What is a DPF?

A Diesel Particulate Filter or DPF is a device designed to remove diesel particulate matter or soot from the exhaust gases of a diesel engine. The DPF is designed to burn off the accumulated soot by active means such as a fuel burner which heats the filter to combustion temperatures. This is accomplished by the engine programming to run when the filter is full, in a manner that raises exhaust temperature. This is known as ‘filter regeneration’. For a filter regeneration to be carried out successfully the vehicle must have a minimum of ¼ of a tank of fuel at all times as the process will take place without warning and uses fuel to aid in the regeneration. The regeneration process occurs at road speeds higher than can generally be reached by driving around town, vehicles driven exclusively at low speeds in urban traffic can require the odd trip at higher speeds (motorway speeds) to clean out the DPF. If the driver ignores the DPF warning light and waits too long to operate the vehicle above 40 mph, the DPF may not regenerate properly, you will notice a reduced performance with your vehicle and continued use of the vehicle past that point may result in the DPF needing a clean out treatment or replacement. It is important to understand why the DPF has blocked or failed possible reasons for DPF failure are: poor fuel quality, poorly operating or blocked injectors, faulty EGR valve (Exhaust Gas Recirculation), incorrect engine oil, service intervals exceeded and split or damaged hoses. The vehicle will need to be filled to maximum with fuel to and an oil filter and oil change will need to be carried out. Multiple additives will be used for the cleaning process to make sure all of the built up soot is removed. A DPF clean out can take up to 4 hours and the process is quite complex but once complete your vehicle performance will be back to normal! Here at AE Services we can clean out the DPF so that you do not need to have a new DPF as these filters are very expensive.


Top Ten Vital Car Checks

Other than having your car maintained regularly at a garage, here are our top ten checks that you can do yourself.

Lights: Check all lights weekly including indicators fog and brake lights. During bad weather clean off any dirt with a damp cloth.

Steering: If you have power steering check the fluid reservoir once a month, if a top up is needed then make sure you check your hand book for the correct hydraulic fluid needed.

Screen Wash: Check the  screen wash at least once a week and if needed top up with an additive as well as water to help with cleaning and also to prevent the water from freezing during the colder months.

Wipers: Wiper blades will wear down over time so will need replacing about once a year.

Engine Oil: Check the engine oil level via the dipstick at least once every two weeks before long journeys and top up if necessary with the recommended engine oil for your car. It is recommended to follow manufacturers servicing schedule.

Tyres: It’s a good idea to know the correct tyre pressure for you tyres, over or under inflation can cause uneven wear and could result in replacement tyres being needed sooner. Check them every couple of weeks also check the condition of your tyres– don’t forget to check the spare as well.

Water: Check the level of the coolant regularly and top up if needed but only when the engine is cold. Antifreeze is used to help prevent the build-up of corrosion in the cooling system and helps to prevent the coolant freezing during the winter months.

Windscreen: Stone damage on the windscreen can impair road vision and can lead to a more serious crack which will mean windscreen replacement.

Bodywork: If dealt with quickly damaged bodywork can be repaired before rust sets in and this can spread quickly becoming expensive to repair.

Tool kit: Check you have a basic tool kit in your car this will contain a jack, wheel removal tools and locking wheel nut key if needed. Familiarise yourself with the jacking points on your car.

No Job Too Big or Too Small for AE Services Sutton!

We’ve all heard the expression ‘No job too big or too small’ but here at AE Services in Sutton it couldn’t be truer! Looking after your vehicle is essential if you want to keep it running for as long as is repairable possible. AE Services engineers undertake various jobs on a daily basis ranging from a simple light bulb change to a full engine exchange, gearbox reconditioning and cylinder head damage. Our engineers are trained, qualified and work to a very high professional standard. AE Services have all the up-to-date diagnostic equipment you could need when it comes to finding and fixing any problem you have with your vehicle. No matter what problem is you are experiencing with your vehicle our engineers will diagnose the problem and carry out the repairs to get you back on the road safely and efficiently. AE Services takes pride in their work and every job any engineer is assigned to is treated with the utter most care, as we all know our cars are our pride and joys.  So if you are having any problems with your vehicle no matter what it is, call AE Services now to make an appointment. You can be confident knowing your vehicle is in safe hands here at AE Services in Sutton.

That Mystery Noise Has Come Back Again!

It’s hard trying to find a reliable and trustworthy garage so when you do it pays to stick with it. Some people even become reliant on them, phoning up or visiting for every little issue. Here at AE Services in Sutton we have a great working relationship with all of our customers which have resulted in many recommendations. Our customers all receive a warm welcome and are relaxed and comfortable when coming here as we have struck up a good working relationship with them. Our customers know that they can call us or pass by at any time if they have a problem and need advice on the road worthiness of their vehicle but what if it is just an irritating vibration or squeak that’s driving you mad? All engineers hate these occasions and with good cause. Whilst they may well know all of the usual sounds that a car can make it is shockingly hard to diagnose the sound of a child’s welly or toy trapped in the corner of the boot well and that your vehicle will make the noise at the right time. Certainly, it will make it all the way to the garage but it will stop as you drive into the workshop. It will stubbornly refuse to show any sign of a problem until you get home. Then it all begins again. What is needed is a bit of time and perseverance. Spend time with your noise; grow to appreciate it. Crawl around the vehicle and try to isolate it. Does one action cause it and another doesn’t? Are you doing a particular function each time? More often than not the cause will come to light with just patience. After all, nobody wants to pay out a large sum to have an Action Man body part removed from behind the rear seat! Unfortunately it isn’t always as simple as a child’s toy rattling around in the boot and the annoying noise can be something more serious. Again some noises are not obvious on a visual inspection and it may be the beginning of something which will take time to wear to the point of being noticeable to an engineer. If that is the case it might mean driving around with a really annoying noise until it reaches the point of replacement. Here at AE Services in Sutton we will advise you as best we can on when to replace a worn part and will try to get you the maximum usage while still being safe on the road. Go to www.autoexpressservices.co.uk for more information.

The MOT (Ministry Of Transport) Test

You must keep any vehicles driven on the road in a roadworthy condition. The MOT test checks that your vehicle meets road safety and environmental standards. It isn’t the same as having your vehicle serviced and doesn’t check its general mechanical condition. You must get an MOT test every year once your vehicle is 3 years old. You can renew your MOT up to a month before it expires which is always advisable because this gives you plenty of time to get your vehicle ready for the MOT test. Here at AE Servicesin Sutton we recommend theservice and MOT deal as this will give your vehicle a full inspection so if any repair work needs to be carried out it can be done at the same time instead of having to re book the car back on another day. The earliest date you can get your vehicle tested is printed on the pass certificate. You need to use an approved MOT test centre to get your MOT. Only centres showing the blue sign with 3 white triangles can carry out your MOT. Approved centres must show an official ‘MOT Test Fees and Appeals’ poster on a public notice board on their premises. This must list contact details for your local VOSA area office. When a car is registered, taxed, insured and MOT’d the details are automatically updated on the DVLA computer system, if the MOT has expired you cannot drive your vehicle on the road, the details are then passed on to the ANRP of police cars and if stopped you will be issued with a fine and possibly penalty points on your licence, this includes 3 points for defective brakes, 3 points for defective tyres and 3 points for defective steering. You could be prosecuted if caught, the only exception is if you’ve already booked an MOT and are driving your vehicle to the test centre. Make sure you have the details of the garage with you just in case you get stopped by the police, as they may want to ring the garage to confirm the appointment. So if your MOT is due then call us here at AE Services in Sutton to book an appointment now!

How to Check Out a Used Car Before Buying It. Part 4.

It is a good idea to bring along a trusted friend with a good background of automotive know-how to check things that you are not sure of. If you do not have a trusted friend in the auto industry you can pay a mechanic to complete an inspection on it. Make sure this mechanic has good reviews so you will not get scammed. A used car is a negotiable item. Do not feel the need to pay the price they are asking. The dealer bought this car at a low price, and is turning around and selling it for much more than they purchased it with the notion that they might have to lower that sticker price. Depending on the quality of the vehicle, feel free to offer a price. Be sure that it is a reasonable offer. Try to buy a car that is less than they tell you. Most people try to buy more car than they can really afford. Remember, no matter how good that car is today, it is going to require maintenance in the future. If purchasing from a private sale it can be beneficial to the price negotiation to bring a pen, paper and cell phone with you. As you make your inspection of the car be sure to record all items which are damaged or will require replacement. If needed also remind the buyer that you will be taking the vehicle to your own personal mechanic so they do not think the list is for theirs. After you have collected a list of what you believe the car will require you can telephone auto parts stores to check the price and availability of replacement parts. Once you know how much the car will cost to repair if you buy it you can make an informed decision on what you would like to pay as well as increase the likelihood that the seller may reduce their asking price. Hopefully you have gained some worthwhile knowledge on what to look for when purchasing a second hand vehicle.

How to Check Out a Used Car Before Buying It. Part 3.

Remove the oil filler cap. A foam residue on the inside indicates a leaking head gasket. Forget that car. Look at the condition of the coolant in the overflow container; filthy brown coolant means it’s never been flushed and often means a leaky head gasket. Pull the transmission dipstick; the fluid should be pink or red. An old car may be dark but it should not look or smell burnt. It should also be full (check with the engine running).The timing belt is the most important belt in the engine, and is also the most costly to replace. If the car is equipped with a steel timing chain, you don’t have to worry about this. The lifespan of a timing belt/cam belt varies from manufacturer to manufacturer so make sure you ask if this has been replaced if so ask. The tyres should be worn evenly and they should match. Look at the surface of the tyre for feathering (bad alignment). Bad alignment can be caused by worn steering/suspension components, the pothole down the street or frame damage. Also check the spare tyre and compare the tread to the other tyres if it is a full spare.  Check for small trembling at varied increased mph. Slight tremor during a small speed interval may mean wear at the direction mechanical parts. These may include joints / arms etc. This may go together with uneven wear at the front tyre(s). Check for sounds, tremor or clunking noise when making a 90 degree turn. Do this at low speed. This means again, wear at the front direction level: joints need to be changed. Some cars have computers on board. Pay attention to any warning lights when you start the car or when you turn the key or the start button. Verify the lights and all the regular functions of the car when not moving. This includes: any sensors for parking, back parking camera, radio, CD, music installation, etc… If you are able, try to get under the car when it is safely raised and inspect the exhaust system or any under-body rust. Look for any black spots on the exhaust system because this can indicate leaking. This is also a good time to inspect for frame or underbody damage. Tune in tomorrow for the final part of ‘How to check out a Used Car before Buying It’.


How to Check out a Used Car Before Buying It. Part 2.

Check the odometer of the car for the mileage. This is important because the mileage indicates the car’s age. On the average, a normal driver will drive between 10,000 to 15,000 miles a year; however, this depends on many factors. Remember, cars age by time and mileage. Buying a 10 year old car with very low miles is not necessarily a good thing. Take the car on a road test before making any final decisions. This is perhaps one of the best ways to know the condition of the car. Hence, a buyer should make all effort to do a test drive first before coming to any decisions. Check out the car’s service history which should give you some information regarding the performances, repairs and problems of the car. Ideally, the current owner would have kept a record of the times when the car needed servicing and should be willing to show you this information. Some cars do not have maintenance records because they maintained them at home. This should be fine as long as they can prove they maintained the car properly. There are instances where used cars are sold because of past accidents or negative experiences. Be sure to check the brakes of the car by pressing down hard enough on the brakes to decelerate rapidly, but not enough to slide. Try this going around 30 mph in an area without traffic. You should not feel any vibration from the brake pedal, or hear any squealing or strange noises. Brakes that pulsate indicate the need for having the brake discs replaced and new pads installed. It should not swerve; this can be caused by a bad brake calliper or worn steering components. Inspect the engine for any sort of leaks, or corrosion. On the engine block, look for any dark brown oil stains, this will indicate that there is a leak in a gasket, and could possibly lead to an expensive repair in the future. Check the brake fluid, and reservoir to make sure it’s is not leaking. The belts should look new (i.e. not have cracks or signs of drying). Old belts are more likely to snap. Tune in tomorrow for Part 3 of ‘How to check out a Used Car before Buying It’.

How to Check Out a Used Car Before Buying It. Part 1.

If you are thinking about purchasing a used car, you know how confusing it can be. There are so many things to consider that it can be a daunting experience. This is true if you are considering buying a car for the first time. There are many things to look for when purchasing a used car but one important factor is to give the car a physical check before making your final decision. Here are a few general pointers on how to physically check out a used car before you buy it. Make sure that the car is on level ground before checking it out. This is to ensure that you will be able to clearly check the tyres and to see if there is anything sagging on the car. Carefully check the paint job of the car, taking note of any rust spots, dents or scratches. Look at the sides of the car from end-on for waviness; that indicates paint work. Run your finger along the edges of the joints between panels; roughness indicates residue left from masking tape. Check the boot of the car to make sure it is still in good condition. It should not show any sign of rust, or water entry due to cracks or holes. Wear inside of the boot indicates usage of the car. Check under the bonnet of the car for any indication of dents, damage or rust. These can all be signs that the car was either poorly taken care of or damaged. Each wing, just inside where the bonnet joins, should have a tag with the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) of the car; if it is missing, that wing was replaced. The hoses and belts should not have cracks. The radiator hoses should not be soft. Go inside the car and check the seats and upholstery of the car for any tears, rips, stains, or other type of damage. Check to make sure the air-conditioning of the car is working well by turning it on to see that it works. Tune in tomorrow for Part 2 of ‘How to check out a Used Car before buying it’.

Check Your Coolant Regularly!

The coolant level in your vehicle shouldn’t change unless there’s a leak somewhere. And if there is a leak, it’s much better discovered early and at home, rather than in the outside lane of a motorway when the engine overheats. It’s important to check engine coolant level regularly – weekly if possible – it’s not hard to do. Overheating can cause real damage to your car’s engine. The coolant must contain the correct concentration of anti-freeze as well, not just for winter protection but for all year round protection against corrosion and scale build-up which can reduce the efficiency of the cooling system. The car’s radiator is fitted with an ‘expansion tank’ that allows the coolant to expand under rising pressure and temperature. This is usually clear plastic so you can see the level inside, and marked with maximum and minimum level marks. If you’re topping up the coolant level it’s essential that you identify the expansion tank correctly  so check the vehicle handbook for the location of the coolant filler cap, and follow any vehicle-specific advice given. Only check the coolant level when the engine is cold – it should be between the maximum and minimum level marks. Check regularly and look out for wet or white staining on coolant hoses. Refer to the handbook to make sure you use the correct type of antifreeze and follow the correct procedure. Don’t remove the coolant filler cap unless the engine is cold – the system is pressurised and you risk a face-full of scalding hot water if you release it with the engine hot. If the level drops in a modern car’s sealed cooling system the coolant must be escaping from somewhere – get a garage to investigate as this can be quite a serious problem causing issues with heat distortion in the cylinder head which can lead to an expensive repair bill!! If you have any concerns with lose of coolant then book in with us here at AE Services in Sutton for a complete diagnostic report. The sooner you get the car looked at the better. For more information go to www.autoexpressservices.co.uk