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Cars & Motorcycles
Car Mechanics

Car Mechanics January 2020

Car Mechanics is the UK's only car magazine with essential advice on maintaining and repairing popular makes and models. It’s an invaluable motoring resource that appeals to both the DIY car enthusiast and the more experienced motor trade professional. Car Mechanics has helped save money for our readers every month since 1958. Each issue includes a wide range of in-depth features written in a clear, straightforward manner: • Readers’ motoring-related problems answered for FREE • Real-life motoring dilemmas from our man in the garage trade • Electronic diagnostics delves inside a different modern vehicle each month to explain its management system • Survival Guide looks at new and used component prices for a particular vehicle • Used Car Focus is an in-depth buying guide on a specific make and model • Service Bay covers a full service with close-up images and comprehensive descriptions • Project cars are a major part of the structure of the magazine as we buy, fix and sell different vehicles over a period of months So if you're into saving money and being a home technician, Car Mechanics will help you out - guaranteed!

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Country:
United Kingdom
Language:
English
Publisher:
Kelsey Publishing Group
Frequency:
Monthly

in this issue

3 min.
brakes... what brakes?

▶ You may recall our buying of three ‘cheapy’ cars during 2019 – all bought from British Car Auctions without first viewing them! Our dearest car was the Rover 75 at £500 (hammer price), the Hyundai Coupé at £425 and finally a Chrysler PT Cruiser at £250. All still work, all with MOTs, although the Hyundai is due to visit very soon. The Rover hasn’t turned a wheel for a while as, when I last lifted the rear-end to tackle the brake shoes, my trolley jack and the jacking point decided to not like each other, and the jack won... A rust hole has developed, and within a few minutes of pulling with my fingers, a bigger hole was soon created. I think I may send this car to CM writer, Rob…

14 min.
brake calipers

Not many CM articles are based on the author making a mistake. Having bought and fitted an inexpensive remanufactured brake caliper online several years ago, I was somewhat shocked to find that it had developed a dangerous leak from its piston, barely six months after being installed. The car was grounded immediately, and the caliper was dismounted and boxed-up, ready to be sent back to the reconditioner for replacement. Unfortunately the exercise was futile, because by then the company had gone bust, meaning that its warranty had also gone up in smoke. To whose standard? Due to the high cost of replacement components from main dealers, a whole industry has grown around overhauling original parts. These vary from small components, such as ECUs, through to steering racks and engines. From a braking…

1 min.
how a brake caliper works

▶ A brake caliper on a car serves the same purpose as that fitted to a modern bicycle. It forces a set of friction pads against a rotating disc, in order to slow it down. While early cars also relied on cables and/or rods, hydraulic operation took over. Fluid flows into the caliper under pressure and forces one (or more) metal piston(s) against the rear face of a friction pad. This moves the pad’s friction lining into contact with the brake disc, slowing it down and producing heat and dust/metal particles as by-products. The friction side of this system was described in greater detail in our September 2019 issue. Park brakes retained cables, connected to a mechanical handbrake lever that uses a ratchet and pawl mechanism. On many more recent models,…

1 min.
top 10 brake caliper fitting tips

Not only can damaging your old caliper by careless removal cost your surcharge, but incorrect fitting can also cause similar harm – wasting your time, potentially voiding your warranty and risking having your brakes not working properly. ▶ Retract the hydraulic brake caliper piston fully. Consult your workshop manual for specific instructions, because many designs require that you use a dedicated tool. ▶ Do not move the handbrake lever (where fitted) and always keep the ignition switched-off. ▶ Locate the brake pads in the caliper, dependent on the design – do not use copper grease, which can introduce problems. ▶ Check the condition of the fixing bolts to either the carrier or the hub, and tighten them to the specified torque value. Remove the bung protecting the port and fit the hydraulic hose. ▶ Check…

1 min.
calipers – what goes wrong?

▶ Being made from iron or steel and subjected to moisture, salt and dust, it is unsurprising that corrosion strikes at not only the external body but also the moving parts. The resultant iron oxide can restrict movement, making them seize and causing the brakes to not release fully, in the early stages. External corrosion can spread behind and lift the protective gaiters, allowing water to permeate the unit, making things worse. As brake fluid absorbs moisture, calipers are also prone to corrosion attack internally. A further weak spot is not only the rubber gaiters but also the hydraulic seals, total failure of which results in potentially dangerous fluid leakage. Shaftec told CM that its sales data indicates that calipers are subjected to more wear during wintertime. Falling temperatures make the…

4 min.
catalytic converter theft

▶ You will no doubt already be aware that catalytic converters, which are an essential part of a car’s pollution-reducing equipment, are constructed using precious metals. In order to reduce the carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide and hydrocarbons emitted by an engine the units use metals including platinum, palladium and rhodium to act as catalysts, and it’s those materials that make them tempting to thieves. According to a recent BBC report, the number of thefts appeared to be dropping between 2015 and 2017, but then recorded a sharp rise the following year. And figures now reveal that, in London alone, there were almost 2900 cases of theft in the first six months of 2019, compared to fewer than 1700 for the whole of 2018. That’s an alarming statistic, and one fuelled by…