Wednesday, December 19, 2012

We Wish You A Safety Christmas

The Christmas holidays have begun in earnest, which usually means a lot of extra driving. We don’t need to tell you that the road toll always goes through the roof at this time of year, so make sure you keep road safety top of mind throughout the season.

Obviously driving under the influence is illegal, but your driving can be impaired even when you’re under the limit. A couple of mid strengths, a hot day and a large lunch will make you drowsy and less alert behind the wheel. If you can, stay off the sauce all together, or at least take refresher before you get in the car. Also remember that if you’ve had a particularly big night you might still be over the limit the next day, so give it a few hours before you drive in the morning.

Unfamiliar and Dangerous Roads
High speed highways, twisty mountain roads, T-intersections that come out of nowhere... unfamiliar roads can be quite dangerous if you’re not paying enough attention. Slow down, turn down the music, and make sure you study the route before you leave to be prepared for differing road rules or driving conditions. Definitely don’t go into autopilot listening to the GPS lady!

Realistic Distances
Trying to cram in 12 hours a day is no fun for anyone – and it’s definitely not the safest approach to your road trip. Instead of trying to get the drive done as quickly as possible, try to enjoy it! The Australian countryside is beautiful, and this is your opportunity to savour it. Allow enough time to reach your destination – overestimate if you need to – so you’re not rushing to get there. And make sure you have lots of rest stops and breaks – every two hours is a minimum.

Preparation Preparation Preparation
We know you’re inundated with parties, family gatherings and Christmas shopping, but it’s vital you find some time in that schedule for some basic maintenance. Book in for a service if you can. But if you’ve left it too late, you can still run a few quick checks at home. Make sure the windscreen is clean and your RACQ is paid up. Check your tyres, oil, hoses, belts and water. It’s always a good idea to keep an extra bottle of water in the boot for when it inevitable happens and your engine overheats halfway up a mountain.

And it’s not just your car that should be in good working order before you leave. Try to finish up all your packing and preparation in enough time to get a decent night’s sleep before the drive. There’s no point having your car in perfect working order if you’re not!

Ok, ok we’re done with the preaching! All of us here at Carzoos wish you a happy, joyful and safe Christmas. See you in the new year!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Dogs on the road - New Zealand

The message of Dogs this smart deserve a home” has been spawned from the efforts of the SPCA in Auckland in conjunction with Mini in the hope to get more dogs adopted.  A topic which seems to be trending on twitter well with tweets like

“This dog drives better than your girlfriend..”
“Ever failed a driving test? Monty the dog learnt in just seven weeks!” @TopmanUK
“Hope there are no nose to tails” @hello_im_megan

We thought them quite clever indeed! Next time you run out of milk….perhaps Fido can nip down to the corner shop for you?

See Twitter #drivingdogs For more infomation.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas Presents for Car Lovers

It's the most wonderful time of the year... unless you’re stuck for gift ideas, in which case, it can be a pretty stressful one! You can cross your fingers and hope that Santa comes through with the goods, but if you’d like a backup plan, here are some great gift ideas for car lovers, young and old.

1. Hot laps at your local track

2. Racing pedals for the family hoon

3. Books – all kinds from racing biographies, to coffee table books, top drives in your state, or even illustrated race car books for the kids

4. Mix CD of driving songs for those long holiday drives

5. Retro model cars for the collector

6. Tyre shine, chamois and air fresheners make good stocking fillers – yes, it’s bacon scented!!

7. Defensive driving classes for your P Plater son or daughter

8. A home made handwash voucher is great for the giver on a budget

9. No one has ever re-gifted a GPS!

10. And if all else fails, how about some Stig body wash?

It’s Christmas shopping you can’t get wrong (well, maybe that last one…). For used car buying you can’t get wrong, visit

Monday, December 3, 2012

First car buying you can’t get wrong

It’s December. It’s the end of year 12 and schoolies is done. And guess what, it’s finally time to buy your first car! Great news if you’re a seventeen year old. Not so great news if you’re the parent of one! 

We can’t think of many situations in life where two parties have such conflicting priorities. The whole experience can be a bit of a minefield, so we’ve put together a few key points to consider when making that much-debated-over decision. 

Manual vs Auto 

You’re generally better off going for a manual over an auto. They’re cheaper to buy, run and maintain, and you have a much wider choice of vehicles available to you, especially when you’re buying older, second hand models. Plus, you’ll totally feel like Vin Diesel when you’re burning ‘round the suburbs, shifting up and down the gears like a pro.

P Plater Restrictions

For safety reasons, and to minimise hooning (although we’d never do that would we??) P Platers aren’t allowed to drive any car considered ‘high performance’. This generally rules out all 8-cylinder models, and anything with a turbo, supercharger or other performance enhancing mods. The definition of ‘high performance’ varies slightly from state to state, so make sure you check out your local rules before purchasing your first car. You want to make sure you’ll actually be allowed to drive it!  Below are links to the Queensland, Victoria and NSW restrictions to get you started.

True Costs

One thing most of us learn the hard way, is that cars cost a lot more than the price on the window sticker. It’s important to consider the true cost of a car before you buy it. Firstly, that means calculating how much it’ll cost to keep the tank full. With petrol prices climbing steadily, this is more of a consideration now than ever before. A general rule - four cylinders are always better than six! There’s no point having an awesome Hummer in the driveway if you can’t afford to take it anywhere.

Also look at the average cost per service and the service window (i.e. how frequently you need to service your car). Not all models are the same, and some cars will need to be taken in more frequently than others. Buying from a dealer that offers fixed price servicing is a great way to anticipate and manage your ongoing outlay.

Consider the availability and cost of parts for repairs. Let’s be realistic – you’re probably going to rack up a few dings and scrapes in your first years driving. Accidents are par for the course, so make sure you’re not having to ship custom parts in from Finland after every rear-ender.

Finally, look at insurance. Premiums are more expensive for young drivers, and the nicer your car is, the more it will cost to insure. Your nan’s old Corolla is looking more and more attractive isn’t it?

Top Models 

The most popular and practical cars for first time drivers are cheap, safe and easy to get about in. Hatches are great as they have heaps of space for you and your mates, but they’re still small, light and cheap to run.

You can’t really go wrong with a 90s model Barina, Lancer, Corolla or Pulsar to start. Or if you’re after something larger, your Camrys, Lasers, Focuses and Mazda 323s are a good bet. 

Don’t Get Too Emotional

Buying a car is an emotion-filled experience at any age, but it seems to be amplified the first time. It’s tough advice to follow, but try to stay as dispassionate as possible. Or at least buy from a dealer with a cooling off period or moneyback guarantee so you have a chance to change your mind once you’ve slept on it and realised that bomb DeLorean will probably take a little longer to fix up than you initially thought. 

All Carzoos cars come with a 48 Hour Moneyback Guarantee, which means you can bring it back for a full refund within 48 hours, no questions asked. Maybe it costs too much to fill up the tank, maybe your mates don’t fit in the back, or maybe you saw something even better the day after you bought it? Just bring it back for a full refund. It’s first car buying you can’t get wrong.