Honest John Technical Q&A Part 13

Dec 19, 2019

Honest John Technical Q&A Part 13

Q) Can I disable my car's headlamp washer jets?

My Audi A6 is using a lot of screen wash fluid. It has headlamp washers which I suspect are the culprits. Is it feasible (and legal) to disable them?

A) The headlamp washer jets are an MoT testable item. It will result in a Minor fault if it has halogen headlights or a Major fault (and instant fail) if it has LED or a HID gas discharge system.

Q) Engine seizure on a car I bought four months ago - can I get a refund?

I bought a second-hand Mazda3 in September, with a three-month limited parts and labour warranty. Last week the engine seized and the car will no longer run. I know the car is out of warranty but do I have a leg to stand on for a repair or replacement with the dealer?

A) Depends on what you did. If you failed to service it properly, let it run low on oil, or something like that then it will be down to you. But otherwise, if a car fails with a fault that could have been present or developing on date of sale then the supplier is liable for up to six months from the date of sale, so there's a chance.

Q) Camper van won't move - are the brakes stuck on?

My camper van won't move. It was parked up after going through a flood and is now stuck. It fires up and both forward and reverse gears can be engaged, but the wheels will only turn one eighth. I apply the accelerator and the engine revs but I remain stationary. Any idea what the problem might be?

A) This reads like the parking brake has become stuck on. Try applying and releasing the handbrake a few times and then attempt to drive gently forward in first gear and then backwards in reverse to see if this loosens the rust. Be careful not to apply too much force as this may cause damage to the engine and/or clutch. If it doesn't budge then you will probably need to contact a mechanic to get this resolved.

Q) Why is there water in the footwell of my car?

Can you tell me why water is entering my Volkswagen Eos and settling in the passenger footwell, with no signs or evidence of any leaks via the roof drains or doors? I've cleared out the rubbish from the air intake under the bonnet and windscreen, but water is still getting in.

A) I think you will find that the drains either side of the bulkhead vent well that you have been clearing out will be blocked by decomposing leaves. That gives nowhere for rainwater to go except via the pollen filter into the footwell. It could also be that the pollen filter waterproof cover or its seal is damaged. Either way, the pollen filter will need to be replaced.

Q) Can I dodge the ULEZ charge by swapping my van's engine?

I live in London. My Citroen Relay has a Euro5 diesel engine and doesn’t qualify for the Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ). Would it be possible to swap the engine with a newer Euro6 diesel? Would this grant me exemption from the daily ULEZ fee?

A) It's possible, but not worthwhile. Replacing the engine will be expensive and result in sky-high insurance premiums. There is no guarantee that the DVLA will amend the V5C logbook or that TfL will recognise the modification to provide an exemption from the ULEZ charge.

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