Your new-car test drive – things to test before you drive

car dashboard & steering wheel

Look inside as well as test driving a car

Car shopping is a long and detailed process, but you’re making a major investment, so it should be. You’ll do a lot of research on test ratings, features, size, style, makes, and models. You will try your best to narrow it down before you even begin to start physically looking. And you’ll check and compare what cars and deals are available at dealerships near you.

Your experience with a salesperson and at the dealership is so important. One of the single most crucial things you’ll do while there is test drive the vehicles you’re most interested in. There’s a lot that can be said about how to have a successful test drive, but most of it has to do with the actual driving. In order to really get a feel for whether or not a car fits you, here are some things you need to test before you even begin driving each car.

The Seat

When you’re adjusting the seat, pay close attention to comfort and fit. You should be able to adjust the seat in many different ways in order to find the best position for your body, including being able to move the headrest.

Do you feel comfortable in the seat? Is it contoured to your body? Take your time with adjusting the seat and sitting there to really feel it.

Also pay attention to the arm rests; are they in the right place for you?

Put on the seatbelt. Is it comfortable and positioned properly?

The Steering Wheel and Pedals

Can the steering wheel be adjusted to a position that works well for you? Is it comfortable to hold?  You shouldn’t feel like you’re stretching in order to hold the wheel and turn it. For safety, your body should be at least 25 centimetres away from the steering wheel.

You should also be able to reach the pedals without stretching or getting too close to the steering wheel. Some cars have adjustable pedals, too.


Adjust your side and rearview mirrors, and look closely into them. Do you have a clear view of the areas you should be able to see, or do you have any additional blind spots? You should be able to turn and look very easily, without needing to alter your driving position very much.

Also make sure it’s easy to see everything on your instrument panel (petrol gauge, speedometer, odometer, etc.).


Take a moment to asses all the controls in the vehicle. Can you easily reach them while driving? Are they simple or complicated? Do you understand how to use the music system and the climate controls?

Also make sure you know where the releases for the bonnet, boot and petrol-tank doors are.

Do you know how to use the windows, lock the doors, and turn on your headlights? Are the headlights automatic or not? What about the windshield wipers? What about the glove compartment?

All of these controls should be easy for you to locate, interpret, and use.


Cooper Gentry is a car expert and mechanical engineer who works with Nissan Automotive for a living. He loves to write about cars and he often gives advice to others on how to make sure you are getting a great deal.

Because Mommy loves you ~ review

Because Your Mommy Loves You

Andrew Clements
illustrated by R W Alley
Clarion Books 2012

 I grabbed this book from the library to read with my 2 and 3.5 year olds – and we all loved it! So much so I’ve now ordered Clements’ related book about Daddy!

A mum and her son prepare for and go on a camping trip together. Various things happen to the boy and Mum repeatedly gives him the opportunity to gain independence and skills – she doesn’t drop everything to do things for him.

As parenting educator Michael Grose says, ‘never do for children what they can do themselves’. The Mum in this book lives by that policy and it is so positive and encouraging to see that in a child’s book.

The boy gets satisfaction in doing things for himself, knowing Mum is there if needed – or for a cuddle afterwards. There is no doubt for him that Mum loves him but she is there to teach and guide rather than  moddycoddle him.

Okay, I love the sentiment and message of the story, but Clements carries it off with a nice story about interesting events. Add in the great illustrations which show the story and provide more things to discuss, and it is a lovely book for any home library.

It is obviously a picture book aimed at older toddlers and pre-schoolers into early primary. So it is easy to understand and is short enough to keep young children interested. The illustrations are drawings but accurate, detailed and colourful.

A book to enjoy reading together but also for children to look through by themselves. Thoroughly recommend this one!

Prime Minister Literary Awards for 2012

Yesterday, the Prime Minister and Arts Minister announced the winners of the 2012 Prime Minister Literary Wards. Such awards are always a good thing, but being the National Year of Reading seems to add some significance to the event.

I’d certainly feel ‘special’ if I’d written a winning book this year!

And given that they had a record number of entries this year, I’m assuming others feel the same way about winning (or being acknowledged) in 2012.

Prime Minister Literary Award 2012

You can look at the shortlisted books but this year’s winners are…


Foal’s Bread by Gillian Mears


An eye for eternity: the life of Manning-Clark by Mark McKenna

Australian history

The biggest estate on Earth: How Aborigines made Australia by Bill Gammage

Children’s fiction

Goodnight, mice! by Frances Watts, illustrated by Judy Watson

Young adult fiction

When we were two by Robert Newton


Interferon Psalms by Luke Davies

Congratulations to all those writers! I look forward to reading at least some of them before the end of 2012.

Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them?

Internet searching summarised

I just came across a search engine of sorts, one I hadn’t heard of before but really like for specific purposes now.

WolframAlpha calls itself a computational knowledge engine and what it appears to do is collect information on your search term rather than send you to a list of sites which may or may not tell you the whole story at one place.

For examples, see my searches on kangaroosfiction and Melbourne.

I think it’s a great research tool – just to gather an overview of something of interest or a really good summary of key facts for serious research (such as for school work or background for writing an article or story).

It is of course still US-centric, but at least they clearly make those details as such (eg in definitions they give American pronunciation) and do include metric details (by default for searches about Australia).

Age appropriate books for kids’ gifts

Giving books to kids is a fantastic gift.

Why? It encourages reading which is such an important skill, it develops imagination (which helps problem and solving and creativity in life), it is a healthy pursuit, it is a change from computer games & TV (it takes more imagination, too) and broadens their horizons.

But buying gifts that suit the child isn’t always easy – knowing which book is for which age group can be tricky. I wish books had it written on their somewhere – I have seen it on a couple of books but it is not the norm.

And it isn’t just reading ability which is easier to judge by looking at the book – the content of the story is critical but impossible to fully comprehend without reading it.

I’ve found one online bookshop that puts books into 3 groups (babies & toddlers, 4 – 8 year olds and over 9s) which is a great start but it is actually the over 10s I find hardest to pick in a store.

Another one divides children and young adults’ books into some detailed categories, which is uncommon, but doesn’t help much with the age range unfortunately.

So if the bookstores & publishers aren’t making it easy, we’ll have to do it ourselves! Over coming days, I’ll add posts for each age range to share some recommendations and hope you all will share your knowledge, too.

Climate change action day

Last week we encouraged everyone to read about climate change as part of blog action day. Following on from that, this Saturday is the International Day of Climate Change where we can again make ourselves heard on this issue.

A few facts and details about the 24th October:

  • likely to be the biggest environmental action on the planet to date
  • events are being held across the world (see our side menu to find your closest events) and images will be posted online to a common gallery
  • the aim is show everyone and especially those involved in the Copenhagen discussions, the importance of 359.  “350 is the number that leading scientists say is the safe upper limit for parts per million carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. 350 is the number humanity needs to get below as soon as possible to avoid runaway climate change. (Watch this animation – scroll down the page). “
  • reducing global carbon emissions is really our only hope to get below 350 and slow climate change. We can all do a bit towards that and our leaders in Copenhagen need to do more

As you join in events, let us know so we can continue the discussion about affecting climate change.

Saving money & time on meals

We came across a blog post at consumption rebellion about cutting her grocery bill. It’s a long post as she describes a detailed process of menu planning and reusing leftovers, but there are definitely some tips in there.

We like the fact that menu planning also saves you time – going shopping with a list makes the trip much quicker and planning meals in advance stops the need for last minute runs to the supermarket for forgotten ingredients.

Reusing leftovers (as well as suiting our green hearts by not wasting!) also appeals to us because it saves time in buying new ingredients and means you don’t need to clean the fridge (to empty the growing food scraps) as often :)

Win win really – save energy worrying about what to cook every night, save food wastage, save money and save time. And all of it saves the planet (fewer drives to shops is a good thing as well as reducing your food footprint.)

Do you have other tips on using leftovers?

How much have you read about climate change?

Blog action day yesterday was awesome for those of us now into Friday! And it is gearing up to be even busier today with the rest of the world catching up to us!

SO how many blog posts have you read about climate change in the last 24 or so hours? Has anything jumped out at you as new or helpful, perhpa s agreat idea you can grab to make a difference?

As per yesterday, we will list a few more related posts to make it easier for you to get into the event… and you’re welcome to add comments about other blog posts (including your own) on climate change.

If We All Just Do Two Things We Can Prevent Climate Change by TreeHugger

Reading the world on Blog Action Day by Global Voices

Blog Action Day: Your chance to leave a legacy by Oxfam International

A Green Tour of the Google Campus by The Official Google Blog (maybe you can get some tips for your home or workplace)

Fix the Climate, or the Kid Gets It by Mother Jones

Climate Change by Classical Bookworm

5 ways to reduce your global warming contribution | Zible by Zible

help eliminate poverty

Food and climate change by Emma

Australian climate change resources

Global warming is so uncool

Resources on climate change

Public relations: helping the environment

Climate Change Action Day

As climate change is something for us all to deal with, not just our leaders in Copenhagen next month, we are joining the Blog Action Day for Climate Change by listing a number of sites discussing climate change today.

Blog Action Day for Climate Change

Conserving water

Climate Change is a business concern too

Aussie songs for climate change

Compassionate Climate Action

Technology in our classroom

BLog action day to fight global warming

Climate code red

Top 20 ways web developers can reduce their carbon footprint (and these tips mostly apply to us all – check out number 17 if you run any sort fo website.)

The Mr Science Show

Marketing for climate change

Life is better barefoot

Focus on nature (assuming you can ignore the flashing header which is very annoying, they have some beautiful photos)

VCE Environmental Science

Food from afar

The squiggly line

(note in order to get this list going, we haven’t read all these posts properly so can’t promise they are great, lol! However, we didn’t list the ones we didn’t like at all, and only reviewed a sample anyway.)


As you come across more blog posts about climate change, share them as comemnts. And please add your comments on any of the issues raised by Blog Action Day for Climate Change. The more we talk about it and share ideas, the better chance our planet has…

Win a year’s subscription…

Are you looking for practical, useful information to help mums running a business? Do you want to read inspiring stories from business mums and WAHMs just like you? The Business Mums Magazine is what you are looking for.

You could win a 12 month subscription to this informative magazine simply by telling us how many categories there are in the articles archive – there are two subscriptions to win, valued at $30 each.

Note: Save Time Online Competition Terms are available here. This competition will be open for one month. Winners drawn 9th Sept and announced in the following newsletter. Giving your answer as a comment will not enter you in the competition and it will be deleted rather than published.