What on earth is that thing under my bonnet?

Among all the world’s uncertainties at least one matter seems settled: Batteries and electric motors will have a major role in powering the cars and trucks of our future. But as automotive technology becomes more diverse, it’s good to reflect on the technology most of us currently rely on.

Most NZ car owners (3.8 million of them in fact) rely on the same four-stroke internal combustion piston engines that have been in use for well over a century. Despite these engines having been around for so long, most people still open their bonnets and have no idea what’s going on under there – but that’s okay!

Whether your engine is powered by petrol, diesel, biofuels, compressed natural gas or something else, they all seem like pretty complex creatures. However, if we break it down, the basic physics are pretty easy to understand (but really not so basic or necessarily easy to understand after all!).

Combustion, also known as burning, is the basic chemical process of releasing energy from a fuel and air mixture.  In an internal combustion engine, the ignition and combustion of the fuel occurs within the engine itself. The engine then partially converts the energy from the combustion to work. The engine consists of a fixed cylinder (tube) and a moving piston inside it. The expanding combustion gases push the piston up and down, which in turn rotates the crankshaft. Ultimately, through a system of gears in the powertrain, this motion drives the vehicle’s wheels.

There are two kinds of internal combustion engines found in our cars today: the spark ignition gasoline engine and the compression ignition diesel engine. Most of these are four-stroke cycle engines, meaning four piston strokes are needed to complete a cycle. The cycle includes four distinct processes: intake, compression, combustion and power stroke, and exhaust.

‘Spark-ignition gasoline’ and ‘compression ignition diesel’ engines differ in how they supply and ignite the fuel.  In a spark ignition engine, the fuel is mixed with air and then inducted into the cylinder during the intake process. After the piston compresses the fuel-air mixture, the spark ignites it, causing combustion. The expansion of the combustion gases pushes the piston during the power stroke. In a diesel engine, only air is inducted into the engine and then compressed. Diesel engines then spray the fuel into the hot compressed air at a suitable, measured rate, causing it to ignite.

Few, that was a lot of information. Luckily, there’s an animated diagram for all us visual learners that does a pretty good job of laying out the basics of engines (still hardly seems basic right!?) Take a look!

Hopefully, the infographic of a simple 4-cylinder engine will help you understand what’s happening on those unhappy days when your car is laid up at a mechanic’s shop and maybe it will feel a bit better for your pocket too!

Regardless of when the uptake of alternative powered vehicles really starts to make up a material portion of NZ’s vehicle fleet, the internal combustion engine has done Kiwi’s a great service, and we expect it to continue to do so for a long time yet!

Thanks for joining us in 2020

As the team prepare to take a couple of days holiday, we got the chance to reflect on a crazy year for everyone. When we launched My Auto Shop in January, we certainly didn’t predict how the last 12 months would unfold, however we’re really stoked to be able to ride the roller coaster with all of you.

A huge thanks to everyone who took a chance on our new business; our workshops who helped us learn the ropes and helped steer us in the right direction, our drivers who provided feedback and put customers first, and to all of you, who trusted us to take care of your cars. You’re all legends!

Here are a few fun stats from our first year in business:

We hope everyone has a safe holiday and look forward to seeing you all in the new year.

Andy, Paul, Sasha and the rest of the team at My Auto Shop.

Is it a bird? A plane? Nope, just a Tesla Roadster.

Usually we see cars on our roads, but Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX and Tesla, had a very different idea. We’ve sent a lot of unusual things to space, but nothing compares to what Elon Musk achieved. In February 2018, SpaceX successfully launched its first Falcon Heavy rocket into space, the most powerful in the world, with Musk’s personal 2008 Tesla Roadster onboard. This playful payload, the electric sports car built by his other company, Tesla, is expected to orbit the sun for hundreds of millions of years. Wow! 

Even more surprising, strapped inside the car is a mannequin wearing one of SpaceX’s spacesuits. What’s even better, David Bowie’s Space Oddity is constantly playing. I mean, what a lucky mannequin!

Perhaps Elon had some other thoughts too. Surely, to search for distant garages in the galaxy to sign up to My Auto Shop was top of mind. We wouldn’t want the potential extraterrestrials forgotten about. No? 

Realistically though, since the launch a year ago, it’s probably safe to say the Roadster has travelled farther than any other car…ever. In fact, it’s estimated to be about equal to driving every single road in the world 50.7 times. Another wow! Despite the amazing mileage though, I’m sure a quick service and a WoF wouldn’t hurt from E.T’s garage on Mars. 

But where is the vehicle now? As of writing, the current location is 246,818,121 km from Earth, and is moving at 16.62 km/second! It exceeded its 57,000 km warranty, 31,000 times over on its journey so far. If you’re interested in seeing a visual – have a look at Where is Roadster?

It’s safe to say that if this car ever returns back to Earth, it’ll be in dire need of a service and a check up from one of our partner garages. I wonder which one Elon will choose around New Zealand. My guess is just as good as yours.

You can now book AA Auto Centres around NZ with My Auto Shop

Customers around NZ are now able to get the easy benefits of booking online, with transparent pricing and easy pick up & drop off options, at their local AA Auto Centre. Simply jump on the My Auto Shop website, enter your car details and look for the AA Auto Centre near you.

You can get the same exceptional AA service that Kiwis have known and loved for over 25 years, now with the convenience of tailored pricing, AfterPay and E-Scooter powered pick up and drop off services, so you don’t need to leave the front door.

My Auto Shop founder Andy Bowie is excited to be able to extend our selection of workshops to include the quality of the AA Auto Centres. “We’ve been focused on creating an easier way for Kiwis to be able to look after their cars since January and now have a platform that truely does just that. Providing customers the option of heading to the likes of the AA is a fantastic addition”

With E-commerce trends accelerating and online purchasing further exaggerated by the effects of COVID-19,  the AA GM of Motoring, Jonathan Sergel acknowledged how important it is to innovate, especially in a traditional industry such as auto-repair “The AA strives to deliver value to customers and members. Being able to offer things like pick up and drop off  and Afterpay through My Auto Shop, at a time when customers need it most, is exciting for us.” 

And it gets even better! The AA has a Spring Service discount running, so if you enter the promocode SPRINGSERVICE, you can get a further $20 off a Comprehensive Service. Valid for bookings before 5pm 16th October. 

We are starting with 4 AA Auto Centres around the country:

All you need to do is pop in your details as normal, and you’ll see the AA Auto Centres at the top of the options if there’s one in your neighbourhood.

Can you get your car serviced or repaired in Auckland during Level 3 lockdown?

At My Auto Shop, we have a true focus on helping people get better care for their cars, and New Zealand car owners trust us to provide the very best car servicing & repairs experiences. So, during Level 3, we want to provide an even safer and more convenient experience for New Zealand drivers, by giving Kiwis the option to get their car picked up and dropped off from the mechanic for free. Easy as!

What is Contactless Car Servicing & Repairs?

It’s the same unbeatable value car servicing and repairs our customers are used to, but with an added focus on convenience, safety and hygiene.

These services are all about keeping each other safe and healthy. During your service, you may see your mechanic take the follow steps to ensure safe servicing:

  • Practicing social distancing within their workshop
  • Allocating 1 mechanic to a car
  • Using appropriate PPE
  • Avoiding skin to skin contact, such as handshakes
  • Not letting any customer set foot in the workshop
  • Washing and sanitizing hands on a regular basis
  • Wearing gloves in cars
  • Disinfecting touch points such as door handles and the steering wheel with disinfectant spray
  • Sanitizing keys before and after jobs

Can you get your car serviced or repaired in Auckland during Level 3 lockdown?

Yes. Non-contact businesses are allowed to operate, which includes mechanics who implement contactless measures.

With a second outbreak of COVID-19 out and about in Auckland, the result of a Level 3 lockdown has got us sitting at home, and the car’s not getting up to much. Despite all the extra-time looking after the kids, why not knock that WoF or service off the list with My Auto Shop. 

Can you get your car serviced or repaired during level 2 restrictions around the rest of New Zealand?

You sure can! Mechanics are open around the country carrying out their regular work keeping our cars on the road. Getting work done on your car is similar to normal, but just a few more precautions are put in place to keep everyone safe. What’s more, if you’re stuck at home, one of our driver partners can pick up and drop off your car, so you don’t have to lift a finger (apart from the one changing the TV channel).

What is the easiest and safest way to get my car repaired?

If you are in need of a WoF, service, or whatever your car needs, My Auto Shop has contactless options available that have been designed to keep both you and mechanics safe and healthy. Simply just book online, and you can have the best mechanics in your area at your fingertips. If you don’t feel like making a fashion statement and putting on the mask, feel free to get your car picked up. 

How do our drivers safely carry out pickup and drop off of your car?

The well-being of My Auto Shop’s customers is one of our top priorities. As we move into Level 3, we are continuing our pick and drop off service for your car, and want to make sure you know the important steps guided by the Ministry of Health that our drivers are taking to keep yourself safe during pick up and drop offs. Such as contactless interactions, sanitizing vehicles with disinfectant, using disposable seat covers and other PPE.

Read the full measures here.

What else do I need to know?

  • Please let us know if anyone with COVID-19 symptoms has recently been in your car
  • For vehicle pick up and drop off, your car must be drive-able and in a roadworthy condition.

Don’t see your favourite mechanic? Let us know who they are so  that we can support them during this time! 

How do our drivers safely carry out pickup and drop off During alert levels ?

The well-being of My Auto Shop’s customers is one of our top priorities. As we move into Level 3, we are continuing with our pick and drop off service for your cars, and want to make sure you know the important steps guided by the Ministry of Health that our drivers are taking to keep yourself safe during pick up and drop offs. 

Please maintain Social distancing:

The delivery and pick-ups will be contactless. Practice social distancing by remaining 2m away from any driver partner you interact with as they pick up your car. Our driver partners will always be using PPE equipment including; face mask, gloves, disposable seat covers, disinfectant spray and wipes. 

When a driver partner comes to pick up/drop off your car:

  • Please remove any items from your car that you need prior to the pick up.
  • A driver will use gloves, a mask and a disposable seat cover when they are travelling between your pick up location and the mechanic. 
  • The signature requirement to confirm the car exchange on the driver app has been removed so you no longer have to give a signature on our driver partner’s mobile device. 
  • Exchange keys with the driver by placing them on a surface, and give the driver adequate space to enter the car safely. 
  • If you require to contact the driver, their details are within the app. 
  • If you are feeling unwell prior to your car’s pick up or drop off, contact us as soon as possible at 09 887 8713

We understand how important it is to keep you and our drivers safe while carrying out pickups and drop offs of your vehicle. We want to make sure your car is getting the love it needs during this uneasy time, and want to ensure that safety is a top priority while doing so. 

Get Free Pick up and drop off from home

Despite Auckland’s sudden plunge back into alert level 3, we’re keen to make sure we keep moving forward. As the My Auto Shop mechanics are all still operating with contactless measures in place, we’ve got the perfect solution to get your car in their workshop, without having to leave your front door.

Whilst you’re working from home, or don’t need to do the school run, now is the perfect time to get your car it’s WoF, Service or any other repairs you’ve been putting off. Simply head to www.myautoshop.co.nz, select what work your car needs, click “Pick up my car” & choose your favourite local mechanic to get scheduled in.

You’ll see the normal pick up fee waived on checkout, happy days!

How does contactless servicing work at a mechanic?

It’s the same unbeatable value car servicing and repairs our customers are used to, but with an added focus on convenience, safety and hygiene. You can read all the measures taken here.

How does contactless Pick Up work with My Auto Shop Drivers?

The well-being of My Auto Shop’s customers is one of our top priorities. As we move into Level 3, we are offering our pick and drop off service FREE for your car, and want to make sure you know the important steps guided by the Ministry of Health that our drivers are taking to keep yourself safe. Such as contactless interactions, sanitising vehicles with disinfectant, using disposable seat covers and other PPE. Click here to read the all the details.

We look forward to getting your car ready to go once we drop down levels further.

Kia ora hamilton!

At the start of January, a new service dubbed the ‘​UberEats for car repairs​’ launched quietly in Auckland. Just as they were gaining momentum, things quickly hit a wall as COVID-19 arrived on our shores. Since lockdown, they’ve grown quickly to a network of over 100 workshops around NZ, and they’ve just arrived in Hamilton.

Finding a mechanic you can trust is hard. When visiting one, you often find yourself asking questions that are near impossible to find the answer to; “What’s that part they’re talking about?”, “Does my car really need it?”, “Should it actually cost that much?!”

My Auto Shop endeavors to solve that problem and has now launched in Hamilton, making it easier to access the best MTA approved mechanics in the Waikato. Ex-Uber Exec & founder Andy Bowie says, “We’re like the AirBnB for car repairs. You can see tailored prices for your vehicle from the best local garages all on a map. You can filter by proximity, speciality and rating to find the best one for you, then book online in a couple of minutes.” In an industry that has notoriously lacked transparency and trust, this puts some control back in the customers hands. “Customers now have New Zealand’s best mechanics at their fingertips.”

They work exclusively with MTA approved garages and now have a nationwide network mechanics onboard already.

Hamilton customers get to make the best choice for them.

When a customer enters their vehicle type and what work they need on our website, we show them the best local workshops in their area to complete their job. They can filter by rating, specialty & location to see prices from local workshops like Collins Automotive on Quentin Drive and SD European in Te Rapa.

“We’ve been working closely with the MTA to open up the service to Kiwi’s all over the country. ​We now have close to 10 Hamilton workshops signed up & vetted, and are working to strengthen coverage in some of the gaps we have.”

You can see all the information about the garage on a profile page on the website, including rating, years operating, number of employees and garage specialities. Here are some of their Hamilton garages that are looking to help people of the Waikato keep their cars running.

The My Auto Shop service offering currently includes different levels of car service, WoFs, pre-purchase inspections, wheel alignments and diagnostics, with tyres, windscreen repairs and more technical jobs en route. “We want to be the first point of call for all things related to car maintenance, and we think we have a fun, friendly, customer-orientated way of doing that, which has historically been lacking in the automotive industry”.

Getting some love for your car is as easy as booking through the My Auto Shop website: https://myautoshop.co.nz/

Preparing Your Car for a Road Trip: Your DIY Car Service Guide

Nothing says great adventure fun like a big road trip! Before you see the sights and feel the adventure you need to make sure your car is in good shape to get you there.

You don’t need to be a mechanic to catch some of the basic issues that can turn a great road trip into an expensive disaster. Even the most basic of DIY car service can catch some common problems before they become major issues.

With the NZTA providing guidelines on car safety, it’s easy to keep track of your car’s health. Let’s run down with a simple DIY car service checklist to make sure you’re ready for your next adventure! 

A Basic DIY Car Service Checklist

A checklist for your big trip is a great way to keep organized. Checking off all the items to pack and the details to manage gives you peace of mind so you can focus on having fun. You should do the same thing for your car before a big trip.

While there are many wonderful mechanics who can help check over your car, there are a lot of little details you can manage yourself! Use the below checklist before you hit the road! 

1. Tyre Pressure and Condition

Tyres are the foundation for your car. If they are low, have damage, or have worn treads, you can be in for some major problems on the road. A quick walk around the car can catch some of the obvious problems, but before a big trip, kneel down and take a closer look. 

A tyre pressure gauge is a handy tool to have around. If you need one, most hardware stores have them. If there is no damage to the tire, you can fix low pressure with an industrial air pump found at most gas stations.

When checking your treads, make sure that they are greater than 1.5mm in depth. Don’t forget about the spare tyre in the boot!

2. Lights and Signals

Whether it is a headlight or a turn signal, a light out makes it harder to see and be seen. This can put you and other drivers at greater risk of an accident. 

Grab a friend, partner or kid and check your headlights, both high beams and low beams, brake lights, and turn signals. If all of them show when you activate them, you are in the clear. If not, look first into replacing the bulbs. 

3. Fluid Levels

There are a number of fluids you need to top up and double-check before a long trip. The obvious one, petrol, is easy. The others will require a check under the bonnet. 

If you haven’t had an oil change in a while, now may be a good time to do so. You can even plan the timing on your trip after regular maintenance to ensure you have brand new oil in the car.

Don’t forget to check other levels, like brake fluid and coolant. Transmission fluid, power steering, and windshield fluid all should be fine outside of a major issue or neglect. 

4. WoF and Registration

Make sure your Warrant of Fitness and Vehicle Registration are current. You can check these by looking in the top left (WoF) and bottom right (Rego) corners of your windscreen.

If your WoF is expired, you can jump online at www.myautoshop.co.nz and book a time with a great mechanic. Your registration is even easier, simply pay the right amount on the NZTA website.

Keeping Your Roadtrip Fun and Safe

A basic DIY car service before a trip can go a long way towards keeping you and your family safe on the road. All of these items are easy to check on your own but don’t forget about the regular checks and tune-ups at your local mechanics. 

When your car hits major bumps that you can’t fix, you need to get someone with experience and expertise. We here at My Auto Shop pride ourselves on our network of quality garages and mechanics. Contact us today for more information! 

Should I drive differently in winter? 6 tips to get ready for winter driving

Winter is here, unfortunately bringing with it darker days, slippery roads and icy windscreens. Kiwi roads are often challenging at the best of times, but these factors just make it even tougher. It doesn’t matter if you’re driving a new Audi or an old Honda, anyone can be caught out. Here are 6 tips to consider when tackling the winter in your car:

1. Check your car’s safe to be on the road

First and foremost, you need to check your equipment. A few basic checks on your car will go along way to keeping you safe:

  • Tyres – If they are looking bald, either all over, or on either edge, it could be time for some new ones.
  • Wiper Blades – Vision is crucial. If they don’t seem to wipe away all the water, grab a pair of new ones. They’re cheap and can be picked up from your local Repco or Super Cheap Auto, then replaced yourself.
  • Fog Lights – If your car has them, learn where to turn them on (I can never seem to find mine when I need them!)
  • Heater – Wouldn’t want anyone to catch a cold!

2. Check the road conditions/open status 

For a longer trip, you can jump onto NZTA’s website to see if there are any issues with the roads you are planning to travel on. This could be landslides, or snow and ice, that result in a closure.

3. Keep your lights on

With over 70% of cars produced being greyscale (white, black, grey, silver) it can be pretty hard to see oncoming or passing traffic against the road and rain. Keeping your lights on, during the day and night, can ensure that you’re seen. Just remember  to turn them off at the end of your trip!

4. Give a longer following distance

It’s not rocket science that it’s harder to stop in the wet. Make sure you allow for that incase you suddenly need to hit the brakes. Common rule of thumb is about 4 seconds between vehicles in the wet. Count it out next time you’re behind the wheel.

5. Be gentle with your movements

Rapid movements can quickly make a car lose traction. When taking off from a stand still, heading round corners and braking, be sure to use smooth pressure on both the pedals and the steering wheel.

6. Look out for snow and ice

If you don’t have a 4wd, it’s probably not worth venturing out in the snow. However, if you do need to, keep your eyes peeled for black ice. It has a shiny reflection that looks like the road is wet. Apply the same smooth movements. 

If you do all this, you should be able to get to the mountain, into the city or wherever else you’re heading safe and sound!