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If you want to remove the dealer advert graphics from your 4 x 4 spare wheel cover then it can be easily done by using a small steam cleaner such as steam buggy or polti steamer, leaving it looking brand new and plain.

Ed Bramley

WARNING - This apparently works on plastic covers but as there are different materials and graphics involved it is advisable to test on a hidden area first to ensure there are no adverse effect..  I cannot guarantee results - this is undertaken at your own risk.


It is important to use good quality tyres on caravans but using 8 ply tyres instead of the usual 6 ply can give extra piece of mind.   It is not the tread which wears but the side walls and this is usually caused by deterioration either by mistreatment or age.  Taking the wheels off the van and supporting on axle stands for the winter can also prolong tyre life.

Thanks to Mike Cook for this advice


To remove tar from your car, take baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) and add enough water to make a paste, then rub on tar.  Works great!

Sent in by Theresa Hamilton - thanks.


Use baby wipes on car dashboards, they clean like new and leave an anti-static layer.

Contribution from David Barns.


To remove surface rust from chrome bumpers and for those people who have them on the overrider, crumple up some aluminium foil into a ball, dip it in water and rub on the rust area, rinse with clean water.  This does not work on pitted rust areas.

Thanks to Krystal G for this one.


Another method of cleaning chrome is a little household ammonia in water.  Rinse and dry the chrome well afterwards to polish it up.  This also removes grease and insect marks.  On really stubborn marks use a little neat ammonia on a damp cloth.

If you don't have ammonia paraffin or toothpaste on a damp cloth are quite good substitutes.


One way to free rusted nuts and bolts, particularly on aluminium parts, is to pour on a small amount of fizzy cola drink.   The acids and carbon dioxide in the drink will help to eat away the corrosion and release the hold on the threads.  Wait until dry before trying again to move the nut.

Cola is is ideal for loosening jammed parts but ensure it is cleaned off properly as it can cause corrosion.


Clean windscreens with a cloth dipped in a bucket of warm water containing a couple of tablespoons of white vinegar.  Polish with a clean, dry cloth.   Smears can be removed with a cloth moistened with methylated spirits.


Don't be tempted to use washing-up (dishwashing) liquid to wash your car.  They can contain salt which corrodes metal.

Cat litter can be used for absorbing oil spills in garages etc.   Dilute any spills with paint thinner or white spirit, sprinkle with cat litter and sweep up when the liquid has been absorbed.


Never work on your car in a closed garage with the engine running.  The carbon monoxide fumes from the exhaust can kill.

Never wear loose clothing, ties, jewellery and keep long hair tied back when working over a running engine.  It is amazing how quickly accidents can happen.


If you get stuck in snow or on ice, don't spin the wheels as this will melt the frozen surface making the problem worse. 

Place gravel, an old sack, or twigs, etc. under the front of the driving wheels, select second gear and let the clutch in slowly with minimum acceleration.


If you have trouble starting your car due to dampness on winter mornings, try using a hair dryer (no, not to get to work on but to dry out the engine!)

You could also lay a piece of old blanket or carpet under the bonnet, over the engine but you must remember to remove it before driving off as it could go up in flames with disastrous consequences.  If you use this method it is best to leave the bonnet (hood) slightly open with the material hanging out to remind you to remove it.


Broken fan belts on some cars can be replaced in an emergency with tights (pantihose) or stockings.  Simply put it around the pulleys on the engine and fan (leaving out the dynamo is easiest).  This will allow you to travel further but the battery will not be charging.  The belt must be replaced quickly

This was also sent in by Paul Pilbeam.


To stop a radiator leak in an emergency, place a piece of chewing gum over the hole.  If the hole is in a hose you can wrap with insulating tape, elastoplast or even sellotape to get you a little further.

Alternatively cracking open an egg and putting into the boiling radiator will seal the hole on a short term basis.

Sent in by Paul Pilbeam

(Be careful when opening a hot radiator though!)


Those are good, but I have an even better solution: PLAIN BREAD…….   Years ago, a rock damaged the radiator in my car while I was enroute from Vancouver to Calgary Canada, the great Rocky Mountains.  It was about 9 pm on a Sunday night, at one of the highest mountain passes, with a blizzard headed in my direction.  This was a recipe for disaster.  I pulled into a gas station to find it closed.  I had no idea what to do till I went into a restaurant attached to the gas station (it was closed as well, but a couple staff members where still there).  I told them my problem, and they gave me a piece of bread.  Simply press the bread onto the radiator, and you’re done.  The flour plugs the hole, and the bread toasts from the heat, and will stay there indefinitely.  Worked like a charm.  I was able to drive the next 600 miles home, and missed the blizzard.  (The drove the car for a good 6 months with the bread in the radiator, because I was young and broke and couldn’t afford a new radiator…. I wouldn’t recommend waiting that long, but it still worked).

Steve Gould

If windscreen wipers stop working and you happen to have a potato handy!!!!  cut the potato in half and rub the face up and down the windscreen in front of the driver.  For a short time, this prevents the pattern of drops which is impossible to see through.  Repeat the process if travelling further.

Small paint brushes or toothbrushes can be used to clean the crevices on dashboards.

Thanks Krystal G.

If you get a hole in your petrol tank you can fix the problem by sealing the hole with soap (carbolic is the best).  This can last up to three days.

Contributed by Paul Pilbeam.

The best hint I've ever had was touring Australia in an old Cortina. A bar of soap was in the glove box and in the end I found out why - the petrol tank had rotted to leave pinprick holes in it. Cure was to rub soap over the outside of the tank. All the time it didn't rain, the petrol wouldn't go past the soap barrier because it couldn't dissolve the soap. Once it did rain, the water dissolved the soap and the leaks returned.

Sent in by Matt Wickes

I have received an additional comment regarding this tip from Chas who explains that while this may work on a car with carburettors, it will probably not work on fuel injected cars as the fuel in the tank is usually pressurised.


To check the accuracy of a car speedometer in the UK, ask a passenger to use their watch to count the number of seconds between the emergency phones on a motorway, assuming they are a mile apart. With that figure divide it into 3600 ( the number of seconds in an hour) and the result is the real miles per hour. 

Example a car at a constant speed of 60 mph will take 60 seconds. 70 mph - 51.5 seconds. 65 mph - 55 seconds. So a car at 30 mph will take 120 seconds but don't try this speed on the motorway! It even works on trains if you can spot the mile posts. 

Even works on model trains if you know the number of feet around the layout - say 70 feet multiplied by 87 (the accurate scale is 1:87 - not the UK 1:76) = 6090. If a model train takes 120 seconds to compete a circuit, it is doing a scale 50.7 mph.

Peter Jones





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