The Myths and Truths About Vehicle Diagnostics

So, you are driving along and all of a sudden the engine check lamp (or engine management system light) illuminates on the dash board and all from nowhere.

A sudden panic and you probably start thinking of what to do next. Quite often many people will take the vehicle to a garage or to a friend whom they believe has a code reader. Potentially that friend or garage may even be able to fix the issue for you or simply turn off the light and hope for the best.

So, you go to your friend or garage and get told a code and many people will then hit Google with that code and look at ways of fixing it or try to work out a price for the work to be done.

Now, when the light illuminates one of 3 things can happen. Firstly, the car could stop working completely. Secondly, the car could go into limp mode which means you will experience a loss of power and just idle to your destination a lot slower. Thirdly the car could carry on with what seems to be no problem at all and drives perfectly.

9 out of 10 times the cheap code readers will give you a code that is a secondary code. In other words another fault has caused this code to pop up which could mean there could be further problems going forwards.

Here at Helyer Autos we have spent thousands on the correct diagnostic machinery and have a state of the art facility to ensure that we can correctly pin point the problem with accuracy this will allow us to fix the actual problems and not a secondary code issue.

The cheap (£15-00 in some cases) diagnostic machines on Ebay and similar will often pin the problem to say a catalyctic convertor but what they won’t do is pin point the part of it that is broken. They will generally give what we refer to as a hunt code that could be 1 of many issues that the vehicle has.

Want to know more? Why not contact us today for a diagnostics test that beats the rest.

Car Servicing

Your vehicle needs to be serviced regularly and how frequently will depend on a few different things.

Most modern vehicles have a service due lamp, which in some vehicles will stay Illuminated whilst the engine is running, some will stay on for a minute on start up and then go out. It is now very common that owners have there vehicle serviced when there MOT is due.

Many people don’t like the prospect of paying for a regular service and in many cases a car will carry on running well even if it hasn’t been serviced for a while!  Over the years after servicing cars here at Helyer Autos often customers have said that it doesn’t feel like the car is running any better however under the hood the vehicle will tell a different story. Although these changes are small they make a massive difference to the car and how it runs.

Increased response, better air flow, easier start up from cold, better oil travel and so many other things are a key benefit to getting your car serviced regularly.

There are a lot of horror stories (online and offline) about how a customer has got a mechanic to service their vehicle and then found out later on that the work hasn’t been carried out correctly including oil not being changed or spark plugs not replaced etc. So when you go to get your service done make sure that you check with them what you are getting for your money and always remember that cheapest is usually (in our experience) not the best.

Also don’t forget that although that £29-00 service looks good on the outside a lot of companies may try to up-sell you. Here at Helyer Autos we make sure we tell you how much, what to expect, time frames and we will always ensure you can see the work has been done. If we find anything else that may need doing we will always consult with you first. We may not be the cheapest but we definitely will give you value for money and service with a smile. Want to know more why not get in touch today.


Checks Before Your MOT

Some of these hints and tips might be quite obvious but it is easy to forget the basic things.
If you don’t feel confident to carry out these checks, ask a friend or family member or a professional it may save you a lot of grief, time and money!
1} Check to make sure you have enough engine oil and engine Coolant.  Check the coolant but only when the engine is cold and not running. Make sure you have enough fuel to get you there and back you wouldn’t believe the amount of vehicles that we have to pick up and MOT which are showing Empty
2} Windscreen washers, do they have fluid and work, lights and indicators work, also check the reversing lights and brake lights all these things only take a few minutes of your time to do and could save you another trip to the MOT centre.
3} Check your tyres turn your steering all the way left have a look at both front tyres and see if the tread is not at or below the wear markers. Turn it the other way and look again this is only a simple check and is by no means 100% accurate but it will give you an idea of condition. As a good guide if you have a 20p piece the outer edge is roughly the depth that the tyre should be. If it is below the outside edge of the 20p piece it may be worth visiting a tyre centre to get them checked out before your MOT.
4} Make sure you have no warning lights on when the engine is running as from May 20th 2018 this is classed as an immediate failure! If you need Help with this give us a call!
5} Test all your seat belts to make sure they work and are not cut or frayed and finally make sure your front doors open from the inside.
I hope this may help you stay safe and at least give you a better chance of your vehicle passing the MOT. If you need professional assistance with anything please call us we are here to help you anytime!


Buying a Second Hand Car?

Buying a second hand car? Check out our list of hints and tips below to help you get the best deal –
1} Decide on what make and model of vehicle you want, and also the colour if indeed that matters to you before you go and start looking as this will narrow your search and mean you spend a lot less time looking.
2} Make sure to do some research into your chosen vehicle to see what other people are selling at.  Auto trader is a good place to start and will give you a general consensus on what sort of prices to expect etc.
3} If you are a younger person starting out on your driving career what you want and what you can afford to Insure is going to be 2 different things, Investigate the Insurance category of your chosen vehicle before you buy as this could save you hundreds of pounds.
4} As a general rule of thumb the small low Insurance category cars get snapped up quickly as there is a high demand for them, all this said once you  have decided on a particular make and model, then decide are you going to buy Privately or are you going to buy from a Garage? One golden rule in both cases if it looks to good to be true it probably is !
5} Always make sure you take someone with you whom is knowledgeable about cars OR Call HELYER AUTOS we provide an onsite pre-purchase check for your peace of mind.
6} Although this next comment is not written in stone always remember when you are buying at the bottom end of the market there is the possibility you are buying someone else’s trouble!
7} It is generally better to buy from a reputable garage that will give you some type of warranty but make sure you look at there trading reviews online and offline before parting with your hard earned cash!
8} Make sure the vehicle has a current MOT, and if possible some service history. If its a higher mileage vehicle has the timing belt or cam belt been replaced at the correct mileage? For added confidence you can also check the HPI History of the vehicle online by doing a quick Google search.
I hope this Blog will help you but if you are uncertain of something or you have just some general questions then give us a call on 01344 426999 or 07860 337658 anytime.  Happy hunting!

Diesel Cars And Air Pollution

As may 20th is now fast approaching the new MOT Rules for diesel cars will possibly be a sting in the tail for diesel car and van owners!
Up until a couple of years ago the government were telling us diesel vehicle were the way forward, but they have now decided that the emissions can cause breathing difficulty and a whole other range of diseases. So the clean air lobby will no doubt continue to get their way.
There are three ways in my view that the government will achieve their aim.
1} The older diesels vehicles will find it increasingly difficult to pass the new emissions tests, and when the owner is faced with the repair bill they will possibly decide to scrap the vehicle and put the money to something else!
2} They will increase the price of diesel fuel beyond what it is now and make it too costly for many families that have limited budgets.
3} Increased charges in the way of congestion levies for entering towns and city’s.
All of these will ultimately achieve the aim of the government but it comes as bad news if you have a considerable amount of money tied up in your diesel car. But, there are a few things you can do to stand a good chance of getting through the emissions tests!
Here at Helyer Autos we have Invested in state of the art Manifold and DPF chemical cleaning. Not only will it make your diesel run better and cut the emissions it is non environmentally evasive and with an oil change this should give you a good chance of at least getting another couple of years out of your initial investment !


Diesel Cars And Your MOT

Did you know that as of May 2018 there will be more stringent rules enforced for diesel vehicles?

MOT Your Diesel Car
We have put together some of the things that are involved so you get a better understanding as there isn’t much out there that explains it correctly –


Diesel emission limits will be lowered making it more difficult for the older diesel cars to pass its MOT. There are things an owner of a diesel car can do to give them a much better chance of passing it including –

  • Get the vehicle serviced before the MOT
  • Use an injector cleaner to a low tank of diesel

These things will make a huge difference to drive-ability, fuel consumption will be much improved and you can expect your emissions to be cut too.

A few other things that will effect MOT’s from May include –
  • The engine check lamp must not be Illuminated at any time while the engine is running, this is now a fail !
  • Reversing lights must work
  • Front fog or driving lamps must work
  • An oil leak if considered bad enough could be a failure
  • The diesel particulate filter (DPF) must not be removed or tampered with if fitted
As qualified MOT examiners for class 1/2/4 and 7 vehicles we can help you ensure that your vehicle is ready and has the best chances of passing an MOT.
In our view this is just another way of the government being able to remove diesel cars from the road under the very popular guise of clean air. The other way they may also try to alleviate the numbers is by increasing the tax on diesel fuel, and possibly increasing the road tax for diesels!
We are also waiting for the signs that the government will be running a new diesel scrappage scheme that will give you a better deal when buying a new car.


Confident Mechanics

Firstly we want to be honest and open with you from the start but we also know that there are a number of mechanics that don’t run their businesses on the same principles that we do so below we are trying to outline some useful hints and tips that help you to ensure you get the right mechanic for the job.

1 – Always make sure you get a few quotes as we have heard that some mechanics will often extend the issues to things that don’t necessarily need doing so that they can make a few extra pounds for their back pockets.

2 – Getting a diagnostic test result can often lead a mechanic straight to the problem without you needing to drop your car off for days so that they can charge you extra for spending hours trying to find the problem. A diagnostics test usually will only take a few minutes and will often end up saving you a small fortune.

3 – Your tyres are no longer safe and need replacing is a common way for some mechanics to make a few extra quid so as a general rule of thumb check your tyre depth using a 20p coin and if the outer edge is below the tyre tread your car tyres should be fine. Alternatively take the vehicle to a tyre specialist and make sure you get them checked before replacing them. Common prices can start from £200-00 for a set of 4 new tyres which is a pretty price to pay if they don’t really need replacing.

4 – When getting work done to your car make sure that you ask the mechanic to keep back the old parts as you would like to see them as this will discourage them from charging you for new parts that haven’t necessarily been replaced.

If you are a dinosaur when its comes to the engine on your car why not get a few quotes and make Helyer Autos one of them for a trusted and reputable mechanic that will ensure you are back on the road in no time. Simply contact us today on 01344 426999 to find out more.

Car Maintenance

Did you know that a regular service can ensure that you save in the long term?

Did you also know that keeping your tyre pressures checked throughout the year could save you up to £150-00 per year?

Here at Helyer Autos we offer a car service that is second to none. Ensuring your vehicle has all the right levels of fluid and also has new filters replaced yearly will ensure your car runs smoothly. With a keen eye for detail we have also been known to spot issues before  they arise meaning our customers have saved money from costly repairs later on down the line.

Make sure you check your oil levels, water level, brake fluid levels and air pressure regularly and especially before you are about to embark on a long journey as this can make a huge difference to how your car drives and even feels.

Did you also know that it is your duty to ensure that your tyres are road worthy and if you don’t and get caught with a tyre below the legal limit you could be fined and even gain points on your license which puts up the cost of your insurance massively?

For sound and impartial advice why not give us a call with any questions you may have today on 01344 426999.