Author Archives: Alex Robinson

Finance or Used

New, Finance or Used?

When you think of buying a car, there are several routes that you can go down and explore. You can either pay cash, part ex or make arrangements for finance. You can even choose the combination of all these three options. Whatever you choose depends on how your finances look. The UK market has become increasingly competitive with prices dropping, car specifications shooting up and the availability of flexible finance options.

Although there are lot of questions involved in the process of purchasing a car, the first and simplest one is probably the most important one: Should you buy a new car or a used one?

Buying a new car is certainly more expensive than buying a used one. Unless you decide to lease, the initial costs involved on a new car will be much bigger. If you chose to go down the finance road, you will be required to make a down payment of at least 10 percent on a new car loan. If you pay less money upfront, your monthly payment will no doubt be higher. But they key considerations that may tip the balance in favour of used cars are certification programs and new-car depreciation.

Buying a New Car or Leasing – What’s better?

Usually, people needed a reason good enough that justified leasing a car as it was seen as dead money. You pay a sum every month to rent the car and in the end you aren’t left with anything concrete to show for it! The car is not yours so you cannot sell it to build money to buy a new car. However, there are other costs involved in car ownership that you do not have to deal with when you lease and when you actually factor this in, you will realise that car leasing is a rather attractive option.

The Benefits of Personal Car Leasing

The Benefits of Personal Car Leasing

Billionaire oil tycoon J. Paul Getty quoted: “If it appreciates, buy it. If it depreciates, lease it.” That said, this quote envelopes the main benefit of car leasing. Unlike a house, a car usually depreciates in value after purchase and starts decreasing in value the moment you drive away in your brand new car. If you take a car loan or car finance agreement to purchase a car, you are simply paying a fixed amount every month for something that is losing its value rather than gaining any instead. In simple terms you will be buying a product which is depreciating not only every time you drive it around but also when it is sitting on your drive.

Leasing is a different proposition for drivers altogether. Rather than being the owner of the vehicle, he driver can pay a monthly amount to use that vehicle over a set period of time, typically for 24 or 36 months and the end of the agreement the car is taken back by the leasing company.

Let’s take a look at the main benefits of leasing a car:

  • Monthly repayments will generally cost less than the repayments on car loans. As is the case with majority of lease agreements, only a small initial deposit will be required that often sums up to three monthly payments.
  • One of biggest attraction of leasing a vehicle is that you will be able to drive away in a car that might otherwise be out of your budget if you were to buy it outright.
  • The car manufacturer warranty will usually cover the period of lease and maintenance costs can also be covered.
  • There are absolutely no up-front costs, capital outlay or car loans.
  • You can drive around in a brand new car every two to four years and benefit from the fuel economy, safety and performance advancements that are found on newer models.

Leased cars will generally be available in top condition and will usually have MOT certification.

The Aspect of Depreciation

The Aspect of Depreciation

Let’s explore the depreciation aspect of a car to better understand the best option when it comes to buying one. Three years after buying a new car, it will have depreciated on average by a whopping 60%. Yes, you read that right!

This basically means that if you try selling your car, you will only be able to make 40% of its original cost. Of course this is an average figure as it will largely vary depending on the mileage the car has done, its overall condition as well as the make and model. There are a few notorious car models that depreciate at an alarming rate so you have to be extremely careful before you end buying one of these brand new. A second-hand car should be a good deal though.

The cost of car depreciation is very real so it is very important to think carefully about how it will affect the actual cost of car ownership. To help you understand this better, take a look at the example below:

The price of Jaguar SE on the road is £30, 245. After 3 years when you sell it off for 40% of it original price or £12, 098.

The above example clearly shows that it costs you a massive £18, 147 to actually own the car for three years.

However, what if you could drive the same Jaguar SE for three years and it would only cost you a £10, 000 and you will not have to bother selling it at the end? If you cross check the prices with personal car lease you will be surprised to see that the total cost for 36 months lease payments was just under £10, 000. If you are leasing it for business purposes, the lease is even cheaper!

These days the car leasing market is unbelievably competitive and the monthly costs are low. In several cases, these are more or less similar to a car loan and you don’t really need to have a large cash deposit.

You can do the same with a Ford Focus. You can buy a basic model for about £21, 000 and after three years the cost of depreciation is £12, 600. Try leasing it for the same time frame and the overall cost sums up to only £6, 500.

Another important thing to keep in mind is if you buy a new car with added finance cost, the overall price will be even more because of the interest built into the loan repayments.

Advantages of Buying a Used Car

Advantages of Buying a Used Car

  • Better Price

Compared to a brand new car, a used car is definitely going to be less expensive. The comparative advantage of the used car price can allow a buyer to step up to a better model. It indeed feels good to ride a car that no one has ever owned before what with the feel and smell of a new car. But, that scent coupled with brand new upholstery without a single flaw in sight requires a hefty wad of cash owing. In spite of the higher rates, in most cases you will still end up with a much smaller total bill when you go for a used vehicle.

  • Variety (You can buy any make or model year)

Do you have your eyes on a 2005 Jeep Wrangler? Maybe the ideal car for you is 1979 Mustang Turbo? If you are looking for a specific, older model, chances are you are not going to find it in a new condition.

If you purchase a used car, as opposed to a brand new one, you have a much wider scope of selection to choose from and you are not limited to models that were released over the past year or two as you would be when purchasing a new one. You virtually have an infinite supply of inventory to choose from.

  • Rate of Insurance

Just like financing, there will be a drastic affect on the rates of insurance keeping in mind the age of the car, but in this case the used vehicle tends to be less expensive. A little bit of research prior to purchase will save you from insurance sticker shock, no matter which vehicle you choose.

  • Choice

It is quite obvious that you can’t build a used car to order, but maybe you want a model, a package or probably a wheel design that is no longer made. This wider selection can add to the length of the search, but precision and satisfaction seldom come easy.

  • Potentially Evade New Car Fees

If you buy a car at the dealership irrespective of new or old, you are probably going to have a number of fees piled on in spite of the condition of the vehicle. You may also come across other random fees like processing, advertising fees and preparation which can add up to hundreds of pounds. But, if you purchase a used car from a private party, you will be able to ward off some if not all of these random fees.

  • Technology

These days, used car shopping is a different experience altogether as compared to the years in the past. As a consumer you will have a plethora of resources and information available at your fingertips. There are various websites available that will help you determine a car’s value. These also help you search for the value of a car of a specific make, model or year in varying conditions.

You can even get your hands on the experiences of thousands of other car buyers who have purchased the same vehicle you wish to buy. You can find out if these buyers were happy with the purchase; if anyone experienced any kind of problems with the vehicle; information regarding the car dealer and much more.

The availability of this kind of information has made it possible for used car buyers to find out more about prospective vehicle options than ever before.

  • Depreciation

With every passing month and mile, the value of the car decreases at a rapid rate, but the most abrupt decline takes place right away; some car models end up losing 40 percent or more of their value in the very first year. With a used car, there is no getting swamped with depreciation the minute you roll off the lot. To add to this, there is significantly less mental depreciation as there is no need to lose sleep over the first parking-lot ding or rock chip in the paint, as there are very good chances that the previous owner of the car took care of those for you.

Avoiding Depreciation

Avoiding Depreciation

Once you drive away in your new car off the dealership lot, its value drops in the initial years of ownership. If you purchase a mainstream vehicle, expect your new car to lose at least 30 percent of its value within first two years of ownership. Confer with used-car value guides to get a clear understanding of what a particular model will be worth in the future. Leasing guides are another good source even if your intention is to purchase and not lease. Usually, lease payments are calculated based on residual or resale values.

You can contact In Town Automotive for any advice related to car parts as we stock a wide range of components.

Safest Used Cars

Safest Used Cars

When looking to buy a used car we are faced with tough choices. A car with good mileage, a car with an enticing exterior or a car high on performance may all have certain appeals to certain customers. However, when applying our various filters during the shortlisting process we often forget to apply another filter and it happens to be quite an important one, safety.

Importance of Safety Ratings

It doesn’t matter what you’re compromising on – colour, style, age, mileage or condition, as long as you’re safe inside the car nothing else truly matters. Even though the number of deaths in the UK due to road accidents have dropped by 2%, still a huge number of lives could have been easily saved, 1732 to be precise, if cars were safer.

How Safety Ratings are Determined

Safety requirements and standards are different around the world but the testing methods to determine their safety are similar. The testing methods have been designed in a similar way as the risks that any driver is subjected to, is more or less the same in every country. Following are some of the common safety tests:

Frontal Crash

Frontal Crash

Most of the accidents around the world occur due to head-on collision of vehicles. It is to avoid injury in such collisions that air bags and seat belts were introduced in automobiles. These tests are also known as ‘overlap’ tests and they usually involve head-on collisions but with some variety. In some cases they apply force to a quarter or half of the vehicle’s front end.

Side Crash

Preventing injury from a side crash is extremely difficult as there is little that can be done to save passengers from an impact. There is a very thin separation between the passenger seat and the point of collision. In most countries the side crash test is performed by slamming a huge metal block on one of its sides.

However, in some countries instead of a huge metal block, a pole is thrusted into the side of a car. This way a lot of force is concentrated on a smaller area and if the pole pierces through the car it means the car has failed the side crash test.

Roof Strength

The chances of your car suffering damage from the direction of your roof are quite less but one can never be too sure. In places that are prone to hurricanes, storms or heavy rainfall, the possibility of a tree falling on the roof a car is quite high. Not just in these cases, sometimes the car rolls over and lands on its roof, this makes it important for cars to be tested for roof strength.

In the test that determines the strength of a roof, different corners of the roof are subjected to increasing weight at a constant rate. The bigger the vehicle greater is the weight placed on its roof. A vehicle with good roof strength should be able to withstand at least four times its weight before displacing for more than 5 inches.

Moose Test

Even though the name of the test is funny, it isn’t meant for recreation of testing engineers in between their testing job. It is a test that is normally performed in countries where animals may appear out of nowhere on the road. In such situations the standard response of most drivers is to take a sharp turn in either direction. This test determines if a vehicle suffers a roll over on being suddenly turned.

Seats and Headrests

In case you were thinking a car’s seats and headrests are just for the comfort of passengers then you will be surprised to know that they are there for their safety as well. The design and geometry of headrests is such that it has a direct impact on the severity of injuries sustained during an accident. This feature is especially useful when the vehicle is crashed from the rear end.

If the headrest has been designed the right way then it will catch the head quickly and prevent it from suffering a major jolt. The seats when designed well, cushion and support the passenger and driver’s body. Airbags also perform the same function.

Pedestrian Safety

When we speak about vehicle safety it is not just limited to those who are inside the car but also includes those who are out on the street unguarded by any metal around them. In this test the engineers try to determine the safety of a pedestrian who is struck by a car. Car manufacturers try to design their front end in such a way that if something like this happens the surface of the engine block does not have a severe impact on the head of the pedestrian. There have been several innovations keeping in mind pedestrian safety and these include an external airbag that gets deployed when a pedestrian is struck by the vehicle.

Electric and Autonomous Systems

With improvements in car technology, the safety systems used in cars have undergone drastic transformations. Some of these design innovations include automatic emergency braking if the system has come to a conclusion that a crash is imminent. There are also other systems that detect whether a driver is about to fall asleep while on the steering wheel. If the driver’s eyes are found to be shut for a consecutive few seconds then the car is automatically brought to a halt. They are also tested for other features such as stability control and traction.

On the basis of above tests a comprehensive report is made which includes details of how a car has performed in various tests and then a safety rating is given to the car which is being tested.

Reason for Popularity of Used Cars

Reason for Popularity of Used Cars

The automobile market around the world has been booming since the last many years and this trend has given birth to a whole new market of used cars. These days when people want to upgrade they often opt to sell their old car. As a result the used car market today has great machines which are value for money and high in performance at the same time. Irrespective of whether you’re high or low on budget, you are bound to find a suitable match according to your requirements.

Why it’s Crucial to Buy a Safe Used Car?

When buying a used car there is very little that can be known of its history. Despite the various ways to know if a vehicle has been involved in an accident, people get duped by charming salesmen and land up buying such cars. However, if you buy a used car from a garage you can trust then possibilities are low that you will be short-changed.

There are certain cars which are built in a way that are naturally safe and will ensure minimum damage to those seated inside. This is what makes it important to buy a car that has been certified as safe by concerned authorities.

Used Cars to Avoid

Used Cars to Avoid

There are always cars that are priced at much lower rates compared to others. It is easy to be inclined towards such cars but one should try to understand why the price of these cars is low. Is it because its performance is inferior to others? Does it have lesser seating capacity? In most cases when the price of a car is less it is because it is less safe than the others in the market.

There are many cars in the UK market at present which were primarily built for the US market but are still available in UK. These cars have a mere 1-1.5 rating out of 5 which means they are not much reliable in terms of passenger safety in accidents. Following are some of the cars that you should avoid at all cost:

  • Isuzu D-Max – 2008 model.
  • Chrysler Voyager – 2007 model.
  • Chevrolet Aveo – 2006 model.

Cars with a 2 out of 5 NCAP safety rating.

  • Jeep Compass 2.2 Diesel – 2011 model.
  • Renault Trafic 2.0dCi Passenger ‘Expression’ – 2012 model.
  • Ford Ranger Pick Up – 2008 model.

Balance of Safety and Budget

Wouldn’t you prefer to save money for some more months and buy a car that is safe instead of buying an unsafe car out of haste? Cars that strike a good balance between safety and affordability are often those that you find in the range of £1000 – £5000. Following are some of the cars that leave us with no excuse to compromise on safety because of budget:

Volkswagen Golf

The Volkswagen Golf has been deemed as the best hatchback by many automobile magazines. It has a lot of street credibility and has been engineered in a way that makes it the ideal family motor. The level of safety offered by it is impressive as it scores a whopping 5 out of 5 NCAP rating. The engine keeps getting better with each of its variant. Its spacious interiors is an icing on the cake. For £5000 you should be able to find a 2008 or 2009 make which has travelled for less than 80,000 miles.

Honda Jazz

Just like Volkswagen Golf, the Honda Jazz too is a strong contender for the title of the best family car. If you look it up on Google you will find several testimonials that swear by its safety features. This has influenced several car magazines to proclaim it as the best family car. It is a good value for money product as it provides both great running costs as well as spacious interiors.

Even the earlier models of this car which date back to 2004 have a 4 out of 5 NCAP safety rating and can be bought for just £1000. The relatively newer models belonging to the 2009 batch have an even more impressive safety rating of 5 out of 5 and can be purchased for £4500-5000.

Mazda 3

Mazda 3

There are always those who take out their family from time to time but also want their ride to look better than an average family car. Not only is Mazda 3 an attractive option but it also hits the right spot between price and safety. It is a visually appealing car with designs that are eye catching.

You cannot hope to get a better deal for just £5000 as you may find a great range of five door models which have run for less than 50,000 miles. If you opt for models that were built in 2009 you will be riding a car that has a safety rating of 5 out of 5.

High Budget High Safety Cars

If you can stretch your budget to £10,000 you will be able to buy a 2012/2013 model which have higher safety features to offer. Here’s a list of cars that are friendlier on your wallet but at the same time have a 5 star NCAP rating.

Ford Focus

If there’s a car that has earned the badge of the best family hatchback then it has to be Ford Focus. It is spacious, has incredible hi-tech features such as electronic stability control and is also packed with robust safety features such as brake assistance.

You will get a 2011 model with a 5 star safety rating but in this price range you may have better options to choose from such as a 1.6 petrol with titanium trims and top spec Zetec. You can also have a car with a TDCi diesel engine manufactured in 2012 and 2013.

Ford Fiesta

Ford Fiesta

Ford Fiesta is one of the bestselling used cars in Britain. It is perfect for smaller families living in congested areas as it offers a range of small, economical engines and many exciting options for extra accessories such as emergency brake assist which increase the safety of the car and front windscreen heaters that are particularly useful in winters.

If you have the budget for a Ford Fiesta you should be able to get a standard 1.2 Zetec model of 2012 for about £5000. If you can stretch your budget a little further you may get an EcoBoost model of 2015 for about £10,000. It’s worth remembering that all these models have a 5 out of 5 safety rating.

Vauxhall Astra

Vauxhall Astra

If you have a minuscule budget and wish to own a safe used car then you will be surprised to know that even a 2004 Vauxhall Astra has a safety rating of 5 out of 5. However, by spending a little more, say about £8000-£9000 you can avail the full range of features that Vauxhall has to offer such as a 2015 registered model with parking sensors and cruise control. Basically, it is a car that can tailored to suit a budget of any size.

There are a ton of cars out there in the used cars market that score a perfect 5 on 5 when it comes to safety features. It is still advised that you do not take the above advice without a proper test drive and thorough inspection. It is ultimately you who needs to decide what you want from a car. If you find it difficult to shortlist a car you should go for expert opinion.

Scrutinise the Cylinder Head Assembly

Scrutinise the Cylinder Head Assembly

Any mechanical failure must be analysed by an expert technician. They have a wide experience of working with machines and one should not be under the impression that by doing certain DIY tasks on weekends you can gain enough skill to perform a procedure of this scale. However, if you have taken the decision to do this job yourself then read on to know more about the process.

In order to provide the necessary lubrication the engine oil must flow through the ports that are present in the engine block and cylinder head assembly. Through these very ports engine coolant is also made to flow in order to control the temperature.

To prevent the fluids from mixing up and the compression from seeping from one cylinder into another, the cylinder head gasket is cut in a way that each cylinder is sealed and so are the respective oil ports and coolants.

Remember: The coolant turns into a brown sludge when oil enters the cooling system in a malfunctioning cylinder head gasket. You can notice this when the radiator cap is pulled off or when you take out the oil filler cap. However, there are other factors too that can trigger this possibility and in this article you can find the possible reasons behind such occurrences.

Step 1

Block Head - In Town Blog

‘Examine the engine block and cylinder head’

You should conduct a thorough examination of the mating surfaces of cylinder head and engine block to ensure that it is flat and uniform which is extremely crucial to maintaining a perfect seal.

Sending the cylinder head assembly to a machine shop will ensure that you get a professional cleaning and inspection. The technicians at a machine shop will advise you if a valve replacement is required. They will also give you instructions about the possible issues with the engine, things that you need to bring along and other such details of their services.

A good way to gauge the flatness of cylinder head and engine block mating surfaces is to use a machined straight edge. The necessary specifications and measurement limits can be found in the vehicle service manual. The mating surfaces of the cylinder head and engine block must be perfectly flat and straight throughout. If it is not this way then the component may have to be replaced.

The straight edge should be placed across the engine block deck. A simple test to see if the engine block needs servicing or not is to switch on the flashlight and flashing it onto one side. If you are able to see light by peeking between the straight edge tool and engine block then you need to service the engine block. It happens because the deck is not flat and uniform and light becomes visible between the spots that have warped.

Remember: The technicians at the machine shop are the best judge of whether a mating surface is as flat as it should be. It will incorrect to jump to the conclusion that head gasket needs to be replaced solely based on the above deduction. Hence it is advisable that you consult with a technician before going ahead with the procedure.

Step 2

Head Gasket

‘Clear out the engine block and cylinder head assembly’

The mating surfaces of the cylinder head assembly and engine block must be absolutely clean. The technicians at the machine shop, to which you take your cylinder head, will look after its servicing and cleaning.

If you intend to clean this component yourself then you shouldn’t forget to check the surface between the intake and exhaust manifold. If the head gasket has suffered extensive damage then there are high chances of the cylinder heads being harmed as well. However, it is not easy to fix this problem yourself as you will need special tools and the procedure is something not every DIYer can handle.

Remember: To clean these surfaces you should never make use of grinding wheel or revolving disc as they can cause erosion of the metal surface. Using such tools can cause small granules of metal to get deposited in corners where it can be difficult to remove them. If the dust falls around the pistons in the combustion chamber there are chances of scratches along the cylinder walls. Needless to say it is a process that needs to be handled with utmost care and for this reason we recommend getting this problem fixed at the hands of experts.

Step 3

Engine Bay - In Town Blog

‘Examine other components during dismantling’

It is not every day that you open the engine and take out components. Thus this is the best time to examine the components taken out while replacing the head gasket. By doing this you will be aware of the wear and tear that other components have been through and this should help you to prevent trouble in the future.

Remember: During the removal process there is high possibility of damaging spark plugs, coolant, belts, ignition wire, engine coolant thermostat, worn pulleys, timing components and seal. Also you may not have the different tools and components that are required for a particular procedure as it varies according to the application. Due to these complications, you should let a technician handle the head gasket replacement procedure who can do it at affordable rates.

Step 4

‘Clean the Threads’

The spiral grooves of fasteners and bolt holes are susceptible to dust collection and this can lead to building up of dust and rust which can affect their ability to fasten around. They can also result in inaccurate torque numbers which happens when the fastener get stuck on the dirt. You can take these fasteners and bolts to the nearest hardware store and get these replaced. Any dirt that has collected along the threads can be easily cleaned using a tap on the cylinder head bolt holes.

Remember: Engine blocks usually have studs that are installed in the block. After the cylinder head has been fixed on the studs, a cap nut is fitted. The manufacturers’ manual should contain details on how to handle the studs. The studs can need changing and replacement from time to time and the stud holes should be cleaned thoroughly.

If you have a doubt about anything mentioned then you should not hesitate to take assistance from a professional. It is easy to become stubborn during a DIY task and assume that you do not need any help, but in this process you may cause more damage than what already is.

Head Gasket Reassembly

Replacing a Faulty Head Gasket Part III: Head Gasket Reassembly

Do not think that opening the engine and fixing the head gasket is the end of the process. The other equally important part is to reassemble all the components that have been taken out during the process.

Step 1

Step 1 HGR

‘Spray the cylinder head gasket with a sealer’

Before you place the cylinder head gasket on top of the clean engine block you should spray both sides of the cylinder head gasket with a sealer. Also the studs should be installed before the gasket is fitted that is if studs have been used to hold the cylinder head down. Alignment dowels are often used with the studs to ensure that the gasket remains immobile while the cylinder head is being placed on top of it.

Remember: After installing a new cylinder head gasket, if you wish to make sure that the seal has been applied in a sturdy manner then you can make use of copper sealant sprays that are sold by many vendors. If you avoid the common maintenance mistakes you should be able to prevent problems from turning up in this corner of the automobile.

Step 2

‘Installing the cylinder head’

Once the surfaces have been cleaned and the gasket has been put in its rightful place you should install the cylinder head and fasten it down.

Remember: All information regarding the tightening sequence, the fastener torque and frequency of servicing can be found in the service manual. There is a particular pattern that needs to be followed during the reassembly, which is quite similar to the process of taking out components. It is also important to make sure that there is very little stress placed on the components and this can be achieved by ensuring that the sealing process is completed with absolute accuracy. You may also need several passes of increasing torque measurements in some cases. Use a calibrated torque wrench and stick to the procedure described in this blog.

Step 3

Step 3 HGR

‘Replace components that were removed in earlier steps’

You should have used notes and pictures to keep track of the components that were removed. When all components have been put back in their place take a brief look at the fasteners, components and assembly.

Remember: If any seal was disrupted during the dismantling process then it should be replaced and all the mating surfaces should be cleaned along with threads of bolt holes and grimy bolts. There are also some components that do not need sealing but require a gasket maker or silicone paste which is easily available at a local auto-parts store.

Step 4

‘Connect the battery and refill the fluids’

Before connecting the battery you should reassess all the work done. You should then proceed to fix the positive cable first and then the negative cable

Once you are assured that you have done the reassembly exactly how it should be you can refill the engine with oil. You shouldn’t forget to use a new filter and check the oil level in the engine.

Do not forget to fill the radiator with coolant oil to its optimum level and then wait. If you see some bubbling then it could be due to trapped air in the cooling system. Before starting the engine the cooling system has to be bled. If you want to make the air travel to the overflow tank or the highest point in the system then you should lift the front section of the vehicle. It is also advisable to check your coolant levels and make sure they are at optimum levels.

Caution: Installing the cables in reverse order can cause sparks and it can ignite any flammable liquid in the vicinity.

Step 5

‘Check for Faults’

This is the time to get into the car and turn on the engine. Do not start the vehicle at this point. If you have a code reader then now is the time you should attach it. If a component hasn’t been plugged in, the code will be fixed instantly. If a component has been left unplugged then you can trace it easily with the help of a code that may pop up at this time. Keep your ears alert at this point and use this guide to know what the noise could mean.

Step 6

Step 6 HGR

‘Set climate control’

At this point, you should start the vehicle and set the climate control to maximum heat. This makes the coolant enter the heater core and gives it the chance to get rid of any stubborn air bubbles inside the cooling system.

Remember: You should let the engine remain in idle state and allow it to match up to the temperature slowly instead of racing the engine. After the process is complete you should open the hood from time to time to ensure that there are no leaks or smoke coming out of the engine. You should also check the readings on the instrument cluster at regular intervals.

Dangers of DIY

Just like the information given above, there are many car websites on the internet that make this job sound easier than what it really is. Preferably you should leave such a complicated task to the experts as they know very well how to go about it.

For the sake of saving some money you should not risk trying a job of this big magnitude. There are several tests that need to be conducted before and after installing the head gasket and skilled technicians are well acquainted with these tests.

One needs to be completely sure that the head gasket needs replacement because once started it is quite difficult to get things back to the original state if you cannot handle the job well. Some people come to this conclusion that the head gasket needs to be replaced simply because the engine is getting overheated and white smoke is being emitted from the exhaust. However there are many other issues that can cause similar symptoms.

Therefore a series of tests is recommended to ascertain that the head gasket needs a replacement. If you replace the head gasket when there was no need to do it you not only waste a lot of money but also risk causing some damage to the engine. Moreover, repairing or replacing the gasket on your own can cause warping on cylinder and engine heads and if left untreated can lead to total engine failure shortly after repair.

Therefore, it is highly recommended that you take your vehicle to a reputed garage in your neighbourhood and let them test and solve the problems that you have been facing with your ride.

Dismantle the Engine

Replacing a Faulty Head Gasket Part II: How to Dismantle the Engine

Once you have all the essentials and the manuals in place you can start the process of dismantling the engine of your car. Remember, it is best to seek professional help as this procedure involves many complexities and skipping of even the smallest of steps can land you in a mine of trouble.  Additionally, to avoid hefty car repair costs, employ these car hacks to make your life easier.

Seek professional help from In Town Automotive’s car technicians for a successful and safe replacement of faulty head gaskets.

Engine 1

To complete the project yourself, read along to know more!

Step 1 of Part 2 – Disengage the battery

It is of very important that you disengage the car batteries whilst performing chief repairs like replacing car head gasket as it is very easy to accidentally activate the starter assembly on some vehicles.

Note: Do not forget to detach the negative or black cable on the battery first.

Word of Caution: Loose-fitting wire connections have the imminent risk of short circuits and can damage very sensitive and costly equipment or emit fire-inducing sparks. This is extremely dangerous so ensure that you disconnect the battery before you do anything else.

Step 2 of Part 2 – Drain engine oil and engine coolant

Engine Fluid

Make sure that you drain out the engine oil and engine oil drain port completely.

Position the drip pan below the engine to collect the old oil and open the oil drain plug. This way, if the engine coolant trickles on top of the crankcase, it will flow out instead of settling in the engine.

Note: Remember to get rid of the old engine oil in the oil pan so that you do not add new oil on top or else you will have to mend the entire engine assembly right from the start.

Drain the coolant from the radiator drain port or by removing or unfastening the lower radiator hose. Ensure that you remove the cap of the radiator.

Tip: In some cases, the lower intake manifold or the cylinder head will have a coolant drain port of its own.

Defroster

Step 3 of Part 2 – Eliminate all the components from the cylinder head

All the elements attached to the cylinder head have to be eliminated.

  • You may lose track of things as several nuts, clamps, bolts, sleeves and fittings entail the completion of this step and it is very likely hat you may lose track of things. Try clicking pictures or pen down a description of each part to help you remember where everything goes once all the elements are ready to reassemble the engine.
  • Bag and put a label on everything. It will rather be a good idea for you to keep some components and their respective fasteners in the same bag. One part may have fasteners that are of varying lengths. Mark these as these would go back exactly where they came from to keep any kind of engine problems and damage at bay.
  • A number of bolts involved in the tear down are known as “torque to yield”. These are usually stretched upon installation and will require replacing once they are taken out. Keep an eye on these bolts and remember to switch them with new ones.

Word of Caution: In case of being reused, the ‘torque to yield’ fasteners have very good chances of breaking off into the engine block or cylinder head. The broken parts will have to be hooked out and if the hole is damaged, it needs to be repaired.

Step 4 of Part 2 – Take out the fasteners in sequence

Pins

Quite a lot of car parts such as the cylinder head, valve cover, exhaust manifolds, and intake require the elimination of the fasteners in a certain sequence to avoid warping and cracking. This information is usually explained in detail in the vehicle service manual.

Some vehicles are provided with overhead camshafts which may either be dual overhead camshaft DOHC) or single overhead camshafts (SOHC). This essentially means that the camshafts are located in the cylinder head. With these types of engines, the crankshaft and camshaft may be connected with a timing belt or chain.

Note: The timing belt or timing chain assembly needs the following of a set of procedures for being taken out in order to shield the internal elements of the engine. Pay keen attention to the procedures and timing marks as these are vital to the functioning of the engine. The assembly may suffer quite a bit as a result of significant damage if mistakes are committed.

Some vehicles may have an exceptional engine design referred to as the overhead valve (OHV). Many OHV engine designs have the camshaft housed within the engine block and make use of pushrods, rocker arms and lifters in order to set off the valves in the cylinder head.

Generally, the engine timing elements were kept out from the removal of the cylinder head, but if these parts are removed; they have to be fitted in exactly the same order.

Note: Different types of engine designs employ different lengths of pushrods for the intake and exhaust valves. If these elements are mixed up in any manner, engine damage is quite probable.

Several timing belt kits come with a marked belt for easy installation. The markings on the belt may differ for every type of timing belt kit and will be perfectly aligned with the markings on the components of the engine.

The cylinder head gasket or seal lies under the cylinder head assembly. The material used for this can either be metal or any material that can get crushed after the installation of cylinder head bolts and torque. From time to time, both materials are used in the production of the cylinder head gasket.

This gasket must be capable of resisting pressures and temperatures of combustion. Frequently you may look for breaks amidst two cylinders or a break an oil or coolant port seal has cracked open.

In case you have to undertake the repair and replacement of head gasket on an urgent basis, you can take advantage of In Town Automotive’s finance option.

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