Tag Archives: mot

Identifying Most Common Car Engine Problems

The inevitable part of car ownership irrespective of the age, make, mileage or model is occasional engine problems. Engine failure is never good news as it has the potential to put your car out of commission for an indefinite amount of time. It is very tricky to diagnose and the repair work involved can be complicated. While regular car servicing and maintenance may help reduce the need of car repairs, it does not guarantee that a car will not break down.

As the car amasses more miles, the likelihood of engine troubles also increases. However, not all engine issues will be so serious. The majority of the time the cause is something very simple, for instance – a dirty air filter. Whether the engine of your car is facing overheating issue or is emanating strange noises or misfiring, the reason could be arising from a multitude of issues.

How The Engine of Your Car Works?

How The Engine of Your Car Works

  • The blinking ‘check engine’ light can make any driver anxious. It could indicate anything from blockage, which is generally quick to diagnose, to the need for a major repair that is going to burn a big hole in your pocket.
  • The engine works from the inside of your car and that’s why its referred to as the internal combustion engine. The engine’s core job is to convert gasoline into energy which helps your car propel forward. In case of hybrid cars, the source of energy is different but that does not make the outcome any different. The same is applicable to diesel engines. It’s the universal truth that everyone swears by – without a working engine, your car is nothing but a useless and heavy heap of metal.

Getting To The Bottom of the Problem

Getting To The Bottom of the Problem

Consider the ‘check engine’ light not as the final nail in the coffin but rather as a sign that some component needs to be fixed. At In Town, our expert vehicular technicians commonly come across one of the following issues.

  • Inadequate Lubrication The moving parts of your vehicle need oil as this will not only reduce friction but will also eliminate heat. Therefore, getting a regular oil change is essential to the overall functioning of a vehicle. If proper lubrication isn’t ensured, it can result in overheating of the car and its component are likely to seize up. So, it is best to maintain the oil at an appropriate level as low levels can indicate burning or leakage.
  • Oil Pump Failure – Failure of the oil pump can result in what’s commonly known as oil starvation which is almost always lethal to any engine. Overhead cam engines are more at risk as the cam and the valve train are situated beyond the pump which means that it needs to be light enough to move quickly.
  • Dirty Oil – The build-up of oil tends to leave behind deposits on spark plugs, combustion chambers and intake valves. It can disintegrate a car’s bearings by leaving behind debris which embed in the surface. In case you come across a clogged oil filter, this is certainly the root of the problem.
  • Spark Knock – The type of combustion caused by the accumulation of too much heat and pressure in the engine’s combustion chamber is what is known as a spark knock or detonation. When this happens, you should be able to hear a metallic knocking or pinging noise. A small detonation will generally not cause major damage, but heavy knocks or prolonged detonation can pave way for serious damage to the car components. It has the potential to punch holes in your pistons, blow head gaskets, crush rod bearings, crack rings and pound piston ring grooves. Pinging noise at a stretch are a definite cause of concern.
  • Broken or Defective Oxygen Sensor – The sensor is entitled to measure the amount of oxygen that hasn’t been consumed by the exhaust. It then communicates to the data system of the car regarding the amount of fuel available in the gas tank. Any problem with the oxygen sensor means communication of incorrect information by the car’s system. This often results in lower gas mileage.
  • Poor Compression The combustion process of the car’s engine will be interrupted if the fuel and air aren’t compressed properly. If the valves fail to seal properly, the cylinder of your vehicle has a hole in it or probably the piston rings are worn which results in leakage of air which results in lack of compression.
  • Loss of Coolant – The most common cause for overheating is through loss of coolant. A quick glance on the coolant overflow reservoir will indicate if the coolant is leaking or not. If your engine repeatedly overheats, the constant high temperature can result in irreparable damage that can be troublesome to fix. Most cars are now equipped with temperature gauges or warning lights that will notify the driver of the overheating issue. Repeated overheating can potentially cause serious, not to mention expensive damage to the engine. Being cautious beforehand is the best option so make sure that you avoid this kind of damage by ensuring that the coolant is clean and the cooling system is in good operating condition. Additionally, overheating can be caused as a result of a cracked head or a blown gasket. Coolant loss and white exhaust smoke may indicate the dire need of getting your car engine repaired.

Common reasons for overheating are:

  • Defective radiator cap
  • Non-functioning cooling fan
  • Faulty thermostat
  • Dirty air filter
  • Low or dirty coolant level
  • Kinked or broken down radiator hose
  • Internal or external coolant leak
  • Clogged Radiator – Dirty coolant is a source of multiple problems. If the radiator fills with sediment from a dirty coolant, it will lead to overheating of the engine. There is also a possibility of the radiator becoming corroded if hard water is used.
  • Worn Spark Plug – Although a spark plug is small, it is one of the most important components that make a car move. A worn spark plug will give out a weak spark. It may event prevent ignition entirely or cause ignition at the wrong time. A misfire will affect the power of the engine and fuel economy and thus result in massive amounts of potential damage.
  • Loose or Missing Gas Cap – One of the cheapest and easiest fixes your car will ever need over the course of its lifetime is the tightening or replacing of the gas cap. However, it is also an important one. A gas cap that is either loose or missing will result in evaporation of the gas from the car, reducing its gas mileage and potentially costing you hundreds of pounds.

Regular maintenance might seem costly but it is also important to keep your car in good working condition. If you want to make the most of your vehicle, ensure that you keep up with regular oil, tyre, clutch repairs and other maintenance that may crop up. Be sure to address any issue as and when they crop up.

Car Engine Study – How Reliable Are The Engines Of Your Car

Everyone is well aware of the most popular cars on roads today. It will be impossible for you to step out of your house without spotting a Ford Focus or a Vauxhall Corsa. As engines are at the core of a vehicle’s performance, we have to take a sneak a peek on cars that have the most reliable engines.

The Situation

The Situation

The engine is arguably the most vital component of any car and also the most expensive part to replace. Hundreds of requests for second-hand car engines is received by garages on a weekly basis. Upon closely analysing these requests it can be deduced which cars on the country’s roads have the most trustworthy and reliable engines, under the premises that the more reliable the car’s engine is, the fewer requests will be received for a replacement.

How Did We Work It Out?

By analysing a data set covering a certain period, the most frequently requested engines in the UK were perused with special emphasis on the make and model of the vehicle.

By simply looking at the number of requests received for each make and model’s engines does not give an accurate estimation of the whole picture. It involved a lot of work wherein a number of requests had to be compared against the number of cars to find out the genuine reliability rating. For example, if there are a million cars of the same type on the road and a thousand requests pertaining to the car’s engine are received, it can be said to be more reliable than a make and model that receives two requests, but only has a hundred vehicles on the road.

Final Analysis

A number of positive assumptions can be made about the cars that are rated most efficient. These vehicles may have the most lucrative engines making it possible for the vehicle to run for several years. It is a fact that cars with computerized engines and high-performance systems are more likely to need dealer assistance and a completely new unit. It is really important to ensure that your car is road worthy and thus going for regular MOT is suggested.

The hunt for the best and most reliable car engine reveals that only a fraction of a percentage of all cars require replacement engine and that there is enough supply in the market to cope up with the demand for second hand car engines, which helps keep the motoring prices down, making car repairs more available for anyone on a budget. Speaking of budget, In Town Automotive has finance options available for unexpected car repairs that cannot be delayed.

Diligently following the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule is vital for proper car maintenance. Regular services such as oil changes, fuel and oil filter replacement and tune ups are necessary to keep the car’s performance at its peak. Maintenance components such as the air filter are frequently overlooked but can have considerable impact on a car’s drivability and overall performance. Irrespective of the car’s age, proper upkeep and maintenance will help keep potential engine problems and breakdowns at bay.

Auto Repair Service From In Town Automotive

Auto Repair Service From In Town Automotive

There could be numerous explanations for all these issues but the solution is the same for all of them. You have to schedule an appointment with repair specialists for diagnostic and maintenance services. When it comes to car repair, you can recieve comprehensive solutions from In Town Automotive at prices that you can afford.

Get in touch with us today and our experts will be happy to help you figure out the appropriate steps. At In Town Automotive we promise to provide the care and attention your car needs to get back on the track.

Faulty Tyres Contribute to Over 1200 casualties a year

The Importance of Tyre Safety

Faulty Tyres Contribute to Over 1,200 Casualties a year: The Importance of Tyre Safety

You may not often think about them, but your tyres are one of the most important parts keeping your car on the road, and for this reason, if they do happen to go wrong, the consequences could be detrimental to your safety.

in a report from the National Transportation Safety Board following figures of tyre related accidents, injuries and fatalities over 5 years, the importance of healthy tyres is accentuated with shocking figures. The research conducted shows that on average, 33 people die every year in accidents which are caused due to defective tyres on vehicles. The results also show that a further 1,200 people are injured each year in tyre related crashes too, with an average of 219 of these people having been seriously injured.

What’s more, it has been suggested by insurance experts that figures relating to accidents caused by tyre faults may even be underestimated due to people failing to report accidents, for example when only one car is involved in an accident.

Perhaps the most shocking part in these figures is that motor vehicle experts have claimed that most of these deaths and injuries could have been avoided simply by checking and maintaining tyres as required.

So, what needs to be done to maintain your tyres?

One of the main duties for drivers is to check their tyre pressure on a regular basis. Figures show that a vehicle with tyres which are underinflated by at least 25% are three times more likely to be involved in an accident, and this figure increases when it is combined with bad weather or other taxing driving conditions. In order to check that your tyre inflation is correct, check the vehicle handbook, or the inside of the door jamb and visit your nearest petrol station to check and use the air pump.

So, what needs to be done to maintain your tyres

It is also important to ensure that the tyres on your vehicle are in good condition, without any damage. If your tyre has bulges or tears on it or even a slow puncture, this can mean that it is likely to deflate or even blow whilst you’re on the road. Make sure to be aware when driving; if you hit a kerb or pothole on the road, stop when it is safe to do so and walk round your car afterwards, checking the tyres for any damage. If you do see any damage, it is important to get the tyre replaced as soon as possible, and do not drive the vehicle until you are sure it is safe to.

checking the tyres for any damage

The tread of your tyres is also a consideration for maintaining a safe vehicle on the roads and can be worn down simply when they have been used for too long. This may seem like a very slight issue, but in fact, it can be detrimental to the safety of your car. Worn out tyres can mean that the vehicle is more likely to skid in wet conditions, has a lesser grip on the road, are prone to blowouts and air leakage and can even lead to excess heat build-up from friction. For these reasons, it is highly important to check your tread death regularly. By law, the minimum depth should be 1.6mm.

Nobody likes to be told that their driving is bad, but it is possible that bad driving habits may be wearing your tyres down. Make sure that you get rid of any bad driving habits that are damaging your car to ensure a longer life for your tyres. It is important to be aware of any strange noises, smells and feelings when you are driving. From time to time, turn down the radio and just focus on your car.

Ensure you take your car for regular MOTs and services. During these, the professional will check your tyres and advise you of any replacements which need to be carried out.

If you would like more advice on maintaining your tyres for the road, contact us at In Town Automotive; we will be able to give you our professional advice and can get you on the right track for ensuring overall car safety.

The Essential MOT Checklist

The Essential MOT Checklist

It is compulsory for every vehicle to clear a mechanical and emissions test to ensure that the car is safe to drive and does not cause excess pollution. This test is known as MOT test which has been named after the old Ministry of Transport.MOT

According to regulations, it is compulsory for a vehicle that is more than 3 years old to get an MOT test done every year. In this test, the condition of several essential parts of a car are inspected for safety and a certificate is given upon passing the MOT test that certifies the car as safe to be driven on the roads.

MOT’s can be undertaken only at authorised garages. Before you take your vehicle to such an authorised centre there are certain areas that you can check yourself in order to increase your chances of clearing the test. The following things are generally tested during an MOT:

  • Vehicle identification number (VIN)
  • Vehicle emissions
  • Registration plate
  • Exhaust system
  • Lights
  • Fuel system
  • Steering and suspension
  • Brakes
  • Wipers and washers
  • Wheels and tyres
  • Windscreen
  • Mirrors
  • Horn
  • Doors
  • Seatbelts and seats

What happens if your car fails its MOT?

During the MOT test, if a problem is found with any of the above checklist then your car will fail its MOT test and you will be given a VT30 certificate that will contain details of things that you need to rectify in your car. Another test will be scheduled and this time it will be a partial test in which the areas that were highlighted in the previous test are inspected.

The Essential MOT Checklist

  • LightsLights

Fact: As many as 30% of MOT failures are due to improper lighting.

For a car to be safe on the roads, functional lighting is crucial. Before taking your vehicle for an MOT test it is important that you check whether the front and rear lights are operating without any problems. Also, check that hazard lights, dipped lights, indicators, headlights and full beam lights are also operational.

Along with the lights being fully operational, it is also mandatory that they display the right colour according to their function. This makes it necessary for you to check if any colour coatings have peeled away. You may need to get a friend’s help or park against a reflective surface to confirm that there is no problem with lighting.

Registration plate lights, brake lights, fog lights, front and rear lights, indicators and rear reflectors must:

  • Illuminate with a single operation of the switch
  • Be in good condition
  • Not be obscured
  • Not be adversely affected by the operation of any other light
  • Show the correct colour
  • Be correctly positioned and secure


  • Car Exterior

Car ExteriorDuring the MOT test, a general inspection is carried out of the chassis, seats, doors, body and engine mountings. They should not be heavily corroded and there shouldn’t be any sharp edges which could potentially cause injury.

There should not be any visible damage to the registration plate that could make it difficult to read. The registration plate should be firmly fitted at the rear and front of a car. A person standing at a distance of 20 metres should be able to see the number clearly.

The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) should be displayed permanently either on a VIN plate attached to the vehicle or etched on the chassis or body of vehicle.

  • Emissions, exhausts and fuelEmissions, exhausts and fuel

The exhaust system is thoroughly inspected in an MOT test to ensure that it does not leak and that it is absolutely secure.

The tank cap should be able to seal properly and the system is checked for possible leaks.

A fuel analyser probe is used to test the smoke that is emitted from the exhaust while the engine is running. Carbon monoxide and hydrocarbon emissions must not exceed the legal limit.

  • Under the Bonnet

Under the BonnetThe battery should not show any visible damage that can cause leakage of electrolytes.




  • InteriorInterior

The horn should be loud enough so that it can be heard by another vehicle on the road and it should emit a continuous uniform note.

It is also important to inspect the car seats before the MOT test to ensure that they are in the correct positions. The seat belts too should be fully functional.

  • Tyres

TyresFact: 10% of MOT failures are due to tyres.

Before your car’s MOT test, you should get your tyre pressure checked. The ideal tyre pressure for your vehicle is specified on the doorjamb.

The most important thing checked in an MOT test related to tyres is the tread depth. It should not be below the limit of 1.6mm and should be consistent through at least 75% of the tyre surface. The tyres should be in a proper condition and if they have been through a lot of wear and tear then it is advisable to get your tyres changed before the test.

  • WindscreensWindscreens

Fact: 6.6% of MOT failures are due to issues related to mirrors, wipers and windscreens.

There should not be damage or anything that could potentially distract the attention of the driver on the road. Obstructions directly in the drivers view should not be larger than 10mm and those outside the view, but within the sweep area of wipers, should not be larger than 40mm.

The driver should not have difficulties in seeing objects at the side or rear of the vehicle. The wing mirrors and rear view mirrors should not have suffered any damage that blocks the driver’s view. Along with mirrors, the washers and wipers should be functional and sweep a wide enough area to give clarity to the driver about the road ahead in rough weather. The washer jets should not be obstructed and any blockage should be removed before the MOT test.

  • Brakes

BrakesFact: 9.6% of MOT failures are due to issues with the braking system

Needless to say, brakes are extremely important in any vehicle and they should be in the right condition before taking your vehicle for the MOT test. In the test the pedals, brakes and levers are inspected and a test is conducted to test the efficiency of braking system.

The above requirements are not only important from the MOT test perspective but also a necessary level of maintenance that ensures your safety when you’re out on the roads. To increase your chances of clearing the test you should either get your car serviced or take your vehicle to a garage that can conduct this test for you and rectify any possible problems that can show up during the test.