Maintaining Your Car


TYRES & WHEELS

The condition of your tyres is crucial for your car’s road-holding, and your safety.  Did you know that during wet weather, braking from 50mph to stationary on tyres with only the minimum legal tread depth of 1.6mm could mean it takes you an additional 14 metres to stop, compared with a new tyre? 

Your car’s rubber can also affect fuel economy and CO2 emissions.  Our trained technicians will inspect the tread depth, measure the air pressure inside each tyre and assess the general condition of the tyre.   When replacing a tyre, they also expertly check the balance and when necessary, the alignment of the wheels.  The wheels can become misaligned from driving over potholes and poor alignment can lead to rapid, uneven wear of the tyres, which can affect the ride and steering of the car.  Wheels incorrectly balanced can cause unpleasant vibrations and lead to the premature wear of steering and suspension parts.

OIL FILTER

This protects your engine by removing dirt and other contaminating particles from the engine oil.  A filter which doesn’t get replaced regularly can become clogged and potentially lead to the engine not being lubricated sufficiently, which could lead to premature engine wear if not replaced. 

OIL

Oil is the life-blood of your car’s engine.  Running with not enough, or oil which has not been renewed in a long time can lead to serious damage of the engine’s internal components.  It lubricates moving parts and is vital in regulating the emissions of the car and optimising fuel economy.  Putting the wrong type of oil in your engine would increase both, to the detriment of your engine and your wallet!

AIR FILTER

This is very important for the performance of the engine, which depends upon a precise balance of fuel and air to combust efficiently.  Dirty air filters can cause a fuel mixture that is too rich, which could clog the engine and leave unwanted residues in the exhaust system.

It also prevents debris from the atmosphere getting into the engine’s cylinders, and in turn, into the oil.  All air filters become naturally clogged over time with dust and other particulates and so require regular replacement.  A clogged filter can hinder the engine’s ability to suck air into the combustion chamber, possibly resulting in reduced power or generally running rough.

FUEL FILTER

The purpose of this part is to prevent dirt and large particles from entering the engine.   The quality of petrol and diesel can vary greatly.  If impurities in the fuel get into the engine during the high-energy phase when the air/fuel mixture is being compressed, damage to the inside of the engine can occur.  Dirty or blocked fuel filters can lead to the car hesitating to start, or in extreme cases, cause the fuel injectors to become choked.

POLLEN FILTER

This part works hard to keep your car’s interior well ventilated.  Heater fans depend upon clean, smooth air-flow in order to function properly, and the pollen filter helps to achieve this.  This means there is more chance of stopping the windows from steaming up, which then allows for better visibility.  It also traps pollutants such as traffic fumes and minimises unwanted odours from entering the cabin.  Another advantage is that the trapping of pollutants can have hidden health benefits, especially if you suffer from asthma or have allergies. 

TIMING BELT

A rubber-based part which degrades over time, this component is one of the hardest working in any car.  Without it, the engine’s shafts would not turn at the correct speeds and the engine would not work.   Its job is integral to the basic function of the engine and it is imperative that it’s replaced when scheduled; otherwise it can snap and cause further damage to the engine.

Replacing this takes approximately 5 hours depending on model, primarily because of its location and the fact that numerous components have to be removed in order to extract and install it.  It is a highly-skilled job, as a very precise amount of tension must be applied when fitting, to allow it to function at its best and optimise its lifespan.

SPARK PLUGS

These devices are responsible for igniting the fuel/air mixture in the engine which allows the car to start.  The electrode tips of the plugs gradually wear down over time, or can crack or become coated in carbon residues; this can cause poor starting or a misfire to occur.  We supply manufacturer specified spark plugs which are made of the toughest materials, such as platinum and iridium.  This ensures you get the best value and reliability.

BATTERY

This provides energy to the multitude of electrical circuits in the car.  It powers the starter motor which allows the engine to start and provides electricity to the lighting and alarm systems, which is why your car alarm can gradually drain your battery if the car is locked without running for long periods.  The battery’s ability to retain a charge deteriorates naturally over time as the chemical reactions which take place inside the battery become less efficient at generating electricity. 

BRAKE FLUID

A mineral or silicone-based substance which is vital for the function of the braking system.  It allows the hydraulic pressure generated by a pump device to get to the brakes.  It usually needs to be replaced at least once every two years.  This is because it absorbs moisture from the air, which can cause a chemical reaction to occur in which the liquid turns corrosive.  Damage to the braking system could then occur. 

TRANSMISSION FLUID

This serves to lubricate all the moving parts in your gearbox, prolonging the longevity of the mechanisms during all those gear-shifts.  Without renewal of this, gear-changes would become less smooth, potentially causing damage to the internal components.  It can also act as a coolant for the transmission system, allowing it to maintain a steady operating temperature.

COOLANT / ANTI-FREEZE

An essential substance to prevent your engine from overheating.  It allows the intense heat which builds up in the engine to be redistributed to other components, or allows the energy to be gradually dispersed.  Without this, certain engine parts would have to function at temperatures beyond their designed capabilities, potentially leading to failure or poor running of the engine.   It is therefore especially important in the winter months.

BRAKE PADS / DISCS

These ensure your safety during braking, allowing friction to be generated which slows the car’s wheels down.  The pads hydraulically attach themselves to the discs during braking, causing friction to occur.  Brake discs are made of ultra-strong steel as they have to operate at extremely high temperatures.  Both components gradually wear over time, the speed of which can increase from coming into contact with contaminants on the road, such as gritting salt.  This means that regular maintenance is crucial to get the most out of them.  Some modern brake pads have a metal strip inside them which acts as an audible wear indicator, alerting you to the fact your brakes require attention.

Stripping, cleaning and lubricating these parts can greatly increase their lifespan.

AIR-CONDITIONING

Did you know that 10-20% of your a/c system’s gas can escape naturally over a period of two years?  Due to this, it is not uncommon for the air-conditioning to need recharged from time to time.  Recharging involves replenishing the system with gas and lubricant and inspecting all the components.  We also add a ultra-violet dye which would let us know if there are any leaks.   Air-conditioning that has not been recharged can put a strain on the engine and cause your fuel economy to drop.  Topping it up with fresh gas allows it to function more efficiently and effectively. 

EXHAUST

The exhaust’s purpose is primarily to control the output of emissions from the engine, to protect the environment and the driver from harmful fumes such as carbon monoxide.  The sections which make up the exhaust, especially the silencer, are exposed to the elements and so over time will deteriorate.  It’s imperative that your exhaust system is kept in prime condition, to protect the environment and yourself from noxious emissions. 

The catalytic converter’s job is to convert toxic emissions from the exhaust into non-toxic gases which go into the atmosphere, through a series of chemical reactions.  Irregular servicing or incorrect oil usage can restrict the function of this component, especially if it is fitted with a DPF filter.  The Diesel Particulate Filter traps soot and other bi-products from the engine and exhaust system.  Soot levels can increase if the correct oil and filter are not renewed regularly, leading to the filter becoming blocked.  This can restrict performance and increase the car’s emissions.    

VALVE CLEARANCES

Heat generated during the operation of the engine causes metal components to expand and contract.  Therefore, over time, the gap between the valves and the tip of the camshaft can lessen or increase.  Excessive clearance during the running of the engine can lead to increased noise and idling problems.  If the clearance is too small, the valves would not close properly, which could cause a misfire.  To avoid drivability concerns and premature wear of the engine components, the valves need to be adjusted periodically to allow the engine to function at its optimum level, enhancing performance and fuel economy.

ENVIRONMENTAL CHARGES

This applies to any work which involves the disposal of waste materials, such as old engine oil, or used tyres.  It is the responsibility of the dealership to ensure that any materials which could contaminate the environment are disposed of responsibly.  The charge goes towards the containment and transport of such waste, as well as its recycling or disposal.

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