Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS)-and summer tyres-can both give you Temperature Problems

In a strange kind of way I am bringing together related tyre problems. Most drivers will not have heard about either of these potential problems, and some will have.

Both these problems are sort of related, but I will answer them one at a time, starting with TPMS (tyre pressure monitoring systems).

Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems have been around for quite a while now. it was developed to compliment  cars that were fitted with run flat tyres or cars that did not have a conventional type spar wheel and tyre.

Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems

TPMS Warning lights can be triggered by tyre temperature drops

When a run flat tyre loses pressure, there is no way of knowing so a special valve with a sender, was invented and when there is a loss of air pressure in the tyre the sensor in the tyre valve picks this up and sends a message to the cars computer which lights up a warning light in the cab and alerts the driver that something is wrong with one of his/hers tyres.

The idea is a simple one really, but it is not that long ago that a driver would not go anywhere without his spare wheel? How things have changed. Now most cars are fitted with this technology and it is very common for us to see on a daily basis.

There is however one thing that has cropped up, those drivers may not know. This is that the Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems in susceptible to temperature changes. This is basic science, when the temperature rises then the air expands and when it cools down then the temperature lowers.

This can affect your Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems valves.

When the temperature drops on cold freezing night, then so does the air pressure in your tyres. They can drop as much as 10 psi on a really cold night. This can then trigger off your tyre pressure warning light in the car.

It may not happen to all cars but it is worth noting that if this happens to you then you will know what has happened. In some cars the light will correct itself and go back out as the air temperature rises, or you could increase the air pressure in your tyres and this will stop this happening.

The second temperature related part is the way a summer tyre acts when they get cold too

Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems

Regular tyre pressure checks are very important

TPMS and summer tyres in the cold

This temperature issue is probably a little bit better known, but here goes. Summer car tyres and winter car tyres have different chemical compositions in their tyre compounds. The main difference is the addition of “silica” compounds into the mix that makes the winter tyres.

The different compounds are there to give different characteristics to the tyres in different weather conditions and heat and cold. Summer’s will get much stiffer and harder in cold weather, making the tyre more difficult to handle when braking and cornering. This change in character starts to come in when the temperature gets below 7 degrees.

The winter tyres with their different compounds will remain flexible and pliable in colder weather and this combined with a tread design that has been developed to dissipate water, slush and snow, makes the winters  the perfect fitment for your car from November to march here in the Northern hemisphere.

If you are looking for a set of tyres for your car at this time of year then I would strongly advise fitting winter tyres, they have been proven time and time again to be the safest option for

Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems

Winter tyres like this Yokohama W-Drive are made of special compounds to cope with any winter weather that may come your way.

your car and your family.

Pellon Tyre and Auto-centre offer car and van servicing and repairs to all makes of vehicles. We are members of Unipart Car Care centres and give a nationwide guarantee for all our work and parts. We also sell Yokohama Winter Tyres online from our website www.pellontyres.co.uk by using the tyre selector and choosing your tyre size. We offer courtesy cars to local motorists who need to go to work and leave their car with us for work doing. We are also an official MOT testing station and are members of Motor-codes, who carry out checks for high standard of equipment and workmanship.

Fiat Punto-Clutch problems since 2004? Popular car in Halifax UK

It looks to me that drivers and owners of Fiat Punto have had a raw deal when it comes to clutches on this

fiat punto, clutch

2004 Fiat Punto in for a new clutch

model of car.

We have noticed that we have done more than our fair share of clutches on this model of car. I decided to do a little research and found some real horror stories, going back to 2002 Punto models.

One unlucky customer with a “52” plate Punto 8 valve version complained to me about several problems that he had encountered, including a very bad transmission judder and other small irritants such as engine noises and various oil leaks. He had just had a clutch fitted, but 1400 miles later the juddering had returned.

He too looked up the Fiat forums and noticed the amount of Fiat owners who were experiencing various clutch problems with their Punto’s. The cars came mainly from the main dealers from different parts of the country, but it looked as though Fiat new about the problem but did little about it.

Some Fiat owners were experiencing problems with a low biting point clutch pedal and rattling noises when changing gears, as if there was a broken spring type of noise. This is a common sign that you have a clutch that needs changing but they did not get much joy from Fiat and indeed many Fiat drivers opted to have their clutches changed by another garage or a mechanically minded friend or relation.

fiat punto, clutch

Fiat Punto clutch old and new.

Other owners complained about their  pedals becoming hard when pressing to change gear. This then developed into them hearing scratching and clicking noises coming from the pedal area of the car, once again this is a sure sign that you need a replacement , in fact this is similar to the latest customers car that we fitted a new clutch to the other weekend and sure enough when we stripped it down the Punto needed a new clutch.

Fiat Punto clutch went again after only 2 weeks

Thank goodness the one that we did the other week was good and the car ran well after we had fitted it with a new clutch, but for some owners that was not the case. One unlucky gut had recently had a new clutch fitted, only to find that a few weeks later the same problems had come back to haunt him. The car had also had a new clutch pedal fitted, but after a few weeks the car once again became difficult to change gear, back to the same problem as pre new clutch?

The problem turned out to be a problem with the clutch bleeding. The mechanic who repaired the car did not know how to bleed the clutch because the Punto’s do not have a normal bleeding nipple system as do many other models of cars and for some reason some air had entered the fluid system of the clutch, making it difficult to change the gears again.

This problem was corrected by the garage who had just fitted the new clutch and the mistake was just put down to lack of Fiat Punto experience, this can very often happen in a garage that repairs mixed makes of cars.

Going back to the Fiat Punto in at my garage for a clutch, well it was only the second clutch that this particular car had fitted since 2004 (ten years), so I do not think that that was at all bad. The job to fit a Fiat Punto clutch is one of the easiest to do and the car was back on the road in a couple of hours, the customer was delighted and off he went a few hundred pounds lighter, but happy?

Pellon Tyre and Auto-centre offer car and van servicing and repairs to all makes of vehicles. We are members of Unipart Car Care centres and give a nationwide guarantee for all our work

fiat punto, clutch

Clutch components removed

and parts. We also sell Dunlop Car Tyres online from our website www.pellontyres.co.uk by using the tyre selector and choosing your tyre size. We offer courtesy cars to local motorists who need to go to work and leave their car with us for work doing. We are also an official MOT testing station and are members of Motor-codes, who carry out checks for high standard of equipment and workmanship.

Brake Juddering-What is it?

Foot pedal vibrations lead to the brake juddering experience

One of the first signs of brake juddering problems is when you can feel a vibration coming through your foot pedal, when you press it, to brake and stop your car. Some of our customers say that it was a long drawn out process, but eventually the brake began to get worse and the vibrations also started to come through the steering wheel.

brake juddering

Replacing warped discs and worn out pads

In fact some of our customers think that the vibration is a wheel balancing problem, and this is a problem that we may have to check out but when it comes from the brake pedal, then it is usually something to do with the brakes.

One of the main causes of this comes from elderly drivers that always cover the brake pedal with their right foot. This applies to manual gear changes or automatic, they what I call “ride the brake” some drivers also do this with the clutch but that’s a different article to cover. What happens if you ride the brake? Well one of the problems is that you are applying extra pressure onto the brake pads that are constantly in contact with the brake discs (brake rotors in the USA). These in turn over heat the discs, and the discs then warp and go out of shape.

Brake juddering is a bigger problem in hilly areas

In my opinion though, driver fault is not the main reason for warped brake discs. I think that the main cause is the terrain. We here in Halifax are in a hilly area and we get a high occurrence of warped brake discs and brake juddering faults from our customers.

In areas where there is very steep inclines, then drivers are more likely to keep their foot on the brakes. Some of the hills in the Hebden Bridge area are like alpine passes with 180 degree bends to contend with. When you come down these roads you have to keep the car in a low gear and be prepared for a vehicle coming up the hill, without braking all the time.

This constant braking is what overheats the discs and causes them to warp and vibrate giving Brake Juddering through your brake pedal. Some garages have a machine that will skim the brakes and stop the vibrating, but I think that once they have overheating then they do not work to their full potential and there for a new set of discs is the best option.

Over the years car manufacturers have brought in new technology to balance out the disc overheating problem and try to eliminate the Brake Juddering problems. This includes different metals that can stand more heat and also the disc parts

brake juddering

Perforated discs like this BMW disc are designed to dissipate the heat that is built up when braking hard

that now come out with holes drilled in the metal at calculated intervals, for heat dispersal. This can work very well; you can see brake discs actually glowing red hot on some motor sport cars when they have to brake very often at high speed, some can be seen to be glowing white hot in the dark.

This has the same effect as the regular car driven by a regular driver, try to avoid heavy braking especially at high speed, keep your distance and try not to brake heavily. When you are driving down a steep hill, use a low gear and use the car’s engine as a brake, try not to press the brake pedal constantly.

Have your brakes inspected at regular intervals when the car is serviced, any worn discs or pads will be picked up by the garage, and we can even spot a disc that has been overheated in the past, because the disc has a blue coloured sheen on it. Remember like many other things to do with a car, prevention is better than a cure.

Pellon Tyre and Auto-centre offer car and van servicing and Car Brake Repairs to all makes of vehicles. We are members of Unipart Car Care centres and give a nationwide guarantee for all our work and parts. We also sell tyres online from our website www.pellontyres.co.uk by using the tyre selector and choosing your tyre size. We offer courtesy cars to local motorists who need to go to work and leave their car with us for work doing. We are also an official MOT testing station and are members of Motor-codes, who carry out checks for high standard of equipment and workmanship.

 

 

Different driving conditions confront us all in the autumn before Winter arrives?

Different driving conditions confront us all in the autumn

I must admit that autumn is one of the times of year that I have grown to love. It is almost magical how the weather changes as autumn approaches. One day we have warm sunshine and

autumn tyre

This washer bottle needs topping up before autumn

then the next day we have gales from the west and heavy rain, this also adds different driving conditions for your car. You know that this is the end of summer and that winter will soon be here.

As a garage owner and keen driver, I also know that we must prepare our cars for autumn and winter to face whatever the weather may throw at us. The first thing that I notice is the glare of the sun, especially in the late afternoon as the day gets darker. The first time this happens it always catches us out. We press the washer button and a tiny squirt of water trickles out, or worst still the last squirt comes out and smudged the entire windscreen.

If only I had checked the washer bottles and put screen wash in I would have not been blinded, driving along with one eye closed trying to see the road ahead, because of the blinding sun bringing Different driving conditions with dirty windscreen

, making driving very difficult. Most of the supermarkets and fuel garages have this stuff on display a month before we need them so the first lesson is to buy some screen wash with added antifreeze and make sure that your water bottles are filled with it. I also keep some in the car boot, because it always runs out when you least expect it to and then you have a reserve supply in the car (not at home).

First Icy Windscreens in autumn bring Different driving conditions.

This is also the time of year when we are most likely to have an ice covered windscreen, when setting of on a dark morning, (not much fun?). This is the where a good old fashioned ice

autumn tyre

Wiper blades need changing to combat sun dazzling

scraper comes into its own. The ones with the handles on are best, and then you won’t freeze your hands and fingers off. Once you have scrapped off the ice you should have a new tin of de-icer handy to clear away the remainder of the frost on the windscreen. Some people use their credit cards for this, but a nice new ice scraper does the job far better and so this is number two on your autumn shopping list, an ice scraper.

Never be tempted to do what some drivers do and pour hot water onto your screen, I know that this is what some people do, and some drivers get away with it, but thousands also shatter their windscreen using this method.

Another good point to remember to help you against low sun dazzle, is to clean the inside of your cars windscreen as well as the outside, the cleaner all the windscreen is the easier it will, be to see against the autumn sun dazzle.

Change your windscreen wipers in autumn

This is also a good point to practice. Have your windscreen wipers changed before the onset of any bad weather and prevent windscreen smudging and poor visibility, you know this makes sense, there is nothing worse than a smudged screen and it can be a very dangerous thing to happen to you. I have had to

Different driving conditions

check your tyres tread depth

stop my car on a number of occasions in the past to clear my car windows, but now I make sure that I am better prepared.

Check your tyres in autumn

It is not rocket science to know that the onset of winter can be a disaster if your tyres are bald and have no tread left. Wet roads covered in leaves can be as dangerous as driving on black ice, so please have your tyres checked and if you do have to buy some, think about fitting winter, they are not much different to the summer tyre price these days and will give a far safer car in the bad winter weather.

Check your light bulbs at least once a week in autumn

I do realize that much of this stuff is common sense to many drivers but how many cars do you see driving along with a light out?. Whilst driving on a local motorway recently there were three cars in row with a light bulb out, this must have added to Different driving conditions . So it is important to check your lights at least once a week, or let your local garage check them for you Some bulbs are now difficult to fit for the DIY motorist, but your local garage will do this for you and if you are a regular customer , then most garages will not charge you. If you have to pay like some of the national companies such as Halfords, and then go to a local garage they will be only too willing to help with any of the checks that I have talked about.

Car batteries can be checked, but in my opinion when they go then they just go, so if you want them testing then fine, have them tested, but they tend to go when you least expect them to, they should last you three years so if your car is older than that you could expect the battery to go at any time, all the other things in this article can be prevented by a little

Different driving conditions

Check your lights and fit new bulbs where required

preparation before the winter arrives in the autumn.

Pellon Tyre and Auto-centre offer car and van servicing and repairs to all makes of vehicles. We are members of Unipart Car Care centres and give a nationwide guarantee for all our work and parts. We also sell New Winter Tyres online from our website www.pellontyres.co.uk by using the tyre selector and choosing your tyre size. We offer courtesy cars to local motorists who need to go to work and leave their car with us for work doing. We are also an official MOT testing station and are members of Motor-codes, who carry out checks for high standard of equipment and workmanship.

 

Shock Absorbers- Nissan Micra – MOT Test-Failure if they are Worn and Leaking

Leaking shock absorbers are an MOT test fail

The most frustrating thing about shock absorbers and struts, (which are basically the same thing) is that they are sealed units and although they are classed as maintenance free, they will

Shock Absorbers

A Nissa McPherson strut unit, the shock absorber part (strut) is fitted inside the spring .

very often start to leak. In some countries shock absorbers are known as dampers, because that is exactly what they do they damp down and level out the bumps that your car is picking

shock absorbers

Nissan Micra in for a new shock absorber

up as it drives along the road.

Depending what the model of your car is, then the shock absorbers should be changed at certain mileage intervals,

If you are not sure what this is then you can perform a simple bounce test. All you have to do is to press the corner of your car a few times with your body weight and then stop the bouncing. Once you stop then your car should settle back down straight away, if it bounces again more than twice then the shockers require changing. You do this procedure on each corner, bouncing the car and then releasing it.

In my opinion this is not a very satisfactory way of checking your shock absorbers, but at the moment I have not seen a satisfactory machine that will do the job. The best machine that I ever saw and consequently bought was a tester that was sold by SUN equipment. You drove the car onto vibration plates, which shook the cars suspension very violently and then suddenly stopped. The action of the shock absorbers was then recorded on to paper printouts via an ink needle, similar to the ones used in hospital heart machines. If the pattern was tight then the shocks were good, if they were wide, then the shocks needed replacing.

This was a great machine because it produced a print out so that the customer could see the state that his shocks were in. ironically the machine was scrapped by Kwik-Fit after I sold them the business and I don’t think that they are made any more.

How do Shock Absorbers work?

Some cars never have their shocks replaced, but with age the ride of your car will get bouncier and the cars steering will be all over the place when cornering, although this is sometimes

Shock Absorbers

Micra McPherson strut sowing the oil leak (dark part)

blamed on the cars tyres it is more often than not the shocks that need changing.

As I have said earlier, the most common problem is the fact that they leak oil. If this is the case then they will need changing. Any kind of shock absorber works on the same basis. There is a piston rod that enters a chamber that is filled with oil. The piston has oil seals to prevent leakage. As the piston is compressed by the weight then it takes the force of the road surface and the car. Your shocks take all the up and down pressure (bumps) and the cars chassis remains level, or as level as possible whilst driving along.

When the shocks are worn or broken then you will get an uneven ride in your car. I think that the worse culprits of this are on cars that are used as Taxis. You can often feel the older cars bouncing up and down as you drive along, and apart from alcohol, I am convinced that this is one of the reasons that people are sick in the back of a Taxi.

Struts are normally fitted at the front of cars and are fitted inside a coil spring unit. These are known as McPherson struts and just like the shock absorbers, they can leak oil. These struts along with the springs that they are inserted into can very often break, and the symptoms  are rattling and banging noises coming from the car when going over bumps in the road, This is another problem that the potholes can cause. “Broken springs

An old perennial that keeps cropping up is that when a shocker has to be replaced then should they be replaced in pairs. In my opinion this is a grey area, the manufacturers always recommend that you fit two, and I think that this is the perfect scenario, but in practice the customer wants to get away with having to spend as little as possible and in general only has the one fitted. The rule to this is simple, if your car is relatively new, then just change the one, the one on the other side should still be good, but if the car is an older model then you should change the shocks on each side of the same axle, backs or fronts. This will give you an even ride and more stable cornering.

Normal shocks are fairly easy to change for the home mechanic, but the struts are more difficult and require some special tools, such as spring compressors and so I would take your car to a local garage, for the work doing.

Pellon Tyre and Auto-centre offer car and van servicing and repairs to all makes of vehicles. We are members of Unipart Car Care centres and give a nationwide guarantee for all our work

shock abrorbers

Monroe Shock Absorbers are our favorite replacement shocks brand

and parts. We also sell Budget Car Tyres online from our website www.pellontyres.co.uk by using the tyre selector and choosing your tyre size. We offer courtesy cars to local motorists who need to go to work and leave their car with us for work doing. We are also an official MOT testing station and are members of Motor-codes, who carry out checks for high standard of equipment and workmanship.

 

Starter Motor on my Jeep made a loud Clunking Noise

Suspected starter motor

A few week ago now, a guy came into my garage and asked us to fit him a new battery. We always test the old battery, unless the customer tells us the old one is completely dead. This guy Starter Motorhad a Jeep and we said that the battery had been slow to start the car for about a month now and he thought that it was going to let him down completely. He worked in Manchester about 30 mile away from Halifax here in Yorkshire and so did not want to risk expensive breakdown chargers. We fitted a new battery and the guy went away happy. After about a month the guy turned back up again.

He said that the problem appeared to be cured after the new car battery was fitted, but recently he had started to hear a low level clunking noise coming from the engine when he started the car. He said that it was the old problem that was occurring and could the battery be faulty?

This also happens with a faulty alternator. The first thing that the customer does is to buy a new battery, then a few weeks later , the car still has starting problems because the alternator has been under-charging or over-charging. Eventually the car has to have a replacement alternator. It is the same with the starter motor, although the starter is not as common a fault as the alternator, at least not here in Halifax.

Our top mechanic Ryan went out to check the car out and found the clunk was indeed coming from the starter motor when starting the car. There are a few things that you need to know

about diagnosing this problem. The main one is when you try to start the car, (and this applies to all cars and vans, in fact any vehicle that is fitted with a starter motor, will have similar symptoms) you turn the key to turn the engine over, but nothing happens, the engine will turn over. This is what would have eventually happened to the Jeep.

Also when you try to turn over the engine you hear a loud click. In this case the car’s engine will still not turn over. This scenario is also the same as a dead flat battery, but I am presuming that the cars have had a new one fitted, prior to the starter clicking again. This can go on for a little while and sometimes the car will eventually start. The starter engages with the vehicles flywheel and turns over the engine until the car starts, and sometimes it is the starters gear teeth that are broken. But if you are lucky enough the hit the starter key at the right time, then the car may just start.

Back in the olden days cars with inline engines would have a cranking handle. So that you could turn over the engine, by hand (if you were strong enough). However cars started to come out with front wheel drive engines and the cranking handle became obsolete.

Our Jeep needed a new starter motor

Ryan very quickly diagnosed that the starter motor needed replacing, and after giving the gut a price for the job, Ryan began the difficult job of removing the old motor. Years ago the starters were easy to find and replace, but the advent of the computer designed cars, the manufacturers can squeeze parts onto an engine where

jeep, starter motor, and battery

New and old Jeep starters side by side

they previously could not. This Jeep was no exception and the starter was tucked away in nowhere land and very difficult to remove, right up the back of the engine, certainly not a job for the DIY car repairer, on his back on the drive at home.

The new part arrived and was fitted back in the engine by Ryan. The problem was that the teeth on the old motor were worn away, and were not connecting with the flywheel. Sometimes we find that there is an electrical fault, but not in this case. The old starter was sent back to the supplier and then returned to the company that will recondition the starter to repeat the cycle again when the next Jeep start motor goes wrong.

We normally carry out the following tests to ascertain whether or not a new starter motor  is required.

A- We always test the battery first. This is by using a simple multi-meter test.

B- We will check that the starter motor is getting 12 Volts on to its Battery Circuit.

C- We always check that the starter motor is receiving the electrical current from the ignition switch.

D- We carry out a voltage drop test on the starter battery and ground Circuits. We do this using a 12 volt battery and a connecting wire to test whether or not the starter is engaging or not. We test this in a vice on the bench.

Pellon Tyre and Auto-centre offer car and van servicing and repairs to all makes of vehicles. We are members of Unipart Car Care centres and give a nationwide guarantee for all our work and parts. We also sell Jeep Tyres Online from our website www.pellontyres.co.uk by using the tyre selector and choosing your tyre size. We offer courtesy cars to local motorists who need to go to work and leave their car with us for work doing. We are also an official MOT testing station and are members of Motor-codes, who carry out checks for high standard of equipment and workmanship.

Turbocharger-What Does It Do?

First turbocharger

I am sadly old enough to remember when the mention of the word “Turbocharger”it was something special. The first production cars to be fitted with turbos (as I am going to abbreviate them) was in the USA, back in 1962, when the Oldsmobile Jet-fire and the Chevrolet Corsair cars were fitted out with the first production car exhaust turbo. These cars did have a few teething problems such as engine knocking, but this was corrected with a few modifications.

One of the next important developments for the turbo came in 1973, with the beginning of the oil crisis. The diesel engines of the time were expensive enough, but the addition of the

turbocharger

Turbocharger almost hidden away

turbo to these engines made them even more expensive. However the fuel crises and the expensive cost of fuel made the turbo driven engines more cost effective because of the fuel savings.

The next chapter was in the 1980’s when governments started to issue legislation to restrict fuel pollution in the new cars that were produced at that time and this was the beginning of almost all the cars produced, having a turbocharger fitted. In fact this is about the same time that diesel driven engine cars became more popular to make for the car manufacturers. The turbo diesel engines were giving a high performance with much lower fuel consumption.

This trend was started off in Germany, in the late seventies and early eighties, when Mercedes Benz and VW started producing production cars that were fitted with a Turbocharger and a turbo charged diesel engines the Mercedes 300 SD and the VW Golf Turbo Diesel models.

The turbocharger into the 90’s and beyond

The main emphasis of the Auto manufacturers was now to drive down the amount of emission’s that the cars were producing. Governments all over the world were throwing huge amounts of money at the problem in order to drive down the carbon gases that cars were producing. The turbo charged engines certainly helped to fulfill this achievement. The advantages of the Turbocharger were that the engines could have a high performance, whilst at the same time be produced with a lower CC, engines were made smaller with more power.

The engines could be made smaller with higher torques and lower speed ranges at the same time. The engines would also become less noisy, we all remember the terrible sounds that would come out of a turbo less engine, and we needed ear plugs to drive some of the early diesel engine vans. The biggest gain though was the fuel consumption. The early diesel engines used to eat fuel, but with the addition of the Turbocharger , the fuel consumption lowered dramatically, cars can now get as much as 80 mile to the gallon, with other added improvements, that are happening all the time.

Our customers know very little about the turbocharger that is on their car.

The Turbocharger can be very complicated to explain, but I will attempt to put it in simple terms, that is the only way I can understand it myself anyway. The basic design mechanism of the

Turbocharger

How a Turbocharger works

turbo works in a very similar way the jet engine. The jet engine draws in air from the front, compressors the air into a chamber where it burns with fuel. It them blasts the hot air out of the back. The hot air then drives past a turbine , which in turn drives the air pump at the front of the engine. At this stage the heated compressed air is pushed into the car’s engine to make the fuel burn more efficiently. The cars turbo is very much like a small car engine, it uses the expelled exhaust gases that are produced in an engine to drive a turbine, this spins the compressor, which pushes more air/oxygen into the cars cylinders  which, allowing more fuel to be burned  each second. This is why a Turbocharger can produce more fuel efficient energy per second.

Theoretically Turbocharger care, by the car owner is only down to general care and servicing of their car. Clean oil is very important and indeed one of the main problems with turbo care is when dirty oil is sucked into the turbos lubrication system. It is also a good idea to make sure that your engine warms up slowly on a cold morning. The cold thickens the viscosity of the oil which could starve the Turbocharger of oil, but with all the different oils that are used now, then I am not sure that this applies any more.

It is certainly a wise thing to make sure that your vehicle has the correct type of oil and that you top the engine up with the same type of oil as used in an oil change. If you are not sure, have your car serviced by a garage of your choice, it is not worth the risk, some turbos are well over £1000 each, and you can’t do without one.

Hope this helps.

Pellon Tyre and Auto-centre offer car and van servicing and repairs to all makes of vehicles. We are members of Unipart Car Care centres and give a nationwide guarantee for all our work and parts. We also sell tyres online from our website www.pellontyres.co.uk by using the tyre selector and choosing your tyre size. We offer courtesy cars to local motorists who need to go to work and leave their car with us for work doing. We are also an official MOT testing station and are members of Motor-codes, who carry out checks for high standard of equipment and workmanship.

Flexi Exhaust Pipe-Astra VXR can it be Repaired?

A Flexi Exhaust Pipe can get you out of trouble?

Over the past 15 years we have seen a massive change in the way that car manufacturers have changed the way that exhaust systems have changed. In the early days we used to keep

Flexi Exhaust Pipe

Astra VXR in for a noisy exhaust system! Flexi Exhaust Pipe to the rescue

huge stocks of exhaust parts( including Flexi Exhaust Pipe) in stock to service our customer’s cars.

There were many different exhaust manufacturers around at the time supply the aftermarket with mild steel replacement exhaust systems. Some were good quality and some were bad quality. At the time we would guarantee these mild steel systems for one year and they did not last much longer than that. At the time I was a great fan of the Unipart exhaust, because they were perhaps the best fitting exhaust system on the Mini’s which were very popular at the time.

We found though that the worst problem apart from half of them did not fit correctly, was the welding. We had to balance the cost of these exhausts with the quality of the fit and the welding. The cheaper exhausts were welded by hand, and were awful quality. We would have many comebacks from faulty badly made exhausts. Some of these companies are now long gone, but the ones who have stuck it out are the better quality systems. These companies such as Bosal, went into aluminising their exhausts to make them last longer and gave them a two year warranty.

However they would still rot from the inside due to the mild sulfuric acid that was emitted from the engines of these cars.

Catalytic Converters became the new influence with better quality exhaust pipes.

Then along came the big revolution, for the humble exhaust pipe, the emissions test. The new greener car engines started to come out with catalytic converters. This was to control the

Flexi Exhaust Pipe

Catalytic converters complete with its own Flexi Exhaust Pipe used to come boxed up like this one

pollutants that were entering the atmosphere from the car’s engine. The cats were made from a honeycomb of ceramics and the catalysts that are used are made from precious metals such as platinum, palladium and rhodium.

It is my opinion that was because of the improved status of the exhaust system including the catalytic converter that the whole unit would have to be made better and therefor would last

Flexi Exhaust Pipe

Astra VXR with a new Flexi Exhaust Pipe welded on to his existing exhaust system

much longer. In the early days of catalysts, companies set up making up the replacement cats with imported universal units from America, so if your cat went for any reason then the cheapest way to replace it would be to make one up in a kit form including a Flexi Exhaust Pipe and weld it to the old exhaust pipe.

As time went on and the emission laws became stricter, then the cats became more complicated, some having two lambda sensors fitted and Flexi Exhaust Pipe which were also becoming an integral part of the exhaust system. It is not uncommon to find some cars with two cats on the same piece of exhaust system.

This is where our Astra VXR comes into the equation. The more complicated the car and engine then the more complicated the exhaust system will be. Some cars even have exhausts fitted that are more complicated to get at physically. They weave and bend into the most complicated places that you can think of.

Some of the cat/exhaust combinations can cost as much as half the value of the car in some cases and when we told this VXR owner that the replacement system for his car would be well over  £1000 he nearly fell through the floor?

Fortunately we have a guy working for us who can see his way round these things and Ryan came up with a great solution. He suggested welding a new flexi pipe onto where the break in the exhaust pipe was. This would save the customer hundreds of £’s just coming up to Christmas. All we had to do was to check and see if the exhaust was thick and strong enough to take a weld, and it was.

Ryan measured up the flexi-pipe where it was to be fitted and welded the new part onto the existing exhaust. The guy could not afford the £1000 in the first place and so we were all happy. We can confidently give the guy a guarantee on the job and he went away another happy customer.

Pellon Tyre and Auto-centre offer car and van servicing and Exhaust  System Repairs to all makes of vehicles. We are members of Unipart Car Care centres and give a nationwide guarantee for all our work and parts. We also sell tyres online from our website www.pellontyres.co.uk by using the tyre selector and choosing your tyre size. We offer courtesy cars to local motorists who need to go to work and leave their car with us for work doing. We are also an official MOT testing station and are members of Motor-codes, who carry out checks for high standard of equipment and workmanship.

Michelin Zero Pressure-Run-Flat tyres will get you out of Trouble

For high standard of equipment and In all fairness Michelin are not the only company to make a run-flat product. Most tyre companies including some budget tyre brands make a run-flat tyre.

Michelin’s call their tyre the ZP or Michelin Zero Pressure.

This of course refers to the fact that when the run-flat tyre deflates, it will carry on running with zero air in the tyre. This is exactly what the run-flat does. Because of the much stronger

Michelin Zero Pressure

Michelin run-flat tyres

side walls the tyre will not deviate from its course. The driver is warned about the deflation from inside the car by the TPMS system (tyre pressure monitoring system).
Let’s face it our roads are probably the busiest in Europe and nobody enjoys having to change a wheel at the side of the road, in fact they now warn us to stay well away from the car, at the top of the embankment, while the recovery truck turns up, because of the many accidents caused by broken down vehicles being hit from behind by other vehicles who lose concentration and smash into them.
With the Michelin Zero Pressure run-flat technology fitted to your car this will be avoided. These tyres will lose pressure from a nail or a screw penetration but your car will keep a straight line and you will be able to drive home, albeit at the reduced speed of 50 mph, but the tyre will let you travel 50 mile which should be enough to get you out of trouble and have the tyre changed

Can you mix run-flat tyres with normal radial tyres?

Michelin recommend that you should never mix a Michelin Zero Pressure run-flat with a non-run-flat normal radial tyres. The only exception to this rule is if you were stranded in the middle of nowhere and the only tyre depot for miles around could only get you a normal tyre then this would be acceptable as a last resort, get you home step and the tyre must be changed back to a run-flat as soon as possible.
The Michelin Zero Pressure run-flats have completely different sidewalls; they are made of much thicker materials and are known as “Self-supporting tyres” or SST’s. They have two other identification markings on the sidewalls.
1: ZP allows you to drive at 50 mph for speeds up 50 mph (most of the M1 motorway at the moment)
2: ZP SR allows you to drive for 20 miles at 50 mph
Michelin Zero Pressure offer the same ride capabilities as a normal radial tyre
The first time I drove a BMW Mini that was equipped with run-flat tyres I thought I was in an old truck going down a cobble road. The ride was horrendous, and my staff, who regularly test drive cars say that this is a common thing, the ride is very hard, because the sidewalls are so thick and re-enforced. Michelin claim that their Zero pressure tyres are not the same and give just as good a ride as their normal radial tyre range. Although I have not tried out as car fitted with Michelin Zero Pressure, this has got to be a step in the right direction and I will try out these tyres as soon as possible to quantify their claims.
However some fleet companies are now looking at the Michelin Zero Pressure, because of the more comfortable ride and also improved fuel consumption. These tyres have been tested by fleet company Alphabet’s Operational Services Manager, Andy Williams,
He explained: “The comfort compromise everyone used to associate with run-flats has disappeared with the latest technology of tyres. I have tried Michelin’s new Zero Pressure (ZP) range and trust me, you can’t tell the difference from standard tyres. Yes, there have been critics of run-flat tyres in the past, but Michelin has answered all of them. It is high time fleet managers start to embrace the new technology as it has so much to offer. The combination of a smooth ride and the increased safety is something they just can’t afford to ignore. The fact Michelin Zero Pressurethat a tyre keeps its shape when it loses pressure could be life-saving in the event of a tyre blow-out.”
As I have stated earlier this means that the fleet car user can now safely drive the vehicle to a tyre centre or garage and have the tyre replaced. This will help to reduce down time caused in the past by the driver calling out the emergency services because they are not able to change the wheel themselves, or the car is stranded in a dangerous place.
For the private drivers who are fitted out with run-flat tyres it would be well worth trying out these new Michelin Zero Pressure, because of the better and less harsh ride, that is associated with the other run-flat makes of tyres.
Pellon Tyre and Auto-centre offer car and van servicing and repairs to all makes of vehicles. We are members of Unipart Car Care centres and give a nationwide guarantee for all our work and parts. We also sell Michelin Zero Pressure Online from our website www.pellontyres.co.uk by using the tyre selector and choosing your tyre size. We offer courtesy cars to local motorists who need to go to work and leave their car with us for work doing. We are also an official MOT testing station and are members of Motor-codes, who carry out checks on our staffs workmanship.