By learning a bit about how your car works and how to take good care of it, you can extend its life and prevent costly breakdowns.
Safe cars are less likely to be involved in an accident. Although modern cars now have many safety features built in, there are still many ways that you can ensure that your car is safe.
To help you get better acquainted with your car, we’ve put together some valuable facts on the following areas:
- Timing Belt
- Oxygen(Lambda sensors)
- Tyre Wear
- Battery & Alternator
- The importance of oil
- Tyre Pressure
- Improve your fuel consumption
How Brakes Work
Each wheel has a brake disc attached to it. Each disc has brake pads on either side. When you press your foot on the brake pedal, it forces the brake pads to press either side of the brake disc.
The brake pads are held in place by what is called a brake calliper. The calliper pushes the brake pad against the disc when hydraulic fluid is forced into it. when you press the brake pedal you are forcing this fluid into the calliper and in turn pushing the pads against the disc and hey presto the car stops!
Brake discs last two to three times longer than brake pads but eventually the brake pad wears into the brake disc
What to expect from your brakes
Below is a chart that details the typical service interval of brake parts. don’t be surprised if you need to replace brake pads every 2 years and discs when the car is 4 or 5 years old.
- Brake Part Service Interval
- Front Brake Pads Every 20,000 to 30,000 km
- Rear Brake Pads Every 30,000 to 50,000 km
- Brake Discs Every 70,000 to 120,000 km
- Brake Fluid Change Every second service
- Hand Brake Adjustment Every Service
In addition to this standard service work, we get quite a number of cars who fail the NCT on insufficient or uneven braking at the back wheels. This is due to seized callipers (or drum brakes) or seized brake distribution mechanisms.
The rear brakes last longer because they do not have as much force applied to them, however because they are not used as intensely as the front brakes they can become stiff over time and the brake calliper can require servicing.
If your car has a timing belt, and most do, replacing it as required by your manufacturer is an absolute necessity. Typically this is every 70,000 miles or 110,000 km.
The timing belt is a simple rubber belt which keeps the top of the engine in time with the bottom of the engine. If it snaps the valves at the top of your engine can go crashing into the pistons and result in major engine damage typically costing €1000 to €4,000 to repair.
Although the belt is a simple enough item, getting at it and replacing it correctly typically takes 4+ hours. In addition to replacing the belt, it is best practice to replace the parts that the belt relies on to do it’s job. These typically are:
- Pulleys – the timing belt rotates on a series of pulleys
- Tensioner – these keep tension on the belt to ensure it stays on track
- Water Pump – Why replace it ?
Usually most water pumps have roughly the same lifespan as the timing belt. Given the amount of labour required to prepare the belt for replacement it only makes sense to replace the water pump as well.
At EA Cars we replace timing belts on a regular basis and will be happy to give you a quotation for your car. Replacement of the relevant tensioners, pulleys and water pump is included in the quotation.
Not all cars have a timing belt, some have a timing chain which does not need to be replaced. To find out about your car, contact us and we will tell you.
We use only premium quality parts. Whether it is a brake change, clutch replacement or timing belt replacement, we ensure that your car is receiving the best quality parts available.
Utilising high quality parts not only prevent breakdown but also leads to a more comfortable driving experience.
All our part come with a 1 year guarantee. If any part we have installed in your car breaks or malfunctions we will replace it free of charge.
At EA Cars we recognise that you simply want to get your car fixed. You don’t want to hear all the reasons as to how difficult it is or why you need to go to a different specialist for paint work, or auto electronics. That is why we provide a full service provision where we will chase down your list of problems until they are all sorted.
At EA Cars we have the equipment to trace a variety of electrical problems in your car. To help you understand a little more about your car we have listed some typical problems:
In the cold weather faulty oxygen sensors result in the engine warning light coming on. There is a good reason for this, the oxygen sensor detects the level of oxygen in your exhaust fumes and tells your engine whether it should inject more or less petrol into the system. Ignoring this warning light can result in a poor performing engine and may damage your catalytic converter. Only manufacturer supplied oxygen sensors should be used and they typically cost €120-€160 euros plus fitting to replace.
Lighting systems can give trouble when they have the wrong bulb inserted or become worn. Because lights generate a lot of heat, your lighting is susceptible to heat fatigue to the plastic housings. It is important not to ignore this type of problem as it can result in serious malfunction.
ABS(Anti lock braking) System:
ABS systems generally don’t give much difficulty. The main problem is with wheel speed sensors. These sensors detect the speed at which each wheel rotates and can malfunction due to wear and tear. If you have an ABS warning light on, drop into us and we will quickly diagnose the problem.
Battery & Alternator:
A flat battery can be the result of an old exhausted battery or a faulty alternator. Both are easy to diagnose and can be replaced on the same day. Old batteries tend to finally fail in cold conditions. If you feel your car is slow to start, we advise you replace the battery early and avoid being stranded with a car that won’t start.
The importance of oil
Oil keeps everything lubricated, cool and clean — which is why it gets dirty. When you start your car, oil begins lubricating your engine. Numerous additives within the oil help it cool and reduce friction between internal moving parts. Oil also cleans away dirt and contaminants, preventing premature engine wear. For example, for every gallon of fuel that is consumed, about one gallon of water is generated. Most of this water turns to steam and exits through the exhaust (which you may notice on cold mornings when that water actually drips from the tailpipe). But some of this moisture does get into the dead air space of your engine. There, it mixes with other chemicals and forms sulphuric and nitric acid. Dirt and residual fuel will also find their way into this dead air space. The oil must continually keep this area clean so it sweeps away the dirt and absorbs the acids and fuel. As a result of all the dirt and contaminants it picks up, oil needs to be changed regularly. Also, when oil becomes too old and dirty, you’re no longer getting the full benefit of the additives it contains. The oil becomes less effective at cooling and lubricating your engine. What’s worse, the increased friction and chemical build-up in used oil can deteriorate your engine’s moving parts. Oil Grades-You see those cryptic combinations of letters and numbers on oil containers everywhere. So what do they mean? To indicate viscosity, the SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) developed a standard scale. To decipher them, you have to understand viscosity. Viscosity measures the oils ability to flow. In other words, if you tip an oil bottle over, how fast it spills out indicates its viscosity. The more viscous it is, the slower it moves.
(“W” stands for winter) • 0W is thinnest • 5W• 10W• 15W• 20W• 25W• 20• 30• 40• 50• 60 is thickest.
This means the viscosity is at 10W when the engine is cold and 30 when the engine is hot. Low viscosities are good for cold temperatures (hence the “W” association!) because the oil is thinner. Thinner oil flows more easily and moves quickly. When you start a cold engine up again, oil needs to travel to the top of the engine, where it trickles back down. Since oil is vital to lubricating your engine, it needs to move quickly and low viscosity helps it do just that. But when your engine heats up, higher viscosities mean the oil won’t thin out too much and will keep parts separated by a film of oil. So your oil is always maintaining a delicate balance: it needs to flow well when the engine is cold but also retain enough body at higher temperatures to keep metal parts lubricated and separated. To find out what oil grade is right for your car, check your owner’s manual.
Explained-You see the word every time you visit the fuel station but what does it mean? Octane ratings are a measure of the fuel’s ability to resist engine knock. Engine knock is caused by fuel being ignited by something other than the spark plug. If you are using an octane grade that is too low for your car, something other than the spark plug can ignite the fuel in the engine. The engine could even get hot enough where the fuel explodes by itself. What octane does your car need? Check your owner’s manual. Don’t upgrade to more expensive octane ratings unless your manufacturer recommends it. On-board Computers Most cars today use an on-board computer to monitor and manage several of your car’s operating systems. These on-board computers have more memory capacity than the first space craft that went to the moon. If this computer detects irregularities in your car’s operating systems, it will often turn on a dashboard warning light. Using a specialised scanner, a technician can read a trouble code off the computer that details what went wrong. After 1996, most trouble codes were standardised across manufacturers. So now all cars use five character codes to report problems. The computer can even remember intermittent problems that have returned to normal. Dashboard warning lights come on if something substantial has occurred. Less serious problems are still detected and stored for analysis by a technician. Early detection of these problems can reduce repair costs and prevent breakdowns.
Under- or over-inflation of tyres can cause:
- Uneven tread wear
- Weaken your tyres
- Reduce traction
- Impact fuel consumption
- Increase wear
Eventually, you could have an inconvenient flat tyre or even a dangerous blowout. Over-inflation means the weight of your car is not distributed evenly across the entire tread but is instead concentrated on a thin strip in the centre. Under-inflation means the tyre is soft and the outside edges work harder than the softer centre. The extra rolling resistance makes your car work harder to move and increases fuel consumption.
Be sure to check your tyre pressures regularly, and maintain the recommended pressure listed in your owner’s manual. Also, you can usually find this recommended pressure on a sticker posted on the door pillar or in the glovebox.
Each of your tyres will wear differently due to its position and the type of car you own.
So tyres wear evenly, remember to balance and rotate your tyres according to manufacturer’s recommendations. Check tread wear, using a depth gauge or seek professional advice.
Improve your fuel consumption
Fuel System Your engine runs on a delicate balance of fuel and air. Dirt, sand and other impurities can clog your fuel filter and starve your fuel injectors. Starved or clogged fuel injectors can impede engine performance and reduce fuel efficiency. Warning signs of a clogged fuel injector or fuel filter include:
- Stalling while driving.
- Misfiring or hesitation during acceleration.
- Difficulty starting or long cranking periods.
If you find your temperature gauge creeping into the red, turn on your heater. Sound crazy? It can work. Your heater pulls heat from the liquid that cools your engine. If you turn on the heater and set the fan to full, your heater will pull more heat from this liquid, helping it to cool the engine. Also, be sure to turn off the A/C at the first signs of overheating. Doing so will take a load off your engine. The best thing you can do, however, when your engine overheats is to pull over as safely and quickly as possible and wait for your car to cool down. Never attempt to remove the radiator cap until the engine has cooled, the coolant is boiling, and under pressure.
What We Do
- Hydrogen engine Cleaning
- Improved performance
- Increased power
- Lower emissions
- Better fuel efficiency
We are located just off the N7 in Western Industrial Estate, Dublin 12.
Mobile: +353 86 454 5555