Since doing my car care tips on Rock FM Buzz show people have ask me to recap on ones they have missed so here are some of the best plus some new ones thrown in.
Lazy seat belts.
Are your seat belts slow to retract or don’t retract at all? There’s nothing more annoying than a lazy seat belt getting in the way sometimes getting jammed in the door, it can also be dangerous. Don’t worry this tip works 99% of the time. Go to nearest petrol station and buy a can of dash board shine must contain silicon. Pull the seat belt all the way out, spray the belt with spray until wet, and then let it go in and out several times. If still slow repeat process until it whips in like it used to. How it works, the silicon in the spray reduces the friction on the coiled up belt. Simon Says “Best not to do this before you go out in your best clothes”.
Dose the d part of your seat belt disappear down the side of your seat? When working correctly your d buckle should be near your lap. However sometime the retaining grommet can come out or be broken. What you need to do is find a button in the wife’s sowing kit (preferable metal) and sow it where the grommet used to be. Simon Says “Make sure the buckles the right side of the button”.
Are your electric windows slow or juddering? Cyprus is a very dry climate and rubbers dry out. Get out you can of dash silicone spay and spay the rubber window runners. Work windows up and down several times.
Wind noise from windows.
Are your window rubbers kinked or split. Don’t worry you don’t need new rubbers there’s plenty of rubber inside the door. Cut out the damage section and pull the rubber from inside the door, if you make a clean cut and are careful you’ll never know. Simon Says “Go easy when pulling the rubber from inside the door”.
General winter care.
Tyre pressures, now it colder it’s important to check your tyre pressures again they will all be a bit low. If you don’t have a hand book don’t worry most cars have tyre pressures written inside the drivers door, if they are not there put 2 bar (28psi) all round.
Your battery is at most risk when its very hot or cold. If you have wet type battery remove caps and top up with distilled water. It is important that your battery is charging correctly so remove terminals and clean up with wire brush, when refitting terminals tap down with a socket to get best possible fit. Once tightened up put some Vaseline or grease on them to prevent corrosion. If you want best possible life from you battery you should reduce the load on it before you start car, i.e. turn off everything possible like fan radio rear demister. Your battery is working hardest in the winter as engine is cold. It’s also beneficial to let car tick over for couple of mins before turning off to charge up battery. Anti freeze. Sound daft in Cyprus but it also cleans engine and prevents rust. If you live in the mountains its essential as it will drop below 0c.
Your aircon needs to be used in order to keep it working. When we put gas in air con we put 20ml of light oil, this keeps the seals soft and intact, if not used the seals will dry up and you will lose your gas.If your aircon fells weak you might need a new cabin filter, that stops dust from entring your car.
In Cyprus all cars are due an MOT every 2 years, the only exception to this is a car registered new from the dealer these are due after 4 years and then every 2 after that. The test is to make sure you car is road worthy and safe, also you can’t tax your car without current MOT. The cost is 34 euros.
The test in Cyprus has been quite simple up until recently when slowly new regulations have come in. Bull bars or any accessory that is longer than the bumper must now be removed. Tinted windows are also one of the latest focuses. This also includes faders on the windscreen. If you car has factory tint they wont fail it but the stick on stuff must be peeled off. Before people start quoting European law , I would like to say that I deal in cars and fact and in my experience what they say goes. Reading this you will realise there is some sense in it all as the next victim is the fat boy exhaust system. The station have all just bought decibel meters, your car must be less than 100decibel at high revs to pass. Well that’s the boy races sorted out however there’s nothing to stop them from changing the exhaust before the test then putting it back, if they can be bothered then they are sadder than I thought. Rather like the UK all the cars systems should be working correctly, The main fail is the ABS , for those who don’t know this is the anti lock breaks . The light must come on with the ignition and then go out in a few seconds. If it stays on this is a fail. Coming soon if a full diagnostic computer test for your car, where the station will read the fault codes from your cars ECU (electronic control unit) or its brain as I call it. This will of course take longer than the current test and the stations are currently trying to get the price of an MOT raised . How can you help you car to pass?
They are looking for a matched pair on each axel, so have a look at the makes of tyres and maybe swap them about a bit so they match.
If you are looking at you car from behind you should only be able to see 2/3 of the wheel, if you can see more then you need mud flaps.
This is the most popular fail. There are a few things you can do to avoid this. Try to tie in you service so that you have it done before your MOT is due this is guaranteed to reduce your emissions. I have a couple of tips of my own that will help. Go to the EKO petrol station the week before you car is due and buy 100 octane unleaded fuel it cost more but will burn cleaner and will lower emissions. Also the hotter you car is when you take it the better the catalytic converter will work so give it a good thrash on your way to the station.
Sounds daft but if you car fails you will have to pay 10 euros retest. So get a friend to help you check them. In my experience most cars that come for service at the workshop have more than one bulb gone.
You car will be checked on a rolling road so make sure your pressures are right if anything you want them on the lower unloaded pressure if you have them too hard you could fail when they test the shockers.
Part of the test is now a photo to be kept on file and they open front door and put windows half way down to show front window are free from tint, the backs can be as dark as you like.
Over sized wheels ,
Due to the photo all cars with outsized wheels will fail. They must not protrude from the arches , however plastic wheel arches can be fitted. However if this all sounds like hard work to you I offer a pre MOT and MOT service. In my experience I get most though first time just for a bit of attention to detail.
The last thing anyone wants is to have a blow out, so thus tyre care is very important. What you never think about is that your car is only touching the road with four small areas, the size of a size ten shoe, so we have to do our best to get the most out of these size tens.
As a rule of thumb you front tyre will wear quicker than the rears, Rotating or swapping your tyre front to rear will help you to have even wear, however doing this you are more likely to have to buy 4 tyres at once. I recommend that when you need new tyres put them on the front and put the partly worn ones on the rear. This will give your car a more positive feel on the road. Also a puncher on the rear at speed is easier to control.
So what can a novice do?
Check your tyres, A regular inspection of your tyre is very important and can save a blow out happening, Check the tread for cracks and nails also check the wall or side of tyre for cuts or bulges. If there is any damage, change tyre immediately. Once you are happy there is no damage you need to have a look at the tread. All tyres have a tread mark on them; this is a small raised block in the crack of the tyre, if they are level with the higher part tread this tells you when a tyre is worn out. If you can see the threads then you have defiantly had your moneys worth and should change yesterday.
How to read your Tyres
I’m not talking about fortunes or the letters round the walls, Your tyres will tell you if they are not happy. What you have to look for is uneven wear. If your tyre is worn on the outside shoulders and not the inside, this is a sign that you tyre pressures are low. This can cause your tyre to heat up and risk a blow out. The next is the opposite, if your tyre pressures are to high you tyre will wear in the middle, this will cause reduced grip due to smaller contact area and also can cause shock damage to tyre. If you tyres are worn one side and not the other, this means your tracking is out. This needs to be done to avoid destroying a tyre. This may also be due to damage suspension or steering parts so have it checked out.
On The road
When driving your car you can tell a lot also. The two main signs are pulling and vibration. If your car pulls to one side when you relax your grip on the wheel , a slight pull to the left is natural due to camber of the road for drainage. However pulling a lot ether way means that your tracking is out. If you have any vibration, you will feel this more at higher speed i.e. on the motor way, This means you wheels are ether out of balance or buckled. Both are bad news and not just annoying but dangerous. The unbalanced wheel will damage your suspension by rattling it to bits. An out of shape tyre will drone like a wheel bearing.
What is the right tyre Pressures?
Most cars are 2bar or 28psi , if your not sure look inside the drivers door on the pillar. If you have a full load you should raise the pressures to 2.3 bar or 35psi but do check what’s right for your car. Another tip is you should do you pressures often as they will vary between summer and winter as air temperature is different.
If your not sure about your tyres drop down and we will check them for you.