Ser­vic­ing tips

Car Mechanics (UK) - - Help! -

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.

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