Tag Archive | "car repairs"

Say Goodbye To Coolant Leaks

Historically, one of the things that made you glad you owned a really reliable car was the sight of some poor unfortunate soul standing at the roadside next to a car with steam coming out of the engine.

Overheating, possibly because of water leaks from faulty or damaged radiators or other engine coolant issues were relatively commonplace in days gone by and can still plague those who by choice or necessity run older motors.

Modern cars, it is commonly believed, are less prone to this sort of thing but this is absolutely no reason to become complacent. Today’s vehicles, when they do malfunction, do so in a much trickier way because they are considerably more complex than cars from days gone by.

When air-conditioning first became popular on cars, drivers began to notice the little pools of water that could gather under their vehicle. A frisson of fear would run through them because they did not know what the problem was or, indeed, how to fix it. Now, of course, we all know that it is a harmless by-product of running air-con systems and not a fault at all, but that moment of doubt should serve as a timely reminder about reliability issues.

There are things car owners can do to minimise the possibility of leaks. In addition to keeping the water/coolant level where it needs to be, a driver can prevent trouble in the car’s cooling system by keeping an eye out for mysterious leaks before they get troublesome and by replacing old or damaged hoses. The common trouble spots in the cooling system can be identified by a few minutes of research. Good maintenance practices are vital and this is especially true the older a car gets, particularly if it is a classic model.

This is why the sensible driver carries a little pack of useful safety items in case of breakdown. Most motoring outlets carry these as ready assembled kits. It doesn’t hurt to have a little tool roll to hand as well. The trouble is there is no way that every eventuality can be taken into consideration. Fate has a strange way of dishing it out.

There exists out there on a shelf near you a range of products that can fix most leaks in all types of water cooled engines – including cracked cylinder heads, head gasket failures, cracked blocks, radiators, heater cores and water pumps. One easy-to-use and respected product, called K-Seal, can have your vehicle up and running, leak-free, within minutes with the added benefit of not having to flush the system before or afterwards. Finally, drivers can say goodbye to coolant leaks.

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That Mystery Noise Has Come Back Again!

These days, once you’ve discovered a reliable and trustworthy garage it pays to stick with it. Some people even become reliant on them, phoning up or visiting for every little issue, like a lonely hypochondriac at the doctor’s.

Fine, if there’s some dire mechanical fault or you are worried about poor economy then by all means pop along and get some good advice but what if it is just an irritating vibration or squeak that’s driving you mad? Garage proprietors hate these occasions and with good cause. Whilst they may well know all the cacophony of sounds that a car can make it is shockingly hard to diagnose the sound of a child’s Wellington boot trapped in the corner of the boot well.

If you persist and demand they solve the problem then they will have a fall-back position. The Chief Mechanic will be called over. He will listen to the noise. He will scratch his head, kick a tyre or two, suck air in over his teeth, ask for a clipboard and begin writing down large financial calculations which he will show you. This is designed to make you back off.

Of course, this all presupposes that your vehicle will make the noise at the right time. Certainly, it will make it all the way to the garage but, as sure as shooting, it will stop as you drive onto the forecourt. The car will behave like a malingering dog taken to the vets. It will stubbornly refuse to show any sign of a problem until you get home. Then it all begins again.

There is a solution and it is an easy one that costs you nothing – do it yourself. Here’s a true story. A driver of a well-known Japanese car is being driven crazy by a prolonged squeak – a known issue on this particular car – when he operates the clutch pedal. He goes to the garage. They apply lubricating oil to the pedal without success. In some cases with this vehicle dealers have been known to change clutch parts to resolve the problem and all the time the bill gets bigger and bigger.

As it turns out, all it involved was the act of getting down on knees and delving into the foot well whilst injecting heavy duty grease up into the area where they pedal goes through the firewall. Job done and it lasted for months before a re-application was required.

In other words, what is needed is a bit of time and perseverance. Spend time with your noise; grow to appreciate it. Crawl around the vehicle and try to isolate it in its lair. Does one action cause it and another doesn’t? Are you doing a particular function each time? More often than not the cause will come to light with just the loss of some skin off your knuckles. After all, nobody wants to pay out a large sum to have an Action Man body part removed from behind the rear seat squab!

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Take Care With Car Repairs

As cars have become more technically advanced, so they have become increasingly complicated. Whilst under warranty any faults are usually someone else’s problem but when the three year limit arrives car owners are basically on their own.

It seems that on an almost yearly basis new regulations are added to MOT examinations. A simple warning light that historically may well have been ignored is now potentially a prelude to a large bill. Once upon a time drivers would by and large make their own repairs but these days – unless you are very skilled – it is probably out of the question.

Regular servicing is key to avoiding the pitfalls of parts failure and irritating breakdowns. To avoid or extend service intervals may seem like an economy but will you can be sure cost in the long run. This is why it is important to leave the work to experts in automotive repair. These days professional garages have the necessary diagnostic equipment to seek out what ails an automobile. Wherever you live there’s sure to be a listing simply by doing a search for, say, ‘MOT Croydon’ or similar, to suit your needs.

A good independent garage will have knowledge of all the major motor brands and will probably offer rates significantly better than a main dealer. They may also be able to source guaranteed car parts at a lower price. In fact, even if your car is under three years old a garage unconnected to any specific manufacturer will be able to meet all servicing needs without affecting any future warranty claims.

The same goes for accident damage. Once the initial shock has worn off the search begins again for the right people for the job. Once again, reaching for the trusty computer it is a simple matter to search for car body repairs in Croydon or anywhere else. With the cost of car insurance the sensible driver will be looking for a very good deal on car repairs. As before, your local independent can usually sort out accident repairs, alloy wheel repairs, paintwork and most other forms of bodywork damage.

When searching, look for a website that looks as if the owners care about how they are perceived. A reputable family run business that caters for MOTs, servicing and repairs will have testimonials available coupled with all the information needed to make an informed choice.

The sad fact is that we all, at some point or another, will drop a wheel down into a pothole or slip on black ice and require the services of professional mechanics. The important thing is to choose wisely. It may cost you some money but it’s worth it for the peace of mind.

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Saving Money On Servicing

Servicing is very important to keeping your car running efficiently and in preventing breakdowns.  It can also help you achieve a higher resale price when you finally come to selling your car and can mean that you shift your car a lot quicker.  More and more often, buyers will simply ignore and completely ignore any car that doesn’t have a service history, making it practically impossible to sell.

The costs of servicing can add up though.  MOT’s, full services, part services and then the costs of fixing anything that has gone wrong can all add up to some really significant sums.  There are a few ways of minimising these costs though.

The first thing to do is to try and time your MOT and servicing so that they are due at the same time.  Many garages will offer a discount when you combine your MOT and service and have them both done at the same time.  The reason is simple – When they conduct an MOT they are already getting involved in your car and checking the essentials.  This crosses over with a lot of the stuff that they will check out in a service and therefore they can afford to charge you less as it is quicker and easier for them to do both at the same time.  If you don’t make use of this discount you are effectively paying for your brakes to be checked on your MOT and then paying for them to be checked again on your service.  So, try to get them both done together at a discount.

The second thing is to use a specialist.  Using main dealers can be extremely expensive and see huge hourly rates.  Using a specialist can knock as much as 50% off these prices and sometimes even more.  The irony is that most specialists originally worked at the main dealers and then moved on to start their own business.  This effectively means that you are paying someone who is just as qualified and experienced on your car as the main dealer but at a fraction of the price.  They will also often make a smaller mark up on parts as well which can save even more money.

The most important tip for saving money on servicing though is to not avoid a service!  Some people think the best way to save money is to simply ignore a service and just keep driving.  This can actually prove to be the most expensive decision of all because missing a service can mean that you miss detecting small problems before they grow into big problems that can cost serious money!

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