Cam-belt’s: a ticking time bomb?

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The cars cam-belt is a vital part of the engine as it powers the cam-shaft that regulates the timing of the inlet and exhaust valves in the engine. Unfortunately these belts have a finite lifespan and after about 60,000 miles they are at risk of snapping. Depending on the construction of the engine, this could result in damage to the valves, valve stems and the interior of the combustion chamber which will be very costly to repair.

If you buy a second hand car without a service history indicating that a cam-belt change has been done, you would be well advised to get it changed as soon as possible. While the job is often quite expensive it could be much cheaper than repairing a damaged engine. Happily, many cars now use a chain instead of a belt, which should never snap, so check the cars service schedule to see if a belt change is indicated.

Caring for your brakes

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Your cars brakes are one of its most vital features and will need replacing during the lifetime of the vehicle as they wear out. The main components that suffer wear are the brake pads and disks. The disks, usually cast iron, are attached to the axle. The brake pads are pressed against them when you apply the brake pedal thus reducing the cars speed. Because the weight of the car shifts forward under braking, the front brakes do most of the work. You may notice that the rear brakes appear different to the fronts.
Because the rears do less work, they can suffer corrosion which is not cleaned off during braking. This happens more often in smaller or seldom used vehicles. You can combat this corrosion by applying heavy braking occasionally, when safe to do so. The disks will wear over time and will need to be replaced in pairs when the manufacturers specified minimum thickness is reached.

Braking on long downhill runs will over heat and possibly distort your brakes. Avoid this by selecting an appropriate low gear. Avoid sitting with your brakes applied after heavy braking as this may also damage your brakes.

Your Windscreen Wipers

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Windscreen wipers are an essential element of your car that often gets overlooked when we think of caring for our vehicle, however ineffective wiper blades can actually cause your car to fail an MOT so you really do need to keep an eye on them.

It’s suggested that you should change your wiper blades at least once a year as the rubber can become hard and actually cause damage to the screen as well as not being effective at clearing it for safe visibility.

If you notice that the blades judder as they move across the glass or make screeching noises this could be a sign they need changing, also if they don’t clear rain and debris off the screen it may also be an indication that they are ready to be changed.

Extremes of weather can easily effect the wiper blade, particularly ice so always make sure that when clearing your screen the blades are not stuck down onto the frozen glass, give them a light spray with de-icer and allow them to thaw before turning the wipers on.

Company Vehicle Leasing Essentials

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Most businesses find that company car leasing is a much better option in comparison to out-rightly buying the vehicle. Also known as ‘contract hire’ this kind of leasing involves the renting of a vehicle by a specific company for an agreed up period and mileage.

This agreement allows the client company to pay a fixed amount of money every month to the leasing company. The client company chooses how long it wants the lease to run for and once that term elapses, it either renews the contract or simply hand the car back to the leasing company.

The main advantage that this kind of arrangement brings to the client company is that they have a fixed expense that is associated with the leased vehicle. They only need to insure it, pay associated taxes and fuel the vehicle. This is a more ‘constant’ figure as opposed to buying a car that comes with a host of expenses including the purchasing price. Continue reading

Issues with suspension in a car

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The suspension system in most cars is a complex combination of components working together to ensure a nice smooth even ride. Suspension is set up differently in all cars and can be firmer in sporty models and softer in off road vehicles.

If there is an issue with the suspension it can be hard to diagnose as the symptoms can be a result of a number of issues within a car such as wheel alignment or uneven tyre pressure. The main symptoms are the car shaking or juddering when driving and the car looking uneven whilst stationary.

Issues with suspension can cause the car not to handle effectively which can be very dangerous in a situation where you’d need to steer quickly to avoid a collision. Also with excessive tyre wear caused by suspension issues the car is more likely to lose grip and skid especially in poor weather conditions which is equally dangerous.

If you suspect any problems with your suspension always get it checked out as if left it can have a knock-on effect and cause issues with many other parts of your car.