wiring complexity in vehicles has gotten more complicated. When it comes to DIY installing a towbar, the most difficult thing is trying to find the correct loom to plug into. If it’s overwhelming, then a professional is probably the best option.

Installing your Towbar: DIY or Professional


With that said, if you prefer to take the DIY approach, first make sure you have the right tools. Then refer to the installation instructions which come included with your new towbar. If you’re still confused, then the manufacturer is more than happy to help you over the phone with any queries.

Installing your towbar DIY does take a bit longer than if a professional fitted it. So it’s a trade-off between saving some extra money or saving some time.

There are some vehicles where installing the towbar is extremely easy. For other vehicles, they can have a complicated setup which goes a bit beyond most hobbyist auto mechanics skills. Modern European cars are usually in this category. If you have a European car, such as BMW, Volvo, Mercedes Benz, Audi, VW, Peugeot, Renault, Range Rover or SAAB. Then it is advisable to have a professional install the towbar.

Genuine Vs Aftermarket Towbars

Wat exactly is the difference between genuine and aftermarket towbars? Are aftermarket products safe and reliable?

Aftermarket towbar brands don’t only offer a lower price. Customer support is better than genuine towbars purchased through a dealership.

A dealership will often need to contact their headquarters if an issue arises. With a lot of headquarters overseas, this can take quite a while.

But, Australian aftermarket products offer far superior customer service than those from overseas.

If you are buying a towbar for an older vehicle, it may be difficult to find genuine parts and an OEM towbar. Especially when it comes to pins, bolts, and tongues. If your car brand decides to stop manufacturing them, they can be tough to find.

This can be a problem with certain car manufacturers. Some OEM towbar designs are not compatible with any aftermarket accessories. Examples include off-road couplings or weight distribution hitches.

Some towbars also have a pin off centre, in a different location. So, an aftermarket tongue with the hitch receiver can’t be used.

Most aftermarket towbar brands provide a lifetime guarantee on their spare parts.

Laws and Legislations Around Safe Towing

There are many different laws and regulations in Australia in regards to towing. Some of these laws and legislation are not commonly known. Before you head out around Australia, it’s important to make sure you are compliant to tow your rig safely.

A Guide To Safe Towing

Towing is a lot more complicated than everyday driving. When you are towing a caravan, it requires you to be hyper-focused. You also need to take greater safety measures than usual.

When you are towing a trailer or caravan, you must ensure that you meet all safety and legal requirements.

The following safe towing guide (PDF, 155 KB) provides information on how to safely drive a vehicle with a trailer. It also covers how to make sure they are correctly equipped.

Obscured Number Plate

A vehicle can have the rear number plate covered while it is towing a caravan or trailer. The caravan or trailer must have its number plate displayed.

A-Frame Towing Guide

A-Frame towing means towing a vehicle which has all its wheels on the road. The towing vehicle connects to the towbar of the vehicle being towed. This then forms a triangular “A” shaped frame – which is how it gets its name.

The A-frame towing guide (PDF, 191 KB) contains more information. It shows how to safely perform A-frame towing of a vehicle with a GVM (Gross Vehicle Mass) of up to 4.5 tonnes.

Note: The Safe towing guide & A-Frame Towing Guide comply with Queensland legislation. For travel outside of Queensland, consult the relevant state or territory’s laws.

Other unknown laws and legislation in Australia include:

Driving Too Slowly

A lot of people often complain about drivers with caravans driving too slow. But, it’s not illegal to drive slow. If you unreasonably obstruct drivers or pedestrians, you can receive a ticket. Each state has a different rule, so it’s recommended to check for each location you plan to travel to.

You can drive at a speed which is safe and ‘reasonable’ considering the road conditions. But if you are planning to drive at 20 km along the freeway to save fuel, you’re not going to have a good time with the Police and other drivers frustrated with your behavior on the road.

Breakaway System

In every state of Australia, for any trailer over 2500 kg, it is necessary to have a trailer breakaway system fitted which has a backup battery.

A trailer breakaway system is a failsafe which can bring a trailer to a safe stop. It works by activating the trailer’s electric brakes if it becomes disconnected during driving from the tow vehicle.

Breakaway System


For trailers registered in NSW, you also need to be able to monitor the battery from within the tow vehicle. This monitor must also have an audible and video alert if the voltage of the battery drops below usable levels.

Number Plate Height

A registration plate must be attached to a vehicle so that no part of the plate is more than 130 cm from the ground. As per the Australian Design Rules (ADRs) 61/02 Vehicle Markings, Section

Do you have a large off-road caravan or camper? Your registration plate may exceed this restriction. There appears to be little consistency around the number plate height rule. If you try and do research, you will be met with confusing information. Also, there are no precise details on how to adjust your number plate. It’s recommended to get out your tape measure and double check you are compliant. If not, then you should contact an auto electrician or auto mechanic. They should be able to provide a solution to ensure you meet rules and regulations.

Towing Speed Limits

Different states have different speed limits for drivers who are towing a trailer.

– In NSW, if your rig exceeds a combined weight of 4500 kg, the maximum speed you can do is 100 km/h

– In Tasmania, the maximum speed you can drive is 90 km/h regardless of the trailer weight

– In WA, the maximum speed limit is 100 km/h regardless of the minimum weight limit

– For other states, you can drive up to the speed limit while towing a trailer

Towing Mirrors

A lot of drivers are unaware of legislation related to towing mirrors.

Rear vision mirrors must provide a minimum field of vision, according to the ADRs, Vehicle Standard (Australian Design Rule 14/02 – Rear Vision Mirrors) 2006.

If you are towing a full-size caravan with your vehicle, it’s likely that it will restrict your vision. To make sure you comply with the ADRs, you will need to attach extension mirrors to avoid receiving a hefty fine. By installing towing mirrors you need be able to see a clear field of vision behind and around your caravan. If there are still some blind spots, you need to adjust the mirrors until you have a clear view.

Weight Limits

In Australia, the heaviest weight you are allowed to tow by law is the maximum capacity of:

– The towbar or;

– The weight which your vehicle manufacturer has specified in your owner’s manual

It is recommended to check this weight limit and then to weigh your fully loaded rig to make sure you don’t exceed it. To check the weight, you will have to go to a facility called a weighbridge. A weighbridge allows vehicle owners to weigh their entire rig to work out the weight.

All you need to do is drive to a weighbridge, pay a fee (approximately $30), and drive your vehicle onto the scales built into the ground. You can locate your nearest weighbridge here.

Most people have no idea how much is involved in buying a towbar! Now you know what to look out for before buying a towbar. The next step is to start researching them online to find the right one for your vehicle and your needs. Bigger isn’t always better! It depends on what you plan to tow, for the best towbar for your needs.

Are you are unsure of the right towbar for you? Do you have some additional questions? Our friendly and experienced team are here to help! Contact Sandgate Auto Electrics by phone (07) 3269 3158 or schedule a call back at Alternatively email:

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5 Most Common Mistakes People Make When Purchasing a 4WD

Today, if you want to drive the safest and best vehicle, it’s no secret that 4WDs are at the top of the list. Whether you want the perfect people mover, or to cruise in style and comfort, a 4WD is the perfect way to do so.

It’s easy to get excited at the thought of buying a new 4WD, and for a good reason too, however there are certain mistakes which are easy to make that can affect your enjoyment of your new vehicle!

5 Most Common Mistakes People Make When Purchasing a 4WD:

inaccurate marketing


1. Inaccurate Marketing

We’ve all seen the commercials showing a 4WD in all its glory. Driving over challenging terrain, and conquering sand dunes with ease. Without so much as a ding or a scratch, but, that doesn’t mean that every 4WD can do that. Especially not without modifications and extra accessories.

If you try and recreate what you’ve seen in the commercial, then you aren’t going to have a good time. If you are a brand new 4WD owner, you could end up causing significant and major damage to your beloved 4×4, not to mention, you will also be putting yourself at serious risk of injury, too.

Aside from damaging your brand new 4WD and injuring yourself due to reckless driving, any warranty claim could be dismissed. This will leave you out of pocket for the repairs yourself.


2. Buying The Wrong Accessories for your 4WD

A novice mistake many first time off-road vehicle owners make is not doing enough research before handing over their hard-earned money. This can also lead to purchasing the wrong accessories for their vehicle.

Common mistakes include:

  • Carrying high-lift jacks which cause damage when used near fragile body panels. (High-lift jacks are only safe to use on a 4WD which has side, front and rear bars which feature inbuilt sockets designed for a jack attachment)
  • Splashing cash on mud-pattern tyres but only staying in the suburbs. Never planning to take the 4WD on off-road terrains
  • Compromising on-road handling by adding needless high suspensions lifts
  • Having heavy empty roof racks – which leads to staggering fuel consumption rates


3. Saying no to a crash course

New 4WD owners sometimes think a right of passage to owning an off-road vehicle is to take it off the beaten track right away. Trying to take on the roughest terrain is a mistake.

Before heading off-road, it’s recommended to sign up for a 4WD crash course run by a certified trainer.

In the course, you will learn the basics such as:

  • How to set tyre pressures
  • How to deal with flat tyres
  • How to judge your 4WD’s capabilities and limits
  • How to execute the convoy procedure

Also, with experience, it will allow you to make more informed decisions on which modifications or accessories are right for you.

Based on your needs, letting you get the best add-ons to complement your 4WD and take your experience to the next level.


4. Going Way Over Budget

It’s easy to get carried away and excited when purchasing your very first 4WD, especially if the salesman encourages you to stop using your common sense, and focus on getting your dream vehicle.

It’s suggested for beginners not to buy too many accessories and modifications upfront. Instead, it’s better to take the 4×4 off-road a few times first. Another option is to sign up for some training sessions with a 4WD club to get you going.

Once you have some experience under your belt, it will help you decide the type of 4WDing you plan to be doing. Then you can add accessories and modifications over time. This makes sure you won’t hurt your wallet, or splurge for everything up front and find you don’t need it.


5. Buying The Wrong 4WD For Your Needs

It’s somewhat common to buy a new 4WD and then to discover that the vehicle is better suited for a different use than what you had in mind!

An example is purchasing a 4×4 with the intention of going off-road and taking on the toughest terrains imaginable. But, the vehicle was made with the purpose in mind of being a safe family mover.

Buying the wrong vehicle can lead to a long shopping list of modifications to your brand new 4×4, before you can even dream of using it how you imagined.

While it’s true that some 4WDs may need basic modifications to suit specific uses, they should be somewhat affordable. It’s recommended to assess your needs and intended use when buying either a brand new 4×4 or a second hand one, and end buyers remorse.

Are you still confused about your next purchase?

Contact Sandgate Auto Electrics today by phone on (07) 3269 3158 or email

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Seven Overlooked Budget 4×4 Mods to Boost Performance

Mods help to enhance our 4WDs and take their performance to the next level. They also allow you to customise your beloved 4×4 to your exact liking, and match it to your personality.

Common modifications such as bar work increases and improves the approach angle (while adding strength by swapping out plastic for steel). Adding housing winches also offer further protection from any unexpected animal strikes.

Another popular mod is adding storage drawers which makes organisation a lot easier. Installing roof racks allow you to store that cumbersome camping gear which won’t fit inside no matter how hard you try.

It’s pretty obvious that adding storage, winches, and bar work will hurt the braking performance of your decked out 4WD. Another popular mod is increasing your 4×4’s tyre diameter, but doing so adds considerable strain to the braking system anytime you go off-road.

With that said, there are many ways you can improve your 4×4 while boosting performance and safety at the same time.

Here are 7 overlooked budget 4×4 mods to boost performance:

4WD Pads


1. Pads

Perhaps the easiest component to upgrade and replace while offering an improved performance upgrade, is the pads. Cheap or old brake pads will always underperform when compared to high-end options.

It’s recommended to upgrade to a unit which has been specially designed for 4WD applications or improved performance.


2. Rotors

Over time rotors wear down, and this process is only sped up by 4x4s which have a braking setup sacrificing rotor wear to increase performance. To check how worn your rotors are, you can check the outer edge of the rotors, to see if there is a lip.

Instead of sticking with factory stock rotors, quality aftermarket rotors can help to improve performance and they also last longer. Slotted rotors help to enhance braking performance while getting rid of gasses, while ventilated rotors can expel heat better.


3. Fluid

Brake fluid is specially designed to not compress under pressure and heat, which means all of your braking force is heading to the capillaries. If air or moisture is to get into the fluid, then the resistance to compression is significantly reduced.

Brake fluid is rated by its boiling point. For most 4WDs, DOT 4 fluid is usually good enough.

The most important thing is to make sure that fluid is fresh and has been uncontaminated. Otherwise, it’s strongly suggested to bring in your 4×4 for a fluid replacement and bleed service.

Brake lines


4. Brake Lines

If your 4WD has done it’s fair share of off-roading and been on multiple  summer trips, there is a high chance that your rubber brake lines could be worn out. The rubber degrades as it ages, causing it to expand. This prevents all the pressure from actually reaching the brakes, leading to reduced performance.

Replacing the lines with OEM or high-quality aftermarket gear will fix the problem. It is crucial not to skimp out when it comes to brakes, one day they may save your life! If you wish to upgrade, custom braided lines can also help to improve pedal feel.

5. Tyres

The rubber of your 4WD’s tyres is the only thing connecting it to the ground. If they aren’t at 100%, then it’s impossible for your brakes to be also. The most common reasons for brakes not performing as expected may be because hey are old, worn, or poor quality.

Check the tread on your tyres, and also see how old they are by working out the manufacture date. If they are old or worn, it’s time to replace them with new high-quality tyres. It may be tempting to buy the cheapest tyres possible, but you will be back in the same situation before you know it! You’ll be amazed at the increase in performance when upgrading your tyres.


6. Exhaust

Engines need to be able to breathe to improve performance. Eliminating exhaust system restrictions allows spent gases to leave the combustion process faster. Sounds confusing, right?

It simply means more air and fuel can enter, and this then creates a bigger bang.  

In addition to upgrading to an aftermarket exhaust system from the factory exhaust, it’s easy to see the difference in the quality of the materials used as well as the manufacturing, which will lead to a better sounding exhaust. It’s also claimed by most manufacturers to provide better power gains and fuel economy of up to 10% – more than paying for itself over time.


7. Shocks

While shock absorbers are usually hidden out of sight on most 4WDs, they shouldn’t be out of mine. They work overtime to help control the ride and suspension on your 4×4. If you love to go off-road, it usually results in the factory shocks wearing out quickly.

To stop your rig jumping around all over the place, and to ensure a smooth ride, adding a set of quality shocks will make sure that your vehicle not only performs better off-road but that it is kept firmly planted on the road at all times.

4x4 Mods


Which 4×4 Mods To Do First

While your factory standard 4×4 may be good enough to handle what you throw at it, it only barely gets the job done. Then when you are upgrading your 4×4 with extra off-road equipment and accessories, all of a sudden the performance suffers. Over time, general wear and tear will make it perform even worse.

These budget 4×4 mods will help to boost performance and can be upgraded one at a time, without breaking the bank or requiring a full replacement.

The most challenging thing can be deciding which mod to do first! Sandgate Auto Electrics are a team of experienced and reliable auto electricians and skilled technicians, who can give you expert advice on which mods you should consider based on your 4×4 and your needs, instead of just recommending a product with the largest markup.

Contact Sandgate Auto Electrics today and speak to one of our friendly and helpful staff members, via phone (07) 3269 3158, email

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ARB 4×4 Accessories

Four Wheel Drive Bull Bars: Top Features You Should Look Out For

For many a bull bar is seen as an accessory purely to protect their vehicle from potential collisions, however a bull bar can be so much more than that. Sandgate Auto Electrics are experts in loading far more functionality into your bull bars, creating a utility kit as opposed to just a bar and who doesn’t love the sound of that? Below we have listed some of the features you should look out for when choosing a bull bar to suit your needs… or wants:

Bullbar 4WD


  • Ensuring your bull bar has winch capability is essential if you are a regular off-road adventurer. The winch will be your best mate in a variety of situations and most 4-wheel drivers couldn’t imagine travelling without one. If you are considering a winch bull bar, it is important to make sure it is compatible with your vehicle to avoid any unnecessary damage occurring. If you were to install a winch bullbar that isn’t compatible or recommended for your vehicle, you may find the bull bar mount points don’t properly align on the vehicle chassis. If you don’t custom fit the bull bar properly to the designated mount points, the bar may not be strong enough for the purpose of winching. In fact it would be illegal and won’t be covered under insurance.


  • Having bull bars with mounting brackets can be extremely beneficial. These allow for the easy attachment of important accessories such as lights, winches, antennas and bull horns. Making a well-educated decision on your mounting bracket is imperative as you want to ensure that any attachments can function in what can often be, extreme conditions, ensuring they are strong and well fitted.


  • Driving lights mounted to a high-quality bull bar, can prevent problems such as vibrating beam patterns, excessive movements and reduces the chances of the bulbs failing prematurely, when they are installed properly. Who doesn’t value the perfect illumination when trekking around Australia?


  • All bull bars have a wing design, which put simply is the shape of the bull bar. By  installing a bull bar with the added feature of fully flexible upswept and tapered wing design you are not only delivering optimum strength but also increasing your chances of a perfect approach angle when driving. By incorporating these adjustable wings into the features of your bull bar it means you can adjust the settings of the wings to different angles to ensure the best protection for you and your vehicle.
Bullbar Accessories


  • Recessed indicators will improve the protection of your indicators from branches, or even road debris if travelling in a convoy. There is also mesh shielding for extra protection as an option too. Damaging your indicator when travelling the countryside is not ideal, therefore the recessed indicators are a simple, effective and worthwhile investment when exploring additional features for your bull bar.


  • Welding aerial brackets behind the top cross bars are a beneficial feature to consider, as not only will the aerial be perfectly protected in this position, but it is also the most effective spot for clear transmission and reception on the vehicle. Custom fit-clamp on brackets are also available, however we suggest having the brackets welded on to ensure they survive the adventure.


  • Most bull bars have Hi-Lift jacking points integrated into the design, which can often eliminate the need for mounting brackets. They can be highly beneficial when you are needing to winch your vehicle, as they enable easier access to the clutch lever when unspooling the wire rope. Essentially a Hi-Lift jacking point has the capability to jack your vehicle up to 10 times higher than a standard jack could.


  • Ensuring your bull bar has an integrated underbody guard can be extremely beneficial for your vehicle. These do often come standard will bull bars, as they are so vital in protecting your vehicle when braving unknown terrains. If you are after extra protection, front, sump and transmission guards are also available separately.
4wd Accessories


  • Steel uprights are a key component in the design of your bull bar as they support the outer frame. With the type of travelling you are intending to do, this is of utmost importance. There are advanced technology bull bars available which are covered with protection straps ensuring sharp exposed edges are covered. Having the advanced technology bull bars minimise the chance of injury or excessive damage if you are in an accident, as they provide a substantial amount of extra protection for your vehicle.


  • Having a bull bar which utilises a split pan system ensures the radiator receives an optimum amount of airflow, and making sure the radiator is receiving sufficient amounts of airflow is imperative to the smooth running of your vehicle when you are venturing off-road. In addition to this purpose, the split pan system is also designed specifically to enhance the functionality of the bull bar while also strengthening it, this is done by carefully calculating the specifications to work in favour of the bull bar’s design.


As you can see, a bull bar is not just a metal design that sits on the front of your 4×4 to protect the front of your vehicle, it can be so much more. Here at Sandgate Auto Electrics we highly suggest that you take into consideration where you are travelling, what types of terrain you will encounter and how much you want to protect your vehicle. Some features of the bull bars listed may seem overkill if you are just going on light camping trips locally. However, if you are an avid off-roader you will probably be super excited about the features you can incorporate into your bull bar. These features will not only look the part, but further ensure your safety while travelling. Here at Sandgate Auto Electrics we value all of our customers and want to help you to get the most out of your off-road adventure, especially fully equipping your bull bar. Please feel free to contact any of our helpful staff for help in accessorising your bull bar on (07) 3269 3158.

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4WD Tracks Near The Sunshine Coast

6 Amazing Must Visit 4WD Tracks Near The Sunshine Coast

If you want to get away from it all and keep things simple, the Sunshine Coast is the perfect place to start. It features a range of 4WD tracks which suit every skill level from novice to extreme off-roader.

Before you head off the beaten track on your big off-road adventure, here are a few general tips to follow:

  • Travel in a group if possible – If not, let someone know your exact location you plan on travelling
  • Don’t try to take on tracks which are beyond your experience level or the limits of your 4WD.
  • Always have a kit of recovery gear (including an air compressor if you plan to go n sand/beach tracks)

Now that you have peace of mind, it’s time to get into the 6 most amazing must-visit 4WD Tracks near the Sunshine Coast:

Conondale National Park


Conondale National Park

For the novice 4WDer, Conondale National Park is the perfect place to start. The main track takes you through the Conondale Range highland and features a dense rainforest with eucalyptus trees for the majority of the track. Add some shallow creek crossings and fascinating climbs and descents, and it’s the perfect way to ease into a 4WD track.

The drive by itself is rather short. But, there is a range of other activities to keep you entertained in the national park. Features such as lookout spots, bush walks, creeks, and breathtaking waterfalls make it a must-visit.

Pro Tips:

– For more robust tracks, head south towards Jimna

– After heavy rain, tracks get tougher, so be vigilant to ensure your 4WD has enough headway through increased creek levels


Glasshouse Mountains

The Glasshouse Mountains tracks are amongst local 4WD lovers favourites, and it’s no secret why. The tracks feature gorges, rainforests, creeks, steep inclines, and a slew of red dirt. It’s easy to go off the beaten path and experience an adventure away from the nearby towns and highways.

Best of all, there is a stack of 4WD tracks to discover, ranging from novice all the way up to extreme off-roaders. Glasshouse Mountains are a popular destination with locals. It’s easy to find other 4WDers around to suggest the best tracks to take on based on your skill level.

The Big Red Track has a reputation as being the most difficult and impressive of all the Glasshouse 4WD tracks. Only the most experienced 4WDers should attempt Big Red. A well set up rig is essential – a roll cage is highly recommended for the toughest parts of the track.

With experts saying to prepare to break some of your gear on this track, it is definitely not for novice off-roaders!

Pro Tips:

– As it’s a highly popular spot, be wary and considerate of other vehicles while on the tracks

– After big rain, the tracks become dangerous and almost unnavigable. Be cautious.

Landcruiser Mountain Park


Landcruiser Mountain Park

Being a popular spot amongst local 4WD enthusiasts, Landcruiser Mountain Park features over 200 kms of 4WD tracks. The tracks on this privately owned property have been designed to cater to all skill levels. They range from easy to extreme and feature hill climbs, creek crossings, and gullies. Finding a track to keep you entertained for a day has never been easier.

If you can’t explore it all within a day, there is also camping areas, hot showers and toilets on offer, which makes it perfect for a weekend trip with the boys!

Pro Tips:

– The closest town is 60km away, with the park only having basic supplies, so be sure to bring everything you need for your trip

Permits are required. Prices and availability varying during peak periods like weekends and public holidays.

Great Sandy National Park (Cooloola Recreation Area)

Great Sandy is the track to choose if you love beach 4WDing. Starting with a barge jaunt across the Noosa River, it continues sensationally. To one side you have huge sand dunes, beautiful coloured sand cliffs, and luscious coastal forests. Then on the other side take in the view of 30 kms of the glistening ocean. This trip is worthwhile for the views alone!

From here you can either keep travelling up north along the beach to Double Island Point, or head inland to take in the gorgeous coastal rainforests along Freshwater Road. You can’t go wrong with either route, and both offer lots of fishing, swimming spots, and camping areas on the way.

Pro Tips:

– Cooloola Recreation Area requires a vehicle access permit that can be purchased in advance from the National Parks website.

– Be careful of soft sand during busy periods at any beach access point

– To enjoy driving on the firm sand, plan your trip around the low tide

Fraser Island


Fraser Island

Immortalised as a paradise for beach lovers, Fraser Island also has great 4WD tracks. Accessible by driving off the ferry and onto the island, take the Manta Ray at Inskip Point – just a short 10 minutes away. There are as many 4WD options as you can imagine. These include the renowned 75 Mile Beach Highway, and a slew of beach and inland bush 4WD tracks.

Fraser Island, a world heritage site, is synonymous with great fishing spots. It also features wildlife, and spectacular freshwater lakes and sand dunes. With so much to do, it’s best to allow a few days to slow down, relax and experience the natural beauty of Fraser Island.

There are lots of camping spots to choose from around the island. If you don’t feel like roughing it in nature, there are also lots of resorts and beach houses on the island too. Fraser Island is the perfect family holiday spot.

Pro Tips:

– Sand Driving experience is definitely required before taking on the island 4WDing.

– Before driving on Fraser Island, a permit is required which can be purchased via the National Parks website.

Bribie Island

Making the perfect spot for a 4WD day trip, Bribie Island is easily accessible via a bridge which joins to the mainland. Even though the island is well developed, there are some hidden spots if you are happy to head off the beaten track! Bribie features some of the best beach drives on pure white sand. There is also a backdrop of freshwater lagoons and amazing old World War II bunkers.

The inland 4WD tracks are perfect for exploring coastal bushland. The northern beaches provide amazing scenery, as well as some outstanding surfing locations. For anyone truly wanting an off the grid experience, the national park has some excellent remote camping spots.

For beach driving and camping, permits are required, and they can conveniently be purchased via the National Parks website.

Pro Tips:

– Recommended for 4WDers who already have sand/beach driving experience

– During busy periods, look out for soft sand around the beach entry and exit locations


If you need further advice, call us on (07) 3269 3158 or book a job using the button below. We are located 113 Connaught Street Sandgate QLD 4017. Feel free to visit us at any time.

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4 Great Tips To Stop Rust Eating Your Beloved 4×4

Going off-road brings a lot of adventure and excitement along with it. The chance to get off the grid, get away from the crowds and explore the terrain. It also comes at a price. Putting you in situations where your vehicle and equipment may experience some damage.

During 4WDing, road surfaces can get thrown up, along with any obstacles or debris, which can lead to expensive damage caused to the underbody of your beloved 4×4.

If you’re driving through mud, water, or sand, over branches on the roadside, or have experienced driving over dirt or gravel roads with pieces flicking underneath your car, then it’s highly likely that part of the great outdoors is still driving around with you today.

Most modernised cars have been well treated before leaving the factory floor. Exposed areas under the vehicle are protected with coated metal which is resistant to corrosion.


So why is extra rust protection necessary?

Cars are now more protected than ever before, however they still are not entirely immune to corrosion happening over time. All it takes is for some small chips from debris or stones on the road for the metal on the underside of the car to be exposed to rust.

Even worse is the constant exposure to the elements – such as the beach, or driving through water such as a creek crossing.

Here are 4 great tips to stop rust eating your 4×4:

Rust Prevention


1. Extra Rust Protection & Wax Coating

By applying a rustproof treatment and performing underbody chassis corrosion protection, you can give yourself peace of mind knowing that your vehicle is protected and prepared for any environment, even in the harshest environments found in off-roading adventures.

In this process, surface rust deposits are removed through a combination of blasting and by hand, then specialist rust converter and primer is applied.

Next, a wax coating is applied to the underbody, box sections, vehicle chassis, sills and door pillars, as well as any vehicle panel cavity areas inside the 4WD. Lastly, an underbody sealant is applied, which adds protection from stone chips, and surface rainwater. An additional benefit of the glossy black sealant used is that it possesses excellent sound deadening features, to let you enjoy your trip in comfort.

Rust Treatment


2. Chemical Rust Treatments

Chemical Treatments are one of the primary ways of protecting your vehicle against rust. They work by spraying a waxy coating against any exposed metal which adds another layer of protection against rust.

There are some panels (such as the inner part of the roof) which are unable to be sprayed. Luckily, these areas are rarely exposed to any elements which would make rusting possible.

Chemical Treatments are usually completed before assembling the vehicle in the factory. However it is still possible to apply to a car successfully after the assembly has occurred.


3. Electronic Preventive Systems

The other choice besides chemical treatments for your 4×4 is to use an electronic preventative system.

Electronic rust protection uses a technique which involves using small blocks of metal attached to the vehicle, which then causes the blocks to rust instead, leaving the car parts protected.

There are different methods used, but most of them function by sending a pulse which interrupts the growth of corrosion from occurring.


4. Regularly Cleaning your 4×4

The first step to preventing a buildup of corrosion and rust from damaging your 4WD is to make sure that you keep it well maintained. Don’t allow rust to eat your beloved 4×4!

Cleaning and polishing your ride goes without saying. But, if you’ve come back from a holiday, or a day out off the beaten path, then it’s critical to be sure to wash the underbody. Don’t put it off, doing it ASAP will prevent any chance of rust starting to form.

As well as the underbody of your 4×4, be sure to pay close attention to inside the wheel wells. This is often an overlooked area and is one of the first areas which will show signs of rust on a 4×4. Also clean and polish the sill panels, and if you’ve been off road, the chassis rails too.

Next, use a brush and focus on cleaning the door drain holes, then take a thin wire and poke it inside to help eliminate and clear out any build up of grime or gunk. It’s common for dirt and mud to get clogged in these holes which then causes water to form inside the panel.


Prevent Rust Before It Occurs

By taking preventative measures against rust, you can ensure your 4×4 is ready to go wherever you are. Thoroughly enjoy yourself through the terrain and rural areas which are scattered with rough ground, poor drainage, and perhaps flood-affected areas, knowing that your vehicle is fully protected.

In the long term, rust protection also helps against stone chips, debris, and dirt. It prevents them from getting underneath the 4×4 and goes a long way to stopping rust and corrosion.


What If You Already Have Rust

Rust can spread out of control like an infection, so it’s critical to deal with it as soon as it is first detected. It’s possible to scrape off any loose rust pieces on your 4×4 with a razor blade to slow down the rusting process. Next, thoroughly scrub the affected area using soap and warm water. Now it’s time to apply a metal conditioner to the area to stop any further rusting from occurring. Lastly, if required, put a new coat of paint on the area.


Expert Advice
If you are concerned about potential rust building up in your beloved 4×4 and want to know your rust protection options, there is an easy way. Contact Sandgate Auto Electrics to receive expert and professional advice. A team of trained and experienced auto electricians and professional mechanics are ready to help you today.


If you need further advice, or for a certified technician to assess your vehicle’s rust, call us on (07) 3269 3158 or book a job using the button below. We are located 113 Connaught Street Sandgate QLD 4017. Feel free to visit us at any time.

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4wd tyres

15 Favourite 4WD Accessories You Must Have

A favourite past time for a lot of Aussie families is hitting the road and going 4WDing, whether it’s a day trip, weekend away or extended trip. the perfect way to escape from work or school and lose yourself in nature. However, you need more than just your 4WD to have a successful trip you need a range of 4WD accessories! We’re here to tell you about the top accessories we recommend, so that you stay safe and comfortable while you travel.

Our team have collaborated to come up with a list of our top 4WD accessories. They’ll keep you and your family safe while 4WDing, increase your comfort and have you ready to tackle any situation that may arise. When you’re tucked away in the bush, hours or even days away from help, it pays to be prepared! That way, all you have to worry about is having fun and making memories with your family!

Navara Snorkel

Water-crossing bra and snorkel

This one always has people talking. While it has a funny name, water-crossing bras are essential for travelling through deep water, like rivers for example. Protect your 4WD’s equipment, including the expensive electronics, by putting on the water bra before crossing water.

Snorkels are also essential for going through water, as they help the air intake increase and stop water from entering the engine.

Bull bar

Animals, like kangaroos, can do a lot of very expensive damage if they hit your car and will likely cut your journey short. Lessen their impact by installing a bull bar on the front of your 4WD; it will protect you and your family, and also keep important parts of the car, like your engine, safe from extensive damage.

Large (long range) fuel tank

Often, when you’re going on long journeys, particularly to remote areas, a standard tank often doesn’t have the capacity needed to get you the whole way. Petrol stations don’t exist in the deepest parts of the bush, so get a long-range fuel tank installed to avoid running out of fuel and getting stranded.

Jerry cans and water tanks

Stored water is essential. Always keep a supply of drinking water on hand. In most cases you won’t be able to drink water you find in bores or creeks, for example. If the worst happens and you get stuck, having water is invaluable in helping you survive, especially in the harsh Australian heat.

All terrain tyres

These tyres will help you conquer any terrain and they are a lot less likely to puncture as well. The further off-road you go, the more these will be a worthwhile and vital investment.

Tyre repair kit and spare tyres

Since you won’t find a tyre shop in the bush, it’s important to have spare tyres on hand so that you’re not stranded if you have a blow out or puncture a tyre.

A tyre repair kit is one of the best small investments you can make. A tyre repair kit can help you fix your tyre just enough to make it back to town, where you can flag down assistance or pop into a repair shop. If you’ve had horribly bad luck and have popped your tyre and your spare, you can patch one of them to get yourself out of trouble for the time being. In our opinion this one is a non-negotiable.

Satellite phone and UHF radio

City folk often forget that 3G or 4G is not available everywhere, even in our highly advanced country. You won’t always get reception in the outback and if you need help you can’t rely on another car to come by – it could be days before you see another 4WD, if you see one at all.

In the unfortunate case of emergency, you’ll be grateful you had your satellite phone and UHF radio on hand, as it may be the difference between getting medical assistance or not.

If you are travelling with friends, they are ideal for keeping communication channels open, advising each other of hazards if you see them first as well as communicating path changes, route changes or general updates.

12V fridge

There’s nothing wrong with wanting cold drinks when camping! A 12V fridge will keep your drinks and food cool and provide you with more options when planning your meals for the trip. Catch fish and keep them cool until you cook them, and store beers for those fireside chats with mates.

First aid kit

Even if you have been successful in calling for help, depending on where you are, it can take time for help to reach you. Having a well-stocked first aid kit is essential in keeping an injured person stable until help arrives. For example, bandages can control bleeding until help arrives and the wound can be stitched or glued as needed. Having a first aid kit on board is for peace of mind and being able to help others you come across who may need medical assistance.

Backup battery system

This one’s self-explanatory; a backup battery is incredibly important to have on hand in case the first battery fails. Start your engine with the backup battery and keep your lights and fridge running too. Retaining a form of power as backup is essential for travelling, especially for  those who travel away from towns, cities, etc.

Cargo barrier and drawers

Cargo barriers are so important to have in the back of your 4WD to prevent things you’ve packed becoming projectiles in the case of an accident. Drawers keep all your belongings organised, so you won’t be stuck sifting through all your stuff to find something you need.  

Roof rack

Roof racks are a  great way to pack larger items that won’t fit in the back of your 4WD. Things like surfboards, surf skis, tents, swags, etc. can be stored on roof racks.

Tool kit and spare parts

Being out bush means it can take days for mechanics to reach you, so it’s important to have a well-stocked tool kit and some spare parts on hand to get you out of minor trouble. They’ll help you make it back to town where you can get full repairs carried out, if needed. Tool kits are also handy for fixing things around a campsite – maybe you need a hammer to push tent pegs into a harder than expected surface.

Heavy duty suspension

Carrying a larger load is much safer with heavy duty suspension. It can handle the extra weight better than standard suspension, which reduces unnecessary wear and tear on your 4WD and helps lessen the need for what can be expensive repairs.

If you need further advice, call us on (07) 3269 3158 or book a job using the button below. We are located 113 Connaught Street Sandgate QLD 4017. Feel free to visit us at any time.

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4WD Accessories

Essential 4WD Accessories to Tackle Australia’s Nastiest Terrains

If you plan to go remote travelling in Australia, you and your vehicle must be prepared to battle the roughest roads and nastiest terrains. To ensure that your 4WD is ready for this kind of trip, investing in essential 4WD accessories is recommended. These accessories will help make your journey more comfortable and a lot safer.

Below are the six most important 4WD accessories to help you tackle the toughest obstacles during an Australian outback road trip:

4wd tyres

1. 4WD Tyres

The tyres are one of the most essential investments for your 4-wheel drive, especially if you want to experience terrific driving performance. There are different types of 4WD tyres available, and picking the right one is necessary for an efficient and comfortable journey. The right type of tyres will vary depending on the kind of terrain you are traveling.

Highway Terrain (HT) Tyres

Highway terrain tyres are typically the standard tyres of a 4×4 vehicle. This type of tyre is great if you frequently use your 4WD on-road. They are considered as high-performance tyres and are ideal for highway driving. However, they are not recommended for off-road use because they don’t have enough thickness and tread depth for rough terrains.

All Terrain (AT) Tyres

All terrain tyres are the premium option if you plan to use your 4×4 vehicle for both on-road and off-road driving. This type of tyre provides a balance of both on-road performance and off-road capability.

Mud Terrain (MT) Tyres

Mud terrain tyres are the best tyres if you mostly use your 4WD to drive on the toughest off-road terrains. If you often go outback driving, the mud terrain tyres are a necessary investment because of their off-road qualities such as tyre thickness, strong grip, puncture resistance, and the ability to clear tread pattern in thick, muddy roads.

4wd tyre deflator

2. 4WD Tyre Deflator

Different types of terrains require different levels of tyre pressure. This is the reason why airing down your tyres is essential during an outback drive. The wrong tyre pressure for some particular terrains can leave you stranded. To prevent this from happening, it’s important to bring a tyre deflator so you can easily lower your tyre pressure to the recommended level for any kind of terrain.

3. Winch

A 4WD winch is an important piece of recovery equipment in case your vehicle gets stuck in a muddy pit. There are different types of winches available in the market, but the most popular type is the electric winch. You can use an electric winch without a running engine. It is usually mounted at the front of your 4WD, so it lets you move your vehicle in a forward direction. Bringing an extra manual winch, also known as the hand winch, is recommended in case you need to move your vehicle from the rear, left, or right side.

4wd rock sliders

4. 4WD Rock Sliders

The 4WD rock sliders protect your door sills from rocks and other road obstacles during remote travel. While traveling off-road, your vehicle’s door sills are at a high risk of getting scraped or dented especially when driving over steep, rocky terrains. Rock sliders are typically made of steel. They are designed to let you slide over rocks and are reliably tough against damage caused by these rocks and other obstacles on the road.  

5. Bullbar

A bullbar is an essential 4WD accessory for outback travel in Australia, because it protects you from animals that may jump right in front of your vehicle while driving on the road. A bullbar is also designed to protect your 4WD from any front impact. It also provides you with more ground clearance, which allows you to drive over rocky or steeper terrains.

6. Diff Breather Extensions

If you expect to drive on any watery surface, which can possibly happen during outback travel, then it’s best to invest in a diff breather extension. Diff breather extensions let you secure the breathers in a high location so they won’t be in contact with water, dust, debris, or grit. Moreover, the filter component of an extended diff breather helps remove dust and keeps the air clean, which generally protects your diff gears.  

4wd accessories

Other Important 4WD Accessories to Bring

  • Long Range Fuel Tanks

A long range fuel tank has a bigger capacity which enables you to carry more fuel. This is essential for your long remote journey.

  • Auxiliary Fuel Tanks

An auxiliary fuel tank is important in case of emergencies. For instance, if your fuel tank gets punctured or damaged in a way that causes a leak, you can use the auxiliary fuel tank to continue with your trip.

  • Roof Racks

A roof rack allows you to store your bulky items above the vehicle, so they won’t have to occupy precious space inside the rig. This is essential especially if you’re traveling with a group of friends or your whole family.

  • Awnings

A 4WD side awning is a necessary investment if you’re planning to camp in remote places during your trip. Awnings can give you shelter against the heat of the sun or rainy weather while camping.

  • Spare Tyre

Never forget to carry a spare tyre with you, especially when you’re driving on rocky and uneven terrains.

  • Driving Lights

Upgrade your 4WD driving lights or install more lights so you can have a comfortable driving experience during the dark hours of your travels. It’s also best to carry extra lights with you in case one breaks. These are essential 4WD accessories that provide additional safety while driving at night.

  • Tools & Recovery Equipment

As you never know when you’ll get into trouble, it’s wise to bring a variety of tools and basic recovery equipment during your long, off-road trip. You should also be familiar with the components of your 4WD vehicle and have a basic knowledge on how to fix it. This is necessary especially if you want to go outback driving. Examples of tools and recovery equipment are:

  • Pliers
  • Spanners and sockets
  • Screwdrivers
  • Hammer and chisel
  • Tyre gauge and repair kit
  • Jack and wheel spanner
  • Shovel
  • Leather gloves
  • Torch light
  • Axe or chainsaw
  • Shackles
4wd accessories

Why Invest in 4WD Accessories

Going on a remote journey using your 4WD vehicle can be both exciting and risky. Investing in 4WD accessories can make your outback driving a more comfortable, convenient, and safe experience. The accessories that you should buy will greatly depend on your personal preference, travel plans, and the kind of 4WD vehicle that you have. It’s best to speak with a 4WD expert to help you figure out what you truly need.

Only trust the experienced 4WD professionals! Call Sandgate Auto Electrics today on (07) 3269 3158 and one of our seasoned 4WD experts will be more than happy to help you.

You may also visit our workshop at 113 Connaught Street Sandgate QLD 4017

or send us a message.

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