Tow Trailer with Any Vehicle: ElecBrakes

Today if you want to tow a trailer with electric brakes you need an electric brake controller fit to your car. This means that the car with a controller must be used each time the trailer needs to be towed or moved. What a pain! If you wanted to tow the trailer with another car, you now need to install a second brake controller; and another and another.

Are you in the hire business? Imagine any hirer with the right vehicle being able to use your services. Do you have a trailer that you and your team use for business? Are the young apprentices always having to use the bosses nice new car to tow the trailer? Not anymore!

Do you have horses? Imagine being able to tow the horse float with any motor vehicle. This section is how to install and setup. ElecBrakes is a wireless electric brake controller fitted to your trailer, not your car. Having and an ElecBrakes unit will allow any vehicle with a correct towing capacity to tow the trailer the unit is attached to. Everything you need to attach the ElecBrakes unit to the trailer is in the box. Simply attach the unit to the drawbar of the trailer wire the electrical wires coming from the Elecbrakes unit directly into the wiring harness of the trailer. Download the ElecBrakes app and follow the instructions to calibrate the phone to the ElecBrakes unit on the trailer.

If you want to know more about ElecBrakes, click here to download the Brochure and Installation Guide here. SandgateAutoElectrics are always ready to help you prepare and stay safe on the roads. You can either call us today on (07) 3269 3158 or stop in at our workshop on 113 Connaught Street Sandgate QLD 4017

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7 Ways to Revive a Dead Car Battery

The lifespan of car batteries depends on how they are used. Typically, they can last more than three years – sometimes up to seven years – when they get correctly charged, are used every day, and have never been totally discharged and recharged several times. If the lifespan of a battery is less than three years, possible causes are lack of use, low electrolyte levels, excessive discharging and recharging, corrosion, problems with charging, or the cells are merely damaged.

When you’re going for a long drive, it’s best to ensure that your battery is in excellent condition – or better yet, carry a second battery or bring a battery bank with you. But if you are already driving miles away – or even if you have not driven out of a garage yet – and your car battery suddenly turns ‘dead’, you can try some fixes to help you revive it. Some of these fixes will require certain tools and materials, such as the following:

  • Distilled water
  • Epsom salt
  • Aspirin
  • Chock
  • Axle stands
  • Rope
  • Chainsaw
  • 18-volt drill battery
  • Jump lead
  • Lighter

Disclaimer: You should at least be familiar with a car battery and certain car parts to be able to do these fixes. If you are unsure, it’s better to hire the services of an auto professional.

The following are seven unconventional ways to revive a dead car battery:

1. Use Epsom Salt Solution

If the problem is caused by a low electrolyte level, using Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) to make an electrolyte solution will help revive your car battery. Check out this article on how to check your battery’s electrolyte level. Epsom salt is a stronger acid, which contains a variety of hydrates, and it might help tip the chemical balance and deliver enough charge to start the engine.

To make a distilled water and epsom salt solution, dissolve 1 part Epsom salt (magnesium sulfate) with 3 parts warm, distilled water. Add to each cell until the plates are covered by ¼ to ½ electrolyte solution. For a more detailed process on how to do this, refer to this article.

2. The Hard Hand Cranking Method

The ‘hand cranking method’ requires you to jack up the rear wheel drive and use axle stands to strengthen its support. The front wheels must be chocked securely by placing the chock in the center and square to tyre, and then put the vehicle in fifth gear while the ignition is turned on. Wrap a rope around the drive tyre to spin the wheel in the normal direction of its rotation. Then really pull hard to turn the engine over and start the motor.

3. The Chainsaw Method

The ‘chainsaw method’ lets you use a chainsaw to drive the alternator (which is located on the engine) and charge the battery. To do this, first you have to remove the chain, blade, and the spoked drive sprocket from the chainsaw to make it look like a pulley. Then remove the drive belts from the alternator. Use the belt to connect the chainsaw drive spindle and the alternator drive pulley. You can check this video for a more detailed procedure on how this is done.

Engage your drive belt and start the chainsaw while applying gentle pressure on the belt. Keep it going until it starts to charge the battery. While this method works, it can be potentially risky because unguarded belts can go spinning at high speed. Take extra precaution when doing this procedure, or don’t attempt it altogether if you’re unsure.

4. Use Aspirin Solution

If you have distilled water and aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid), you can make a solution to chemically alter the electrolyte mix. To make aspirin and distilled water solution, you need to crush 12 350 mg or 500 mg aspirin tablets and dissolve the powdered aspirin in about 6 oz of warm, distilled water. Then add equal amounts to each cell. You may need to add more water to cover the plates.

5. The 18-Volt Drill Battery Method

The 18-volt drill battery method works like a jump start method. To do this, you need a fully charged 18-volt drill battery and jump leads. You can buy these from auto shops. Using the jump leads or other adaptations, you need to makeshift the connection between your dead car battery to the 18-volt drill battery. This allows the drill battery to connect to the dead battery like a standard jump start method.

6. Use Distilled Water

Adding distilled water may help submerge the plates and enable more reaction to help give the engine a few more turns. This will help if the problem is due to low electrolyte levels. Using distilled water only as an electrolyte booster is an alternative if you don’t have an Epsom salt or aspirin available.


7. The Hot Ash Method

The hot ash method should be used as a ‘last resort’ – you only use this when all else fails. First, you need to light a fire and let it burn down to hot ashes. Then remove the filler/vent caps from the top of the battery, take the battery off the car, and place it on the hot ash. Be careful and make you it doesn’t catch fire. The hot ashes should warm the battery up. Reinstall the battery carefully and try to restart your ignition.

Prevent Car Battery Damage

When your car battery fails, you won’t be able to start your engine. Usually, dead car batteries may be revived – at least temporarily – to get you back on the road. However, the accumulation of damage may lead to an untimely demise of your car battery, and this typically needs to be replaced.

But as the saying goes, prevention is always better than cure. It’s still better to prevent car battery damage than revive or replace a dead one.


Here are tips to prevent car battery damage:

  • Make sure to use your car battery regularly.
  • Fully charge unused batteries on a float charger before you use it to drive around. A float charger has a float voltage that maintains a full charge without overcharging the battery.
  • Prevent excessive deep cycling.
  • Make sure that your charging system is functioning properly.

The Bottom Line

When you are in a remote location, and you cannot start your engine due to battery failure, it can cost you big time. It’s better to be prepared and bring an ‘emergency’ battery with you, especially when you plan to travel long routes. Also, carrying a jump start cable, distilled water, aspirin, 18-volt drill battery, chainsaw, a lighter, and the other tools mentioned above will be of good use when you experience sudden battery failure.

You can try the above fixes whenever you experience car battery failure, whether you are still in the garage or while travelling. These fixes should be done with utmost care and you should attempt any of them at your own risk.


If you need further advice, or for a certified technician to assess your vehicle’s battery, 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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Car Aircon System

How a Car Aircon System Works

During the humid/hot season, the air conditioner can be a Godsent – the best invention by mankind.

Now, the cool breeze comes from more than a simple flip of the switch to turn the air conditioner on. The air conditioner itself is a system of parts which includes the piston and compressor, among others. When these parts of the AC work together, they manage to regulate the air pressure and allow it to circulate the heat and remove moisture.

A/Cs all over the world work with more or less the same concept and that is thermodynamics and physics. When various parts are put together, a simple wiring can make them function as a whole new item.

How it works

There are, in particular, 5 parts in the A/C system that work hard to ensure that you get that nice cool breeze during the blazing summer.


Without a compressor, say goodbye to the cold wind from your A/C. While it is still possible to create cool air without one or some other parts of the air conditioner, it is impossible without the compressor (unless you bring a box of ice to cool your car down, which is actually possible).

The compressor is the part of the A/C system responsible for pumping the refrigerant into the system. The pumping has to be done in high pressure, which is a job that only the compressor can do.


The condenser is the part of the A/C responsible for changing the form of the refrigerant into a liquid. As you have probably seen from when you refilled the refrigerant of the AC, you would notice that it is in the form of gas. But to ensure that it can be cooled down to the coldest mode you have put the AC on, the condenser needs the refrigerant in liquid form to create the chilling temperature you want. Air current passes through the condenser to cool the now liquid refrigerant.

Note that a condenser  is not the same as a radiator, it just looks similar (don’t we hope car manufacturers can do something about similar looking parts of a car?).

Receiver-dryer (Reservoir)

Like the name implies, it receives the refrigerant that is now in liquid form. This small reservoir’s role is to remove any moisture, debris, and other substances you don’t want to see blowing into your face and car. Without removing them, the system will go awry in no time as debris blocks the airway and its several parts will leak, freeze or break.

If moisture is allowed into the AC system, you may find yourself in the mechanic shop sooner than you expected. The moisture can lead to ice crystals forming and result in air blockage and mechanical damage.

Thermal expansion valve/Accumulator (orifice tube)

Some cars have different AC systems with either a thermal expansion valve or accumulator. Both actually do the same job but let us explain why they are different. What the thermal expansion valve and accumulator both have in common is that they prevent any moisture from leaving the evaporator and causing havoc in the system.  Both also use a type of desiccant to clean up the refrigerant before air is blown out from the AC system.

Now, how are the accumulator and expansion valve different?

Expansion valve opens and closes according to the the level of coolness you’ve set. At the same time, it also moves on its own based on its sensing bulb to ensure that the refrigerant is cool enough for the temperature outside the A/C. It is flexible and decides how much should be allowed into the evaporator.

Orifices tubes, on the other hand, don’t move. You are stuck with the same size until the time comes for you to change to a new orifice tube. So, which part of the A/C regulates the amount of refrigerant? That would be the compressor and also several additional parts to ensure that the flow is adjusted to your demand and need. Some of you may opt to install a valve to regulate the cooling system if the compressor cannot do the job.

From this, you might be able to guess that orifices tubes have to be changed once in a while. When you install a new one, make sure that it is according to the manufacturer’s code. It is not too expensive and is usually perceived to be the economical choice to make. As for thermal expansion valve, it allows more control on your side but can be more expensive to install.


The evaporator is located close to the passenger seat, usually behind or around the footwell. The evaporator cools the refrigerant and makes sure you get that bout of cold air that maintains your car’s temperature. The evaporator is also part of the AC system that absorbs heat and allows the interior of the car to cool down, causing the cold wind to blow off the vents after you switch the A/C on.

Now, understanding the parts of the AC that work together in providing a cool breeze is important when something goes wrong in the system. For example, most of the time when the A/C is no longer blowing cold air, but still blows the same pressure, it’s either due to the lack of refrigerant that enters the evaporator or a poor performing evaporator. If you notice a quick drop of refrigerant, there must be a leak in the system which can be frequently checked with a fluorescent dye.

Therefore, it is important to know the respective functions of the various parts to better diagnose a fault in the AC in case of emergencies.

You can check out our other articles on how to fix your car’s air conditioning system and how to refill the refrigerant of the AC. If this is beyond your abilities, do not hesitate to Call us today at (07) 3269 3158 or pop into our workshop 113 Connaught Street Sandgate QLD 4017.

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Auto Air Conditioning Repair: When to Visit an Expert

Your car’s air conditioning system needs regular maintenance at least once every two years to ensure that it’s working properly. Due to natural wear and tear, your car’s AC system may develop a fault, making it less effective in providing cool air. This article will walk you through the important things you need to know about auto air conditioning repair and how to find out when your car’s AC needs one.

Auto Air Conditioning Service vs. Repair

A regular auto air conditioning service maintains your car’s air conditioning system to prevent it from developing faults. It is a preventive maintenance to ensure that your car’s AC is not damaged and is working efficiently. Most manufacturers require that you do this once every two years, however, old cars and old auto AC units are recommended to undergo an AC service once a year.

The services included in a regular car air conditioning service may vary depending on your car’s needs. It typically includes the following:

  • Inspection of drive belts, pulleys, hoses, and components
  • Valves and thermostats operation check
  • Check for refrigerant leaks
  • Refill refrigerant oil when necessary
  • Checking of condenser temperature
  • Suction line temperature reading
  • Check air vent temperature
  • Check for failure in any AC component

When a failure or damage is found after checking the AC during a service maintenance, it will be recommended for an auto air conditioning repair. The type of repair will depend on what AC component is damaged.

6 Symptoms that Your Car Needs Auto Air Conditioning Repair

Sometimes, you don’t need to wait for your next auto air conditioning service schedule to notice that your auto air conditioning system is no longer working properly. There are different warning signs that your car’s AC needs special attention. Below are six common symptoms to watch out for:

1. Weak or Warm Airflow

When you turn your car’s air conditioner on and all you get is weak or warm airflow even after several minutes of waiting, it is an obvious sign that you need to have it checked. Weak or warm airflow may be due to one of many possible issues, such as follows:

  • It may just be out of refrigerant.
  • The air has trouble reaching your air vents because of accumulated mold and mildew in the evaporator core.
  • The vents or the AC unit itself is clogged by debris.
  • The hose or connections may have leaks or have come loose.
  • The ventilation fan is fried.
  • The cooling fan is damaged.

It’s important not to ignore this symptom because aside from it being uncomfortable, the damage may also get worse when not fixed immediately.

2. Foul Smell

If you notice foul odours coming out of your vents when you turn on your car’s AC, it could be a sign that your cabin air filter is dirty or needs to be replaced. It could also be due to mold growth in your air conditioning unit or the evaporator case.

When you notice a nasty, sweat-like odour when you turn your car’s air conditioner on, make sure to have it checked and repaired immediately as the foul smell can cause respiratory health problems.

3. Unusual Noises

Another obvious symptom of a failing auto air conditioning system is when it makes weird noises when it’s turned on. If you hear a rattling, vibrating, or banging sound, it may be a sign that your car’s AC needs cleaning. Unusual noises may be a cause of debris that is clogged in your vents. However, it could also be a warning sign that something has turned loose inside the system or worse, a component is broken.

When you start to hear unusual noises when you turn your AC on, it’s best to immediately visit an auto repair shop that specialises in air conditioning repair to have it diagnosed.

4. Starts Cool Then Suddenly Turns Warm

When you turn on the AC, the air starts cool. But then after a few minutes or so, it suddenly turns warm. There could be several possible reasons why this is happening, such as the following:

  • The expansion valve is clogged or blocked, which is why the refrigerant can’t flow into the evaporator.
  • A fuse may have been blown, which causes certain components to stop working.
  • The compressor clutch is damaged, which is why it can’t maintain the correct pressure.
  • The refrigerant may be leaking, which causes the air to turn warm.

5. Unusual Water Stains

It’s normal for the water to drain out from the bottom of your car after you’ve turned on the air conditioner for a while. However, if you see water stains or water pooling inside your car, then it may be a sign that the drain at the bottom of your car is either damaged or clogged, causing the water to back up. The water will flow to your car – pooling near the front floor mats – under the dash.

6. Air Conditioning System Leaks

Leaks can sometimes be difficult to spot. Usually, you need the help of a professional to find where the leaks are. Leaks are caused by age and moisture. If your car’s AC unit is old and has not undergone a preventive service maintenance for quite some time, it may be that the rubber seals and hoses have lost their elasticity and have broken down, causing the leaks.

Another cause of leaks is when moisture is mixed with refrigerant, which can create a corrosive acid that can destroy your AC unit or some of its components. Leaks can lead to other more serious damage and problems – so it’s best to have your auto AC serviced regularly to check your car’s AC for possible leaks. If you suspect a leak, be sure to visit a professional right away for some auto air conditioning repair work.

Auto AC Service or Auto AC Repair?


Over time, your car’s AC system will get worn, and the air conditioning gases in your car will escape from the AC system. A regular service maintenance is necessary to help ensure that you keep your air conditioning system in best condition. This service maintenance also helps diagnose certain faults or damages in your AC system that you may not yet be aware of. Early diagnosis can help fix the problem immediately before it gets worse.

When you car’s AC unit is not working as efficiently as before, there might be something wrong with it. If you notice any of the above symptoms of a failing AC system, it’s best to immediately bring it to a credible auto repair shop for a possible auto air conditioning repair.

For more information, call us at (07) 3269 3158

or visit our workshop in 113 Connaught Street Sandgate QLD 4017

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Car Airconditioning

DIY: How to Fix Your Car’s Air Conditioning System

An air conditioner that does not blow cold air is a serious problem. With the summer heat in Australia, you don’t want to go anywhere without turning on your car’s air conditioner. Most summer days in Brisbane can reach around 32 degrees and having a faulty air conditioner is not an option.

You might notice weird noises in your car, it might have taken a while for you to realise that it only happens when the A/C is turned on, but now you’re getting closer to the problem.

Fixing your air conditioning may just take a simple tweak, but unless you really know what you are looking at it can be quite complex.

If you really have no idea of what things are your best move would be to take the car in to a qualified auto electrician, however keep reading if you feel confident you could carry out a DIY repair.

Repairing a car air conditioning system doesn’t always work. WHAT? What do you mean? Well, there’s a couple of facts that you need to know:

  • Repairing means that something is broken and has to be tinkered, fixed, or replaced.
  • While most of the time, the problem lies in the fact that it’s running out of refrigerant or low car battery.
  • The so-called repairing is actually refilling the liquid or recharging your battery.

Now here’s the thing. Although the things that they do may seem simple, they actually require special machinery to do it. Refilling the A/C refrigerant by a car air conditioning service requires them to bring out a huge tank of refrigerant and a long hose with a pressure checker. However, these are not things you might find at home but good substitutes that can be found at your local hardware store are:

  • A can or two of refrigerant/Freon
  • A refrigerant dispenser (made of a pressure guage and trigger.)

Lucky for you, we also have a short guide here to help you refill refrigerant/Freon into your car’s A/C.

Refilling refrigerant step-by-step

1. Item procurement and precautionary measures

The first step is to get all the necessary equipment and understand the safety measures you should know. Understand that failure to heed to the safety measures may result in injuries such as frostbites and blindness.

Things you should have:

  • Gloves and goggles
  • A can or two of refrigerant/Freon
  • A single pressure hose or manifold charge with three hoses (which is fancier and allows you to do a better check on your A/C before refilling). You can also make use of your refrigerant dispenser as mentioned above.

Other things to note:

  • Wear goggles to protect your eyes.
  • Wear gloves and long sleeves to prevent accidental spraying onto body parts. When the refrigerant is exposed to skin, it will instantly freeze and cause frostbites.
  • Analyse and know which part of the car you need to touch and should not touch! Check below for more information.
  • Know the kind of refrigerant your car operates on. Not all cars use Freon, although that is typically what most use. You can find the tag around the radiator or the cover howls. Do this before buying the refrigerant. Different cars make use of different refrigerants and this is based on the year of manufacture. If the date of manufacture of the car is before 1994, then your care uses R12 or R22 refrigerants . However, if it was manufactured after 1994, then check the engine bay for a sticker that says if r134 is supported.
  • If it doesn’t operate of r134, then this isn’t the right guide for you and you obviously should not try refilling R22 or R12 the same way.

Things  you should not touch:

  • Do not touch anything you are unfamiliar with.
  • Try as much as possible not to touch the engine bay which includes the hoses.

Things you will need to touch:

  • Fill port: this is located on the left hand side of the engine bay. It is shaped like a pipe with two hoses coming out of its end.

Check the A/C:

Tell us, is the air conditioner completely knocked out or is it still blowing fairly cold wind? If the air conditioner is completely out, you will need about two cans of refrigerant. If it is still blowing soft, cold wind, one can is sufficient.

2. Turn off the engine

Make sure it’s off for a couple of hours before you try looking for the hoses of the fill port.

3. Connect the hose

Twist the can as you put the hose on it. Don’t lock the pin just yet. Now, find the low-end port of your A/C. It should have an L letter printed on the cap. Remove the cap, keep, and connect the other end of the hose to the low port. Make sure it’s tight and that there are no leaks.

4. Let out air

Loosen the end of the can to let any air out. The larger the noise, the more refrigerant you have left inside. Unleash it for only one or two seconds, and tighten it back.

Now, turn the pin on the can clockwise and let it pierce through the can. Nothing is going to happen, yet.

5. Turn on the car

Turn on the engine after you’ve done the steps above. Turn on the A/C and turn it to its highest setting. Also turn it to its coldest setting.

6. Start recharging the refrigerant

Now, go back to the can and turn the pin the other way around from step 5 to let loose the pin from blocking the airway. Refrigerant will begin to flow into the A/C. Watch the gauge and it should be nicely going up to the blue zone.

Don’t shake the can vigorously, but move it around to let the refrigerant flow into the A/C system.

7. Remove the hose

Once it’s all out, turn off the engine and lock the pin on the hose. Remember to turn it full and make sure it’s locked. Remove the hose from the A/C system. Close it back with the L cap.

8. Enjoy the A/C!

And there’s the quick guide to recharging the R12 into your system. It’s pretty simple and safe if you follow the procedures accordingly and make sure that you wear safety equipment.

Now, what if there’s a leakage? The good thing about refrigerant these days is that they also come with UV dye that allows you to see if there are any leakages around the hose. Use UV light to find it.

Sometimes, the refrigerant may not be the problem it might just be the fan. You can try replacing it yourself, but it does require you to open up the dashboard, the filters and lots more. So, the better way to do this is to call us at Sandgate Auto Electrics at (07) 3269 3158 or drop by at our autoshop on 113 Connaught Street Sandgate, QLD, 4017 . We provide the fastest, most reliable car service to the people of Queensland. We also take the proper measures and truly fix everything about your A/C to make sure that there will be no problem for at least a few years to come.

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Car Scratches

DIY Fix Scratches and Paint Chips on Your Car like the Professionals

It’s such a shame to see that beautiful car be covered in scratches. So much for scrubbing and trying to clean off that leftover paint from the other car that bumped into you. The fact is that your own paint has also chipped and you need a lot more than scrubbing to deal with the car scratch.

There is a simple step-by-step guide here that we professionals can confirm helps in dealing with such chips. Following this will give you your car minus the scratches and flaws. Smooth, shiny end result that you can’t differentiate at first glance.

Note that this guide is only meant for simple scratches, not for dents or heavy damages.

Have these things ready:

  • Basecoat
  • Primer Surfacer
  • Clear coat
  • Etch primer (if bare metal is seen): this is a paint solely designed to bond to any surface it is applied on.

As for coating color code, you can find this on your car’s bonnet or just beside the doors.

Car Wax Remover
  • Wax Remover: to help in removing grease, silicone and wax that will prevent the paint from adhering.
  • Grease Remover: to remove any grease or oil residue before painting the car.
Grit Dry Sandpaper
  • Grit dry sandpaper (180, 320, 600): the sandpaper is meant to even out the scratches and paint chips to prevent any uneven bumps while painting. It is also used after the paint has dried to smoothen out the rough edges of the new paint.
Masking Paper
  • Masking paper (or anything to cover parts you don’t want to get painted on)
  • Tape: to secure the masking paper
  • Clean cloths: to wipe the surface of the car
  • Compounding agents: the compounding agents comprise of abrasive substances that help provide a fine finish on a newly painted surface.

We have to remind you that this is not everything you need. Depending on how bad the scratch is, you will need to have etch primer and grit dry & wet sandpaper. So, let’s keep this in mind as we proceed.

Car Scratches

1. Find all the scratches and damaged paint on your car

Often, people ‘pile’ the scratches up and fix them in one go. That’s what you should do here, so that the process doesn’t take too much time, circle your car and find spots for the vehicle scratch repair. Remember, this guide is not meant to fix dents, only chipped paint and scratches.

Clean Your Car

2. Clean the area

Use wax remover and grease remover to clean the area from any oil, dust, and other dirt. We don’t want that smooth paint to look imperfect (if oil residues are left when painting, this will cause ugly streaking on the car) at the end of the DIY. Wipe clean with a clean cloth after using the removers.

Masking Paper

3. Cover adjacent area

Use masking paper or any other wide covering materials to prevent paint from being accidentally sprayed there. Newspaper or unused pieces of cloth works, but masking paper is heavily suggested.

Tips: use backmasking technique if the area is close to places where you don’t want to overspray. If you don’t understand what this is, here’s a quick guide:

  1. Tape the inner part of the sides and circle around it. The sticky part should be facing you and half of the width of the tape should be visible. This is called back taping.
  2. Cover with masking paper.
  3. Tape the edge again from the top, to make sure it won’t easily fall out .
  4. The great thing about reverse masking is that you don’t have tape lines on the surface of your car and it protects other parts that you seriously don’t want to get sprayed on.

This is mostly done by professionals. The problem with doing backmasking is probably the fact that you have to buy tape and masking paper that you might not use for another year or more.


4. Sand the damage

Use a piece of 180 grit dry sandpaper to sand the damaged area. Sand until no leftover paint from the other vehicle is visible.

And then, use 320 grit dry sandpaper to feather sand the area. Sanding the area again is meant to create a seamless surface on the damaged area (in other words, creating an overall similar look to its previous state before the scratch). If you don’t sand, when you coat the area, people are going to notice the small crack that indicates it was chipped before the paint was reapplied.

5. Clean the area again

Use wax and grease remover again to clean the area. Since you used sandpaper, we can’t risk having sand inclusion. Wipe with the cloth you used for wiping it clean again.

6. Mask again

Do the reverse masking whenever possible. If it’s a lower part of the car, best to cover the space under it, so you don’t spray on the suspension components. Don’t let dust flow in and out around the damaged area.

You will need to temporarily cover a tighter area around the damaged part to spray the primer only on the bare metal sections.

Spraying Primer

7. Begin spraying

Start with Primer Etch to cover the bare metal. Note that you don’t always need to spray etch primer, so if there’s no bare metal seen, leave it alone. Shake the can as you spray it. Leave it to dry for a few minutes.

Use prime surface afterward. Turn the can upside down after usage. Wait for at least 4 hours before proceeding to the next step.

8. Sanding again

Now, remove that temporary cover and sand with 600 grit dry sandpaper. If you don’t have 600, use 800 grit wet and dry sandpaper instead. The purpose is to remove any sand or imperfections done by dirt or dust.

9. Prepare for the ultimate touch

Use compounding agent to level out the surface. Much like feather sanding, this is the ultimate move that is going to smooth out between the damaged surface and its surrounding. Of course, you should not use the compounding agent on the damaged surface.

Learn how to spray. There is no exact way to teach you. The easiest method would be to try spraying on other surfaces to learn the techniques required to accurately spray your car.

Once more, clean the area with wax and grease remover, make sure the surface is as smooth as silk before spraying the colors on.

Apply acrylic clear coat

10. Apply base and acrylic clear coat

Apply at least three layers of the base coat. In between spraying, leave to dry for 5 minutes. Spray wide around the damaged area to make sure the paint blends in with its surrounding. Leave about an hour for nice dry paint.

Apply an acrylic clear coat to protect the paint from chemical substances and small scratches. It also gives that glossy effect on your car. Of course, if you don’t want it to gloss, you don’t need to use this. As usual, spray the surrounding as well to blend the color. Leave for a minimum of four hours.

11. Finishing touch

Check if there’s any imperfection on the surface, such as dirt or substances stuck under the paint. Sand with 1500 grit wet and dry sandpaper.

Use the compounding agent to smoothen out the surface and to leave that glossy look perfect. Wait for 2 months. Apply wax after 2 months, and your car will look as good as new (at least the part that you repaired).

As you can see, the process does take quite a long time, so it’s best that you plan out a few days to take care of it. Make sure that you are fixing all the parts that need it.

If you notice that your car has a dent, SandgateAutoElectrics are always ready to help you fix those unsightly damages! You can either call us today on (07) 3269 3158 or make a stop at our workshop on 113 Connaught Street Sandgate QLD 4017

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Expensive Car Parts to Repair

14 Most Expensive Car Parts to Repair

Frequent usage and lack of proper maintenance can expose your car to damage and wear. The cost of repair usually depends on the extent of damage, however, there are car parts that are really expensive to repair or replace. This article lists 14 of the most expensive car parts to repair, including their corresponding estimated price.

1. Air Conditioning Compressor

The air conditioning compressor is the one responsible for pressurising the refrigerant and pumping it through your vehicle’s A/C system. Depending on your car model, an air compressor replacement can cost around $300 to $600, including labor costs. If you need refrigerant charging, it will have an additional cost of between $100 to $150.

Best Camshaft

2. Camshaft

A camshaft will generally last long provided that you are religious with your regular maintenance and oil changes. When grime and dirt start to build up in the valves, this can cause damage to your camshaft. Repairs or replacement of camshafts range between $1,500 to $3,000 depending on the car model.

3. Car Keys

Nowadays, our cars have computerised and more secure features. This means losing your car keys is not a good idea, because you can’t just easily get a copy of your key from a locksmith. A replacement for your spare electronic car key can cost between $250 to $750. However, if you have lost all your keys, you need to reset your car’s computerised system, then create and code an entirely new set of keys. This can cost around $2,000 to $5,000.

4. Cylinders

Damaged cylinders are typically caused by several neglected random misfires and failure to have regular maintenance check. Repair or replacement of a broken cylinder can be very expensive, which is around $8,000 and up.  

Diesel Particulate Filter

5. Diesel Particulate Filter

A diesel particulate filter (DPF) is incorporated in today’s engines. DPF acts as a pollution control system that burns soot particles generated during combustion, thereby reducing the level of contaminants expelled through the exhaust. When the DPF cannot reach the correct temperature to ignite the particles, problems can occur especially when the filter continues to accumulate particles. Replacement or repair of filter can range from $1,000 and $4,000, depending on your car’s model.

6. Engine

One of the most commonly encountered engine problems is a no-start condition, and an experienced mechanics can easily fix this depending on the cause of the problem. However, if your car engine motor is “blown”, it may be suffering from several internal damage that needs intensive repair or total replacement. The engine repair or replacement cost varies depending on the type of engine, which typically ranges between $1,000 to $4,000.

7. Flywheel & Clutch

Due to frequent use, the friction material on the clutch will eventually wear out, prompting the clutch to slip. This may lead to the failure of power to transfer from the engine to the wheels. A worn or damaged clutch rotating against the flywheel may also cause the flywheel to get damaged and break off its teeth. Flywheel repairs typically cost between $400 and $1,000, while the clutch kit price is around $100 to $400.

8. Fuel Injectors

The fuel injectors are responsible for providing the right amount of fuel to the internal combustion engines, and they will eventually wear out. Injectors usually fail individually, but if there is a huge extent of damage and circuit failure, they can get broken simultaneously. However, it’s recommended to have all of them replaced at once even if only one is damaged – this is to keep the engine in good working condition. The cost of repair or replacement for each injector can range between $50 and $300 depending on your vehicle’s make and model.

Fuel Pump

9. Fuel Pump

The fuel pump supplies fuel to the injectors. It’s an expensive piece of equipment that can get damaged due to metal shavings in the fuel, water mixed in the fuel lines, and using fuel that’s of poor quality. The cost of repair for fuel pump varies depending on the extent of damage, type of engine, and make or model of the vehicle. It typically ranges between $700 and $2,000.

10. Head Gasket

The head gasket is the one that creates a seal between the engine block and the cylinder head, stopping the coolant and oil from leaking. Lack of coolant can cause an engine overheat, which can result to a head gasket failure and further damage to the engine. Repairs for this are usually tedious. And although the head gasket is not that costly, the cost of labor can be very expensive, ranging between $1,000 to $2,000.

11. Hybrid Car Parts

Hybrid car parts are usually not readily available in local shops, so additional cost may be incurred for shipping. Damage like inverter failure seldom happens, but its repair or replacement can cost around $4,000 to $7,000 depending on the vehicle’s model.

12. Mass Air Flow Sensor

The mass air flow sensor decides how much fuel to send to the engine after it measures the amount of air sent. If you fail to clean and replace your air filters regularly, it can cause damage to the air flow sensor, which is more expensive to replace. Air filters usually cost around $25, and they need to be replaced at least every 3 years. When your mass air flow sensor gets damaged, its replacement can cost around $400.

Timing Belt

13. Timing Belt

The timing belt should be replaced regularly based on your owner’s handbook because it can easily wear out. Continuous usage of a worn timing belt may lead to the belt splitting, and this can cause serious damage to the connecting rods, camshaft, valves, pistons, and even the crankshaft. When these components get damaged, it can be very expensive to replace them. The cost typically range from $300 and $3,000 depending on what needs to be replaced.

14. Transmission

Your vehicle’s transmission is responsible in transmitting power from the engine to the wheels. Frequent and unnecessary changing of gears can wear the transmission out more quickly. Damage in transmission is usually caused by overheating, and this is typically caused by lack of transmission fluid and poor maintenance. Cost of transmission repairs typically range between $1,000 and $2,000, and a replacement for the whole assembly can cost around $2,000 to $4,000.

Prevent Expensive Damages

Early detection and diagnosis of vehicle problems can help prevent further damage that are expensive to repair. It’s important to have your vehicle serviced regularly and to follow the maintenance schedule as recommended by your manufacturer. Wear and tear is normal for most vehicle parts – but they need to be replaced as soon as possible before they start to affect other components and create more serious issues.


If you need further advice, or for a certified technician to assess your vehicle’s repair, 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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Auto Air Conditioning

10 Signs Your Auto Air Conditioning Unit Needs Repair

The air conditioning system of your vehicle is an important feature that keeps the temperature inside your car comfortable. However, it is one of the things that get worn and damaged due to frequent usage and old age. When your vehicle’s air conditioning fails to provide the right temperature that you need, it’s important to have it checked, serviced, and repaired as necessary.


But how do you determine when your car’s air conditioning system is need of maintenance and/or repair? This article walks you through the ten signs of a bad or failing air conditioning which should serve as warnings. Whenever you notice any of these signs, you need to have it checked and repaired right away.

Here are 10 signs that your auto’s A/C unit needs repair:

1. Weak Airflow

A weak airflow coming out of your car’s air conditioner means that the air is having trouble reaching your air vents. This can be caused by an accumulated mold or mildew in the evaporator core, loose blower hose, fried ventilation fan, or opened core case seals, blower house seals, or evaporator core case seals.

2. Leaking Dashboard

A visible water stain on your mat can be an indication that your dashboard is leaking. A leaking dashboard can be a sign that your hose is clogged, which prevents it from sipping the water out. Age and moisture may cause A/C system leaks. This can create further damage to other components so it needs to be fixed immediately.

Auto Air Conditioning

3. Losing Its Cool

When you notice your vehicle’s air conditioning begins to lose its cool, it may be due to lack of refrigerant, a clogged expansion tube or refrigerant charging hose, broken compressor, broken blower motor, damaged condenser or evaporator, or a failed fuse or switch. This symptom may need a small maintenance or a major repair, depending on what’s causing it.

4. Leaking Refrigerant

The refrigerant is the one responsible for keeping the interior of your car cool. If you notice your air conditioning can no longer provide a cool temperature despite having turned it on for so long, there’s a chance that your refrigerant is leaking. Rubber seals and hoses can lose their elasticity over time, allowing the refrigerant to escape.


If moisture is present, it can cause damage to the accumulator, receiver, or drier. A leaking refrigerant needs immediate attention because it can affect and damage these other vital parts of your A/C.

5. A/C Starting Out Cool Then Suddenly Gets warm

There are many possible causes why your air conditioning system starts blowing out cold air but then suddenly gets warm after a while.  It may be caused by a clogged expansion valve which blocks the refrigerant from flowing into the evaporator. This may also be a cause of a damaged compressor clutch that prevents the compressor to maintain the correct pressure. Or it may also be a sign of a blown fuse or leaks.

6. Unusual Noise

When you hear unusual, rattling noise whenever you turn your car’s A/C on, this may be a sign of a broken fan belt or condenser. There’s also a chance that the noise is caused by debris in the fan. Unusual noises should not be ignored because they can be a symptom of a more serious problem.

car air conditioning brisbane

7. Nasty Odor Coming From the A/C

When you begin to notice nasty odor that smells like sweaty clothes, your A/C’s cabin air filter may be dirty or worn. You need to have this cleaned, or perhaps a replacement is necessary. Regular changing of air cabin filters will help prevent long-term damage to your air conditioning system, and it will also help reduce your fuel consumption.


Aside from dirty or failing cabin air filters, bad odors may also be caused by mouldy evaporator case or air vent. This can put your health at risk because mould can cause allergic reaction to some people. Regular cleaning of the evaporator case and the air vent will help fix this issue.

8. Compressor Clutch Not Moving

When your compressor clutch is not moving, it is a sign that your A/C compressor has a problem. The compressor clutch allows the compressor to turn only when it needs to be. When the clutch stops moving, it can either seize, which permanently keeps the compressor activated; or break, which prevents the compressor from receiving engine power. When this happens, the clutch or the entire compressor may need to be replaced.

9. Leaking Oil

If the A/C evaporator, compressor, condenser, lines, or fittings have problems, it may leak compressor oil. An oil leak will prevent the air conditioning system to function properly and produce cool air. A leaking oil may not be easily visible, but it is an underlying issue that causes your A/C system’s sudden inability to produce cool air.

10. Burning Odor

When you notice a burning odor when you turn your air conditioning on, chances are the wirings of your compressor are burnt or overheated. Damaged compressor wirings prevent the vehicle’s  air conditioning system to function properly. You will need to repair or replace the wirings immediately to fix this issue.

Auto AC Systems

Prevention is Better Than Cure

The air conditioning system is an important component of your vehicle that makes your ride more comfortable. Getting a regular car maintenance check-up is important to keep your A/C system in its best condition and to prevent long-term and more serious damage. Maintenance and thorough check  up of your A/C system should ideally be done at least once a year. After all, prevention is better than cure.

Most car shops offer services for air conditioning maintenance and repairs, but not all of them are RACQ approved and offer nation wide warranty. It’s important to entrust your vehicle to the experts who can provide a reliable and high-quality service.


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.

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