more tyres

Sunday, 30 June 2013

6 checks for your car this Summer

summer vacation
So its that time of year again! Holiday season, and with the huge recession many of us are choosing to stay in the UK and driving to our holiday destination.
Before the long drive, going on holiday you should definitely do some simple checks for your car this Summer.
This will help hugely reduce the chance of  a breakdown, also piece of mind to know your not only safe but legal.
The best thing to do is have your car serviced before hand and any little jobs doing at your local garage it will save you  holiday time and spending money.

There is nothing worse whilst on holiday than trying to find a reputable garage that you can take your car to, and then being without your car while you are wanting to take in the local sites.
If you are going to do the checks yourself, here are 6 checks for your car this Summer.

First of course is Tyres:-   
Check your tyre pressures (not forgetting the spare tyre) are at the correct setting, not forgetting the extra load you will be carrying or, possibly towing.
Refer to you owners manual for the correct settings.
Remember to do this when the tyres are cold, not after distance of more than 5 miles.
This helps you ensure better grip, less tyre wear and will be more fuel efficient.
Check all your tyres for any cuts or damage to the sidewalls.
If you have locking wheel nuts fitted to your vehicle do ensure the key removal kit is in safely in the car just in case.
Your Levels:-
Oil: Check the level using the dipstick and top up if needed, carry a litre of spare oil if you can for top-ups. If the car is due an oil change it’s worth getting it done before you go away.
The engine will run more efficiently and reduces the risk of you damaging the engine.
Water: Check the coolant level and top if it is needed,
but do this only when the engine is cold.
Power steering:- make sure that the fluid is filled up to  the correct level. Top up if needed using hydraulic fluid you may need to refer to your car handbook.
Wiper blades and screen wash, always start your journey with a nice clean windscreen, also check for any chips or cracks and get them repaired or replaced asap.
Check your wipers are in good condition and make sure they are clean. If they are worn or dirty they will smear your windscreen instead of clearing it.
Ensure you top up your screen washer bottle, with screen wash not just water, as baked on bugs are hard to clear, and ensure the jets are working correctly and hitting the screen evenly.
Check all your lights are working and clean, Side lights front and back, dip beam, main beam, indicators front and back, brake, reverse not forgetting hazards and fog lights. Carry spare bulbs with you, in the glove box or side pocket, some where that you can get to the easily enough with your car fully loaded with your luggage.
Roof racks and bike carriers:-
Roof racks are a smart way of taking your belongings out of the car, giving your passengers more space and reducing the risk of your belongings being thrown around inside the car especially if you need to make an emergency stop. Ensure they are securely and correctly fitted.
This sounds obvious but Ensure that you have enough fuel at all times. Running out of fuel is the most common reasons for the breakdown services being called out. Also it is bad for your engine and very embarrassing, do not wait until the next services.
Now that you have done the 6 checks for your car this Summer there maybe extra items you may need if travelling abroad.
driving abroard
If your lucky enough to be driving abroad there are a few different rules, most European countries insist you carry spare bulbs, a warning triangle and a high visibility jacket. Others require you to carry a first aid kit and a fire extinguisher.

Documents to take when driving abroad

  • Valid full (not provisional) driving licence
  • Driving licence paper counterpart - if you have a photo card licence
  • An International Driving Permit (when necessary)
  • Vehicle registration document (V5c) - the original not a copy
  • Motor insurance certificate
  • Passport
You must ensure you have the right insurance cover and if you are in a leased or rented car you will need a VE103 form from the registered keeper
hope this helps you to have a pleasant and safe journey.
Happy Holidays!

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Diesel engines and brake pedal creep

Diesel engines and brake pedal creep

The MOT test.
image; car mot

If a vacuum servo is fitted, then with the engine off, repeatedly apply the service brake to totally deplete the stored vacuum.

Fully apply the brake and hold at a constant pressure and check whether the pedal can be felt to travel further when the engine is started.

Reason for failure,

  • No dip can be felt when the engine is started, indicating vacuum assistance is not working satisfactorily.
  • sponginess indicating air in the hydraulic system.
  • The pedal tends to creep down while held under pressure

Vehicles with high servo boost

1. Where possible check the brake fluid level in the reservoir then pump the brake pedal several times and check that the fluid level  in the reservoir is unchanged, this will test whether there is fluid loss caused by a leak somewhere in the hydraulic system present.

Urgent attention is required if regular top up of fluid is needed - because this indicates a leak

 2. With the stored vacuum depleted ensure the pedal is not spongy or does not creep.  If there is no loss of fluid, the problem will be caused by fluid being forced past a worn seal or a valve. This could happen in the master cylinder, ABS valve block, or pressure regulator valve.
 3. With servo assistance, fully depress the pedal, if pedal goes down and touches the floor a master cylinder or servo could be the problem. On a single circuit system (one outlet pipe), the fault is likely to be in the master cylinder. Pedal creep (with no loss of fluid) is unusual with tandem (twin circuit) master cylinders; but it may happen.

The answer is to strip down the cylinder and check for damaged or contaminated seals or
corrosion of the cylinder bore strip down and rectify. It may be necessary to replace the cylinder.

Image: Brake Master cylinder

Diesel engines and brake pedal creep


Vehicles with petrol engines uses the inlet manifold to generate the vacuum for servo assistance.
Larger vehicles such as vans and 4x4s with diesel engines usually use a pump to generate the vacuum, Unlike the inlet manifold of a petrol engine, there is no vacuum relief with a pump. If excessive pedal pressure is applied when the vehicle is stationary (and the engine is running) as required for the MOT test the hydraulic pressure required to stop the vehicle will be grossly exceeded and fluid will be forced past seals that are between circuits.

The rare occurrence is known as diesel creep; and it is often incorrectly diagnosed as being caused by a faulty master cylinder.

image: diesel sign

The solution is to stop applying the excessive pressure.

If you can get the brake pedal to creep with the engine switched off and servo exhausted,
or actually under braking there is a serious problem that requires urgent attention!

A road test maybe an option to satisfy yourself, but if in doubt give the benefit of the doubt to the vehicle presenter.

Diesel engines and brake pedal creep