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This page last updated : 25/02/18

Short Title: DIY Information & Tools : Popular Mechanics SA: Saturday mechanic.

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Brought to you by Popular Mechanics SA

This page is brought to with compliments of the Popular Mechanics magazine and reflects a selecton of previously published artciles.

Bleeding your brakes

Your elderly car has required little in the way of episodic repair, for which you’re glad. Still, at your last scheduled maintenance, the service manager advised you that you would need to replace the brake pads, front and rear, before too long. But deferring that expense for a while wouldn’t be a problem, he said.

Changing a tyre

Some day, when you least expect it, you’ll have to change a flat tyre. Here’s how to do it quickly and safely.

Gas Struts - How to replace

Pneumatic struts are used to hold open the tailgate, boot or bonnet of almost every car on the road. Eventually, they lose their 15- bar-plus charge of nitrogen and won’t hold anything. Happily, they are easy to replace.

Installing vinyl graphics

It’s probably unlikely that the average driver’s dearest wish is to have a graphic of bad-tempered wildfowl or gouts of flame splashed across the bonnet of his car. But, given the Constitution’s stance on freedom of expression, we’ll have to resign ourselves to the fact that some expressive car-owners will settle for nothing less.

Plastic Bumper repair

Fortunately, there are a number of companies making repair and refinishing materials for plastic bumpers, as well as plastic fenders and door skins made from sheet moulding compound.

Reattaching a rearview mirror

All you can see in your rearview mirror is grille. There are lots of shiny chrome teeth, all the better to chew up your tiny little economy car, and spit out a stream of nuts, bolts, glass and a hank of hair. It has the makings of a bad B movie – but actually you’re being tailgated by a giant sport utility vehicle.

Repairing defroster grids

These electrically conductive, heated grids on the rear window are literally painted on to the glass. They’re reasonably tough, but it’s possible to damage them by letting cargo rub against the glass, or by scraping off a window sticker or the tinting film. Even a credit card can damage the grid, so limit anything that touches the glass to a clean rag and some window cleaner.

Replacing a timing belt

Your six-year-old econobox is starting to show a bit of wear and tear, but everything mechanical still works fine. Until it doesn’t. Specifically, the engine suddenly goes dead silent one fine day.

Servicing sealed wheel bearings

The squeal coming from the front end of your high-end German sports sedan is embarrassing. Passersby do double takes, and when you recently gave your boss a ride across town, he couldn’t hear his cellphone ring. So you drop a handful of big notes for a complete brake job.

Servicing tapered wheel bearings

The front wheel bearings found on a typical rear-wheel-drive car or pickup employ two-piece caged bearing assemblies. Good maintenance dictates that the bearings should be cleaned and repacked any time the brake disc is removed from the spindle.


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Last update : 25/02/18