Ultimate 4wd - Sandgate Auto Electrics

Turn Your Pickup into an Ultimate Offroad 4×4

If you are planning on an off-roading adventure we want to help you  be prepared and look the part, you may want to optimise your vehicle so it can safely tackle any obstacles you may encounter. Whether you have a pickup, a SUV or a truck that may be suitable and  capable here at Sandgate we are all about optimising your experience. This is why we have come up with this list of modifications you may want to consider ensuring you have the ULTIMATE off-road vehicle.

  • Tyres

If you’re planning on travelling off -road you will need good, sturdy tyres. A deep tread is highly beneficial when driving along the beaten paths of Australia, as the tread helps to keep your grip on mud, snow, sand and ice. We suggest researching the land surfaces and conditions you intend on travelling  to assess whether replacing your tyres are a necessity for safety, or maybe you just want to look the part. Big tyres with deep treads look epic!

  • Lift Kit

If you are looking for the ultimate 4wd drive experience, you can’t go past installing a lift kit. Essentially it does exactly as the name implies, it raises your vehicle. When cruising along beaten/uneven terrains, through ditches etc. ground clearance is crucial. You need the most room under your vehicle as possible, as even a few inches can reduce the chances that any obstacles will interfere with your trek. If you are looking to lift your vehicle, our car repair experts at Sandgate are experienced and strongly recommend getting a kit that is specifically designed for your vehicle.

Skid Plate 4x4
  • Skid plate

Unfortunately, when off-roading it doesn’t matter how careful you are, the delicate underbelly of your vehicle is likely to come in contact with the ground, even if you have lifted your vehicle. A skid plate is essentially just extra insurance which serves as a layer of protection for your engine pan and radiator etc. You know…. the engine parts under the hood that are imperative to running your vehicle? Our suggestion is to armour your car, to protect it from that dreaded scrape and crunch as it hits the unforgiving terrain.

  • Bull Bar

What better way to look the part when braving the bush, but with a bull bar!! Not only do they look intense and strong, but they are! If you have been off-roading before you will know that sometimes there is no other way to get somewhere other than going through- head first! A bull bar will help to keep the front end of your vehicle damage free, it may also help  you to be more adventurous knowing you are protected by a big bull bar!!


  • Winch

A winch is not only handy to have installed in case you encounter any tricky situations, but when you are out in the middle of nowhere, not near a main road and you see someone needs help, you can! A winch is strong and handy, and you will be glad you have one!! Having a winch means you are ready for anything

Pick up Roof Rack
  • Roof Rack

Have you ever seen a photo of an off-road vehicle without roof racks? They complete the whole rough, outback image of an off-road vehicle. Not only do they look the part, but they are incredibly handy, chances are you will be camping somewhere as opposed to finding a nice hotel off-road, so there will be a lot of luggage/camping accessories, or perhaps an esky? Either way trust us, the extra storage space will be used! Just make sure you buy some heavy-duty straps to keep it on the roof, as it’s not exactly a nice easy cruise down a side street that you are embarking on.


  • Light Bar

Strong, effective lighting such as that provided from having a light bar installed on your vehicle will have a massive impact on your trip. When travelling off-road you are travelling the unknown, once it gets dark it becomes harder to see and the uneven, unpredictable terrain will be harder to navigate without lights. While at home, our headlights may be enough, especially with the addition of street lights, but when off-road they won’t quite cut it. A light bar will prove invaluable to your whole experience. Plus, they look awesome!

Snorkel Pick-up
  • Snorkel

A snorkel for your car works similarly to a snorkel for humans, a car snorkel will prevent your engine from sucking in thick dust and water. This is especially beneficial if you are planning on wading through more than 2 feet of water, or even in sandstorms! Snorkels really toughen up the image of your 4×4 too!

These are just some of our suggestions on how to create the ultimate 4×4 vehicle,  modifications such as mentioned above will really enhance your adventure. Our staff at Sandgate pride ourselves on being friendly experts in 4×4’s, we can help you with modifying your vehicle, giving you advice, we even have an abundance of material on the best off-road routes to brave! We want you to enjoy your adventures, and we have done the research for you on places to go, whether you are travelling alone, with your partner, with mates or with your family, we can help! Feel free to contact us at any time, we offer free quotes and are always available to answer any questions you may have.


If you need further advice, or for a certified technician to assess your  4×4 vehicle, 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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Is Your 4×4 Vehicle Off-Road Ready?

So, you are ready to head ‘off-road’, you’ve got the 4wd packed, you’re all set….. but are you? Here at Sandgate we want you to not only be safe but also want to help you to minimise any potential hiccups along the way. While accidents are not planned for, they do happen and often at the most inconvenient times, this is why we have collated this helpful list to assist you in preparing your vehicle for your off-road adventure.

4x4 Off Road


While we hope you don’t need to use this word while away it is important to be prepared. Usually if you are going off-road you will not be close to amenities, making it extremely difficult to solve issues you may be having. Because of this, we have designed a basic list of things we suggest you pack when going off track:

  • First aid kit- the reason is obvious, in case someone gets hurt. Make sure it is stocked before each trip, hopefully it won’t be needed, but better to be safe than sorry.
  • Spare tyre- yep, it happens, more often than we like to admit. Make sure you have a spare on board and the tools to change the tyre.
  • Tow strap- if you are braving the terrain, there is always the possibility that you may hit some issues, such as getting bogged. Having a tow strap on board will be a blessing if you find yourself in this situation.
  • Shovel- this ones goes hand in hand with the tow strap, it can be extremely useful in the case of any unfortunate bogging.
  • Spare key-you would not believe how often we hear of people needing their spare key- for a variety of reasons, take our advice-take the spare key and keep it somewhere handy!!
  • Basic tool kit- the benefits of having one of these on board is endless, they are SO handy!
  • LED light in case it’s dark and your vehicle is not cooperating.

While having these necessities on board will not eliminate the chance of anything not going according to plan, they will be very well appreciated if anything unfortunate does occur. We want to ensure you are equipped to handle most situations, and don’t forget we are always only a phone call away.

4x4 Tyres

Prepare your tyres

Travelling off-road in your 4×4 is an exciting time, and you want your vehicle to be ready, however one of the most important things to check is your tyres. They are the ones bearing the brunt of the trip! Make sure you have:

  • Checked the pressure of all tyres
  • Checked the nuts and bolts are tightened and secure
  • Check the amount of tread left on the tyre, you want to ensure you have sufficient grip to travel safely.
  • Check for imperfections on the tyres, in particular cracks.

Once you have gone over all the tyres if you notice anything that doesn’t look 100%, feel free to contact one of our helpful experts, we are happy to answer any questions and help in any way we can, your safety and enjoyment are very important to us.

4x4 Belts and Hoses

Belts and Hoses

We are referring to the belts and hoses under your vehicles bonnet, imperative elements in ensuring the safe and effective running of your vehicle. Assuming your belts and hoses are OKAY, when there could be issues can result in an overheated engine, loss of power steering or the loss of the electrical charging system. And let’s face it, we do not want this happening when you are travelling. Experts recommend changing all hoses every 4 years or when one fails. Here are some hints on how to check your belts and hoses:


  • A good hose will have a firm but pliant feel.
  • Inspect for cracks and bulges or fraying near the connection points (of hoses).
  • Look for signs of glazing, fraying, cracks or splits.


Steering & Alignment

Your 4×4 needs to be well equipped to be hitting all sorts of terrains without any trouble. The steering wheel is a very important component of your vehicle, so it is imperative that you check your alignment, while also ensuring there are no leaks. Going off-road generally means you will not be travelling along a nice, maintained, secure road, it means you will possibly be encountering ditches, logs, potholes anddips while travelling on unfamiliar roads. Due to all these potential situations it is even more important to ensure your steering and alignment is spot on, it will help to avoid any misjudgements while driving.

4x4 Suspension


Ensuring your vehicles bearings, shocks, springs, and linkage are in optimum working order is central to ensuring you don’t experience an overly rough ride. Your suspension system needs to be checked before embarking on any trip, while you may want adventure; comfort and safety should also be a priority.

While you may be wanting to explore our country and travel different terrains, it is important to ensure that your 4×4 is off-road ready. Our Staff at Sandgate are highly experienced and are more than happy to help you with all your maintenance needs. We value you-our customers, we understand that your getaway is important, and we value you and your needs. We also respect your vehicle, 4×4’s are a passion of ours, we know the ins and outs of all models and want to help to ensure your vehicle is ‘off-road ready’. If you would like a free quote or to book in a service, or simply have a chat about your upcoming trip and getting your vehicle ready feel free to give us a call. We look forward to hearing from you.

If you need further advice, or for a certified technician to assess your 4×4 vehicle, 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 Winches

4WD Winches: Which Type is the Best?

A winch is a mechanical device made of rope, chain, or wire cable wound around a rotating spool called a winch drum. The 4WD winch is used for hauling, lifting, and adds more tension in a rope to help move the vehicle. They are powered by a motor using your vehicle’s battery or a power steering pump, which allows the winch to spin the rope in rapid motion.

A 4WD winch is technically a recovery device that will help you extract your vehicle in case you  become bogged or stranded. This device is necessary especially if you plan to use your 4WD for outback travel, where muddy pits and rough roads are expected.

Components 4WD Winches

Important Components of Power Winches

Power winches are the most popular means of vehicle recovery. They are powered by either the engine, power steering system, or battery. Here are the most important components of power winches that allow them to function properly:

  • Motor

The motor is typically hydraulic or electric. It is the most important component of a 4WD winch that makes it function. The motor is the reason why these winches are called “power” winches. Without a motor, the winch needs to be operated manually (i.e. by hand).

  • Solenoid

A solenoid is either integrated or remote. Integrated solenoids, also known as contractors, are installed at the top of the winch. A remote solenoid is not installed on the winch. They control the direction of the winch drum rotation.

  • Wire Rope or Cable

The cable or wire rope, which is between 40 feet to 100 feet long, is neatly wound around the winch drum.

  • Winch Drum

The winch drum is where the the cable or wire rope is spooled. This spins in a circular motion to wind the rope in or out.

  • Internal Brake

The internal brake is used to keep the load stable when you stop the winch, preventing the load slipping back. This is usually located within the winch drum.

  • Gear Train

The gear train is responsible for converting the power from the winch motor into pulling power.

  • Free Spool Clutch

A free spool clutch is used to engage or disengage the winch drum from the gear train. The engaged free spool clutch position needs power to spool the cable. The disengaged position, on the other hand, allows you to wind out the cable manually at a faster speed.

Power Take Off Winch

3 Main Types of Power Winches

There are three main types of power 4WD winches available in the market today:

1. Power Take Off Winch

The Power Take Off (PTO) winch was the first power winch available on the market. The PTO winch is connected directly to the transfer case via a drive shaft – this drive shaft runs the gearbox of the winch. The PTO winch is powered by the engine, which means it requires the engine to be running to make it work. It is an extremely powerful winch because its power source is the engine itself. However, it is no longer very popular today.

Pros of PTO Winches:

  • Very powerful winches that are really useful especially for mud bogs.
  • Always have full power and you can rely on them all day long.
  • They have multiple speeds available because they drive through the gearbox.

Cons of PTO Winches:

  • You cannot use it if your engine is dead.
  • If the winch is mounted at the front, it only pulls forward.
  • More expensive compared to other types of winches.

2. Hydraulic Winch

The fully-enclosed hydraulic winch derives its power from the vehicle’s power steering system. The hydraulic motor, which is fitted to the winch, is powered by hydraulic pressure.

Pros of Hydraulic Winches:

  • Very powerful as the power supply is also derived from the engine through the power steering pump.
  • Secondary battery is not needed.
  • Motor cannot be affected by water immersion.

Cons of Hydraulic Winches:

  • Cannot run without engine.
  • Available in two speeds.
  • Only pulls forward if the winch is front-mounted.
  • If the steering is altered during winching, the winch stops running.


3. Electric Winch

Th 12V-powered electric winch is the most widely used 4WD winch today. The electric winch derives its power from the vehicle’s battery first and then from the alternator. This type of winch doesn’t need the engine to work for a short period of time. However, it’s best to bring an extra battery during a long trip as the battery is the source of its power.

Pros of Electric Winches:

  • Lightweight and easy to use.
  • Widely available in the 4WD market.
  • Can be used even if the engine is dead, as long as the vehicle’s battery is powered.

Cons of Electric Winches:

  • May not be very powerful and efficient.
  • Uses a lot of energy from the battery so a secondary battery is recommended.
  • Single speed of operation only.
  • The electric motor can be affected when immersed in water.
  • Only pulls forward when mounted in the front.


The Manual Winch: Hand Winch

The hand winch is a manual type of winch which doesn’t need an engine or a battery to run. It derives its power from the driver or anyone who will operate the winch. All it needs for the hand winch to work is time and energy from the operator.

Pros of Hand Winches:

  • It doesn’t need engine or battery to operate.
  • It can be used to pull the vehicle forward, from the rear, or from either left or right side of the vehicle.

Cons of Hand Winches:

  • It takes time to operate.
  • It is manual so it needs a lot of effort from the person operating it

4WD Winches: Which is the Best Option?

The “best” 4WD winch really depends on the situation you are in. Power take off and hydraulic winches are great if your situation requires a lot of power. However, for situations when the engine can run, the electric winches are the most suitable to use. It’s important to remember that electric winches only work with dry cell batteries.

All three types of power winches only pull forward when front-mounted. They are great for towing or pulling another vehicle. However, if the vehicle with a winch is stuck and it cannot be recovered through a forward pull, then the hand winch would be most helpful. Hand winches are a great option if you need to pull from the rear, left, or right.

Still can’t decide which 4WD winch is best for you? Talk to your trusted 4WD professional to help you select the right option. The experienced 4WD experts at Sandgate Auto Electrics have the necessary knowledge and skills to help you figure out which type of 4WD winch is best for your personal preference and needs. Get in touch with us and our 4WD professionals will be happy to assist you!


Call us today on (07) 3269 3158 or visit our workshop at 113 Connaught Street Sandgate QLD 4017 for more information.

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4WD Tour Equipment Checklists

Recommended 4WD Tour Equipment Checklists

Your 4WD is a good vehicle for an outback road trip. Since it is typically used to drive away from the city, you should ensure it is equipped with the right accessories and tools to help make your journey more comfortable and convenient. If you are not sure which equipment to buy, use the following recommended 4WD tour equipment checklist as your guide.

Important 4WD Tools & Accessories for a Long Trip

The 4WD tools and accessories that you will be needing depend on where you plan to go and how long your trip will be. Generally, you will need the following tools and accessories if you plan to go on a long remote travel:

1. Tyres

There are 4WD tyres that are specifically designed for outback travel. If you plan to go to remote places and expect rough roads, deep muds, and even flood water, make sure to upgrade your 4WD tyres to those which are designed to brave these tough road conditions. Also, don’t forget to bring a spare as you never know when you’ll be needing one.

Roof Rack

2. Roof Racks

Your 4WD vehicle may not have enough room for all the things that you’ll bring. Roof racks allow you to bring bulky things (such as a spare tyre, tool box or bicycle) without taking up more space in the rig. This is an ideal accessory if you are travelling with the entire family or a group of friends as you will need all the space inside the vehicle so that everyone can fit comfortably.

3. 12-volt Fridge

A 12-volt fridge can keep your drinks cool and your fruits fresh. This is an extremely necessary accessory especially if you’re travelling during hot summer seasons. There’s nothing more comforting than having a cold drink in hand to quench your thirst after a long drive.

4. Air Compressor

A combination of rough roads and tough conditions may deflate your tyres in the middle of your journey. With an air compressor available, you’ll be able to pump them back up whenever you need. Also the tyre pressure you should be running on will greatly vary depending on the road conditions, an air compressor is a necessary 4WD piece of equipment that helps gauge the tyre’s pressure.

5. Shovel

If you’re planning to stop driving for a while and camp in a remote area, a shovel is something that you should not leave out. Shovels come in handy especially when you need to dig a fire pit or set up a primitive toilet. It is also a great tool for spreading the coals around your campfire while roasting food for dinner.

6. Driving Lights

Driving lights are another important 4WD touring piece of equipment that you should not forget, especially if you’re going outback traveling. Most remote areas are usually dark after sunset with no street lights, and you may not always be at a campsite that offers some light during the night. Driving lights will keep you safe whenever you need to drive in the dark. It is recommended to use those which reduce strain on the eyes to make your trip safer at night.

7. 4WD Drawers

Keep your cargo area neat and organised with a 4WD storage solution. A 4WD drawer is a great accessory that allows you to arrange your belongings and other tools neatly in your cargo area, so you can easily locate them whenever necessary.

8. Satellite Phones

Remote areas usually do not have mobile tower sites, so you can’t expect to use your mobile phones to call your friends and/or relatives back in the city.  Although going for a remote journey means you want to have some time for yourself without worrying about the city life, you’ll never know when an emergency happens. Satellite phones allow you to communicate whenever you need to.

Tips For Preparing 4WD Touring

Other 4WD Tour Equipment You May Need

Aside from the accessories mentioned above, there are other equally important things that you may need to bring depending on your travel plans. Below are our recommendations:

Personal Essentials

  • Food
  • Water
  • Water purification tablets
  • Toiletries (e.g. toilet paper, soap, toothbrush, toothpaste)
  • Alcohol or sanitiser
  • Clothes for the weather (bring jacket for the cold nights)
  • Sunblock and sunglasses
  • Insect repellant
  • Garbage bags
  • Compass or GPS device
  • Gadget chargers and extra batteries
  • Tent (for camping)
  • Blankets

Safety & Survival Tools

  • First aid kit (includes medicines for headaches, fever, stomach flu, anti-allergy, balms and ointment for burns, alcohol, dressing materials)
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Tyre changing equipment
  • Basic tool kit (with screwdrivers, hammer, pliers, utility knife, razor blades)
  • Tow strap
  • Ropes
  • Spare vehicle key
  • Essential vehicle fluids (e.g. engine oil, washer fluid, brake fluid, power steering fluid, starter fluid)
  • Matches or lighter
  • Flashlights or emergency lights
  • Jumper leads
  • Electrical tape and duct tapes
  • Adhesives
  • Spare light bulbs
4WD Touring

Important Reminders Before Your Next Road Trip

Whatever your travel plan is, make sure to have your 4WD serviced by your trusted 4WD professional before going on your next long drive. Here are a few things that need to be checked:

  • Check vehicle fluids such as engine oil, transmission oil, brake fluid, radiator coolant, washer fluid, and refrigerant.
  • Check tyres for wear or damage, and ensure tyre pressure is okay.
  • Check brake pads and handbrakes.
  • Check fan belts, hoses, air cleaner, seat belts, steering wheel, and engine.
  • Check all equipment, accessories, and supplies.

Make an assessment of your personal necessities before you travel, as what you should bring will depend on different situations and needs. For instance, if you’re aware you are allergic to something, make sure to bring your medicines as you never know when your allergies might strike. Another safety tip is to always inform someone about your travel plans and itinerary, and when you expect to return. Travel in groups as much as possible and have a ready means of communication in case of emergencies.

The 4WD tour equipment that you’ll be needing will vary depending on your travel plans. If you’re not sure what tools and accessories you should bring, talk to your trusted 4WD professional so you can get an assessment of what your vehicle needs.

When it comes to 4WDs, Sandgate Auto Electrics is your one-stop shop! Our 4WD experts will gladly assist you to ensure that you have a comfortable and safe road trip ahead. For inquiries, you may call us at (07) 3269 3158 or send a message. You may also visit our workshop at 113 Connaught Street Sandgate QLD 4017 for a consultation.

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Bacteria in a Car Air Conditioning System: Things You Need to Know

Your car air conditioning system can accumulate bacteria which can cause damage to both your air conditioner and your health. Due to old age and lack of proper maintenance, mould, mildew, fungi and micro-organisms can start to grow in your car’s AC. The growth of bacteria can cause an unpleasant odour when you turn on your car’s air conditioning system.

Mould & Mildew in Your Car’s AC

Mould and mildew are the common sources of bacteria in your car’s air conditioner. They grow due to moisture (caused by condensation, humidity, or any water leakage inside the car), and lack of airflow. Your air conditioner becomes the breeding ground of mould and mildew, especially when it’s turned on.

Signs that Your Car Air Conditioning Has Bacteria

If it has been more than a year since you brought your car to a service center, there’s a big possibility that your air conditioner may be full of dirt and bacteria. Look out for the following signs to know if your car’s AC needs a thorough, anti-bacterial clean.

  • Bad odour

An obnoxious odour in your car’s air conditioning system is the most common symptom that bacteria has grown inside it. This is because the air that passes over the evaporator carries some bacterial particles before entering the car’s cabin through the AC vents. It causes a foul odour that circulates when you turn on your air conditioner.

  • Lack of cold air blowing from the air conditioner vents

While this may also be a symptom that your car’s air conditioner is in need of re-gas, it can also indicate that your air filter is dirty and in need of cleaning. The dirt that accumulates in your air filter can cause mould, especially when exposed to moisture. Once the air filter gets blocked or saturated, it may prevent cold air from blowing through the vent.

  • The feeling of suffocation

If you (or your family members) are having difficulty breathing while inside the car, it is a sign that your car air conditioning unit is growing mould. Mould can cause breathing and other respiratory problems. It can be very dangerous to your health especially if you have certain allergies, asthma, or any lung-related issues, and also if you are pregnant.

Car Air Condition Bacteria

Common Health Issues Caused by Bacteria in Your Car’s AC

Your car’s AC accumulates bacteria when the air that travels into the car through the air conditioner’s evaporator and vents carries mould and bacterial particles. When you’re inside the car with the aircon on and the windows closed, you’ll be inhaling the air that blows out of the air conditioner vents. This means you’ll also inhale the bacteria through the air. It can cause several health issues – from minor headaches to more serious problems such as allergic reactions.


Here are other health issues caused by bacteria in your car’s air conditioning system:

  • Headache and drowsiness

If you’re experiencing headaches while inside your car, this may be caused by a lack of clean air. Breathing in dirty and mouldy air can also cause fatigue, drowsiness, and even an increased blood pressure.

  • Stuffy nose or cold

If you notice your nose gets easily blocked, dry or stuffy while traveling in your car, it is a sign that your air conditioner is not circulating clean air. Bacteria can also cause cold-like symptoms.

  • Allergic reactions such as sneezing or coughing

Sneezing and coughing are two other common health factors, caused by mould in your air conditioning unit. People who are extremely allergic to mould, may find themselves having difficulty breathing.

  • Bacterial infections

Bacteria can cause different types of infections. The severity of infections varies depending on how strong a person’s immune system is. Symptoms of infections include dry or itchy skin, fever, cough, and other more serious respiratory problems such as pneumonia.

Anti-Bacterial Spray

How to Get Rid of Bacteria in Your Car Air Conditioner

Since your car air conditioning unit is always exposed to dust, dirt and moisture, it’s normal for bacteria to multiply inside it. However, you can do something to help get rid of the common causes of bacteria and microorganisms such as mould, mildew, and dirt.

1. Anti-Bacterial Spray

You can use an anti-bacterial killing spray to temporarily get rid of bacteria inside your car. Make sure you only use it whilst there is no one inside the car, and leave it for around 30 to 60 minutes before you use the car.

2. Clean the Vents

Another way to temporarily clean your air conditioner is by cleaning the air vents. Use a clean cloth and soak it with vinegar, then wipe your air conditioner vents to remove any dirt and bacteria. You can also use a baking soda solution instead of vinegar.

3. Clean or Change the Air Filter

Having your air filter cleaned or replaced is a great way to remove the mould and any other sources of bacteria in your car air conditioning. Ideally, your air filters should be changed every two years.

4. Hire a Professional Aircon Cleaning Service

If you think your car’s air conditioning unit has accumulated too much dirt and bacteria, it’s best to have your AC checked by a professional for a cleaning service. Car air conditioning experts have the necessary tools and skills to effectively remove mould and mildew from your air conditioner, making it safe for your health.


Prevent AC Bacterial Growth

There are ways to prevent bacterial growth in your car’s AC. First, you should keep the car clean, wash and change the floor mats regularly. Even if you don’t regularly use your car, always wipe the vents clean and turn on the car’s air conditioning weekly for at least 10 minutes. Also, run the defrost setting after long periods of use.

Most importantly, the best way to prevent bacteria and mould from building up in your car air conditioning unit is to have it regularly serviced by the experts. Car air conditioner should be checked and cleaned at least once a year.


Is your car’s AC unit in need of thorough cleaning? The experts at Sandgate Auto Electrics and Air Conditioning are always available to ensure your entire vehicle will not pose any health and safety risk to you and your family.


Call us today on (07) 3269 3158

or visit our workshop at 113 Connaught Street Sandgate QLD 4017

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8 Must Know Modifications For Real 4x4s

If you want to customise your regular 4-wheel drive (4WD) for outback travels, your vehicle should undergo certain 4×4 modifications and upgrades. However, modifying a 4×4 is a bit challenging and should not be taken lightly. After all, the vehicle will be re-engineered so it can be used for purposes aside from what it was originally intended for.

When it comes to modifying a 4WD, it’s essential to figure out exactly what you need before changing any component. One small change can affect other aspects of the vehicle, so it’s best to do 4×4 modifications as a whole project rather than one component at a time.

Here are the eight basic types of 4×4 modifications to upgrade your 4WD:

1. Tyres

The standard tyres of most 4WDs are not specifically designed for outback travels and will most likely fail during a steep and heavy drive. Your new tyres should be robust enough to manage rough roads and long trips. Tyres with light truck construction is recommended rather than those with the usual passenger construction. This is because light truck tyres have a stronger carcass and thicker sidewalls. They are particularly designed to carry heavy weights and handle higher pressures. Generally, light truck tyres are less prone to damage compared to passenger tyres.

Bigger tyres are usually preferred, as they can raise your 4WD higher. However, the size of the tyres depends on what fits the vehicle. The final gear (i.e. the last gear before the power moves to the wheels) may also require modification because the engine will rev less with a larger wheel diameter.

2. Long-Range Fuel Tanks

If you’re planning to travel to remote areas with your 4WD, you need to ensure that you have enough fuel. However, carrying extra fuel may be bothersome or risky. With this, upgrading to a long-range fuel tank is recommended. Long-range fuel tanks allow you to carry enough fuel for your long drive, and you can place the tank under your vehicle so no extra space is occupied.

3. Snorkel

You may encounter deep mud pits, sandy roads, and even flood water when travelling to remote areas. Adding a snorkel will help prevent mud, sand, dust, and water from entering the 4WD’s engine, as long as the level doesn’t exceed the height of the snorkel. You can also add a special sock to the top of a snorkel as a second air filter. This can prevent really fine dust particles from going inside the engine.

4. Bullbars

Adding a bullbar in your 4-wheel drive is important because it protects the front of your vehicle from animal attacks and other types of damage. Bullbars can also serve as a convenient location for aerials and lights. If you want to mount a winch on a bullbar, you’ll have to choose a winch-compatible bar instead of a standard bar. Furthermore, make sure that the bullbar is compatible with airbags.

5. Diff Lockers or Traction Aids

Diff lockers, or traction aids, help prevent damage to the driveline when travelling through rough roads and tough terrains. Driving on rough roads or uneven terrains can cause either/or both front and rear wheels to lift off the ground or lose traction. A fast spinning, lifted wheel that suddenly hits the ground can disable your car or cause certain components to break.


A diff locker locks the differentials (both axles and/or wheels), forcing them to rotate at the same rate and allowing the disabled vehicle to move forward. It’s essential to know the right time to switch the diff lockers on and off.

6. Satellite Phones for Communication

Outback travels are usually long, and remote areas may not have network signal for your mobile phone. If you want to communicate with your relatives or friends, or if you need to contact people in case of emergencies, then a satellite phone is the best solution. Make sure you fully charge your sat phone and keep it safely inside the vehicle to avoid damage in case of accidents.

7. Driving Lights

Remote areas are usually dark after sunset. Extra driving lights are essential especially if you expect to be driving during the night. The best driving lights are a combination of both wide and pencil beams. Lights that are vibration-resistant, waterproof, and have a mounting system that can be adjusted easily are the most recommended.

8. Spare Tyre Carriers

A spare tyre carrier is an important add-on to ensure that you can bring extra tyres during your long trip. This is especially necessary if you upgraded into bigger tyres as they won’t fit into rear-mounted spare tyre carrier. It is also useful if you have a long-range fuel tank as it would be difficult to place the spare tyres there.

Important Reminders When Doing 4×4 Modifications

Before you decide to do modifications and upgrades on your 4WD, make sure you consider the following:

  • First, you have to decide what you actually need based on the type of trips you plan to do, and the places you plan to go to.
  • Make sure you work out exactly what you want to modify in the vehicle as a whole, as each modification may affect other components.
  • Some modifications may need to be approved by an engineer, as this is required for insurance and legal purposes.
  • Check the rules about 4×4 modifications because not all types are allowed by the law. Secure licenses when necessary.
  • It’s best to get your accessories from one supplier and have the same 4WD professional do all 4×4 modifications. This is to ensure that the accessories and the modifications made are compatible and will effectively function together.

If you have more questions about 4×4 modifications, don’t hesitate to give us a call. Our 4WD professionals at Sandgate Auto Electrics will be happy to assist you!

Call us today at (07) 3269 3158 or send a message.

You may also visit our workshop at 113 Connaught Street Sandgate QLD 4017 so we can give your vehicle a proper assessment.

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Why is my AC Broken?

Driving while your AC is broken, when heavily relying on your car can quickly become a nightmare. Having to take the kids to school, run errands, and drive to work with windows rolled down can make things uncomfortable fast.

No matter the time of the year, if your car aircon system decides to stop working, it can make travelling in the car unbearable.

Are you worried the auto mechanic or auto electrician are just making up problems while trying to take advantage of you, and quoting you the highest possible price for parts that may not even need replacing?

Perhaps you are too busy to do adequate research into the problem?

We will discuss the most likely reasons your AC is no longer working, so that you can get cool, and have it fixed ASAP.

There are many different causes of a broken AC, which include the following:

  • Electrical Issues
  • Failed compressor
  • Low or no refrigerant
  • Foul or clogged system
  • Ventilation system

If it sounds like I’m speaking a foreign language, no need to worry.

Unless you are passionate about cars, or an auto mechanic, it’s highly unlikely you would know what these issues are, and why they may be the cause of your broken car aircon system.

Let’s break them down, and take a look at each more closely.

Failed Compressor

One of the most common causes of a broken AC is that the compressor has failed. Wait, what exactly is a compressor? Think of a compressor as the heart of your car’s air conditioning system, as it pumps it produces cool air. If it can’t beat anymore, then the system work properly.

Why did the compressor fail?

Wear and Tear – A compressor can fail from general wear and tear caused over many years and thousands of kilometres.

Oil – Another cause may be that there is not enough oil in the system.

Debris – It’s also possible there is debris in the air conditioning system.


How to check for a failed compressor?

So how exactly does one check if the compressor is the reason your AC is broken? You need to measure the pressure rise across the compressor. If the pressure is lower than normal, it’s a sign that the compressor has already failed, or is on it’s way out.

If it’s a failed compressor, you simply need to get the compressor replaced, and you will have your car AC system working again in next to no time!

Foul or clogged system

Another possible problem leading to a broken AC is caused by fouling or clogging your system. Uh, say what?

Using low-quality leak stop agents may be the cause. Or if your AC system has recently been opened, debris may have gotten into the system doing damage.

If the system is clogged, this will lead to pressures changing in incorrect sections of the system and will lead to reducing the cooling effect of the AC.

How to check for clogs

To check for clogs, a mechanic will inspect the pressures around the system, and look for any abnormalities. If they discover a component is clogged, then it’s advisable to replace that component.

Leaking Refrigerant

Perhaps the most common cause of a failed car aircon system is that there is a leak, which can cause your refrigerant level to drop, or even worse completely empty.

What Causes Leaks?

Due to the nature of refrigerant used in a car air conditioning system, it is highly common that leaks occur, which is amplified by the operating environment the system is exposed to.

How to check for leaks?

To check for a refrigerant leak, they will measure the low side pressure which is in the AC system. If the pressure is lower than normal, it’s highly likely that there is a leak which is the cause of a low refrigerant level.

How to fix it?

If it is discovered the refrigerant level is low; the best solution is to add more refrigerant to the car aircon system to bring it back to life, and working again as it should. They will also make sure to seal the leak to ensure that the refrigerant does not leak again in future.


Ventilation System

A problem with the ventilation system can be one of the most misleading and confusing causes of a broken AC.

But why? The ventilation system has a blower, which moves air through a series of ducts and directs it through different passages depending on the vent chosen and the temperature setting.


What Causes a Ventilation problem?

If the ducts end up clogged, or the ventilation doors break they can no longer direct the ventilation air, which can cause the cool air to become warm.

This makes it seem as though you have a problem with a malfunctioning car aircon system even though the AC is still working perfectly.

How to check the Ventilation System

To check if it’s a ventilation problem instead of an AC issue, you can check the feed line to your evaporator. Does it feel cold under the car hood, even though there is warm air blowing into the car from the vents?

If this is the case, then it is a ventilation problem, and replacing the damaged ventilation components will fix the problem.

Electrical Issues

There are countless electrical issues which may be the cause of your air conditioner breaking or malfunctioning, such as:

– If the ventilation system does not give the compressor the signal to turn on, then the air conditioning won’t cool the vehicle.

– The electric fan cooling your condenser has blown a fuse, burnt out, or has a bad relay, which will result in the car aircon system malfunctioning at low speeds.

– One of the sensors in the AC fails which can lead the system to give incorrect readings, and not work properly.

Following these tips and regularly having you AC checked for possible problems can help you prevent future issues with your air con, leading to a reliable car you can count on and trust. Enjoy the moment with your family and loved ones, instead of worrying if your car is going to last the journey on a summer day.


If you need further advice, or for a certified technician to assess your vehicle’s  air condition, 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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Sandgate Advanced Caravan Camera

Here we have a 2017 Toyota 200 series VX Landcruiser with a high resolution 9 inch factory display. And today we’ve install our premium caravan camera integration system along with the optional Hema four-wheel drive nav. Now this system will work on the VX facelift model from about 2015. At this point though it’s really important for us to highlight a key difference between the VX model and the Sahara. To the naked eye the entertainment system of the VX and Sahara look identical. However the Sahara has a surround view camera system, but the VX has a single reverse camera. So the way the factory camera picture or video signal is displayed on this OEM screen is completely different. So that’s the reason that we have a different premium system for each other cars. The operation is exactly the same except for the Sahara it’s a bit more expensive because we need another interface to integrate into the quad Camera System.

Another important point that would like to make it this point is that the Toyota screen will only work with an NTSC camera. It won’t work with a PAL camera. So it’s really important to check your camera specifications with the manufacturer before installing this system. If it turns out that you do have a PAL camera then it still possible to install the system, but you’ll just need to replace the camera on your van with an NTSC version.

So we’re going to start now with the standard caravan and camera system to show you how it operates and then also will show you the difference between how the premium system operates. When we install our standard system you simply long press the navigation button to activate the camera picture. This customer has chosen the Hema four-wheel drive Nav option so the first press takes you to the navigation, then we can long press it again and now you can see the image from your caravan camera right here on the screen. The audio continues to work as normal and there’s no impact on any of the factory features. You can use the phone audio home or no button to return to the desired factory feature of the system. However if you want to see the caravan camera when in Reverse you can see that it goes back to the factory reverse camera by default and the caravan camera images no longer visible. Now in order to bring up the caravan camera picture we have to short press the Nav, which takes us back to the factory Nav screen. Then you have to long press the navigation button again to display the caravan camera. And if you have the optional navigation system like this one, then you’ll have to press it twice. However if you decide to have our navigational Hema system installed you can also choose to activate the caravan camera with a separate switch so you don’t need to press the Nav button twice to get the caravan camera up. But because there are very few places in these new vehicles to mount switches. We’ve design this system so that it can be used without the need of mounting any extra switches.

Now let’s say you’re performing a tricky reverse maneuver which is going to require you going in and out of reverse several times. For each time you go in and out of reverse your going to have to repeat this process so it could be really annoying. So it’s for this reason that we developed a premium system which includes video sensing technology. So as soon as the caravan is hitched up to the vehicle and our system sensors that there was a caravan camera picture coming through it will automatically display that picture when in reverse. Then as soon as you unhitch the van and there’s no longer a camera signal coming through from the caravan, the system will automatically revert back to the factory reverse camera.

So in summary if you main requirement for the caravan camera is to be able to use your factory display as a rear view monitor while you’re driving forwards. Then our standard system will work perfectly. But if you want the convenience of seeing the caravan camera when reversing without having to activate the camera each time you go to reverse than the premium system is the best option.

It’s all so popular now for caravans to have a dual camera on the back. So one of the cameras has a wider angle and is angled down to the ground for better reversing vision and the other camera projects straight out so while you’re driving forwards and you can use that as a rear view camera. The premium system will allow you to see the right camera at the right time. So when you engage reverse you’ll see the camera that’s best for reversing, then if you’re driving and you long pressing a button you’ll see the best camera for rear vision.

If you’ve already had our standard system installed in your VX, you can easily upgrade to the premium system for about $300 plus installation. So hopefully this is help you understand the system how it works and also the difference between our standard and premium systems. Give us a call if you got any further questions and we can give you the best option for your personal touring needs. And if you don’t own a 200 series, we also have solutions for most popular towing vehicles. So give us a call on (07) 3269 3158 or stop in at our workshop on 113 Connaught Street Sandgate QLD 4017

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Car Air Conditioning Repair: 5 Reasons Why Your Vehicle’s AC Leaks Water

The car air conditioning system is one of the most important components of your vehicle. It  keeps the air temperature of your vehicle’s interior cool and comfortable during those warm summer months. When you notice that your car’s AC doesn’t provide as much cool air as it should, then it’s time to consider having it checked by the professionals .

One common sign that your vehicle’s air conditioning system needs special attention is when you notice that water is leaking from under the front of the car or inside the cabin near the passenger side. There are numerous reasons why this happens. Let us explore five of the most common reasons why a vehicle’s air conditioner leaks water.

Blockage in the Condensate Drain Pipe

1. Blockage in the Condensate Drain Pipe

A warning sign that your car’s condensate drain might be blocked is when you notice the water leaking inside your vehicle. If you find your car’s floor getting wet with water whenever you turn your car’s air conditioner on, then it’s time to check your condensate drain. A blocked condensate drain keeps the water from draining outside your vehicle, causing the water to overflow inside the car instead.

How to solve this?

Unblocking a condensate drain is usually easy to do, as long as you are familiar with your car’s parts and engine. First, you need to find the condensate drain hose, which is usually located at the rear of the engine on the passenger side.

When you’ve located it, squeeze or bend the hose  to release any debris inside. You may also carefully insert a screwdriver to clear the hose. Be very careful when doing this to avoid any damage inside the ventilation system. If you’re not confident in doing this on your own, it’s better to consult an auto air conditioning professional, just to be safe.

The Condensate Drain is Not Properly Attached to the Ventilation System AC CAR

2. The Condensate Drain is Not Properly Attached to the Ventilation System

Another possible reason why your car’s air conditioner is leaking water inside your vehicle is because the condensate drain is not properly attached to the ventilation system. This prevents the drain from doing its job of draining the water outside, under the car.

How to solve this?

If you are familiar with your vehicle’s parts and if you’re okay to get your hands dirty, you may try to solve this on your own.

First, you need to locate the condensate drain, which can be found under the evaporator (the evaporator is usually located inside the passenger compartment) and at the lowest point in your vehicle’s ventilation system. Attach the condensate drain properly to the ventilation system and check if it runs outside your vehicle.

If you’re in doubt, it’s best to consult a professional technician.

Low Refrigerant Level

3. Low Refrigerant Level

Your vehicle’s AC needs a certain amount of refrigerant to maintain its capability of circulating cool air. When the refrigerant level of your car’s air conditioning system becomes low, it will decrease the pressure on your AC system. Lower pressure will cause the evaporator coils to ice up and freeze, and this can cause the condensate drain pan to overflow and leak water.

For more information on evaporator coils, read our article on “The five most common causes of car air-conditioning failure“.  

How to solve this?

One of the signs that your car air conditioning system is low on refrigerant is that it blows warm air instead of cool. It’s best to have your car AC system serviced so the refrigerant levels can be checked properly and refilled as needed. Having it serviced by the auto professionals is essential for a task like this.

Dirty or Blocked Air Filters

4. Dirty or Blocked Air Filters

Over time, your auto AC’s air filter will accumulate dirt due to dust and moisture. This is the reason why it’s important to have your car’s air conditioning checked and serviced at least once a year to keep the air filters clean. When your AC’s air filter accumulates debris, it may become blocked. This may freeze up the car air conditioner’s evaporator coils, which will cause excess water to overflow from the condensate drain.

How to solve this?

Keeping your car’s air filter clean is necessary, and this is best left to the hands of the professionals. Have your vehicle checked and serviced at least once a year, or as recommended by the manufacturer as stated in your owner’s manual. Regular AC servicing will help prevent more serious problems. After all, prevention is better than cure.

5. Broken Condensate Drain Pan

Your condensate drain pan may rust or break due to old age or wear and tear. A broken condensate pan may also be caused by accidents . When the condensate drain pan is broken, it can cause water to leak from your air conditioner.

How to solve this?

Depending on how serious the damage is, a broken condensate drain pan really should be replaced. Have this checked by an auto repair professional and replace when necessary.

Air Conditioning Repair

When Do You Need a Car Air Conditioning Repair?

It’s normal for your car’s air conditioner to leak water outside your vehicle from time to time. However, if you start seeing water inside your vehicle after you turned the air conditioner on, or if you see too much water leaking outside than what’s normal, then it’s time to consult a professional. If your car’s aircon is no longer blowing air that’s cool enough to make you feel comfortable during hot days, it’s a sign that your vehicle’s AC system may be in need of expert servicing or an immediate car air conditioning repair.

For any auto air conditioning issues, don’t hesitate to call and speak to any of our certified technicians on (07) 3269 3158 and we’ll be happy to assist you!

If you have any questions about car air conditioning, you may visit our workshop at 113 Connaught Street Sandgate QLD 4017 and we’ll be at your service!

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5 Common Causes of Air Conditioning Failure

The air conditioning system is important to your comfort,  although you can still drive safely without it.

Air conditioning systems filter pollutants, airborne particles and is odourless. They keep the air clean and offer health benefits especially for people suffering from respiratory allergies.   

This is why it’s really important that the car air conditioning system is working properly. As with all mechanical parts, failures can occur.

Let’s explore the top 5 common causes of car air conditioning failures.

5 Common Causes of Air Conditioning Failure In a Car

Leaking or Depleted Refrigerant

Every air conditioning system needs a refrigerant. The most common and widely used is CFC-12 or R-22, more popularly known as Freon. Freon is a chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) that has been linked to depleting ozone levels.

Due to environmental impacts and health concerns, safer refrigerants have been introduced, for example, HFC-134a.

Refrigerants absorb the  heat and produce cool air.

In your air conditioning unit, there are compressors and coils. The compressor adds pressure to the refrigerant

As the refrigerant circulates through the condenser or coils, it condenses to a liquid state. It then absorbs heat from the air outside and converts it into cool air. This cycle is responsible for the cooling effect in your car.

For an air conditioning unit to function properly, it requires refrigerant. When there is a malfunction or leak related to the  refrigerant, the air conditioner stops working effectively.

Refrigerant leakage can be caused by loose connection or corrosion of the heat pump.

Your air conditioner can lose 10 to 15 percent of the refrigerant over a year. Over five years, that is at least 50% loss of refrigerant.

Coils and Condenser Failure

The function of the condenser is to cool the highly pressurised refrigerant vapours coming from the compressor. The condenser is made up of a system of coils and fans.

The air conditioner coils or condensing system may become blocked by dust or grime. They can also become rusty and may leak.

This causes the air conditioning unit to overheat , as it constantly tries to expel hot air.   


Malfunctioning Fan or Blower System

The condenser system fan circulates the air through the coils. If the condenser system fan fails, the air flow will stay warm.

Freezing or Faulty Evaporator

Failure may happen if the air conditioner starts blowing hot or warm air, and then suddenly switches to cold air. A faulty evaporator will cause your air conditioner to repeatedly switch between hot and cold.

Just as the condenser creates cool air, the evaporator will create warm air. Please check out our article on how the air conditioner of a car works for better understanding of this part.

Additionally, the evaporator can freeze as it is in direct contact with the refrigerant.

If an evaporator is covered in ice, it cannot cool air properly. The system will have to wait till the ice melts before it can circulate cold air again.

Bad Expansion Valve and Orifice Tube

The expansion valve and orifice tubes are core components of a car’s air conditioning.  

If insufficient refrigerant flows, the evaporator can overheat; and if too much refrigerant flows, the evaporator can freeze. A noticeable sign of this is icy air coming out of the air vent.


If you feel your air conditioner is faulty, it could be a malfunction of any of these components.

At Sandgate Auto Electrics, we are aware of the importance of a well-functioning air conditioner. If you need further advice, or for a certified technician to assess your vehicle’s air conditioning, 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.

Got a Question for Us?