From cloudy windscreens to car seats, our Car Doctor can help.
Is it legal to install a child safety seat in the boot?
It is illegal to transport any person – including a child in a child car restraint - in the boot of any vehicle. This is a highly dangerous practice and even more serious where children are involved who rely on the decisions of their parents and guardians to make safety decisions for them. A child restraint should only be installed in an actual seating position, and one where the restraint can be installed using the appropriate attachment points on the vehicle. For more information please contact KidSafeWA.
How does the ambient temperature of modern cars work?
The ambient outside temperature sensor is mounted behind the front bumper but in front of the radiator. In the same way the readings of a regular household‑temperature gauge can be affected by placing it outside in different locations, a car’s ambient air thermometer can be affected by hot road surfaces, and parking the vehicle in the sun. Although the accuracy of these gauges is improving, the temperature shown on the instrument panel should only be used as a guide due to the many external variations the sensor is exposed to.
How can I best clean the residue on my windscreen?
There could be a number of causes of this residue. Sometimes it is due to protectants used on the dashboard to make it shiny and keep it from cracking. When the vehicle is parked in the sun, some of the protectant evaporates onto the inside of the windscreen. Using a piece of scrunched newspaper and window cleaner can be an effective cleaning method. Alternatively, the residue may also be caused by a faulty air-conditioner unit leaking gas. The gas looks like frost or icicles around the vent areas. If this occurs the window may need to be restored or replaced, depending on the amount of damage, and of course, the air conditioner will need attention, too.
Is fresh or recirculated air best?
Generally, fresh air is the preferred option, particularly when driving for long periods because recirculated air can cause drowsiness. However, there are times when you may want to stop external air coming in, such as when driving in dusty conditions or when there are excessive fumes from other vehicles in the vicinity. Another argument for driving in the recirculate mode is for fuel economy, as driving in this mode can reduce the amount of drag caused by outside air rushing into the ventilation system. If driving in recirculation mode, it is recommended to change over to the fresh air setting at regular intervals to refresh the air in the cabin. Most new cars have a pollen filter, which can help reduce the number of larger airborne particles entering the cabin.
Why does the fan in my air conditioner/heater only work when I go over bumps?
This sounds like an electrical issue. Among the potential causes are loose wires, a faulty fan switch or a faulty fuse. In the first instance, the RAC will be able to assist at no cost to you. As an RAC member you are entitled to one free fault diagnosis per year at any of our nine RAC Auto Service Centres. From there, you will be able to receive advice on whether a specialist auto electrician is required.
What does it mean when foam blows through my air conditioning system?
The foam may be the padding around the air vents, further down the dash. This tends to happen with aging of a vehicle. Over time, bacteria will grow within the air conditioning system and can cause a bad smelling odour. To eliminate this odour, we would suggest replacing the pollen filter and having a sanitiser sprayed through the air conditioning system.
My front interior light only works intermittently – how can I fix it?
A damaged globe or other electrical issue, including a loose connection, may be causing this fault. To replace the globe, you would have to remove the globe’s plastic cover. This may be difficult and you should be careful to not break the cover. Your vehicle’s handbook may provide specific information for this task, but either way, if you require further assistance your mechanic or RAC Auto Services will be able to help.
How accurate are car thermometers?
The location of the outside air temperature sensor unit varies between vehicles, but most sensors are located around the front bumper area of the vehicle, away from the radiator, tyre and brake heat. It is advisable to use the reading as a guide only, as there are some variables that may affect the reading.