Ten Vital Car Maintenance Checks

Ten simple car maintenance checks for safe, worry-free motoring

The most important thing you can do to reduce the risk of breakdown is to get your car serviced to the manufacturer’s schedule and specification.

Beyond regular servicing the the following simple checks will help you to enjoy safe, worry-free motoring

TYRES

Know the correct tyre pressures for your car and check them at least every two weeks using a good-quality gauge or garage air line.
Check tyre tread and condition – look for cuts on sidewalls. If any one tyre needs regular top-ups, it may have a slow puncture.
Don’t forget to check the spare as well.

TOOLKIT

Check the handbook for the location of the basic toolkit for the car that should contain at least a jack and wheel removal tools.
Familiarise yourself with the jacking points used to lift the car safely.
If locking wheel nuts are fitted make sure that the toolkit includes the key or removal tool.

ENGINE OIL

Check the dipstick at least every fortnight and before any long journey.
Have the oil and filter changed at recommended service intervals using oil of the correct specification.
High oil consumption can indicate engine problems.

WATER

Check the coolant level regularly and top up as necessary – but only when the engine is cold.
Have the antifreeze concentration checked before winter.
Antifreeze prevents the build-up of corrosion within the cooling system as well as stopping the coolant freezing so is important all year round.

WIPERS

Wiper blades wear down over time and smear the windscreen if they become worn.
Replace them at least once a year for best performance.

SCREENWASH

Check and top up regularly – it’s a legal requirement that the system works.
Use a good screenwash additive through summer and winter – water alone won’t clear oily road grime and freezes more readily in winter.

WINDSCREEN

Check regularly for stone damage as this can impair vision or distract attention.
Minor chips can grow and crack the glass but many can be repaired by a windscreen specialist.
LIGHTS

Check all lights weekly. Don’t forget indicators, brake and fog lights.
Clean lights regularly. In bad weather wipe them over with a damp cloth during driving breaks.

POWER STEERING

Ensure that the fluid reservoir is checked at every service, and check it yourself once a month.
Top up only using the correct hydraulic fluid as advised in the car handbook.

BODYWORK

Deal promptly with damage to bodywork to prevent rust setting in.
Many cars have extended bodywork warranty schemes, which may require annual inspection at the dealer. Check that any previous owner has kept records up to date.

The MOT Test

The MOT Test

You must keep any vehicles driven on the road in a roadworthy condition. The MOT test checks that your vehicle meets road safety and environmental standards.

It isn’t the same as having your vehicle serviced and doesn’t check its general mechanical condition.

When To Test

You must get an MOT test every year once your vehicle is 3 years old (or 1 year old in some cases – check the MOT fees table to see when).

You can then renew your MOT up to a month before it expires. The earliest date you can get your vehicle tested is printed on the pass certificate.

If Your MOT Has Expired

You can’t drive your vehicle on the road if the MOT has expired. You could be prosecuted if caught.

The only exception is if you’ve already booked an MOT and are driving your vehicle to the test centre.

Fitting New Glow Plugs

Fitting New Glow Plugs

When attempting to fit new glow plugs it is important to consider a number of processes to ensure successful installation and operation.

  • Test the timer is operating within expected parameters

Glow periods can vary between old and modern engines.  Incorrect timing can result in damage to the glow plug.

 

  • Use the corresponding glow plugs to match the engine

 

  • Test the function of the controller and relay

 

  • Ensure all related areas are clean and corrosion free

 

  • Ensure that the vehicles battery is operating optimally.  Low voltage during cranking can affect glow plug function.

 

Contact Sharp Autos today for their glow plug removal service

Injector Comparision – Piezo vs Solenoid

Advantages of Piezo Injectors

Rapid injector switching
Up to 7 injection pulses per cycle
Reduced emissions

Disadvantages
Expensive to construct
Reliabllity questionable

Solenoid Advantages
Cheap to construct
Much tougher internals

Disadvantages
Only max 5 injection pulses per cycle
Harder to control fuel delievery

injectors

diesel injectors

Many car manufactors used piezo bosch injectors for 2006 to 2010 to meet the necesscary emmisions targets.However advanses in dpf construction and engine mapping has allow a rebirth of solenoid injectors.This however will be sort lived as the ever more stringant euro targets means the more metered fuel delievery of piezo injectors will once again come into play.Expect piezo injectors to appear in large numbers within the next 3 years

Clamp Bolt Removal

Injector clamp bolts hold down the injector to the cylinder head to provide a clamping force to the injector copper washer.

Clamp bolt removal is required often due to them breaking off, due to corrosion, just before the threaded section. In this instance, corrosion will not have only affected the clamp bolts, but the injectors also which will also have to be successfully and expertly removed and replaced.

Both of these removal tasks will require specialist equipment but can subsequently salvage an expensive cylinder head with the clamp bolt repair generally exceeding the original thread strength.