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

How a single-circuit system works A single hydraulic brake pipe carries the brake fluid to each ...

Eliminating rust before painting

Treating severe rusting Use an electric drill fitted with a sanding disc or a flap wheel to cut ...

Patching rust holes

Using a filler-fibre mixture Put the plastic sheet over the hole and tape down one side. Trace t...

Applying underbody sealant

Where to apply sealant On a fairly new car, covering the underbody with sealing compound will di...

Renewing disc-brake pads

A piston-opposed caliper-type disc brake is fitted to many small and medium cars. It is vital to...

Cleaning and replacing a control box

A typical control box Generally the dynamo control box is mounted on the front wing not far from...

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

A typical dynamo The electrical connections from a dynamo are on the rear endplate. Current gene...

Replacing wheel bearings on driven wheels

Front wheel drive bearings A front-wheel-drive system with the inner and outer wheel bearings in...

Cleaning and checking leaf springs

Leaf-spring suspension Leaf springs are used at the rear in many cars. Measure ride height from ...

How to drain engine oil and remove filter

Bolt-on filter bowl An oil-filter bowl of a type found on many early cars. The bowl is secured t...

Air filter change

The circular paper filter is inside a metal or plastic casing. This has an intake for hot or col...

Checking and topping up car antifreeze coolant

Antifreeze in the cooling system The radiator contains piping through which the coolant circulat...

Checking and removing a clutch master cylinder

Clutch master cylinder On most cars the clutch master cylinder is a single unit with its own flu...

Replacing a master cylinder and servo unit

To disconnect the pushrod, straighten the split pin and pull it out with pliers. Push the clevis...

Checking damper units

MacPherson struts at the front with telescopic dampers at the rear is a common layout on many ca...

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

This type of steering gear usually has just one replaceable ball joint at the outer end of each ...

Replacing steering-rack gaiters

Removing a gaiter Loosen clip or untwist or cut off wire clips, and throw them away. Replace wit...

Removing and grinding valves

Compressing a valve spring. Removing the collets. Good engine performance depends on valve condi...

Lubricating steering swivel joints

A MacPherson-strut suspension system with a steering box In this steering-box system, the extra ...

Checking for wheel and tyre damage

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

Checking the steering box

A typical steering-box layout Check the gasket and seals for leaks, and the moving parts for wea...

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 least...

Adjusting wheel bearings

Hub-bearing layout Wheel bearings need periodic checking - and adjusting if necessary - usually ...

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

Steering-column joints. There are often one or two universal joints in the steering-column shaft...

How to lubricate the steering system

Draining a rack Unfasten the inner end of the lower gaiter and pull it clear of the rack drain....