New Driver Road Tips

I was just having a think tonight, and thought I’d pass on some tips to the newer/younger drivers who may have just passed their tests, or still learning to drive or get used to their vehicles. These aren’t driver education tips on how to be a better driver. Just some tips to help keep you better prepared for driving on the road. I’ve been driving for over 15 years now, so I’ve come across most problems you encounter as a driver, and wanted to help pass on some knowledge to the young drivers to help make you better.

I’ll add to this as I think of them – I’ll try and add videos as I go along.

If you come across this article, and there’s anything you’d like to see as a suggestion. Please comment and I’ll write it if I have an opinion or thought on what I could suggest to help you.


If you’re ever silly (or daft enough) to drain your battery flat in your car and people offer to “bump” start your car. Here’s the procedure to do it. Please note, this is not the samp as “jump” starting your car. This procedure also only works on manual vehicles.

  • Put the vehicle in 2nd gear, turn your ignition to “Live” (The click where all your dash lights come on)
  • Dip your foot on the clutch and hold it
  • Get the person to push you
  • Once you get to sufficient speed (maybe 2 or 3 mph), you need to “dump” the clutch
  • “Dumping” the clutch is immediately lifting your foot off the clutch (not slowly, IMMEDIATELY, think hot lava)
  • If you have enough momentum your car should start and be running. “Bump Starting” using the inertia of the vehicle to start the compression cycle of the engine. By dumping the clutch you force the engine to turn over
  • If it has started, then immediately push back down on the clutch again (to prevent stalling)
  • Put your car into neutral and let the car idle for a few mins to charge the battery.
    • Ideally it’s better taking the car for a 10-15 min drive to fully charge the battery


Here’s the order to correctly hook up Jump start cables if you are either helping some one jump start their vehicle. Or someone is jump starting yours. In the real world, this order isn’t generally followed exactly (some do, some don’t). Most people just generally hook up the cables and jump. This is the correct procedure however, and you SHOULD follow it, because it prevents explosions / sparking and it gives you an understanding of the correct procedure and why it’s safer.

    • Both cars should have Ignition switched off
    • Both cars should be in Neutral
    • Both cars should have Handbrakes applied
    • Both cars should have no additional load running to maximise starting energy (Headlights, Wipers, etc)
  • Here is the correct order for connecting Jump Start cables, as a note, you may see little sparks when connecting the cables. This isn’t bad, it’s a sign there’s an electrical connection, which is a good indicator that your getting a good connection the first time around which saves you rechecking everything if it fails and getting a good first start
  • RED JUMPER on DEAD “Vehicle” Battery Terminal (Positive)
  • RED JUMPER on DONOR “Vehicle” Battery Terminal (Positive)
  • BLACK JUMPER on DONOR “Vehicle” Battery Terminal (Negative)
  • BLACK JUMP on DEAD (EARTH) “Vehicle” – (Earth Point) – This needs to be somewhere metal on the car, the easiest point would be the engine mount, part of the chassis, or a bracket on the engine. Some cars have dedicated terminals near the battery specifically for jump starting (I think some manufacturers refer to them as Jump Assist Points). It is best to find an unpainted metal surface, these are normally good earths.
    • Why not connect the Negative Terminal to the Battery?
      • The reason why you do not connect it to the battery terminal is because Batteries release Hydrogen gas. If there is Gas vapour, and a spark is generated. Hydrogen Gas + Spark = BOOM (potentially).
      • Additionally, if you connect up to the Battery, there is potential to cause an Electrical short, which can cause damage to your vehicle / donor vehicle and their ECU due to electrics being more complicated on modern vehicles
  • Now that you understand the connection method. Here is the starting procedure….
    • First turn both ignitions to live
    • Start the engine on the Donor vehicle
      • This isn’t the exact step, but it’s what I do. I normally rev my engine and hold the revs at in the region of 2000-3000 rpm. The reason I do this is because jump starting, generally pulls more current from your vehicle. This really varies on the engine size of the vehicle. Diesel vehicles use more current, the same as bigger engines. You don’t have to do this, but it can help during the starting procedure
    • Try and start the engine on the dead vehicle
  • If the vehicle starts, great you’re done. You need to disconnect leads in the following order…
    • BLACK from DEAD (Earth)
    • BLACK from DONOR (Negative Terminal)
    • RED from DONOR (Positive Terminal)
    • RED from DEAD (Positive Terminal)
      • Leave the engine running for 10-15 mins, switch it off again and try to start again. If the vehicle starts, then drive your car for about 10-15 mins to charge the battery. If the vehicle doesn’t start after this bit, then jump the car again. Next time it starts however, you will need to take the car for a drive. If the car is flat again when you have driven the vehicle, and the car won’t start. Then you have potential problems:
        • Faulty battery (most likely)
        • Faulty alternator
        • Faulty earth strap
  • If the vehicle doesn’t start. First switch off both vehicles, and recheck electrical connections
  • After you check them, let the donor vehicle run for approximately 5-10 mins to give the car time to charge the battery. After this, attempt to start again
  • If the car still doesn’t start then you either have a bad earth (most likely on DEAD vehicle) and you should recheck the connections, or bad cables, battery. There’s also a possibility that the donor vehicle can’t supply enough current for this or is just too weak to boost your vehicle (It’s easier to jump start a car if the Donor is a Diesel car).
  • Recheck all again, if it’s still unsuccessful, you need recovering / towing home


This shouldn’t be needed, but I just thought I’d mention it whilst we’re on the subject here. As some people may have friends who are motorbikers. Or find a stranded bike rider. In order to jump start a motorbike, do the following

  • Ignitions off
  • RED on BIKE Battery
  • RED on CAR Battery
  • BLACK on CAR Battery
  • BLACK on BIKE Chassis/Frame
  • Attempt to start the Motorbike
  • DO NOT start the engine on the car. Realistically you shouldn’t need to even turn the ignition to live, since it’s a direct Battery to Battery transfer

Cars have a lot more power than motorbikes (Electrically speaking), so it’s relatively easy to jump start a motorbike because cars have more than enough power to start them. The reason why you do not start the donor car is because the batteries are 12V. When you start the car they become 14.4V – This will damage the Motorbike “Alternator”. Off-hand I can’t remember what it’s called (Energiser / Comparator perhaps). So starting a motorbike just needs a 12V source that’s it.

As for Motorbikes. You can also “Bump” start them. The procedure is the same. The bike rider holds in the clutch lever. Ignition on, you push them and they dump the clutch from 2nd gear. I won’t go too much into this procedure, because Motorbike riders are generally fairly experienced, so they will understand the procedure anyway. You never know however.


Surprisingly most modern cars now are fitted with a removable towing eye. Originally they were fitted with places you could hook your tow loop/tow bar onto. Manufacturers however decided to replace them with towing eyes. I’m guessing this was more down to aesthetics more than anything else.

Now, if you buy a car, make sure it has the towing eye with it! You DO NOT want to break down, and find out your car is missing a towing eye. Otherwise your day is going to get worse, because that “free” option where somebody was going to tow you. Has now turned into an option where you have to recover your vehicle another way. Most likely via a recovery loading truck.

So, if you buy a car. Pay attention to your vehicle and look at the towing spots. There will either be a hook under the car, or some form of removable panel on the FRONT/REAR bumps. Towing holes are usually quite low down on the car, and will either be on the left or right side of the vehicle. Once you have found it, pop the cover and inspect it. If you have the towing eye, make sure it fits. Screw it in (I’m talking from experience here, my car had one but it was the wrong one) and make sure it fits your vehicle. This will confirm that you have one in the event it’s needed. You will only have one towing hook (you’re either towing, or being the one towed)

The towing eye will normally be stored with your spare wheel / car breadown kit in the boot. It will either be in a side panel, or under the false floor in the boot. It looks like a screw with the eye from a sewing needle.


OK, towing a vehicle. If, for whatever reason your car can’t start. There’s a good chance you’re going to need to be towed. Now, here’s a few pointers when it comes to your vehicle being towed. Also, as an additional note, you are no longer allowed to use tow ropes, because the ropes can snap and provide improper tension. You either need to use a towing dolly, or a tension towing bar.

  • Your car needs to be in Neutral (you don’t touch the gears when towed)
  • Your handbrake needs to be off (some people forget this)
  • If your engine won’t start, then your car will have NO VACUUM ASSIST. What is vacuum assist you ask?
    • Vacuum Assist is where parts of the vacuum generated in the engine are sent to the brake servo on the car. This decreases braking force needed when braking the vehicle. Now. To put this in more simplier terms how does it affect you as a driver? – Without Vacuum Assist to your brakes when you’re being towed, your brakes will feel rock hard / impossible to push down. Do not panic, this is normal!
    • Try pressing the brakes with no running engine – that’s basically what it feels like
  • When you are being towed, it’s a very nervous experience. So don’t be surprised if someone asks you if you’ve ever been towed before. A lot of drivers are uncomfortable with it. If I had to tow someone I’d be asking them this question so I could run them through what was going to happen so they weren’t as shocked. The majority of vehicle braking will be done via the vehicle towing you. When you are being towed, just “aid” the driver in front by pressing the brakes when you see them braking. It will help slow the vehicles and support their vehicle with the demand
  • Also going slowly is key. The person towing you will generally go a slower speed, because their vehicle weight has doubled, so they will be required to brake earlier, be smoother on the clutch etc. Not every person who tows you is good like this however, which is why some people get nervous. When you are towed, essentially you are victim and the person in front of you is in control. Which means if they put their foot down, chances are you’re going to move quicker. So you need someone you can trust to tow you.
  • If you’re on a hill, then obviously you will need your handbrake to help support your vehicle weight to prevent it rolling backwards. Remember to take it off when the towing starts again ( SEE NOTES )

Notes regarding Hill towing. LUCKILY, I haven’t had to do this personally. It would be a good test of the towing persons ability to control the vehicles aswell. Personally speaking, even I wouldn’t want to do this, because it would be so irritating. So can only give a suggestion at this point.

Generally speaking, when you’re being towed people go the easiest / flattest route (which is normally by Motorways, etc). This would be best to communicate before towing as communication is key. If you do have to go up a hill for whatever reason. I would recommend the following….

  • Talking to the driver on the phone when you’re releasing handbrake etc
  • Visual communication (ie Thumbs up in rear mirror)

The reason you would need to do this, is because without enough Clutch control both vehicles would roll backwards. You have to remember Clutch Control only holds their vehicle weight. When towing there’s another 1300+kg they have to hold on the clutch as well. The person towing you would have to get their slip their clutch and add more revs onto their vehicle (probably 2500-3500). They would then need to give you a thumbs up to disengage your handbrake. They would then disengage theirs and add in revs to pull you both away.


It’s unlikely new drivers would have a 4×4 Vehicle, but if driving a 4X4 and the vehicle needs towing by a dolly or similar. All 4 wheels must be off the ground, or the driveshaft must be disconnected from the rear diff. A lot of recovery firms such as the RAC/AA have towing dollies, which lift up the Front Wheels only. This works for 2WD vehicles, but on 4WD all 4 wheels are driven at the same time. So either the entire vehicle needs recovering, or the driveshaft needs disconnecting so the rear wheels are free-rolling. If you don’t do this, it will destroy the transmission on the vehicle


Just an obvious one if here, but if your vehicle has an actual tyre. Make sure it’s the correct size to be fitted to your vehicle. One of my vehicles came with a tyre, but it turned on the day I had a puncture, it was a random one someone chucked in from a scrapyard….. annoying

Now, it is for this reason. I’d recommend carrying some form of puncture repair kit as a backup. If you’ve got the ability to repair a puncture at the road side, it will make it a redundancy measure if you have the wrong size spare

Your car, if it has a tyre, will most likely come with a “Space Saver”, these are normally limited to 50mph. The important factor is the size of the tyres.

EXAMPLE : A car tyre 205/55/R16 91 V is the following

  • The tyre is 205mm wide
  • Tyre tyre sidewall (the bit between the edge of wheel, the edge of the tyre is 55% of the width), so approx 110mm
  • The tyre SIZE is 16″
  • The tyre load rating is 91
  • The tyre speed rating is V

The important thing to confirm with your tyre, is the SIZE of it. The other factors are not important (usually). The tyre size is however. The reason why this is important, is because a different size tyre will affect the rolling radius, and most likely damage the transmission of the vehicle. The tyres need to be matched up. As long as you have the correct size spare this is fine. Your spare may read something like 135/90/R16 102M – This is fine, because R16 matches the size of your factory tyre. If your spare tyre doesn’t match your factory tyre. DO NOT USE IT

That’s all for now, I will add more as I go

Views – 3

DIY Aux Cable for Audi A3

The main (annoying) problem that I’ve had after changing to my Audi A3 Sportback is that my music options have been restricted. The Audi has an “Aux” input so that you can hook up an external Audio source to the car. Now here lies the problem(s)

#1 – I had to find a cable. No problem, rummaged through the old boxes, found one #Winner
#2 – Cable plugs into the Aux in car, when attempting to connect to the SamsungS7 it’s too small….. shit!
#3 – I don’t have an adapter cable for Samsung S7 to 3.5mm…. double shit!!

Now, I’m not one to admit defeat, so I needed a solution. Time to bodge it

  • Old pair of Samsung S7 Headphones – Check
  • One incompatible 3.5mm to 3.5mm Cable – Check
  • One person who likes to modify and hack stuff so it works. DAMN RIGHT!

Now, there’s one main problem even after all this. Which I don’t think is a problem as such, I think it’s just the design of the connectors (or I’ve soldered them wrongly). I’m going to mention it here however, just as a guidance note, and for future input if anyone who understands it better than me can clarify. Basically when soldered together, I used the multimeter to check for continuity between each individual connection. As they are isolated, there should be none except for the points. The Samsung S7 has one point which isn’t soldered anywhere which is the Mic connector.

All the other three points I soldered from the TRS Jack to the TRRS Jack and their appropriate connectors. When I tested for continuity however, I get continuinty between Ground and the Right Channel on TRS/TRRS. I have grounds themselves, and the solder points are fine. So I’m not sure if I burned through the insulation, or if it’s because of the type of jacks I’m using. I did a quick search online, and the grounds themselves on diagrams are both linked up to the actual L/R channels anyway. The comments posted said there’s no issue soldering L/R to Ground, as long as you have continuity between the Grounds. I did so I’m happy with that. I’m just noting this here, so if anyone else attempts this modification, they’re aware of any potential risks or damage to their vehicle. I’m confident it won’t cause damage so I’m happy to continue using it.

Here’s how I made the Aux Cable. First I had to identify the connectors which correspond to the wires (Found here). So, the standard connector I have is a TRS (Balanced Mono) and the Samsung S7 appears to be a TRRS connector (Balanced Stereo). Get the old multimeter out, and run continuity tests between the individually isolated terminals, and their corresponding solder points/wires. This allowed me to identify the Ground, Mic, Left and Right Channels

Just as a note, I was intially going to solder to the wires. The cables in the Samsung S7 Headphone cable however are ridiculously thin. So I ended up snipping it until I got to the plug itself and soldered directly to the jack. Much nicer and looks way better in my opinion

Does it work? – Yes. I had to slightly fine tune mine as the balance was off slightly. I had to fade it to the left by 1 bar. Otherwise it’s nice and clear and loud now. I recommend turning your Volume up to it’s maximum on your phone after it’s plugged in, as it’s quiet when left on “normal” volumes.

If you are planning on making your own Aux Cable, I’d suggest buying TRRS connectors so that when you solder them it’s just a straight connection to connection, and each individual wire is isolated. Also for the cable, you’d need some kind of speaker cable with 3 cores (One for left, one for righ, one for ground).

If you’re here for the pictures of this modification, see below.

Just as a future note, this DID work, but it was only a temporary measure. I ended up buy an Aux Cable from eBay that was braided. Here’s a similar one on Amazon

Views – 40

So I bought a Hydraulic Press

This post contains affiliate links.

I decided to purchase a 12 Tonne Hydraulic Press for the Garage.

One of the things you will need to do from time to time if you’re an amateur mechanic, professional home mechanic, or a weekend warrior is replace bearings. If you’re lucky, you will get a bearing that’s a simple unbolt and slide-on replacement type. If not, you will need to press it in and push out the old one.

The DIY lazy man way involves smacking it with a hammer/socket or using a vice, which can damage it. The bearings need straight downwards pressure.

As I like to maintain my own car myself, I decided it would be beneficial to purchase a Hydraulic Press for the garage, because it’s a tool which is universal and can be applied to any car I work with or own. This means when I want to push in any bushes, bearings or remove old ones I had the equipment at hand to do it

12 Tonne Hydraulic Press - eBay

The actual press only cost me £100, sure it’s not perfect, and has it’s flaws, but for the price I can’t complain, as I don’t expect to use it constantly. It’s just one of those tools to add to my garage.

Here’s my honest thoughts of the product since purchasing it, with the pro’s and cons of it.


The price on it, it’s well constructed in terms of material. It was well packaged and arrived quickly, all the nuts and bolts were there to assemble it and all the parts. Which is always a good start


Now, the things I don’t like about this. First thing, the “manual”, if you can call it that. Basically it’s just an A4 piece of paper with some information printed on it, and a VERY poor low quality picture. Not really useful when you’re trying to identify the parts you want. When you look at them logically though, it’s actually quite easy to figure out. In brief here they are below to save you time looking at the instructions

  • M12 x 30mm bolt
    • The majority of the kit contains these. Basically almost every thing you assemble uses the same 4 parts. An M12 x 30mm bolt, a lock washer, a normal washer and an M12 nut. If you spend the time putting all these together ready. It will save you time during assemble. One point to be careful of though, which I found out later. Apparently there’s 4 bolts which are a different strength class (used to support the main top press that the bottle jack pushes against). The strength class is stamped on the heads of the bolts “4.8”, the stronger ones will have a higher numberon them (e.g “9.6”), keep these four to one side
  • M12 x 120mm bolt
    • There’s only two of these bolts. Basically you only use these bolts with the empty steel tubes. A lock washer, washer and M12 nut. This bolt is ONLY used to assemble the platform that moves up and down which the arbor plates rest on
  • Two long pins (Approx 200mm x 20mm)
    • These are used to support the platform. They go in the big holes down the side of the rails
  • One allen head bolt
    • This is used with the smaller nut to hold the bottle jack on the platform. It has a 5mm allen key head
  • Two bolts with eyelets
    • These are used on the two other holes where the bottle jack goes, the eyelets are what the springs hook onto
  • Two springs
    • Obviously, the springs hook onto the eyelets and the two bars in the top rail

That’s it, the bag of bolts and nuts looks really complex, it’s actually simple to work out though. I was methodically assembling it a bit at a time whilst I was working. Took me just over an hour.

Second, another thing I don’t like about the press. Is that the holes don’t appear to be level. It’s possible this is the way I assembled it, but given that everything is square, I suspect it’s not lined up. Just something to be careful of when pressing parts.

Lastly, the holes aren’t really at the best working heights. You will most likely need to drill your own holes, or increase the working height using a pair of wooden chocks. The only decent working height is at the maximum reach of the jack itself, so you will need to increase this height before you can do any work with it.

What tools do you need to assemble the 12 Tonne Hydraulic Press?

I used a 5mm Allen Key, a 19mm Spanner and an Impact Gun with 19mm Socket. I did this to speed up time, but Impact Sockets are thicker. Realistically all you need to assemble this is an allen key, and a couple of adjustable spanners, or 19mm socket + ratchet with a spanner. It’s relatively easy to assemble

Would I recommend it? – Yes, for sure. It will do the job just fine and for the price you can’t really complain, £100 is not even 2 hours labour at a garage. You would be surprised how many times you use things once you own them. I know for me having access to a bearing press will be useful. You also need to use a bearing press to replace the clutch release bearing for gearboxes. So it’s a handy tool to have in the garage which saves you money

I made a very quick and brief video on Youtube about the press I purchased and my thoughts about the product.

Views – 95

Nissan Almera VVT Pulley Identification

I decided to write this based on my own research and findings. The easiest way is to ring Nissan, they should tell you. If they’re being awkard about it, then you can use the below procedure to help work it out. Hopefully this post should add some clarification to people who are unsure if their car has VVT or not, and which timing chain kit they should purchase.

For reference there are 3 timing chain kits for the Nissan Almera QG15DE Engine. They all use a 154-link timing chain with tensioner, but have different Inlet pulleys based on the car if it has VVT. The 3 timing chain kit codes are as follows

  • TCK32 (Timing chain kit for NON-VVT Engine. Both Inlet/Exhaust pulleys are the same
  • TCK32VVT (Timing chain kit for a VVT Engine. The Inlet pulley is 50.65mm (or around that) in size
  • TCK32DVVT (Timing chain kit for a VVT Engine. The Inlet pulley is 75.00mm (or around that) in size

OK. Now you know 3 sizes, which ones the right one for your car. A lot of guides on the web suggest if the side of the block has a flat face it is non-VVT and if it’s a squiggly bit / bump it has VVT. People who follow this guide when they have a “Flat” face rocker cover are then then later surprised when they remove their rocker cover and usually find their car has VVT fitted to the engine.

QG15DE Engine with Bump
QG15DE with VVT and “Bump”


Please note the information written below is with my car having the MK2 Engine (Metal Rocker Cover), I’m not sure if the MK1 Engine (Black Cover) use a “bump” for both types of VVT Pulley. This information has been written to try and help with identification

The reason why Almera have a squiggly bit I believe is because of the Deeper VVT pulley. There are actually 2 types of VVT pulley, one is around 50mm, the other is around 80mm. The extra bit is needed on the rocker cover and casing because of the larger pulley. Here’s the 3 timing chain kits for comparison. If you look at the pulleys, you can physically see the different sizes for the two VVT kits. This is why some have a “bump” on the rocker cover. It’s there to accomodate the larger VVT pulley. That’s it.

Now. How do you identify if your car has VVT or not. Firstly, most Almeras have VVT now. Here’s a couple of checks you can do.

  • Does your car have the “bump” – YES? – Then your car has the VVT Deep Pulley (TCK32DVVT Kit) – No?
    • You may require additional checks if you have the MK1/Black Top engine as noted above
  • Open your oil cap, you see a chunk of metal in your way like below?
    • YES? – Then your car has the VVT Small Pulley (TCK32VVT Kit)
    • NO? – Then your car does not have VVT (TCK32 Kit)

Hopefully this will help avoid future confusion and help people out for later reference

Views – 161

How I fixed my Car Audio with Zip Ties

I recently wrote how I replaced my factory head unit in my car with an aftermarket one. One of the problems I’ve been experiencing however, was intermittent sound AND no radio. I had a weird issue where the head unit also wasn’t powering up too. The speakers were dropping in and out, and also the next time I fitted the aerial wire, the head unit would no longer power up.

Needless to say this confused me, until I did a bit of investigation

Turns out that the ISO adapter harness I purchased to fit the head unit to my car, was connected to the block. However there was always a little bit of “play” where you could wiggle the connector in and out 2-3mm which I was never happy with

This small amount of “play” was enough to break the connection between the pins and cause a signal loss, and power loss. Hence why my previous testing on the head unit wasn’t showing any problems and why it randomly powered up again after I tested it

Basically I added two zip ties tightly against the harness, one near the speaker wires, and one near the power. It’s now permanently solid and worked flawlessly since

Views – 257

Finally some sounds in the car

This has been going on for some time now, but I’ve wanted to replace my factory head unit with a better one. The standard one in the Nissan isn’t exactly the best, it does the job but the CD player part was broken and it was annoying me.

I didn’t want to chop any of the wires incase I decided to sell the car at a later date, so I purchased an ISO harness.

As an FYI, the Nissan Almera doesn’t have an earth connection through the factory wiring harness. The earth connection is done to the chassis of the vehicle through the earth wire and the metal cage that holds the head unit in

Now, I fitted the head unit to the vehicle, wouldn’t power up. Balls. Went over it again, now worked. Great. I had to order an DIN–>ISO aerial adatper because the factory one didn’t fit my Alpine head unit. The standard aerial is one of those thick ones, and the normal adapter you get is usually the reverse (thin > thick), so I purchased a replacement

I went to it the next day, no power again…. annoying.

I pulled it out the day after, multimeter at the ready and tested the earth and +12 power wires. All working, test the head unit fuse, that works, ok, must be the head unit. No power… shit. Did head -unit

I unplugged the power wire and plugged in again, now working. What the hell. Sod it, it’s working for now. That will do

I’ll look into it further when I get the replacement aerial wire to see if I can figure out what’s wrong. It’s using a harness wire and there’s a connector which goes from factory harness (albeit it’s a bit loose) to the alpine ISO

I’ll post more if I figure it out

Views – 280

How to refill your fuel filter using VCDS

Technologies changes over time. Whenever you worked on your car and replaced the Fuel Filter. If it wasn’t an intank Fuel Filter, one of the problems you used to encounter was that your car wouldn’t start due to an Airlock in the system.

The DIY method to fix this would be to prefill the filter pot with a supply of fuel, and then starting the car. Using a vacuum bleeder or cycling the fuel pump with the ignition key a few times. Cycling the key used to prime the pump which pushed fuel through. The reason people did this is because it gives your car enough fuel to start. This then normally gives the car time to pull through fuel from the fuel tank, and returning fuel back into the tank (essentially giving the car time to bleed out the air). If you didn’t do this, it used to be a pain in the arse and sometimes the car wouldn’t start and you’d have to troubleshoot it

Modern cars are still the same, although because Technologies have improved over time. If you own a VAG based car, you can utilise the Software features of VCDS to do this task for you in order to prevent the car from stalling and starting first time. This procedure cycles the Electronics to the fuel pump which pushes fuel through the system. This then refills the chamber for the fuel filter and sends it back to the tank.

You can also use this procedure if you have replaced the Fuel Injectors or Flushed the Fuel from the system (perhaps if wrong fuel used). By doing this, it just makes the process easier. No messing around with pre-filling, or using a vaccum bleeder. Just press a button, wait and start the car

If you have never done this before, it’s a really simple procedure when using VCDS. I’ve listed it below


  • Connect the VCDS Diagnostic Cable to the car
  • Open up the VCDS Software
  • Click on Group 01 – ENGINE
  • Click on Menu 04 – Basic Settings
  • Click on the Drop Down Options – Choos the option FUEL PUMP SUPPLY ACTIVATION
  • Click ON/OFF
  • Wait about 30 secs, you will hear the fuel pump priming, and a glow plug light will flash on this dash
  • Once this is finished click DONE – GO BACK (If you’ve replaced injectors, or flush fuel, do this 2/3 times)
  • You should now be able to start the car.
  • You can then exit the software

I’ve also created a Youtube video for this process. Please feel to free to share it if it helped you out

Views – 11

Old RAC Sat Nav Files

I’m busy working on an old Sat Nav for someone but one problem I’ve come across which seems to be regular. Is that the site which used to be used by them for all the files (it was known as Route 66) is no longer online


It was taken down due to more and more people going to mobile apps


This is a pain in the arse when you need Old RAC Sat Nav Files

My colleague uses an RAC5000Wide model.


If you have any (firmware, original maps, software, manuals), I’d love for you to email me a link to it so I can add it to an online database (admin – at –

Views – 495

Volkswagen steering racks serviceable items

In relation to my article I wrote on identifying the steering rack version in a Volkswagen Golf. One thing I mentioned was that I argue whether or not the Volkswagen steering racks should be covered under warranty or that they should be serviceable items.

After all there are a stream of articles all over the web relating to the steering rack failure with Volkswagen Electromechanical Power Steering.

What is the Electromechanical Power Steering system?

Basically the VAG group (Volkswagen Auto Group) decided in their wisdom to replace the traditional power steering system fitted to most cars. The traditional system being a pump which is driven by engine belts and topped up with fluid in the engine bay. They replaced it with an ALL electronic system, a power steering rack which links into the steering wheel and the power steering assistance is provided by an Electric Motor.

Whilst this does give benefits to the driver…. (examples below)

  • Increased fuel economy
  • Better steering control & input with self-centering steering
  • Speed dependant driving assistance

In practical terms, it’s only so good until it fails. Steering racks on cars do fail from time to time, and they’re easy (AND CHEAP!) to replace. However the Electronic Power Steering on the VAG cars is a problem. The sensors that control everything are built into the racks themselves. Volkswagen don’t repair these they replace them when they go faulty. To replace a steering rack on a VW Golf MK5 you’re looking at around £2000 from Volkswagen, this takes the piss! Most people can’t afford to pay £2k to fix their cars when they’re realistically only going to be worth around £2k anyway


BUT – Here’s the big BUT…. when Volkswagen (or the VAG) replace the racks, it’s done on a surcharge basis they actually KEEP your old one and REBUILD it. This means the units are serviceable, if you look at the steering rack design themselves, the units which holds the motor, the sensor and the controller are all replaceable components, it’s just VW won’t do this. So when they remove your old unit, they rebuild it sell it on for another £2k job and it could fail 70k miles later and cost another £2k, a really bad con. This is why as far as I’m concerned this part should be a serviceable component that should be replaced every 70k miles on the car regardless or covered when the timing belt is replaced. It’s especially prone to failures on the MK1 steering racks. Plus a lot of customers would find a bill easier to chew if it was a £200 sensor than a £2000 rack job but then dealerships aren’t like that


I’ll be posting more photos as when I remove my old rack I’ll be removing the sensor. A common problem is the magnetic poles on them.


I’d love to know VW input on this as it’s clearly a fault, and they haven’t bothered rectifying other they’re just rectifying the problem at the customers expense


Views – 1224

Volkswagen Steering Rack Failure

Unfortunately with all the im.going problems with my car I’ve now come across a major stand point.

Volkswagen Group alongside a lot of other car manufacturers have switched to what is known as an Electro Mechanical Power Steering system

Some of you may ask what this is. Basically it replaces the standard power steering design on a car where you have a fluid filled pump driven by a belt running off the alternator. Instead you get an electric motor which runs from the battery through relays and provides torque assistance to the steering system based on the speed and demand via a torque characteristic curve that’s preloaded at the factory. You also benefit from better fuel economy because there isn’t any load on the engine from the pulleys

Now. This all sounds hunky dory.  Easier power steering. Better fuel economy. What’s so bad about that?

One VERY VERY big bad. Volkswagen and I’m guessing other manufacturers decides to build the sensor into the rack itself. The sensor is prone to failure. When it fails you get a red steering light on the dash which usually means buying a new rack from VW because it can’t be serviced

Now. I’d expect a steering system to last the life span of a car personally so if I want to fix my car. I either DIY it. Or take to Volkswagen to fix.

For reference here are the prices (from VW)

  • Steering Rack  (£1032)
  • Wiring Harness (£110)
  • Labour (£108 p/hr + VAT)

The job time is around 4 hours which means if you took this to Volkswagen you’d be looking at around a £2000 repair bill.

If that wasn’t enough. The part is only given a 1/2 year warranty. How about no Volkswagen. The steering system lasts the lifespan of the car. If you are saying this part only has a 12/24 month warranty it should be classed as a serviceable component if it fails again in which case it should be repaired FOC.

I’m left with a broken car to fix myself or sell. I love the car but things like this bug me. I’m going to end up repairing myself as £2000 is way too much to spend.
I’ll be updating this post with more information as I go

Views – 761

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