Always keep a good supply of clean, absorbent, lint-free rags on hand. You will need them for wiping the part of the car you are working on, drying washed or degreased parts, wiping your hands and mopping up spills.

Keep old cotton sheets and tea towels, for example. But avoid man-made fibres which are not usually absorbent, as well as rags that leave fluff behind, as fluff can clog delicate parts.

Guides that use

Bleeding the brakes

Most car manufacturers recommend renewing the hydraulic brake fluid every 18 to 24 months. The fl...

Eliminating rust before painting

Steel exposed to damp air begins to rust in minutes. If there is any rust on it when it...

Patching rust holes

If a hole in the bodywork is not in a load-bearing area, such as a section of the chassis,...

Applying underbody sealant

On a fairly new car, covering the underbody with sealing compound will discourage corrosion. It c...

Renewing disc-brake pads

It is vital to know when disc-brake pads need replacing. Some makers state a minimum safe thickn...

Cleaning and replacing a control box

On cars with dynamos, faults in the control box show up in various ways, some of which are descr...

How to overhaul a Stromberg carburettor

The Stromberg carburettor does not have a regular service schedule, but should be cleaned about ...

How to fix a dynamo

Wear on the carbon brushes and commutator is the most common cause of dynamo failure. Normally t...

Replacing wheel bearings on driven wheels

Driven wheels - independent suspension Cars with front-wheel drive have front-wheel bearings that...

Cleaning and checking leaf springs

Leaf springs are likely to wear because they have several moving parts. They should be inspected...

How to drain engine oil and remove filter

Check the engine oil level weekly more often if the engine is consuming some oil, and always bef...

Air filter change

A choked filter in an air cleaner causes increased fuel consumption and, eventually, extra engin...

Checking and topping up car antifreeze coolant

Always use the right kind of antifreeze for your car and keep it at the correct strength, otherwi...

Checking and removing a clutch master cylinder

If a clutch fails to disengage fully when the pedal is pressed, the problem may be the clutch it...

Replacing a master cylinder and servo unit

If a master cylinder is leaking replace it. The cylinder is usually mounted on the bulkhead sepa...

Checking damper units

Almost all modern cars have hydraulic telescopic dampers in their suspension systems. Where the ...

Checking suspension joints and pivots

Almost all joints and pivots in a modern suspension system have rubber or plastic bushes, with t...

Replacing track-rod-end ball joints

Track-rod-end ball joints are not adjustable on later cars. If they wear, you must replace them....

Replacing steering-rack gaiters

If a check of the rack gaiters reveals that the rubber is starting to crack, split or perish, rep...

Removing and grinding valves

Good engine performance depends on valve condition. Worn guides or stems and burned or badly seat...

Lubricating steering swivel joints

Either or both of the upper and lower swivels may have grease nipples; ball joints have them on ...

Checking for wheel and tyre damage

Tyres are put under tremendous strains when a car is being driven. There are only four relativel...

Checking the steering box

A steering box check involves raising the front of the car but keeping its weight on the wheels,...

Cleaning fuel-pump filters

A blocked fuel-pump filter will cause the engine to cut out intermittently, particularly at high...

Checking steering-box mountings

Places where vital components are mounted on the bodywork or chassis should be inspected at leas...

Adjusting wheel bearings

Wheel bearings need periodic checking - and adjusting if necessary - usually at 12,000 mile serv...

Checking, removing and refitting road wheels

When you take the wheels off to inspect the tyre walls, clean the wheels thoroughly and look clo...

How to bleed a clutch

Many cars have clutches that work hydraulically. The mechanism that operates them is sturdy and ...

Checking steering joints for wear

The joints in a steering system all wear gradually and become slack. Because there are so many o...

How to lubricate the steering system

Most modern cars have sealed for life joints in at least part of the steering system. These do no...