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This is hopefully a helpful section of some of the most common questions asked by customers to us about their vehicles.
The answers have been given in good faith without liability, always seek professional advice if in doubt.


QUESTION ANSWERS
Q. My car seems to wobble when going along slowly at walking speeds in traffic. A. This can be a very dangerous but simple problem caused by a tyre being out of shape, get it looked at straight away as if left it will almost certainly cause a "blow out" eventually when the tyre will burst and the vehicle could go out of control.
Q. There is a loud rhythmic clicking noise from my car when accelerating and the steering is on a full lock. A. This is almost certainly caused by a worn constant velocity (cv) joint on one of the driveshafts, if left it can cause the joint to break up and the car can lose its drive.
Q. There is a sort of humming noise as I drive my car, it seems to get worse as I steer one way or the other. A. This could be a worn hub bearing. Its caused by the bearing race starting to break up and can be dangerous if left for to long.
Q. There is an unusual noise coming from my engine. A. ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS get it listened to by a professional. There are all sorts of reasons for strange noises from the engine, some are relatively harmless and will occasionaly resolve themselves (a noisy hydraulic valve lifter for example), others will get worse and lead to a breakdown and costly extensive repairs if neglected (noisy water pumps and cam belt pulleys for example).
Q. My car is still under manufacturers warranty, do I have to take it to a dealer for servicing. A. No. Block exemption rules apply, as long as the manufacturers service schedule is followed and quality parts are used it can be serviced elsewhere without the warranty being void.
Q. I am thinking of buying a car with a diesel engine, do you think it will be cheaper to run. A. It depends on lots of factors, what age it is, how many miles you do and how lucky/unlucky you are! Diesel engine cars may do a few more miles per gallon than equivalent petrol models but that is not the only expense to take into consideration. Lots of jobs and parts can be as high as twice the price on diesels compared to petrol models (clutches, starter motors, alternators, batteries etc). They are also not as trouble-free as popular myth suggests. It is not uncommon for diesel injector pumps to fail and its often into four figures to replace these. All in all we would suggest only buy a diesel if you cover a very high mileage and the car is preferably new.
Q. I think my head gasket has failed as there is a mayonnaise type goo on the engines dipstick and oil filler cap.

A. This is often not a head gasket problem at all and simply emulsification of the oil in exposed cold parts of the engine. Its often caused by short journeys in cold weather. A simple check of the oil in the sump can usually confirm this.

Q. My car pulls to one side when driving.

A. Its quite normal for most vehicles to drift gently to the left of the road if the steering wheel is released (not recommended!), this is normally caused by the camber of the road (slope) and is not a fault with the vehicle.
If it pulls excessively or to the right then it should be checked. Its often caused by something as simple as tyre pressures incorrect which will affect the vehicles rolling resistance, it could be caused by worn suspension components or similar. Its unlikely to be caused by incorrect tracking contrary to popular belief.

Q. My heater has suddenly stopped producing heat.

A. The first thing to do is check the engine water level. If the level is to low the heater operation may be one of the first symptoms. Vehicles should not "use" water, if they do there is a fault that needs to be checked before bigger problems could occur.

Q. My vehicles engine doesn't run properly, does it need a "tune-up"?

A. Nearly all modern vehicles (since approx. 1993) have sophisticated engine management systems which should constantly monitor the "tune" of the engine and keep it at its peak efficiency, long gone are the days of adjusting points and twiddling carburettor screws (unfortunately in some cases!). Engine running problems can be caused by all sorts of reasons some simple some not so, we will be happy to advise further.

Q. My temperature gauge reads cold all the time. A. This is often caused by the vehicles thermostat being stuck open. You may find that the gauge rises when you get stuck in traffic. Whilst not a urgent problem, it is important that the engine runs at its correct temperature otherwise it can affect the vehicles performance and fuel economy. It can also cause the vehicles heater to be poor.
Q.My vehicles brakes seem noisy at the rear but get quieter after using them. A. This is most likely to be caused by the rear brake wheel cylinders leaking, this causes the brake shoes to get wet with fluid, as they are used and warm up the noise tends to improve. This is an urgent problem and the brake fluid level should be checked and the brakes investigated.
Q. Can you check my cam belt to see if it needs changing. A. This is a very common request. It is quite difficult to determine how worn a camshaft belt is by looking at it, and to inspect it properly it needs to be taken off, Obviously by this stage its more cost effective to replace it. The breakage of the camshaft drive belt on most modern engines will cause serious damage, on diesel engines it can be catastrophic and uneconomical to repair. Lots of manufacturers now use atrocious plastic guide pulleys/tensioners which are prone to cracking and flying apart so its highly recommended that these are replaced at the same time also. Nearly all manufacturers recommend the belts/pulleys are replaced on a time or mileage basis, we will be happy to advise.