The UK Government has suggested that it may reduce the drink-driving limit in England and Wales, making it illegal to drive after only 1 glass of wine or 1 pint of beer.
Andrew Jones, the transport Minister has mentioned that England and Wales could follow the example of Scotland which lowered its drink-driving limit to 50mpg per 100ml in 2014. The previous limit was 80mpg per 100ml.
Scottish Police have advised that the numbers of drink-driving offences fell by 12.5% in the first 9 months since the law was changed. Andrew Jones advised that he would be meeting with representatives of his Scottish counter-parts to discuss it.
The current limit of 80mpg is one of the highest in Europe and in 2014 drink-driving led to 1080 serious injuries and 240 fatalities in England and Wales.
Although the new limits suggest that it would only take around 1 pint for you to be over the limit, in reality this would be impossible to determine because each persons metabolises alcohol at a differing rate.
With the limit lowered, motorists will also have to worry about their limits the morning after. Research by the AA has shown that almost 20% of motorists have driven the morning after believing that they may be over the limit.
KwikFit have launched a pretty handy tool that tells you what the tyre pressure should be for your front and rear tyres. All you simply have to do is enter your vehicle registration number in the link below:
For those confused about Tyre pressure terminology, here’s some useful definitions:
Pressure (PSI): is the Pound per square inch, or more accurately known as pound-force per square inch, is the pressure which results from a force of one-pound force applied to an area of one square inch.
Pressure (BAR): The BAR is simply the metric unit of pressure and isnt part of the international system of units (SI)
Halfords have a launched a useful free tool which tells you the recommended oils to use for your vehicle. The tool is completely free of charge and gives you the information you need simply by entering your vehicle registration number.
Pretty useful tool for those of us who like to do our own maintenance or just want to ensure the engine oil levels are correctly topped up.
As engine replacement and rebuilding specialists we often get customers calling in who are unsure if they need a replacement engine on their vehicle or not. Most people go through life without ever having to worry about replacing an engine, but those unlucky ones that do, have little to no knowledge of what to look out for. So we’ve put together a list of 3 of the major signs of engine failure to give motorists a better understanding of whats going on under their bonnet.
1) Smoking: Smoke coming from your exhaust is probably one of the most well known signs that your engine is having problems. They come in 3 distinct colours and each of them gives us a good indication of whats going on in your engine.
– White Smoke: If you’re getting a lot of white smoke coming from your exhaust then theres a good chance that you’ve either blown a headgasket or have some damage to your cylinder head. The white smoke you are seeing is actually a result of the coolant and water entering the combustion chamber.
– Black Smoke: Black smoke is normally a sign that too much fuel is getting into the engine. Most common causes of black smoke are faulty injectors, a faulty injector pump, a faulty egr valve or a faulty air filter or even turbocharger failure. If the problem isnt addressed, it can eventually lead to engine failure. The good thing about black smoke is that its an early warning sign which if you address quickly, can save you on a costly engine replacement bill.
– Blue Smoke: Theres only one thing that can burn blue, and thats engine oil. Several things can cause this to happen but the basic reason is the same – engine oil is getting into areas where it can be burnt. Now this can be happening at the top of the engine in your cylinder head where oil is leaking past valve guide seals. If so, your cylinder head will need to be removed and rebuilt. Or, this can be happening inside your cylinder block due to worn piston rings. Piston rings go round the piston, and as the piston goes up and down in the cylinder, they form a sealing surface that allows just enough oil to keep the cylinder walls lubricated. If these rings are worn, too much oil gets past the sealing surfaces and mixes with the fuel then burning off producing the blue smoke. If the problem is with the piston rings, your engine will need a more extensive rebuild.
2) Loud Noises: If your engine started producing a loud knocking noise like someone is banging at something with a hammer, then there is a good chance that you have a problem with one of the bearings either on the crankshaft or connection rod which connects to the piston. Although ultimately this means you will need an engine rebuild, the worst thing you can do here is to continue to drive it. Identifying and addressing the issue early will mean you can have your engine rebuilt at a reasonable price because no irreparable damage has been done to your cylinder block, head or crankshaft. But if its continued to be drive in this state, you could end up with a great big hole in your engine leading to a massive repair bill.
Not all knocking noises are a sign of bottom end failure in your engine. It could be a sign of something in the top end like a worn camshaft, leaking or sticking hydraulic cam lifters. If thats the case, these can be resolved without stripping down your entire engine.
3) Running Rough and Loss in Power: Loss in power over long periods of time and covering thousands and thousands of miles is to be expected. But if your engine experiences a sudden loss in power then theres a good chance that a component has failed in your engine and needs to be addressed.
In conclusion, non of us want to ever experience engine troubles, but if you do experience any of the above symptoms then we always recommend that you address it quickly, as in most cases you will save yourself on you hefty repair bill.
If you are experiencing problems with your engine and need a repair cost estimate or just general advice, then please feel free to get in touch with our team on 0208 133 6004
First of all there are several main causes of Turbocharger failure:
In order for your turbocharger to work effectively it needs a regular flow of good clean oil to keep your turbocharger in the best condition possible. Always be sure to change your oil and oil filter frequently to keep your turbocharger in good health. By doing so you help to prevent the build up of carbon deposits and other sorts of contaminants that can cause damage. Fully synthetic oil actually produces the least amount of carbon.
Sometimes you can get foreign objects like broken components from the engine, small stones, dust particles etc which can enter the turbocharger from either the compressor inlet or the turbine inlet.
These can cause damage to the compressor wheels and also the turbine blades which will start to reduce the efficiency of the turbocharger and eventually cause it to fail. To prevent this from happening always be sure to service your air filter regularly and that you check your turbocharger for any deposits or particles that may be in there.
In addition to the causes mentioned above, over-speeding can also cause turbocharger failure, wear and tear, excessive exhaust gas temps, issues with the actuator etc.
So what are the warning signs of Turbocharger failure?
Engine warning lights:
Most vehicles these days have computer diagnostics which will pick up the turbo fault and will activate the engine management light. The engine management light can come on for any number of reasons so will you need to investigate further to find out what is going on.
If you notice that your vehicle isnt reaching the speeds it normally does or isnt accelerating the way it should then this could be a sign of your turbocharger wearing out.
If there is a crack in the turbo housing or the internal seals have broken, then you will start to get oil leaking into the exhaust system. As this oil starts to burn, it will produce grey / blue smoke which will be more obvious as the engine revs increase.
Loud whining noise:
It can be quite common for a turbocharger that is failing to begin making a loud whining noise. If you start to hear this sort of noise coming from your engine bay then its a good shout to get it checked out.
Checking your turbo:
So you’ve noticed that some of the above symptoms are happening to you, so what do I do? Well, if your technically minded and dont mind getting your hands dirty then you can check for a range of faults by yourself by inspecting the turbocharger.
Before you get started, be sure to check the air filter, exhaust system, breather system and fuel system to make sure they are all working properly without any problems as these can cause similar symptoms to that of turbocharger failure.
So essentially what you’re looking for are signs of oil inside the turbo, excessive movement or contact between the compressor wheel and the housing. The compressor wheel should be clean, without any chips, or dents. You need to check to see that the wheel is able to rotate freely without too much movement and without making contact to the housing.
From the turbine side, it should be clean without carbon build up or oil along the surface and the blades should not have any cracks or damage. Again there should not be excessive movement or contact with the housing.
Here are a number of examples of turbochargers which failed on our customers vehicles. We always make a practice to send our clients either videos or photos of components which have failed so that they can have a better understanding themselves of what exactly is going on.
This first video shows a turbocharger which was faulty due to excessive movement in the wheel. As you can see it was far too loose:
In this second example, although the turbocharger wasnt showing too much sign movement, you can see that it wasnt moving freely and this was due to the wheel making contact with the housing.
In this final example it is the turbocharger actuator arm that is extremely stiff and making a loud noise when attempted to move by hand.
With every one of the above examples, we sent the video to our clients so that they can visibly understand the problem.
If you feel you are experiencing turbocharger failure or just need some general advice, please feel free to get in touch with one our members of staff on 0208 133 6004
A client recently called us about his Audi A4 2.0 TDI and reported that it had suffered engine failure. Before he even mentioned how it failed my response was “let me guess…..oil pump failure”. To which he responded “what?! how did you know?”.
Please dont misunderstand the above and believe that I am some sort of engine expert extraordinaire who can sense every engine that fails around the world (I wish 🙂 ). Unfortunately the case here is that oil pump failures are probably the number one cause of engine failures on the Audi, VW, Skoda and Seat 2.0 TDi models.
So lets understand a bit more about the issue. Although its the oil pump that fails, the problem actually appears to be with the balancer shaft which causes the issue. What happens is that the drive from the slave balancer shaft that connects to the oil pump is a 6 AF hex bar and this has inadequate engagement depth with the grooves in the slave shaft. As a result its the torsional oscillations from the balance shafts which destroy the oil pump coupling.
Technical jargon aside, if you have an Audi, VW, Skoda, Seat which is a 2.0 TDi up to around 2007 then its susceptible to this problem as after that they were built without the balance shaft.
The oil pump typically fail between 60,000 – 100,000 miles and once it happens its pretty much curtains on the engine unfortunately. So if you’re reading this and you happen to be one of the unlucky people who owns one of these vehicles, and havnt yet suffered from this failure then heres what you can do:
– First point of call is to always contact a main Audi, VW, Skoda or Seat dealer (depending on what vehicle you own). From the feedback we’ve seen it appears main dealers will not likely take any responsibility but there is no harm in trying to see if they can address this issue for your free of charge because its clearly a common defect.
– Pay a specialist engine rebuilding workshop around £1500 to get the balancing system changed to the new upgraded one.
– Sell your vehicle and purchase something a little more reliable
If you would like a quote for an engine rebuild or just need some general advice please do not hesitate to get in touch with us on 0208 133 6004
The DVSA has launched a new site that allows your practice their official theory test online. Most importantly its completely for free and can take a different test depending on whether you’re learning to drive a:
Lorry (large goods vehicle)
Bus or coach (passenger carrying vehicle)
Each test is 50 questions and you can take part in it by following the link below:
Faurecia, the sixth largest international automotive parts manufacturer in the world, has come up with a technology advanced car seat, designed to keep drivers relaxed on the road.
The seat named Active Wellness consists of a biometric sensing system that keeps track of a driver’s physical and mental status. It is designed to tell if the driver’s energy level has dropped or if the driver is stressed, according to Reuters. After assessing the condition, the system sends a message. It is done with the help of certain patterns of air-flow through the seat’s ventilation system.
The product senses the driver’s heart rhythm and breathing patterns in order to generate data, measuring their mental and physical state. Then, a message appears on the screen to provide treatment, if the drivers receive the recommendation they will receive a massage. Along with this, they will get warm and cool sensations that relax their mind.
The company started working on this product five years ago with the motive to help people feel better after being on the road. According to the company, it is the world’s first health-monitoring car seat. It focuses on each individual in real-time state instead of just the “average” person.
The development of the seat includes cooperation with the Spine Research Institute at Ohio State University, engineers from the NASA and Hoana Medical from the U.S.
“The Active Wellness seat is Faurecia’s vision on the next level of personalized comfort,” said Olaf Biedermann, director of innovation at Faurecia, who discussed about the product at this year’s Frankfurt Auto Show, where the seat was on display.
“I think the uniqueness in this context is that we use the sensor information and have developed- together with a partner algorithms to analyze heart rate, respiration, stress and energy information of this information.”
Nowadays, digital prototyping or computer stimulation has created a buzz in the automotive industry worldwide. Every automaker from big tycoons to beginners is utilizing this technology and integrating it into their car-testing procedures to get better results. Computer simulation for crash testing, aerodynamics and fuel economy is cutting off the time it takes to develop a new vehicle, which helps automaker save millions.
According to research by analysts IHS Automotive – digital prototyping has significantly helped reduce the development time of a new model from 36 months to 24 months compared with the 1990s. “The obvious benefits are lower costs, time savings and freshness of the product portfolio,” IHS senior manager Matteo Fini said.
“Crash simulation is done over a maximum of two days nowadays, and that has taken the time out of the development cycle,” Epple told Automotive News Europe. With each prototype costing about 500,000 pounds (about 685,000 euros), that reduction has saved a lot of money. The JLR executive added that it also has improved crash performance: “Now you can hit a wall at 50 mph and leave the car without being injured.”
What is Digital Prototyping?
Digital prototyping is an extension of creating product designs in 3D. This advanced technology lets professionals from engineering and manufacturing sectors to virtually explore the complete product before it is built. It enables engineers to design, optimize, validate and visualize a product digitally throughout its development process, which helps them to determine whether or not the product will fail or how it will work under given circumstances.