A.P Engineering Colchester: Car News

Losing money when you return your lease car? Customer saves £1500 on his X5. Another £700 on his BMW 3 series.

  • Scratches to alloy wheels or paintwork
  • Dents to Bodywork
  • Upholstery/Leather damage, tears or rips
  • Hands Free Kit removal
  • Any mechanical issues

You could save yourselves thousands by getting a FREE lease car appraisal by one of our engineers and then booking it in before its return to the lease company.

“I saved £700 returning my lease car a few months ago and wouldn’t think twice before letting the team at AP Engineering sort the next car I have before returning it. I came to the end of the lease on my BMW 3 series, dropped it into the garage for a week and picked up the car looking as good as new. No penalties and no charges from the lease company. A no brainer as far as I’m concerned” Mr. Back Colchester

We have many testimonials along these lines at the garage, recently saving one customer £1500 on the return of his X5 compared to the charges that would have been levied by the lease company.

Call 01206 864 200 today to see how you could save money

Have you had your air conditioning checked lately?

Are you feeling the heat? Want to cool down but the air conditioning doesn’t seem to be keeping you cool. You may need to re-gass the system? A P Engineering have technicians who can check your air-con and make sure its working to its full potential.

Before Re gassing the System – Get your technician to Check for leaks

A dye based air conditioning leakdown test uses a colored dye to find freon leaks in your air conditioning system. Using this test, a colored dye is injected into the a/c system which will be visible under UV (ultra-violet) light at the point of a leak anywhere in the system. The test is performed under full pressure with the air conditioning system closed (sealed as if you were driving under normal conditions). This is a good idea if you are thinking of recharging your AC system because recharging a leaking system is a waste of time and money.

How Car/Vehicle Air conditioning systems work

Any system that lowers temperature operates in similar fashion. First you take a gas, like Freon, and place it in a sealed system. This freon is then pressurized using a compressor. As it's pressurized, it gets hot by absorbing the heat around it. This hot gas is then circulated through a series of tubes that dissipate the heat. The gas can lose lots of its heat, in other words it gets really cold, when you reduce the pressure. As it cools it becomes a liquid. This is when you get cold air blowing. To use this system in a car, it needed very little adaptation from its early applications as a refrigeration device. since it was discovered that Freon (R-12) was harmful to the earth's Ozone layer, it's been phased out for automotive use, and replaced with the slightly less efficient, but harmless R-134a refrigerant.

Your air conditioning system is made up of a compressor, a condenser, an evaporator (or drier), refrigeration lines and a couple of sensors here and there. to tell it pressure and temperatures and are specific to the make and model of your vehicle.

Compressor: This is the heart of your a/c system. The compressor is what takes the refrigerant (the gas) and pressurizes it so it will cool the air. It's run by an engine belt. The compressor also has an electrically operated clutch that turns the compressor on and off as you demand more cool air.

Condenser: The condenser is like a miniature radiator, usually mounted at the front of the car right next to your big radiator. Sometimes the condenser will have its own electric cooling fan, too. The hot, compressed air passes through the condenser and gets lots cooler. As it cools, it becomes a liquid.

Evaporator: The evaporator is another little radiator that does just the opposite task as the condenser. As the super-cool liquid is passed through its tubes, air is forced through and gets really cold, right before it hits your face. As it warms up again, the refrigerant starts turning back into a gas.

Thermal Expansion Valve: You don't always want to freeze your toes off, so the a/c system has a valve that controls the flow of super-cool refrigerant to the evaporator. This way you can regulate how cold the air blowing on you gets. There are a few types of valves in use these days, but they all do the same thing.

Drier or Accumulator: The drier, also known as the receiver-drier, is sort of the safety catch for your system. The compressor is only supposed to compress the gas form of your refrigerant. However, there's always a chance that some liquid could make it back that far. The drier catches this liquid before it can damage your compressor. Since even the tiniest leak or careless installation can introduce water moisture to the system, the drier absorbs this chemically, using what's called a dessicant (similar to that packet of "DO NOT EAT" that comes with electronics). The drier also has a filter that catches any gunk that might be in there.

Content Supplied from About.com

Vehicle Refurbishment / Interiors / Multi media

A P Engineering specialises in vehicles interiors with Multimedia at the heart of its expertise. A local Colchester company commissioned Andy Pearson to add a few modern comforts to their two 2009 Bay Window VW Campervans and Vdub Ventures has just taken delivery of their two T 2’s with many extra’s not seen on a traditional VW Campervan.

The van’s were completely stripped, rewired and modernised, to now boast the very latest in Alpine touch technology with Bluetooth Music Streaming, Telephony, Digital Television, DVD, CD, Multi Media connection for the likes of Playstation & XBox and roof mounted flip down LCD TV’s.

Reverse parking sensors and Camera’s were subtly added with colour-coded bumpers and mini-cameras mounted above the number plates.

Finally A P Engineering helped in the finishing of both vehicles with Colour coded Alloy Wheels, Side Steps, Interior noise dampening, Tinted windows, and various other general interior and exterior fixtures and fittings. With the addition of a full body Respray organised through CA Body Repairs it’s a job well done. To see the vans in Full Splendour view www.vdubventures.com

Used Cars at AP Engineering Colchester

AP Engineering has an abundance of used cars for sale to suit your budget. Drop in all give us a call to see what is in our latest stock. Whilst our cars are checked over before we sell them, we’ve a few important points to bear in mind when looking for a used car.

Taken from http://www.autotrader.co.uk/advice/2010/09/buying/buying-a-used-car

Inspecting a used car

You don’t need to be a mechanic to inspect a used car, but there are a few golden rules.

Get a car history check to establish if the car has any outstanding finance, has been stolen or written off.

Examine the car’s documents – logbook, service history and previous MOT certificates – to spot if the car has been clocked.

Check the car’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) at the base of the windscreen, under the bonnet and stamped into the chassis under the carpet beside the driver’s seat for signs of tampering, and make sure they match the VIN recorded in the logbook.

Look for rust, mismatched paint and uneven gaps between body panels

Make sure all the car’s features work.

By reading key documents including the V5C (logbook), service history and MOT certificates then checking key points around the car, you will be able to quickly assess if the vehicle you are viewing is as described in its advert

Test driving a car

The test drive is your chance to asses every aspect of the car, from how it feels on the road, to making sure all its equipment works correctly.

Always take a test drive of at least 15 minutes and on different types of road. Arrange suitable insurance cover before you drive the car.

Start the car when the engine is cold, and check for excessive smoke and unusual noises.

Check the gears, brakes, steering and suspension work as they should, with no unusual noises and vibrations

Doing the paperwork

A car’s paperwork is essential and provides information on the history and ownership of the car, so you should check it thoroughly.

Check all paperwork looks and feels genuine – photocopies and print outs could be fake.

Ensure the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) recorded in the logbook matches the ones displayed in the car, and the address and recorded keeper’s information tallies with the person selling the car.

Examine the service history to make sure the recorded mileage is in line with the mileage displayed in the car, and that regular maintenance has been carried out. Cars over three years old should be supplied with a valid MOT – check old MOT certificates to verify the car’s mileage, and contact the garage that completed the MOT test if you’re unsure.

Make sure the buyer writes a receipt for you both.

Complete the new keeper parts of the v5C (logbook) and ensure it’s sent to the DVLA

Winter checks could save you money and a lot of time…

Two out of the last three winters have seen widespread snow and ice for weeks on end with temperatures regularly falling below -10C. Trouble is, you're more likely to break down in a bad winter, which means you need to get your car ready now.

For this reason, AP Engineering is offering free winter checks to make sure your car is in the best state to combat these bad conditions. The following is taken from the AA, so have a read and then give us a call to arrange a meeting.

The AA had its busiest day ever on Monday 4 January 2010 and then again, less than 12 months later, on Monday 20 December 2010 when AA patrols handled more than 28,000 breakdowns.

There's more risk of delays too but not necessarily in the way you'd expect. If vehicles ahead lose control - a jack-knifed lorry for example - you won't be able to get through no matter how well equipped your car is with winter tyres or chains. You could face a wait of several hours until the blockage and other traffic ahead has been cleared.

Here's what you need to do this winter to reduce the risk of a breakdown and make sure that you are equipped to deal with the conditions.

Check your car

Antifreeze – check coolant level regularly and, if required, top-up with a mixture of the correct type of antifreeze. Your garage should check concentration to ensure adequate cold temperature protection.

Battery - the most common cause of winter breakdowns. A battery more than five years old may struggle in the cold - get it checked and replaced if necessary to avoid the inconvenience of an unplanned failure.

Fuel - keep at least a quarter of a tank in case of unexpected delay.

Lights - check and clean all lights regularly to make sure you can see and be seen clearly. Carry spare bulbs.

Tyres - should have at least 3mm of tread for winter motoring. Consider winter tyres for improved safety. Check pressures at least every fortnight.

Windscreen - reduce dazzle from the low sun by keeping the screen clean inside and out. Now is a good time to renew worn wiper blades.

Screen wash - use a 50% mix of a good quality screen wash to reduce the chance of freezing in frosty weather.

Locks and door seals - stop doors freezing shut with a thin coat of polish or Vaseline on rubber door seals. A squirt of water dispersant (WD-40) in locks will help stop them freezing.

See more ideas of what to do as the cold nights draw in… http://www.theaa.com/motoring_advice/seasonal/winter-checklist.html

Diesel particulate filters

DPFs reduce diesel soot emissions by 80% but they're not suitable for everyone

If you're buying a new car and plan to use it mainly for town-based, stop/start driving it would be wise to avoid a diesel car fitted with a Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) because of the possible hassle of incomplete 'DPF regeneration'.

How do they work?

Diesel Particulate filters (DPF) or 'traps' do just that, they catch bits of soot in the exhaust. As with any filter (think of the bag in your vacuum cleaner) they have to be emptied regularly to maintain performance. For a DPF this process is called 'regeneration' – the collected soot is burnt off at high temperature to leave only a tiny ash residue. Regeneration is either passive or active.

Passive regeneration

Passive regeneration takes place automatically on motorway-type runs when the exhaust temperature is high. Because many cars don't get this sort of use car manufacturers have to design-in 'active' regeneration where the engine management computer (ECU) takes control of the process.

Active regeneration

When the soot loading in the filter reaches a set limit (about 45%) the ECU can make small adjustments to the fuel injection timing to increase the exhaust temperature and initiate regeneration. If the journey is a bit stop/start the regeneration may not complete and the warning light will come on to show that the filter is partially blocked. It should be possible to start a complete regeneration and clear the warning light by driving for 10 minutes or so at speeds greater than 40mph. If you ignore the warning light and keep driving in a relatively slow, stop/start pattern soot loading will continue to build up until around 75% when you can expect to see other dashboard warning lights come on too. At this point driving at speed alone will not be enough and you will have to take the car to a garage for regeneration.

Expensive repairs

If you continue to ignore warnings and soot loading keeps increasing then the most likely outcome will be that you will have to get a new DPF costing around £1000 +.

Check the handbook

If you buy a car with a DPF fitted it's important to read the relevant section of the vehicle handbook so that you understand exactly what actions to take if the warning light illuminates and how, if at all, your driving style may need to be adjusted to ensure maximum DPF efficiency and life.

Safe, cost effective and reliable tyres…

Many people are caught out every year for simply not knowing they are breaking the law in relation to the condition of their tyres, currently a fine of £2,500 and a 3 penalty points per defective tyre - that's £5,000 and 6 points for 2 defective tyres, and so on! The law in Great Britain is very specific, with the legal limit for Uk tyres at 1.6mm.

How to Check Your Tyre Tread

All passenger tyres have little bars moulded into the tread called 'tread wear indicator bars'. They can be found in the tread grooves, near the bottom and in several locations on the tyre. If you look for these bars and find that the tyre is worn so that any of them are now lying flush with the tread ribs, then you need to replace your tyre as soon as you can. If you can’t tell, or want a professional opinion, just pop into A P Engineering and see one of our technicians.

Under-Inflated Tyres

If there is wear on both edges of the tyre, this means that it is likely that your tyre is under inflated. This reduces the life of the tyre because it wears away the outside edges of the tyre and plays havoc with the tyre durability because the edges get too hot. Having under-inflated tyres also makes your car work harder because it increases the rolling resistance and means you use more fuel than you should do. If you check your tyre pressure and all seems fine, then it might be that the vehicle is misaligned - you will need to pop into our workshop to get checked out.

Over Inflated Tyres

If there is excessive wear and tear in the centre of the tyre, this usually means that the tyre is overinflated as this makes the middle of the tyre load bearing and therefore runs it down faster than the rest of it. Again, this will reduce the life of your tyre and can lead to costly replacements, or worse, being involved in a tyre-related accident. Again, it could be a misalignment issue so if the tyre pressure is ok, get professional advice from one of our technicians.

Worn Areas on the Tyre Tread

Sometimes known as scalloping, dipping or cupping, dips in the tread are usually found on the front tyres, and are a sign that the wheels may not be balanced correctly, or that the steering and suspension systems need to be checked out

Unbalanced Tyres

Unbalanced tyres can lead to problems with not only a vehicle's suspension system and tyres, but also to the driver as the constant vibration can lead to fatigue. If you feel any vibration while driving, have your tyre balance checked out as soon as you can.

Premium or Not? – Are you using the right Fuel?

What a carry on last week was! If you, like us, were driving into fuel-less garages for your weekly fill up, then you probably experienced the same sinking, empty, feeling we did (excuse the pun). We were attempting to drop a car to a customer in Norwich, only to spend an hour in search of unleaded petrol before we could leave. Unbelievable! Anyway, off our soapbox, we’re mechanics not politicians.

With our choices of pumps reduced it had us thinking how useless your car is to you without fuel and even more so the effects on your car without the right fuel. With the ever-rising prices of fuel, motorists obviously go in search of the best deal. But is the cheapest fuel necessarily the best deal in the long run for your pocket and your car? There are ongoing arguments for and against.

Base Fuel is the same, but additives differ, so it’s worth taking note of this when filling up at the pump, especially if you have a performance car or 4x4. What you put into your vehicle could have a direct affect on its fuel consumption, i.e. how many miles you get for your pound, the cleanliness and long-term workings of the engine and it’s emissions. We feel putting the right fuel in your car does return benefits, but we would, we want your car to work well for you.

At the end of the day the choice is yours. Here’s a couple of views on Fuel: http://www.fuelsaving.info/fuels.htm and TV programme Fifth Gear’s Fuel Test

New Address, New Website

Welcome to the launch of our new website, timed to coincide with the opening of our new workshop. Take the time to browse through and see the many motor services AP Engineering can offer you and your vehicle. A lot of time and effort has gone in to expanding the new workshop to accommodate the amount of work now running through the hands of our motor and electrical technicians. We’ve further invested in the latest diagnostics equipment, specialist tools and machinery resulting in a clean, professional environment perfect for delivering fine work to your car. You’re welcome to pop in and see for yourself at AP Engineering, 2 Davey Close, Colchester, C01 2XL. We’ve even installed a new drinks machine in reception, so you can enjoy a nice cappuccino or hot chocolate if the mood so takes you ;0)

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01206 864 200 / 864 250

A. P. Engineering   ·   2 Davey Close   ·   Colchester   ·   Essex   ·   CO1 2XL

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