finance

Motor guru Galmatic: The easy '10-minute servo check' that will save your car in the long run.

Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries
Thanks to our brand partner, Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries

When Eleni Mitakos began teaching girls and women in Sydney about their cars 12 years ago, she never dreamt she’d reach 50,000 clients – but that’s what’s happened.

Through her company Galmatic, Eleni and her all-female team have taught car maintenance workshops to tens of thousands of women. So, if you have a question about your car, Eleni is confident she’ll have you covered. But there’s one thing she knows about women and cars above anything else: the riskiest belief many of us have.

“I hear people say to me all the time ‘I’m not sure what happened’,” she tells Mamamia. “They think ‘I’ll just wait until the next service’ – and they don’t realise it doesn’t need to get to that stage.”

Eleni says that all too often, even though a car owner can hear, or feel, something’s not quite right, they wait until it’s too late to act.

“So I always tell women that the first thing they need to do as a car owner is get comfortable with knowing their car. Pay attention. How does it normally sound and run?”

Eleni explains that car maintenance isn’t as overwhelming as it sounds.

“It’s actually pretty basic,” she promises.

What every car owner can do before a service.

“We have a thing called a ’10-minute servo check’,” Eleni says.

“About once a month, do these two basic things because they will generally stop something major – and expensive – from happening.

“Firstly, pop your bonnet and check the level of coolant with your eye. You’ll be able to see clearly if it’s full or empty. Coolant keeps the engine cool.”

Eleni then advises that you should check your oil level using the dipstick, which is important to do because oil keeps an engine from drying out.

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The next steps of the ’10-minute servo check’ are equally simple.

“Make sure you have water for your windscreen wipers. Then do a quick visual inspection of the hoses you see: is there a crack? Anything that looks like it might be broken?”

Eleni says it’s also important to check the cavity where the windscreen meets the bonnet.

“If you see leaves and debris there, it’s not as innocent as it may seem,” she says. “Leaves can liquify and cause rust, and also, leaves attract spiders – no-one wants those in their car!”

The final step in the ’10-minute servo check’ is to actually check tyre pressure of each tyre using the tyre pump at the service station.

“Tyre pressure affects steering – so you need to ensure your tyres are as full as they should be,” Eleni says, adding that the measurement for tyre pressure are often on a sticker on the inside a car’s fuel tank opening. (If not, check with your dealer or manufacturer.)

Galmatic’s tips for car servicing: what you need from a mechanic.

Eleni advises there’s three things every car owner needs to consider about car servicing:

“Your first choice should always be the car’s dealer service centre that’s nearest to you. They adhere to repair methods and use only genuine parts. It should be close by because it has to be convenient, or you won’t go, and will delay the service. Book a loan car ahead of time if you need to.”

Eleni says the second thing to consider is that if you can’t use a dealer service, make sure your mechanic only uses genuine parts if something needs to be fixed.

“We are not mechanics ourselves,” explains Eleni.

“So we haven’t tried a part to see if it’s right for our car. Genuine parts are made or selected by the vehicle’s manufacturer – so we can trust them.

“They’re repeatedly tested in that car to meet high quality, safety and performance standards. We need to trust the experts and be protected by guarantees.”

Eleni notes that the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries has a campaign to protect consumers and promote road safety called Genuine is Best, which is worth checking out.

Finally, Eleni suggests that car owners confirm up front what is included in the service.

“Know exactly what you service includes. And if it differs, tell them you want to be contacted. Otherwise, you could be hit will an unexpected bill that you’re not sure about.”

Which of course, is the last thing anyone wants. But Eleni’s experience has shown her that if the above simple steps are followed, car ownership and maintenance can be drama-free.

“After that’s all done, the last thing is to drive safe, and you’ll enjoy being on the roads,” she promises.

For more information, check out www.genuineisbest.com.au, or find them on Facebook.

Feature Image source: Alexandre Savidis.

Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries

Genuine parts, accessories and dealer servicing ensure cars protect and perform as the manufacturer intended. There’s a good chance your vehicle is being fitted with non-genuine parts. We have partnered with Mamamia to produce a content series to make sure people making automotive decisions are empowered to make the right decisions for their drive, because nobody knows a car as well as the people who made it.

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