Engine and Transmission

Spark plug upgrades


  1. Posted on August 16th, 2019 by Rob Marshall
  2. You can spend hundreds of pounds on aftermarket bolt-on products that claim to improve your fuel consumption – some work, others are simply gimmicks. Even so, fitting quality replacement parts can have a greater relevance. The spark plug has a very hard life. It must contain forces that equate to fifty times that of gravity, […]

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Save money and check oil before going on holiday


  1. Posted on August 6th, 2019 by Rob Marshall
  2. Contrary to popular belief, all engines consume oil, even when in good condition; the rate at which they do so varies, however. The result is that the oil level drops within the sump. Yet, providing that it does not fall below the ‘minimum’ mark on the dipstick, engine damage is unlikely to occur. Not every […]

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The perils of cheap ignition coils


  1. Posted on August 5th, 2019 by Rob Marshall
  2. Ignition coils have been crucial to the petrol engine, even before one was used to power a horseless carriage and are still vital today. Their role is to provide a high voltage spark that is used to jump across a gap on a spark plug, to ignite the petrol and air mixture. Without a decent […]

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What is my timing belt interval?


  1. Posted on May 15th, 2019 by Rob Marshall
  2. This is one of the most popular technical questions that our members ask. The answer is both mileage and time dependent. Here are our top five tips on timing belt intervals: 1. Over-egging Some car manufacturers state an over-long replacement interval, mainly to appease fleet customers, when the cars are new. Premature timing belt failures […]

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Be wary of DPF additive overdosing


  1. Posted on May 2nd, 2019 by Rob Marshall
  2. We have heard recently of problems occurring, when drivers dose additives into their diesel cars to help clear a partially-blocked diesel particulate filter (DPF), as pictured. Subsequent problems occur not due to the additive itself but because the operator does not follow the instructions.   DPF additive problems The additives work by promoting higher temperatures […]

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Is your antifreeze eating your engine?


  1. Posted on March 12th, 2019 by Rob Marshall
  2. As we start to look forward to spring, you may think that antifreeze does not matter any more. Indeed, the coolant within your engine has many properties. Yes, it cools the engine but it also possesses an anti-corrosion property. These additives diminish gradually over time, until either corrosion, or decomposing coolant, causes a blockage and […]

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The dangers of ‘silent’ electric cars revealed with a solution


  1. Posted on November 23rd, 2018 by Rob Marshall
  2. Despite many questions remaining unanswered about the cradle-to-grave environmental soundness of the electric vehicle (EV), it does offer a means of cutting urban pollutant levels that result from conventional road transport. In many ways, I remain a cautious fan. With population levels in our cities predicted to swell even further, it is unsurprising that governments […]

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Sensors lead the way in warranty claim


  1. Posted on October 29th, 2018 by Rob Marshall
  2. A report that says sensors have pipped alternators to become a top warranty claim (for those sold by the RAC dealer network) came as little surprise to us, when the news hit GEM’s technical helpdesk. There are several reasons for this, such as virtually everything mechanical being influenced, or controlled, entirely by electronics that depend […]

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Will the new Green E10 petrol cost you dear?


  1. Posted on October 19th, 2018 by Rob Marshall
  2. The government consultation (which lasted for fewer than two months) closed on the 16th September. In it, the Department of Transport (DfT) sought public feedback on whether and how to introduce E10 petrol in the UK, in what way to label the new fuel, plus for how long a continued supply of the ‘traditional’ E5 […]

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New diesel engine that runs on petrol announced


  1. Posted on July 17th, 2018 by Rob Marshall
  2. With the considerable anti-diesel rhetoric that exists currently, one would think that the world had turned its back on compression-ignition engine technology. That is untrue. While new UK sales have declined, demand for used diesel cars has risen. One of the major issues is that there is no realistic alternative to heavy-oil cars, on the […]

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