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Browsing: Technical

Lithium-ion has changed the battery landscape for vehicle-based travellers. What do you need to know to invest in this new technology? When we look at modern, life-shaping technology, rechargeable batteries must be one of the most important milestones we have reached. Cars and personal electronic devices wouldn’t have been possible without energy storage. So, what’s in that mysterious black box and how is it evolving? Let’s start at the beginning. The very first lead-acid battery was designed in 1859 by Gaston Plant. This was the first battery that could be recharged by running an electrical current back into it. At

By Kevin Bolton The Garmin Nüvi 500 has grown up and we now have the Overlander. Before I start with this review I should state that I have never been paid for any of my reviews of satellite navigation devices and I have written on this subject for SA4x4 (and a few other outdoor magazines) since September 2004. The point being that I am completely impartial in my views. The Overlander is a bigger satellite navigation device with more modern features. In September 2019 Garmin announced this new satellite navigator, the latest in their street navigators/outdoor/4×4 range. I did a

Written by Freddi Stafford A thin film of lubrication is all that ensures a long life for all those complex mechanical components on your 4×4. Oil specs have changed to match the many advances in technology, but often your local service agent finds it easier to stock just one or two standard oils. Bad idea… Advancements in technology have changed our lives forever, but how much thought have you given to this when it comes to your 4×4 and the quality of lubricants it uses, every time you send your vehicle in to be serviced? It’s far more important than

Written by Freddi Stafford Does the oil you’ve just bought meet OEM specifications for its specific purpose, or could you have done better by your engine and the environment? Everybody has a world, and that world is completely hidden until we begin to inquire. As soon as we do, that entire world opens to us and yields itself. And you see how full and complex it is.” – David Guterson. In a world of changing technology, automotive lubricants have changed along with motor vehicle technology, and these lubricants have become extremely complex – and more difficult to understand. However, our

Written by Freddi Stafford That’s not as stupid as it sounds. Know the codes and know how to check that your 4×4 service agent is putting your interests first. I hope that this series of articles on what seems to be the simple subject of oil has proved that when it comes to technology, our world has changed forever. This final article on the subject of automotive lubricants aims to summarise how to read and understand the label on an oil can. That’s because brand and specification, if chosen correctly, will affect our vehicle’s service life, reliability, ongoing maintenance costs

Written by Freddi Stafford There is more to coolant than meets the eye. In the past five articles, we have discussed how automotive technology has changed forever. In recent years, the number of different motor oils available to consumers has multiplied exponentially, in order to keep up with the lubrication requirements of all the different vehicle manufacturers. Oil specifications can also vary; not only from one car manufacturer to another, but also by the year, make, model and engine of the vehicle. And, no matter whether we are referring to engine oils, manual and automatic transmission oils, differential and transfer

When your brakes fail, it is too late… In this, our seventh and concluding article on how automotive lubricant technology has changed forever, we will discuss brake fluid − which is not something you can use until you notice deterioration. With old fluid, one minute you have perfect brakes; and the next you have none. Many people are complacent about their brake fluid, assuming that it will always do the job. It is a “safety critical item”, but how many motorists ever ask to have their brake fluid checked, or when it was last changed? Approximately 70% of vehicles on

Written by Freddi Stafford Base oil quality is the key to understanding the terms mineral, semi-synthetic, synthetic blend, synthetic technology and fully synthetic. Have you ever tried to make sense of which motor oil is best for your vehicle’s engine? If you want to make a good choice, you could begin by learning about base oils − the starting point of finished lubricants. The base oils used in engine oils can provide varying levels of performance. However, one first needs to understand the terms fully-synthetic, synthetic technology and semi-synthetic, and how these are factors in our choice of motor oil.

There is no such thing as an ATF that meets “universal” specifications Written by Freddi Stafford Nobody ever does it, but this is one instance where you really should read the manual. And those marks on the oil container – not just pretty symbols… To kick off where this series of articles started, it’s a simple truth that using OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) approved lubricants for your vehicle will substantially reduce maintenance costs over the long term, protect exhaust emission equipment (DPF/TWC/DeNox/ SCR), and, with energy conserving lubricants, reduce fuel consumption and thereby minimise emission of the four main pollutants

Written by Freddi Stafford You may ask yourself why the selection of a grease is so important to your application and the operating conditions in which the grease will function. It comes down to the fact that different greases will provide different characteristics and getting the most from a grease lubricated component requires a solid understanding of its composition, properties and applications. A Little History Grease was probably the first lubricant ever used. Animal fats were thought to have been used by the ancient Egyptians to lubricate the hubs of the wooden wheels of their chariots. That was some 3500

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