Mechanical Diagnosis, Minimum Stripdown – Peugeot 308 – P0011

We recently had a Peugeot 308 in as a none runner with a P0011 – Timing Over Advanced fault code showing on the vehicle, which we felt would be a good write up to highlight some of the specialist services we can now offer to diagnose complex mechanical issues with the minimum stripdown of a vehicle.

The vehicle was recovered in to us after being somewhere else and various checks being performed on the vehicle with no concrete answer as to what the actual cause of none start was.

After conducting some initial checks and measuring compression, we observed two cylinders were lower than the others.

Using specialist tools we were then able to look inside the engine without removing more than a coil and spark plug to determine the cause of the issue.

Once the vehicle was stripped down, it was clear that the timing chain had stretched and one of the VVT control pulleys had failed, causing the timing to be incorrect.

So without any major stripdown we were able to prove the following:

  • The timing is out.
  • No valves had been damaged or bent.
  • There were no nasty surprised awaiting once the vehicle was up and running again (bottom end damage)

This meant we could go to the customer with complete confidence that what we were quoting would be all that was required to get the vehicle running again.

If you’ve got an issue on your vehicle – whether it be running or not – give us a call on 01543 452630.

In the majority of cases we can diagnose the issue in the initial assessment charge and give you a definite answer to your issue.

ECU Reprogramming and Coding – BMW, Mercedes, VW, Seat, Skoda, Peugeot and Citroen

We now offer a wide range of programming and fault finding using genuine dealer tools and software.

This gives our customers incredible value for money as we can carry out many procedures that would usually have resulted in an expensive trip to the dealer, plus we have the latest technical information for most brands on the market.

Having the correct information to be able to test today’s modern and complex vehicles means that we can find complicated faults in the quickest time possible, resulting in smaller bills overall and no money wasted in replacing unnecessary parts.

From specialist resets to programming replacement ECU’s to vehicles, we can cater for 90% of the vehicles in the UK market using the right equipment.

  • Mercedes
  • Toyota
  • BMW
  • Peugeot
  • Citroen
  • Jaguar
  • Land Rover
  • Ford
  • Volkswagen
  • Seat
  • Skoda
  • Audi
  • Vauxhall
  • Chevrolet
  • Volvo

If you need something that you have been informed you need to visit a main dealer for, give us a call on 01543 452630. We will be able to help in most cases.

Ford Fiesta – Emissions Failure

This vehicle came to us with a failed emissions test on an MOT.

After carrying out an assessment on the vehicle and looking at the mileage the vehicle does, we concluded this was down to carbon build up.

We carried out an intake clean on the vehicle and re-checked the emissions – the difference was impressive!

If your vehicle fails it’s MOT on emissions being over the specified value, give us a call on 01543 452630. We can offer the best and most cost effective way of getting your emissions related issues resolved.

Citroen Relay 2016 – P1490(68), P1490(92) – Limp Mode, No Power.

We recently had this Citroen Relay in to the workshop with a massive lack of power and two fault codes logged – P1490(68), P1490(92).

After speaking with the customer, we determined that the vehicle had been elsewhere and a DPF Regeneration had been carried out, however the light came back on fairly soon afterwards.

Before recommending a DPF clean we carry out a thorough inspection of the vehicle, checking all the possible underlying causes for the issue so we can be certain that the repairs we suggest will ensure that the DPF does not block again due to an issue on the vehicle.

It was lucky in this case that we did – although there were no faults relating to anything else, we quickly determined a component failure was the cause of the issue and that the previous company had cleared the codes when carrying out a regeneration.

The component was replaced, the vehicle was tested on the road and the DPF system performed a regeneration, indicating that it was now fault free and back to normal.

If you have any suspected DPF issues, give us a call – a £90 assessment to correctly identify the cause of the issue is much cheaper than a wasted DPF clean!

Audi A4 2016 – Limp Mode, No Power, P2002, P2209

This Audi A4 came in to us with an engine management light on and lacking power.

A fault code scan revealed two codes of interest – P2002 Particulate Trap Efficiency Below Requirements and P2209 – NOX Heater Circuit Range / Performance.

Using manufacturer wiring diagrams and dealer tools. we developed a test plan to get to the bottom of both issues (which can be complex on new Euro 6 engines due to their setup!), rectified them and carried out the necessary resets required to get the vehicle back up to full functionality.

The DPF did not need to be replaced on this vehicle.

If you have any DPF or Adblue issues, give us a call on 01543 452630 and we can advise the best and most cost effective way to rectify them.

Stay Cool and Comfortable with Your Car’s Air Conditioning

Finally, the winter is over and the UK is enjoying a rise in temperatures and some sunshine again. Of course, when you’re travelling by car, this means you’ll need your air conditioning running instead of your heater. Since it’s been out of action for a while, there’s the chance that you’ll turn it on and experience a blast of hot air. This is definitely not what you want.

Well, don’t worry. At Fitch Autos, we’re going to make sure you don’t have a sticky journey this spring or summer. This article is going to discuss everything you need to know about your vehicle’s air conditioning.

Why It’s Important to Get an Air Con Recharge

You may be thinking; is an air con recharge service really worth it? Does my car actually need it? Well, it is more beneficial than you may think. This is really down to the way your car’s A/C System is designed. It has rubber hoses to complement the fixed aluminium pipes. Over time, this construction leads to the loss of refrigerant, which is an important gas in your car’s air con system. If you don’t have the right amount of refrigerant, you won’t be able to cool the air in your vehicle’s cabin.

At Fitch Autos we recommend to let the air conditioning run throughout the year. When you’re low on refrigerant, this can lead to more serious malfunctions with your system that could be costly to fix.

How Does the Air Conditioning Work in Your Car?

Do you want to find out more about how air con systems actually work? Well, we will give you the lowdown on how your car deals with a hot cabin.

  1. The compressor moves around the refrigerant in your air con system.
  1. It is liquid refrigerant to begin with, which passes through the expansion valve. But this is where it boils and turns into gas. The cabin air will pass over the evaporator.
  2. Whilst the refrigerant is being turned into gas, it absorbs the heat from the inside of your vehicle.
  3. This gas is tempted into the compressor where the temperature and pressure of the refrigerant will rise.
  4. The gas is now passed through the condenser, ambient air is blown over the condenser by your condenser fan.
  5. The heat that was absorbed into the refrigerant will be drawn out of the car.
  6. Your air conditioning system has now moved the heat from the cabin to the outside of the vehicle, and you can now experience cool and refreshing air inside your vehicle!

During the MOT, is the Air Conditioning Examined?

You will find that checking the air conditioning is not included in your Mot. It is also not common for this check to be part of regular manufacturers service schedules either. Normally, there will be an air conditioning service that you have to arrange.

At Fitch Autos, we always recommended that you arrange an A/C system check every 12 months to make sure it’s in good order. This includes a service every 24 months too. This will make sure that you are cool and comfortable at all times without any problems.

Why Does the Air Con Stop Working?

The most common cause of your air conditioning system not working is a lack of refrigerant (gas). Without the correct quantity in the system the heat cannot be cooled to the desired temperature.

But the good news is that refrigerant is easy to replace and this will mean that your air conditioning can be back to normal before you know it. Leaks happen through natural loss or if there is a problem with your system.

How Your Refrigerant Will be Replaced – a Re Gas

Let’s start by looking at what happens during re gas. It’s pretty simple and straightforward for our mechanics.

  1. We start with a performance test to see how your air conditioning is working. We test the temperatures inside the vehicle and the ambient air.
  2. We remove the refrigerant. It will be weighed and we’ll compare it to the quantity that is advised for your car.
  3. We carry out a vacuum leak check.
  4. For a thorough investigation, we also carry out a pressure leak.
  5. A specialist vacuum pump is used to remove moisture inside the A/C system.
  6. We add dye so that this can help us spot any leak detection in the future.
  7. We add oil where it’s required.
  8. We will replace the refrigerant with the right quantity.
  9. We run a performance check again to make sure everything is correct and that your air conditioning is cooling efficiently and effectively.

Air Con Re Gas VS Air Con Service?

So, we’ve gone over an A/C re gas. But what exactly is involved in an air con service and how does it differ? Here are a few of the common items carried out on an air con service to ensure your cabin remains cool and free of nasty odours.

  • The A/C condenser fan is checked.
  • Cleaning of the A/C condenser takes place. This includes removing leaves and debris to improve heat exchange.
  • Compressor drive belt inspected and condition reported.
  • Inspection of the A/C pipes under the bonnet.
  • Replacement of the refrigerant receiver dryer or accumulator.
  • Prevent pollutants by inspecting or replacing pollen filters.
  • A/C de bug treatment if there is bacteria present in the cabin vents.

An air con service is best every 24 months, alongside re gas checks. This is going to make sure your air con is working and lower the risk of costly faults developing from a lack of maintenance.

How to Prevent Faults with Your Air Conditioning System

Do you only use your air conditioning during the spring and summer months? This may be a reason why you are experiencing faults with your vehicle’s A/C system. You should really have your air con running throughout the year to prevent faults. It can also be great for dehumidifying and demisting your cabin. Keeping the system ticking over during the year can make sure you don’t have repairs later on.

So, do you still have a problem with your car’s air conditioning?

At Fitch Autos, we can help you out. We are air conditioning experts, with lots of knowledge and experience when it comes to fixing the problem. Air conditioning isn’t supposed to make you hot and sweaty – we’ll get it back to its best in no time.

Just give us a call today on 01543 452630

What To Do When Your Car Doesn’t Start

It’s a feeling all drivers dread. You switch on the ignition and nothing happens! There really is nothing worse than having to be somewhere and your car not starting.

So what can you do? At Fitch Autos our job is to keep you on the road in a car that is trustworthy. With this in mind, we’ve composed this article to help you be prepared if this ever happens to you.

What Should You Check?

Even though your car is a complex feat of engineering, prior to calling Fitch Autos, there are few things you can do yourself to establish the cause of the problem. The most common causes include:

1 – The car’s battery may be so low that the vehicle only turns over slowly, if at all.

2 – Automatic cars being left in gear and not in Park or Neutral.

3 – Using the wrong key which hasn’t been programmed, so the vehicle won’t start.

4 – The car is filled with the wrong fuel.

5 – A Malfunction Indicator Lamp indicating an electronic system fault.

So what can you do?

Check Your Battery: If the car turns over at a suitable speed the battery is not the problem. However, if the vehicle doesn’t crank (turn over) it could well be your battery and it’s time for another test.

Wet the windscreen with your washers and try the wipers. If they don’t move, or move very slowly across the screen the battery looks suspicious. Try recharging the battery or using jump leads to start the vehicle from a slave battery.

How To “Jump Start” Your Car

To “Jump Start” your car is fairly straightforward with some jump leads and either another vehicle or a spare battery.

The procedure involves connecting your battery to another vehicle’s battery or a separate spare battery. Having done this, wait 10 minutes while the charge equalises between the batteries, and then start your vehicle.

It’s hugely important you read the manufacturer’s information as this will highlight where the jump leads should be connected and any specific procedure that is needed to be followed. In some cases, this connection is not directly to the battery, and failure to get it right can lead to faults being caused.

Of course, if you ever think your battery is flat then please call us and we can take care of this on your behalf.

When Your Vehicle is Immobilised

Car anti-theft systems have transponder immobilisers which are tiny coded chips. When you present your car the key to your vehicle, it checks the data within the transponder to confirm it is the correct key for the car. If it is the car will be able to crank (turn over). If it is not, then you may well see an illuminated light like the one below.

f you suspect the problem is an immobiliser issue then you need to check the key. Is it a key you have used previously to start the car? If it isn’t, then use the previous key. If the car now starts the faulty key needs inspecting.

However, if it is the correct key and it still doesn’t work, try placing it nearer to the key’s reader. The owner’s manual will outline the perfect position for this.

If neither of these tips allows you to start your car then give us a call as our skilled technicians will find a solution to the problem.

Dash Lights

If there are no dash lights showing or the wrong lights are illuminated the issue can be caused by one or two different faults. The first thing to do is to check that none of the vehicle’s fuses has blown.

Because fuses are there to protect a car’s electrical systems they are designed to “blow” when a fault occurs. Blown fuses are a common cause of cars not starting.

The owner’s manual will show you where the fuse boxes are located as well as outlining which system each fuse is there to protect. Each one needs to be checked individually, and any that have blown need to be replaced with another of the same rating.

If any fuse blows again when the ignition is switched on, then this indicates a permanent fault which will need to be professionally diagnosed.

If a Malfunction Indicator Light is illuminated it is highlighting a problem with one of the car’s electrical systems, many of which can cause a car not to start.

At Fitch Autos we have specialist equipment and skilled technicians to accurately get to the bottom of all these issues. So give us a call and we’ll get you back on the road in no time.

Brake Safety

At Fitch Autos our customers are our top priority and we want you to be sure you are driving vehicles on which you can rely. We want you to be able to drive safely in the knowledge that however fast you go, you’ll always be able to stop.

We see vehicles every day that have worn brake pads. Indeed the problem is among the most common we come across. This is why we’ve written this article so you’ll know what to look out for, how to save money on your brakes, and stay safe at the same time.

The Dangers

Brakes are extremely important for any vehicle. With faulty brakes, when you push down on the brake pedal, there are always going to be questions about whether you can stop in time and if there is any danger of an accident.

Brakes with issues can not only lead to longer stopping distances but also hold out a prospect of skidding and even, in the worst cases, failing totally.

Not only that, but worn pads can often damage your brake discs leading to a premature replacement and unnecessary expense.

How Brakes Work

When you press on your brake pedal, a lever puts pressure on a piston that is filled with hydraulic fluid and is connected to a master cylinder. This hydraulic system multiplies your foot’s pressure to create enough force to apply the brakes and bring the car to a stop.  

Modern cars tend to be fitted with brakes that are made up of discs, calipers, and pads. The hydraulic fluid is what causes the brake calipers to push the brake pads against the brake discs and stop the car.  

The complex component combination in most modern cars includes ABS (Anti Lock Braking Systems) which have sensors to record wheel speeds and a computer to control brakes in emergency conditions.

Such technology means most brake faults we come across relate to pads and discs. These wear and from time to time need to be replaced.

Extending the life of your brakes

Brakes last for longer if you apply progressive braking. This involves pressure being applied to brakes gently initially, then in a smooth transition becoming increasingly harder. The technique doesn’t stop you braking firmly if required but progressive braking means the process can develop gradually rather than the pedal being stamped on. It is kinder on the braking system and when used correctly can:

  • Prevent your wheels locking
  • Reduce any chance of skidding
  • Boost your car’s fuel economy
  • Allow other road users plenty of time in which to react if it’s required
  • Lessen brake wear
  • Progressive braking also saves you money!

Awareness of Brake Faults

Even if you’ve been using progressive braking at some point, there isn’t a car on the road that isn’t going to need brake repairs. When you have any concerns the best idea is to book an inspection. We want you to be safe, not sorry.

Here’s a list of some things to look out for:

  • Squealing, squeaking or grinding noises
  • Scaping, vibration, or wobbling when braking
  • A brake pedal that feels spongy or soft
  • Lengthened car stopping distances
  • The brake fluid light
  • The ABS light
  • The brake-pad-wear light

Brakes need to be replaced if there is an issue. Prevention is always better than cure so brakes should be inspected regularly; for example when your vehicle is serviced or if you suspect there may be an issue.

Our technicians not only inspect your pads and discs but also compare measurements with manufacturer specifications to make sure you are able to drive safely at all times.

The image below outlines the difference between braking components that are old and require replacing and the new ones. This is why it’s important that accurate measurements are undertaken and not just a visual inspection.

At Fitch Autos we also test your car’s brake fluid, because this has only a limited service life and can affect your vehicle’s braking performance.

We put your safety first, so if you have any concerns about your brakes, don’t hesitate to book a quick inspection today.

Call Fitch Autos on 01543 452630 to find out more.

Ways to Make Sure Your Vehicle is Ready for the Spring

Spring is here and you’ll be as glad as we are that the cold and wet weather is nearly over. The colourful flowers are blooming and the sun is starting to make an appearance again.

Have you kept up with your car’s maintenance over the winter? The majority of drivers don’t and this means that when spring comes around, there’s going to be a few things that you need to do. This includes everything from swapping tyres to arranging an air conditioning service.

With our top tips, you can make sure that your vehicle is at its best for the spring ahead. So, get planning your road trips – it’s time to get your car ready!

Let’s take a look at the things you should do today.

Check Your Brakes

Have you noticed that your brakes have started to squeak or they’re making grinding noises? This isn’t a good sign and it may have been caused by all the hard work your car had to do during the winter. The best thing you can do is to arrange a service for your vehicle as soon as possible. It’s better to never take any risks with your brakes. We will be able to tell you if there is anything wrong and get it fixed for you.

Change the Wipers and Fill the Washer Fluid

Have you noticed that your wipers aren’t cleaning your windscreen anymore? Are they leaving streaks that are affecting your view of the road? Sounds like it could be time to replace them. It’s best to do this in the spring since there’s normally a lot of April showers in the air.

In addition, you’ll want to fill up the washer fluids too. There’s a lot of bugs flying around in the spring and it’s easy for them to get stuck to your windscreen. Top up your washer fluid which will allow you to clear your windscreen and improve visibility on the roads.

Choose Regular Tyres

If your car had winter tyres on during the last few months, you’ll want to swap back to regular tyres again. All season tyres work perfectly during the spring and we’ll happily swap them over for you at Fitch Autos.

Once you’re all set and ready to go, check the tread. You want to make sure it’s over the legal limit. In addition, see what the tyre pressure is and fill them up if they need to be. This will make sure you’re safe on the road, as well as fuel efficient.

Wash Away Salt and Dirt

A lot of drivers are guilty of not cleaning the exterior of their vehicle during the winter. After all, there is so much salt and dirt on the road. But this can actually be damaging for your paintwork if you leave all the dirt and grime on your car. Take out your cleaning products and your pressure washer and it’s time to blast away all the dirt.

Book an Air Conditioning Service

During the spring, the temperatures start to get warmer. This means that you’re probably going to need the air conditioning on in your car before long. But the problem is, a lot of drivers don’t run their air conditioning during the winter. This can mean problems can develop or go unnoticed. The best way to avoid this is by running your air conditioning during the winter to avoid problems, but drivers don’t tend to do this.

Common issues include a bad smell and strange noises. If you notice any issues, the best thing you can do is to arrange an air conditioning service. This is going to find out what the problem is and get it fixed for you.

Normally, it’s mould and bacteria that’s built up causing the bad smell. In addition, pollen filters have to be cleaned too to make sure that dust and dirt are gone. If you experience a leak, this could be down to a problem with the evaporator.

It’s also important to remember that the lubricant for the air conditioning system should be replaced every two years. This should be done every two years to make sure that everything runs smoothly during the spring and summer.

At Fitch Autos our experienced technicians will inspect your air conditioning system, ensure the system cleans, dries and cools the air just when you need it most.
At Fitch Autos we’re here to serve the motorists of Brownhills, Burntwood and Lichfield, so if you’d like some assistance with any of the above, or you’d like to book your vehicle in for a service or Spring health check then give us a call as we here to help.

Call – 01543 452630 to book any of your spring maintenance needs.

What you need to know about Diesel Particulate Filters

At Fitch Autos we’re keen to ensure you have trouble free motoring in a car you can trust. We receive a fair number of enquiries for DPF faults so thought it’d be a good idea to give you the information you need to keep yours healthy.

When you have a problem with the Diesel Particulate Filters (DPF) fitted to your car the chances are you will end up facing a hefty repair bill.

If you are one of the lucky ones whose DPF has never ever been clogged, you probably don’t even realise you have one.

Watch out though! When DPFs develop problems, you’ll find out about it in an expensive way.

What is a DPF?

A DPF is also known as a soot trap. It’s a filter that captures and stores your exhaust’s soot and reduces emissions from diesel vehicles.

By reducing harmful exhaust emissions a DPF also helps to prevent all that billowing black smoke that used to be pumped out of the back of older diesel cars.

Whatever your car, the way a DPF works is similar: the exhaust gases travel through the DPF leaving the large soot particles behind. These larger particles are what cause problems when the filter becomes blocked with soot. In a worst case scenario, your engine stops running and you are left with a sizeable repair bill. It could easily amount to thousands of pounds.

Because DPFs have finite capacities, they need to be cleared out by burning off the soot at temperatures that are high enough to convert the soot into much smaller ash particles that can be expelled from the exhaust system.

Common Causes of Failure?

DPF issues tend to arise if this cleaning process or ‘regeneration’ process is disrupted. To make sure regeneration takes place, most motor manufacturers recommend driving the car for in excess of 15 minutes and at more than 40mph. When this is done at intervals of a few hundred miles it should regularly clear the filter. You’ll find the specific instructions for your vehicle in the driver’s handbook.

If your DPF can’t be passively regenerated, your car’s computer will take the necessary action to stop the filter clogging up. If it detects the filter is liable to be blocked, the computer will raise the exhaust gas temperature to trigger regeneration. It takes between 10 and 15 minutes to complete. During this period if your car has an engine stop-start system it’s likely it will deactivate.

If you frequently have to do lots of short, town journeys, so you reach your destination prior to completion of the regeneration and the process is interrupted, don’t be surprised when the DPF warning light comes on.

If this happens, to give the DPF a chance to regenerate take the car for a drive on a free-flowing road like a dual carriageway or motorway and continue driving for no less than 15 minutes.

Don’t ignore the warning light and continue driving slowly in stop-start traffic because it’s almost guaranteed that other warning lights will come on and your car is likely to go into a limping mode to automatically prevent further engine damage. If an affected car is left, the DPF will fail and need either to be cleaned or replaced.

If replacement is the only option, beware because most manufacturer warranties won’t cover the cost if the problem is caused by driving style and not the filter itself. This is when you need to be prepared for footing a big four-figure bill.

Why is a DPF required?

It is all but mandatory under the Euro 5 legislation that came into effect 10 years ago. The rules determine an exhaust’s emissions, particularly with regard to CO2.

As a result, it’s illegal to drive any car that won’t meet its emissions standards without a DPF. You can’t duck the responsibility because since February 2014 checking a DPF is present became part of the MOT test procedure.

How To Avoid A Big Bill?

So… if your DPF light is on and remains lit after you’ve followed the instructions in your handbook for regeneration (driving on a dual carriageway etc), what next?

We’re keen to keep any remedial work to a minimum which is why accurate diagnosis is essential.  There are a number of subsystems that are required for efficient regeneration (glow plugs, additive injectors etc), it’s very common for one of these to have caused the fault.Once we’ve found the root cause we can then assess if cleaning the DPF is suitable.

At Fitch Autos we have a lot of experience in DPF repairs. You’ll be guaranteed a high level of workmanship and great value.

Call today with you DPF faults. We’re here to help.