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Common car problems; How to unfreeze car locks, use a jack, change a flat tyre

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Received from Mr. Robert Hartle:-

If your hands are dirty, squeeze some washing
up liquid into the palm of one hand, add a teaspoon of sugar and then rub your hands
together.  When the sugar has dissolved, rinse well and your soft, white, delicate
hands will be restored!!


Squirt de-icer into the lock, using the
extension nozzle to push aside the protective inner flap.

Soak a sponge or cloth in hot water and apply it
to the outside of the lock.

Heat the key with a flame, this may take several
tries, but never force the key as this may result in it breaking off in the lock.

If you have nothing else available to help try
placing a warm hand over the lock and keeping it there for a couple of minutes, changing
hands every so often.

As prevention is better than cure, to avoid door
locks freezing in the first place, they should be lubricated with a graphite based lock
lubricant, which will also prevent the locks from wearing.


Once stuck do not accelerate as this will dig you in further.

To prevent the driving wheels from spinning use 4th or 5th
gear and partly disengage the clutch to start the car rolling.

If this fails, try 3rd gear and reverse alternately to get
the car rocking backwards and forwards until you feel the tyres grip as the car rolls.

If the driving wheels have dug right into the snow or mud,
put the floor mat from the boot (trunk) or even an old coat or car rug, under both driving
wheels to provide a grip for the tyres.


Before you jack up a car put the handbrake on fully and put
the car into 1st gear (or PARK on an automatic).

If possible, put the car on firm, level ground, however, if
the only ground available is soft, use a board or carpet from the boot (trunk) under the
jack to prevent it sinking into the ground under the weight of the car.

Try to find something to use as a chock in front of the
opposite wheel to prevent it moving.

Find the appropriate fitting point for the jack nearest to
the wheel you want to change.

There are two main types of jack, the post type which has a
metal tongue that fits into a hole at the jacking point on the car and the scissor type
that has a pad which fits under the jacking point.

If necessary clear out any debris which has accumulated in
the hole to ensure the jack fits snugly into the jacking point.  When using a post
jack, tilt the base slightly towards the car when it first touches the ground then, as the
car is raised, it will lean slightly allowing the jack to sit squarely on the ground.

It is worth remembering jacks supplied with cars are intended
for changing wheels only and therefore do not place any part of your body under the car
whilst it is raised.  Do not use the jacks to hold up the car during maintenance


Firstly place the vehicle in as safe a place as possible,
being aware of traffic and placing a red warning triangle to warn other motorists.

If your wheel nuts have plastic covers, remove before using
wheel brace.  The wheel brace may be incorporated in the jack handle.

Before raising the car, remove the hubcap, by using a
screwdriver or wheelbrace or these may just pull off.  Slacken the wheel nuts or
bolts slightly by unscrewing in an anti-clockwise direction.  This is easier to do
with the weight of the car holding the wheel firm.  If the nuts are extremely tight,
put your foot on the wheelbrace and stamp on it if necessary. 

Slowly operate the jack until the car tyre is well clear of
the ground, remember to leave enough clearance to allow for a fully inflated tyre to be
put in its place.

If the car or jack show any sign of instability, lower and
reposition either the car or jack.

Remove the wheel nuts completely and put them in a safe place
where they won’t roll away or get dirty – the hub cap is ideal.

Remove the wheel, fit the spare and replace the nuts* or

*Wheel nuts – some cars have the bolts fitted to the hub.
  The nuts have one conical side which goes on TOWARDS the wheel.

* Wheel bolts – Some cars have wheel bolts that fit into the
holes in the hub.  It can be difficult to align the bolts with the holes in the hub.
  Support the wheel with the jack handle placed under the tyre so that one hole is
aligned and screw that bolt in by hand, it will then be easier to fit the remaining bolts.

Using only moderate pressure, tighten the wheel nuts or bolts
diagonally, this will ensure the wheel is correctly centred.  Lower the car, remove
the jack and tighten the nuts or bolts with your full strength (in a clockwise direction),
standing on the wheelbrace if necessary.  Replace hub cap.






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