MANY a time customers have come into the shop with minor problems that are simple and doesn’t cost much to fix. Your friendly neighbourhood foreman may refuse or do the job unenthusiastically. It’s not that we foremen are stuck-up or don’t appreciate your business, it’s just that these problems are sometimes easily fixed and we don’t like charging customers a lot for small items. Right.

Some of these “fixes” are just delaying tactics (such as the one involving the windshield) but they still qualify as fixes.

1. TREE SAP ON THE PAINTJOB

Sometimes we are forced to park underneath trees that produce sap and it can stick to the paint stubbornly. No amount of soap or car shampoo will remove it.

Use rubbing alcohol or a proprietary cleaner (available from your accessory shop) to remove the sap. Tar will also be removed if it is fairly recent or in small quantities. The alcohol is the best as it doesn’t require cleaning off. It just evaporates right off.

2. JUMPSTARTING A CAR

Your car has a fairly recent battery but you left your lights on? And now even with a jumpstart it is reluctant to start right up? The problem is usually corrosion on the battery terminals.

Get a can of Coke or similar. Pour a little on each terminal and watch the corrosion melt away. Replace the jumpstart cables and the car should start right up. Make sure to rinse the sugary substance away as soon as possible. It may attract ants.

3. DENTED BODYWORK

Have a dented plastic bumper or on the metalwork? A simple dent from a love-tap or a bicycle is usually easy to fix.

Access is the key word here. Make sure you can access the dent from behind. Remove plastic mudguards if necessary. Plastic bumpers will require that you pour hot water over the dent first. Use plenty of hot water (parental supervision may be necessary) and gently push the dent out from behind. Metal may require a little more persuasion but it doesn’t require the hot water treatment. A sharper dent may require suction cups (or if access is difficult). These are available from your accessory shop in various sizes.

4. CAR WAX RESIDUE ON PLASTIC BUMPERS

Frustrating is the word when that whitish residue makes an appearance after the wax has been buffed off. The car looks great but the black textured bumpers look 10 years old.

This is a simple fix. Wipe the residue off with a little WD40 on a rag. Spray it on those hard to access crevices and the bumpers are spick and span again.

Sent your questions to askmechanic@nst.com.my

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