AA Membership

OK, so a thing I always forget about each year is calling up about my AA Membership.

Every year I get a renewal quote £20 higher than the last year and I look at the overall total and think how much of a rip off that figure will do to my bank account.

The trick with AA is that it works similar to car insurance, with your AA Membership, you accrue an effective no claims bonus. My renewal quote was £210 (10-year member) and I asked them to renew it at a discounted price. To which I received a new price of £135

Now I know over a year my initial breakdown cost works out at £0.57 per day, but with a discount it works out at £0.36 per day. Every little helps


The trick to remember is that AA like most companies need to increase their profits, if you look at your membership it will bump up every year. If I cancelled it, sods law I’d need it. I’d rather have the peace of mind and low cost. If you have a membership however unless you specifically call them up, they’ll make you pay the extra.


Always remember to try and penny pinch when you can. At the end of the day, it’s not your duty to feel guilty about hurting the AA’s profits. Your concern is to make sure you can get home safely.

Views – 1132

Oil change VW Golf MK5

After carrying out my last oil change on my VW Golf MK5 when I switched from flexible servicing to fixed servicing, I was prompted again to carry out another service on the Golf, it’s long overdue to be honest, but decided best to get it out the way incase of any winter weather coming in.


The VW Golf wasn’t treat to some low quality oil, I gave it some Mobil1 5w/30 ESP, low ash formula really good for the engine and a decent make. Volkswagen are very stringent when it comes to using specific oils for their car. Quite frankly I wouldn’t use any other cruddy oil anyway for the Golf. I prefer some decent stuff, I’d love Silkolene, but can’t justify the price when carrying out an Oil Change on the Golf.


I documented this procedure in a written up guide in the automotive section of my website. The downloadable link is available. I also uploaded a youtube video showing you how to reset the service indicator warning using VAGCOM

Views – 2312

VW Golf MK5 Broken Spring

Starting my car this morning and tuning a junction highlighted a horrible sound which instantly occured on my car this morning which immediately made me suspect a my VW Golf had a broken spring


Turning full lock left to right on the car made a horrible clunking noise which can also be engine mounts or the steering rack moving in it’s mounts.


My brother had a better look for me when he got home. Turned out I was right in first instant the spring was broken, pictures to follow to show the damage.


As I had work on nightshift the following day, I decided I needed a replacement asap as the car wasn’t driveable. I previously had my opposite spring replaced for the MOT 6 months prior. I should have replaced both, because they usually should be replaced in pairs (when one gets replaced, eventually the other will go, because it’s “weaker”)


Needless to say around 6000 miles later my other spring decided to go. My car is a 140HP – GT TDI model but it turns out you can fit the standard springs (luckily) the GT TDI ones are harder to find at short notice unless you go pay a stealership for one.


£31 later and I had a replacement spring available, my brother collected all the tools and he did the job himself, thank god for having a car mechanic as an older brother.


Personally, I wouldn’t attempt this job myself, I’d take it to a garage unless you’re feeling lucky. I imagine it’s possible, but my brother ended up removing the entire suspension strut and putting the spring on this way. Even with all the tools available it still took him two hours and a lot of help from me. He ended up having to expand the nuts with heat because they were turning on the locktite threads being a PITA.


Anyway, job done and car responding much better. I think he deserves another pressie for car repair from me soon. He’s been hampering for a Clarke coil spring compressing set for ages, so I might get him it to add to his kit.

CHT747 Coil Spring Kit

Views – 4457

Astra VXR Review

After my car needed work for an MOT and I had no access to get home, my brother loaned me his car and thought I may aswell Blog about my thoughts of driving these cars and the good points and down points to driving these vehicles.

So here’s my Astra VXR review, coming from a Vauxhall hater who drives a VW. Don’t get me wrong, I love all the old Vauxhalls, but like the newer cars, Vauxhall have fell short and built their cars like shit.

Anyway, first the good points to the vehicle. Driving position is very flexible and comfortable. The seats have plenty of adjustment options with adjustmemt in both back and seat length. I was quite surprised by this personally. Everytime I’ve gotten in a Vauxhall my feat where always really cramped, and the steering wheel was always at my knees. Even with the seat adjustments at their furthest distances. So this was a nice pleasant surprise. All while you’re driving your supported by some generously comfy bucket seats. They even seat the lardiest of arses like myself

Whilst driving the Vauxhall I found the handling to be pleasant and very firm. When I steered the car it gave very positive feedback, there’s also a really nice driving position and it was never uncomfortable throughout the entire jouney and I always felt in control of the car.

It was a bit weird steering the car because I wasn’t used to the dimensions of the vehicle. I’m always paranoid about nudging walls and stuff with cars like that but like all cars you get used to it I suppose

Performance wise the car feels weird. Although this is partly down to the brothers car having a faulty MAP sensor on the turbo. It’s with-holding boost then delivering it all in one go. This made driving the car hard because there was nothing on clutch bite then WOOOPMH! All at once. Needless to say I think I’ll buy him one to repair the vehicle. Ofcourse I did have to test out the performance. Cough. Only in short bursts up to the speed limit though. Surprisingly with my style of driving I actually used very very little fuel in the car so it was good. Performance wise it feels refined, actually felt like I was going slow until I realised I was already at 50mph on the roads in a very short space of time.

Anyway, bad points. As typical fashion, this being a sports car it’s not designed for tall fuckers like myself. The car is streamlined and me being 6ft3 I found my head banging the roof alot. Also one thing which REALLY pissed me off was the damn A pillar position. Everytime I kept turning my head to check my right hand side I kept headbutting the pillar. Was bloody annoying. I’m sure this is contributed to the fact the car is stupidly narrow on the inside. It’s tiny inside compared to my wee golf. The wee golf is huge haha.

I also didn’t like the mirrors on the car, both interior and exterior. The exterior ones even when adjusted didn’t give me fully visibility of the sides in the vehicle. They’re far too narrow in height imo although that’s just me.

As for the last point of note I don’t like the gearbox, it felt really weird in terms of throw to get the gears and the gearbox has an abnormally short throw distance. At times I almost felt like it wasn’t in gear. Again I’d get used to it

Overall. I wouldn’t own the car, but coming from a dedicated VW/Mitsubishi fanboy the driving of the vehicle in terms of performance and handling has impressed me alot. i wouldn’t go as far as saying I’d own one, but I’d definately use one for a couple of days in desperation

OH – last but not least. I need to pay for the scratch on the car. I told the bro as I felt guilty. Cough….shame…cough

Views – 1334

Seized Brake Pistons

Having a seized brake piston on your car when changing the brakes is the bain of my life. These things are always a pain in the ass, once I get the problem cleared it starts again the next time I have to change them

Needless to say had me a bit grumbly because I’ve had to do them

Views – 911

G201 Brake Pressure Sensor

At long last my Golf has a fault G201 Brake Pressure Sensor , and it’s a bastard. Low and behold it’s going to cost me money to fix, Volkswagen redesigned the ABS controller on the cars so that it’s now internally controlled

I scanned the car with vagcom on the ABS circuit and confirmed it’s indeed fubar’d. The electrical circuit fault message can only mean one thing, bad switch or bad sensor. Sensor was reading 215Bars pressure whether or not I pressed the brake pedal. Went to measuring blocks and checked the switch and it was activating

So I now need a new ABS Switch which will be around £200 – not happy >.>

I’ll document it on my website once I’ve done it


UPDATE : Issue now resolved, cost me around £200 to fix and as promised I have written up some documentation on the problem and the repair. Enjoy

Views – 1251

Car Insurance

Received an email on 28th January from my current (or rather new) car insurance company where I purchased my policy from

They’d received confirmation of my no claims bonus from admiral car insurance but there was a discrepancy

I rang up their support line today (their emails are crap, described as OQD and MQD) which is actually an abbreviation of One Quote / Motor Quote direct

Anyway, spoke with a lady called Shontelle, my account is now updated for 3rd of each month direct debit on my monthly car insurance policy. The reason why there was a discrepancy on the account was because I gave them my previous policy number and they visibly needed to see my actual proof of no claims bonus. I had scanned these in an emailed them shortly after the first email but they never bothered notifying me it was updated.

Anyway, sorted out now.

Views – 1002

VW Golf MK5 Bonnet not closing

Volkswagen Golf MK5 Bonnet not closing : DIY Guide

To read the PDF and HTML versions of this guide you can find them HERE and HERE

The only two tools you will essentially need for the car. A T20 and T27 torx bit. Optional tools can be some insulation tape to hold the plastic guide in place as I found mine kept coming loose every now and then when refitting it to the car aswell as some zip ties and a flat-head screwdriver if you don’t have good pinching grip with your fingers.

The two T20 screws here and remove them from the car {yellow}, these are the screws just next to the headlights in this picture and then once they are removed from the car squeeze in the two plastic clips {red} can do one at a time and then remove the grill from the car.

It’s best to release the tension on the release handle for the bonnet lock before you start the assembly. Mine was always coming loose and I couldn’t work out why. I’m summising it is also because it doesn’t give enough flexibility to the new lock module after you have installed it into your car and it pushes it out of placement. Either this or it’s because the lock runner isn’t installed properly into the bonnet lock. This is how you release the tension on the pulley.Unclip the side casing around the housing that holds the wire for the tensioner and the spring (it’s behind the drivers headlight). It has two little clips to the sides of each will help to release the cover. Then it just comes straight off.Once the cover is off, you can pull the wire and the casing out. The wire itself has a metal ball at the end which fits in a housing in the plastic from the adjoining car side. Just disconnect them and they’re free. In the above examples you can see the casing, the hole which holds the ball for the release lever and the ball itself. It’s fairly easy to do and requires no effort to reinstall back onto the car.

This is the layout of the T27 screws holding the lock in place on the car. There are two long ones holding the main part of the unit itself and a short one that holds the catch bar in place on the car. Make sure to fit these in the correct orientation when refitting your lock. This is a comparison to the lock placement in the above picture for future reference should it be required.

Once the screws for the lock have been removed from the car, it should be a case of extracting it. There is no real tension to it, you should be be able to remove it just by pulling on the normal piece of metal where the bonnet lock catches onto when you shut it after this it’s just a case of extracting it.

This is the plastic inside the guide, this must be fitted to the car otherwise it loses all tension in the bonnet release cable. It’s used to hold the cable the correct distance and so it doesn’t come loose from the car when fitting it
A common problem that I had when I was fitting the tensioner cable to the plastic guide was that it was slipping out and losing grip of the actual guide. This resulted in the cable losing tension and the lock not operating properly. I thought this may have been more due to not refitting the lock correctly but I didn’t want to take any chances. So I bodged the lock with some gaffer tape too. This was to reduce the chances of it coming off when I was trying to refit the lock back into the housing

This is how the wire should be connected to the car when the plastic guide is fitted to it. Or at least how I fitted it to my car, I’ve had no issues after fitting it to the car. Bonnet opens perfectly fine now

Refitting is a complete reversal of the removal procedure, before refitting the grill to the car, it is best to make sure the lock opens. You can manually force the lock closed on the car whilst the bonnet is open. When this has been done, make sure the lock tensioner ball has been reconnected again and then pull on the handle in the car. If the lock opens you should be OK for refitting the grill to the car.
To summarise the refitting procedure once the lock has been replaced on the car itself…

  • Replace lock and all screws (there is a slight notch, use this to guide lock through)
  • Refit the tensioner ball
  • Reconnect the switch for the bonnet open alarm (be careful not to damage it)
  • Manually close the lock with a screwdriver
  • Try opening the lock from inside the car. If it works then everything should be good for repairing

Views – 7354

Indicators…. must be “optional” accessories now…

Major bloody rant, I’m annoyed as crap the amount of people who don’t indicate in their sodding cars now. You’d think they were optional extras on cars that never get used – how hard is it to move your hand on the steering wheel and inform people of the direction you’re going. It’s easy enough and shows your indications. Less chance of your car getting smashed up in a crash and less chance of you killing someone when they’re aware of which way you’re going.

Start using them… tossers!

Views – 688

Car Audio : Parking Brake Bypass Relay

OK, the brother decided to get a headunit with an in-dash screen so it has all glitzy functions on it, annoying thing is though he has to hook up the handbrake switched live cable to a parking brake cable for his head unit so it knows he’s got the handbrake on

Luckily you can bypass them by building a relay, this post will show you step by step and how to do it

Pioneer SPH-DA100 Model


Views – 861

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