Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Repairing my own car (and others)

Dedmans is a family run business now run by Nigel Dedman, his brother and his mum and dad. It is based in an old barn just off the A120 near Stortford. Although somewhat unprepossessing on the outside, inside there is a remarkable array of sophisticated

Dedman's Garage 2

equipment and they seem to be able to repair any sort of vehicle. This variety means that a constant stream of spare parts seems to arrive from dealers during the day since it is impossible to keep all but the basic routine spares on site. Never-the-less, getting a car repaired and returned as quickly as possible is the goal. There is also a constant awareness of cost – the cost of the repair has got to be commensurate with the value of the car and affordable to the customer.

Day 2

A variety of jobs today, the first was to examine an old Lancia which had failed its MOT elsewhere – the owner wanted a second opinion about the reasons given for failure since it had failed on numerous serious points and had only done 2000 miles in the past year.

As soon as the car was up on the ramp, I was given the MOT failure list and asked to give my (uneducated) opinion as to if it was accurate.


It was immediately obvious that there was significant rust under the car, the leaf springs

Leaf Spring

were corroded and therefore unsafe, there was significant rust in the underneath body work and some previous fibreglass repairs were failing. The rust holes shown here are worse than initially presented and result from us checking how bad the rust was.

Rust 1

Rust 2

The bad news was then given to the owner, he came to inspect his pride and joy and then asked for an estimate to be given on repairs to the body work.

Later on in the day I changed tyres, was shown how to fit a new tyre to a rim, and fitted some brake pads.

Late in the afternoon a Honda was brought in with a squeaking noise from one of the wheels. My diagnosis of worn brake pads was confirmed and with less assistance than previously I got on with changing the pads. Although everything I did was checked by a real mechanic, it was very satisfying to diagnose the fault and repair it.

Honda Brake Repair

My own car had developed a fault in the air conditioning system (basically it had stopped cooling the car down) so having seen a car have its aircon topped up the previous day, I booked it in for a repair.  Fault diagnosis by Nigel showed me that there was a leak in one of the aircon pipes and he said that a new one will be ordered tomorrow. I was then told I would be repairing it myself (apparently I am will not be charging myself for the labour cost!)

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