The Motoring Expert
MicksGarage.com answers your motoring questions
Over the next few weeks here on JOE the lads at MicksGarage.com will try their best to answer your motoring questions. Here's the first batch of queries from JOE's 30,000-strong Facebook base.
Some of us can't afford to buy a brand spanking new car when our old one is knackered, so it means we have to fix whatever problems arise, be they big or small. We've asked you to send us your problems over on Facebook and some of you have, so take a look below to see if your question has been answered.
Q: My 01 VW Golf keeps randomly losing power when I'm driving. Any thoughts as to why this would happen?
MicksGarage.com: The majority of issues that are intermittent or random are most likely to be electrical. Our first thought would be the Airflow Meter. You could get the On Board Diagnostics (OBD) read and see what fault codes you get back, however, unfortunately an airflow meter that’s on its way out but still within tolerance may not even record a fault!
Q: I have a 96 Starlet and it has started to splutter at low revs, apart from changing the car is there anything i can do?
MicksGarage.com: This is going to be a bit of a process of elimination but the first thing that springs to mind are the HT (high-tension) leads. These are the leads that go from the distributor to the spark plugs, but first we’d change the spark plugs themselves because they’re cheaper and if that fixes the problem then you’ll have saved a few quid! You can find them here.
Q: My BMW 318 has blueish smoke coming out of the exhaust at low revs or when accelerating. I’ve been told that its not a head gasket. What can I check/replace before cracking engine open?
MicksGarage.com: Blue smoke generally indicates that there’s oil burning. Do you have to top the oil up often? What generation 318 is it? If you are using very thin oil like 0W30 it could be an idea to move to 5W40 for example. However, if it’s burning oil then the bores/piston rings are likely to be worn and/or valve stem oil seals are gone and the grade of oil probably won’t make much of a difference.
Q: I've been told I need to remove and clean the ERG valve on my 05 Passat 1.9 tdi. Is it a big job to do myself? Any info on it?
MicksGarage.com: This is something we recommend doing on any high mileage diesel. If you are handy with a spanner and have a bit of patience it is not a difficult job at all. You will need carburetor/brake cleaner which you can find on our site here.
From memory, there are a few clips that need to be removed and a couple of hard to reach bolts (either 10mm or allen key). Overall, taking your time and having the odd cuppa along the way, shouldn’t take more than two hours. There are penty of DIY’s on online for it, like this one.
There’s a couple of things to keep in mind here though; cleaning the EGR valve is a temporary solution if it is failing. If the purpose is only to clean carbon deposits then that’s fine, however if the actual mechanism is failing then cleaning it won’t help much, unfortunately. Lastly, remove the EGR valve completely out of the car to clean it. The EGR connects to the intake manifold which you don’t necessarily have to remove but the start of it, where it meets the EGR valve, will be dirty and full of carbon build up. When cleaning this be careful that no thick gunk falls into the manifold as it could do damage to the whole engine.
Q: My 03 Renault Megane will start but unless driven will switch off after a second or two. Keep the revs up works, but in a about 2 mins, the service light will come on and the 'check ignition' light. Only problem is once you restart it'll be fine for next few times making it difficult to get a mechanic to look at it, unless they're with me there and then.
MicksGarage.com: Is the car petrol or diesel? This would help us point you in the right direction because it could a multitude of different things causing the problem. If it were my car the first thing i would do is get the On Board Diagnostics checked. Depending on who you bring it to you can get this done for under €20 and is often the most cost effective way of isolating a fault. This may not help you though if the issue is mechanical. If there is an electrical fault it will be stored in the ECU and it shouldn’t matter if you can’t demonstrate the issue to the mechanic. How’s your clutch by the way? Sometimes over revving the car can lead to serious problems, so sorting out your clutch could help dramatically.
For all your car part queries, visit www.micksgarage.com. We’ll find the solution to more of your motoring issues next week!