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Smallbills Garage is a Community Approved Garage    Servicing all Makes of Cars,  Light Commercials & Motorbikes 

smallbills auto services


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020 8992 7855


020 8992 7651

Service Repair Mot Acton West London

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Vehicle Safty Tips

We hope the information below will be of use to you, we have covered a wide range of day to day motoring anomalies.


Should any of the following problems occur to your vehicle or you are not sure about your vehicles safety, talk to one of our  service advisors

Welcome to Smallbills Garage vehicle safety info...

Your car brake is the indispensable device that enables you to stop the car and be in control. Brake pads are essential components of any braking system. Brake pads that have adequate pad surface will come in contact with the braking rotors/discs to stop the vehicle. If the brake pads are worn, they will be less effective during braking.  With a poor brake it may be difficult for you to stop the car. Brake related defects pose serious problem to yours and everyone else’s safety.


Properly maintained brakes.

A complete and thorough inspection of your braking system is very important; as well maintained brakes will enhance your safety when you are driving on highways.

If you hear a metal scraping sound or high pitch squeal when breaking, you must check or have your vehicles brakes checked thoroughly. The brakes of your car can have different types of common problems. It can have improper rotor/disc surface, its calliper mounting bolts may be loose, the car can have excessive drag during acceleration, and it may pull to one side or the other.  If your car needs servicing the brakes will show low pad indicators. Therefore whenever you have an irregular feel while driving have your brakes inspected.

Brakes become weak due to many reasons. Due to overuse the brakes are hardened and they lose their power to grab or stop the rotation of the brake drum or rotor/disc. Again if your brakes are soaked up with oil or grease they tend to become weak. If you have worn or glazed brake pads you will get grinding noises from the brakes. Sometimes it may happen that your emergency brakes are frozen due to rust. If such things occur the brakes will not release when they are supposed to. As a result you will feel a drag during acceleration.


It is very important to inspect your cars brake system at least once a year. Your brake inspection should include a check on the brake lines and the dash warning lights. After completing the inspection go for a test drive to find out whether there are any other potential problems with your brakes. Check the brake pads from outside the front tire or through the openings of the wheel or rim. If you notice the pad depth less than inch, plan to change it immediately. You also need to change the brake pad if you hear a screeching sound on applying the brakes. If you observe any fluid leakage or uneven pad wear know that you have to change the disk brake callipers. It is advisable to have your vehicle professionally inspected and safety checked,  your cars lights, such as brake light, headlight, turn signal, parking lights, back up lights and also its license plate lights.

While you are inspecting your brakes always go for dynamic brake testing system. The visual inspection of the brakes is not enough for your car. Brake imbalance can only be detected under dynamic brake testing. This is quicker method where you can have the right detection of your brakes. This system gives instant results and provides more information. In dynamic testing system you can have a check to the actual braking force and verify the proper brake balance.

Importance of Regular Brake Inspection

Common Clutch Problems


The clutch system in a car is based on friction between the flywheel and pressure plate, and eventually these parts will begin to wear and the clutch will need replacing. Nevertheless, there are common clutch problems, and if you can identify a problem early, it could just save you a lot of money.


A car that is driven smoothly, without towing extra loads, can get over 100,000 kilometres out of a clutch. When a vehicle is thrashed, or is constantly dealing with extra loads, the clutch will wear out much faster.


Once the friction materials on the clutch parts start to wear out, instead of engaging tightly and spinning together, as they usually would, the two parts spin at different speeds and caused increased wear.


Here's some common clutch problems, and what to look out for:

Clutch Slipping

A new slipping clutch will most probably be related to operator abuse, like riding the clutch on hills, poor friction point, or oil contamination, and should be rectified immediately before unnecessary wear occurs.

An adjustment might be in order before the clutch fails completely.

A clutch will naturally start to slip once the parts are wearing out- no clutch lasts forever! If your clutch is reasonably new and is slipping, get the problem checked out early, the more the slipping goes on, the greater the wear will be, so identifying the problem early might save you the expense of a replacement clutch.

You will often experience clutch slip when towing, or with the engine under load, and this is just due to the extra pressure being placed on the clutch.


Clutch Sticking or Grabbing

Aside from slipping, clutches can also stick, or grab, also known as chattering. This can be caused by a number of issues, the main ones being:

•Clutch cable needs replacing

•Flywheel is warped or damaged

•Oil contamination of the clutch linings


Do You Have a Clutch problem?

 Listening for Clutch Noise.

The easiest way to determine if you have a clutch problem is to listen carefully when you use the clutch and also to be aware of how the clutch pedal feels under your foot.

When you can suddenly hear strange noises, like squealing, chirping, or rumbling, then it is time to get the clutch looked at.


Change in the Clutch Pedal

If you suddenly have to push the clutch pedal flat to the floor, then you may need some adjustment in the clutch cabling, or have a problem in the hydraulics, if you car is fitted with them.


Whatever the issue with you clutch, getting it assessed early has the potential to save you replacing the whole clutch system, which is a reasonably expensive repair. Being in tune with your car and keeping it service regularly will help to pick up issues before they become major expenses

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The importance of having your vehicles Oil changed

Oil is the life blood of your vehicle, it is common knowledge that oil lubricates moving parts. Yet  few realize is that it also cleans, dampens noise,  acts as a coolant and helps in diagnosing engine problems.


Motor oil is to an engine what blood is to a human being. Clean oil picks up dirt, carbon deposits, metal particles and various other impurities from throughout your vehicle's engine and like blood is passed through your kidneys for filtering, the oil is passed through the oil filter where the majority of waste is trapped and left to do no harm. That is until the filter needs changing.

The rest of the impurities settle in the oil pan once the engine has been turned off and allowed to sit quietly for a while. If the oil is not changed regularly, though, some of the wastes will bond to the oil pan. This will in effect take them out of the flow but eventually they need to be cleaned off by a mechanic. The waste or crud that builds up on the oil pan can act as an insulator and make the engine run hotter than normal.


As mentioned before, some of the wastes in the oil are actually metal particles, usually from bearings, piston rings and other moving parts. Yes, even with the best lubricant you will still have some friction and with friction comes wear, from wear comes metal particles. To help remove this from your engine auto makers came up with a neat little trick of placing a magnet on the end of the oil pan, drain plug so that the pieces are attracted there and can be easily wiped off and discarded.



Quite simply, oil keeps moving parts from banging into each other which cuts down on some of the noise your engine makes. One way you know if you are running low on oil is if you hear that little annoying tapping sound from under the hood. Those are valves opening and closing but now, without oil, they are slamming shut and probably not opening as easily. It's not a good practice to wait for this sound before changing your oil.

The oil in your vehicle normally should be changed every three months or 3000 - 4000 miles. Even with the expensive synthetic stuff you still need to stick with this same schedule.



Motor oil cools your engine in at least two ways. One, of course, by lowering friction between moving parts. Another way is by moving oil that has had a chance to sit in the oil pan and cool off, back through the engine which brings down the overall temperature.

Sometimes the oil is routed via a tube through your vehicles radiator where it is cooled much more efficiently than only being cooled in the oil pan.



One of the neatest uses of motor oil is as a diagnostic tool. I mentioned earlier that motor oil is like blood. This is so true. Let me first explain that the bearings and various other metal parts in your engine are made of a conglomerate of metals. Not just one. A single bearing may contain a mixture of aluminum, copper, mercury and even some precious metals. In some shops where very mission critical engines are used, the repairs can also be very costly. Mistakes are not a good thing in diagnosing problems in these situations. There are special "blood" tests so to speak. By taking a sample of an engine's used oil and sending it to a special lab, it can be determined by spectrum analysis if the engine is wearing more than it should for its age. The lab looks at the amount and type of material deposited in the oil to pinpoint the problem.

All of the benefits of your motor oil are lost if you do not change your oil on a regular basis. You can check with your vehicle's manufacture to see if they suggest a special schedule for changing oil but generally every three months or 3,500 miles, whichever comes first, is a safe bet. You won’t regret it


Many people find general day to day car maintenance taboo.  Most of the time, when using our vehicles, we take for granted that they are in a proper driving condition and sometimes can forget the importance of keeping them well maintained. Vehicles require general and routine maintenance over time and emergency repairs may be needed if you have an accident or if something goes wrong when you're driving. General car maintenance can help to prevent the latter by ensuring that your car is in optimal driving condition at all times. A well maintained car may also mean you're less likely to claim on your car insurance, potentially resulting in lower premiums over time.

Among the general car maintenance tips, getting regular oil changes at the appropriate period of time or usage is at the top of the list of importance. Many people forget when the time comes to get an oil change. Regular oil changes can help ensure that your car runs efficiently and that your engine is well maintained. Old oil or not enough oil in your vehicle can lead to overheating of the engine or other major engine and motor problems that can be expensive to fix. It can also affect air flow and other operational areas that make your driving experience pleasant and safe.


Even people that do remember to get regular oil changes might forget to periodically rotate tyres. It's a good idea to rotate your tyres consistently. Most car care experts suggest you get a complete tyre rotation at least once every couple times that you change your oil. Tyre rotations can help you prevent your tyres from developing uneven wearing of the treads which can cause your car to lean in one direction or another. Your tyres are the foundation of your car's base and its connection to the road, so worn or improperly maintained tyres could be a big safety problem.

Another often neglected and very simple car maintenance tip is checking and filling the air in your tyres. Tyre pressure goes down over time just from natural use, but it can go down more quickly if there's a leak or deficiency. It's important to have the right amount of pressure and to have an even amount of pressure in your tyres. Having too low pressure wears on your tyre as it's stuck between the road and the rims of your car. This can lead to expedited wear and ruining of the tread. Having your car tyres overfilled (not using a gauge to fill) with air can cause dangerous blowouts that could prove fatal.


Find the correct tyre pressures for your vehicle from tyre safe .org

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