I have a 2002 smart fortwo 599cc with only 51,000 miles on the clock and would like to service it myself. I have changed the oil and filter, and fitted new tyres and a battery. In its life, it has been serviced nine times (according to the paperwork), but I can’t be sure what was done, as the items are not mentioned, only the mileage of service. It seems impossible to find a manual. Perhaps you could advise me how I check the known faults and problems? Even a small book on servicing would be useful.
Terence J Gwin
As with many modern vehicles, a workshop manual is available but only via an internet download. As you have written to me using paper and pen, I will assume that you do not have access to the internet.
The smart’s three-cylinder engine, as you have no doubt discovered, does not have a sump drain bung (although conversions were available) and the oil must be drawn out with a syringe when it requires changing. The engine also has six spark plugs, and while the top three are quite accessible, the other three sit at the back of the engine and require the removal of the rear bumper to allow sufficient access. The spark plug leads also have a metal cap which is prone to sticking onto the plug. A special removal tool is available, but I just use a length of flattened brake pipe with a small hook formed at the end.
Provided regular oil changes are performed, the smart is a reliable vehicle. Sometimes the door handle can stick, causing the door to not latch. This is a common problem, caused by a sticky cable in the handle, which is easily removed by undoing the screw from inside the door handle and fixing this can be quickly remedied by lubrication.
Another area sometimes prone to failure is the clutch actuator, which can become sticky and require cleaning. This will be apparent by a failure of the unit to select a gear and three bars displaying in the gear display window.
There is a smart car owners club that offers an offline membership and the contact details are: thesmartclub Ltd, Offline Membership, 1 Corbiehill Park, Edinburgh EH4 5EQ; Tel 0845 299 0332.