Month: January 2014

Preparing for winter: Part 2: Anti Freeze / Coolant

Your car has a cooling system, it will be filled with a mixture of antifreeze and water.

Anti Freeze is quite simply water with chemicals added to it to stop it from freezing.
The water needs to flow around the engine, see the below diagram…

Diagram of cooling system on an engine

If the water is frozen in the coolant system, then this can cause problems. You will know this normally by a squeeling noise from your engine. (although not to be confused with a loose fan belt as that can make a similar noise, but the noise will come from the same place as the belt will slip on the pulley if the water pump is frozen)
Coolant is often Red or Blue so if your coolant is clear it’s probably mainly water.

If you over heat a few miles from home then the radiator is probably frozen, you should stop and let the radiator to thaw.

Personally I get the antifreeze changed at each yearly service as well as a coolant system flush, this is a cleaner that is put in with the coolant and then driven a little bit. It cleans in the insides of the pipes to make sure the coolant system is flowing correctly.

Some antifreeze you can change every couple of years or longer, it depends which you’re using.

In winter you should use a 50-50 anti freeze / water mixture.

Check your coolant level when the car is cold and don’t open the coolant reservoir when the engine is hot, it’s under a lot of pressure. You can press on the wing of the car and “bounce” the car to show the level more clear in the tank if it’s not that clear to see.

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New Safe Stop from E2V – Stopping those thieves!

Car crime is always a problem except there is a company, E2V, who have developed a system where radio signals are sent at the car to effectively shut down the engine of a car.

Now I think the owner must have been playing a little bit of NNeed for speed possibly?

But If I had a nice car which had been stolen and I knew my local force had this tech I’d sleep a little safer.

I do wonder if you start the engine back up, will it work or will it have just fried the engine ECU / electronics. I know Wiring looms are pretty impressive bits of kit themselves now.

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Preparing a car for winter – Electricals

Winter can be a challenging time for a lot of motorists, new car or old.
Here are some tips for you to try and help yourself that you might not think of.


Driving those short journeys in rush hour traffic with everything on, like lights, heater, demisters etc can drain the battery and make the battery life shorter. If you can you should turn the things you don’t need off. So for example turn off the demister once the window is clear.

You might want to replace your battery if it’s approaching 5 years old, they sometimes fail at this length of time.

If you’re car is idle for most of the weekend then a trickle charger is a good idea to keep the battery charged up.

If the car doesn’t start, give the ignition about 5 seconds to try and start the car, do this a couple of tries and if no joy then try to wait about half a min.

Before trying to start the car you should turn off all electrical items, radio, lights (including interior light), fans, etc if you can and then try and start the car. The draw of amps from the other electrical systems will take a draw from the battery so if you turn them off then they will not be taking that draw. You can turn them back on when the engine is started however.

Hope this helps some people out there.

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