Car Mechanics (UK)

DIY Ser­vic­ing: 2007 Mercedes-benz E220 Avant­garde diesel

The tough and sturdy E220 is a no-non­sense car in diesel form – and easy DIY ser­vic­ing is just one of the bonuses, says Richard Gunn.

- Cars · Mercedes-Benz · United Kingdom · Mercedes-Benz W124

The Mercedes-benz E-class ex­ec­u­tive range oc­cu­pies the mid-range po­si­tion in the mar­que’s hi­er­ar­chy. The ve­hi­cles can date their ge­n­e­sis back to the W120 ‘Pon­ton’ cars launched in 1953, although ‘E-class’ wasn’t used as la­bel back then. The ‘E’ ini­tially re­ferred to ‘Ein­spritz­mo­tor’, de­not­ing fuel in­jec­tion, but as this be­came more com­mon­place, it switched mean­ing to ‘Ex­ec­u­tive’. The E-class la­bel was of­fi­cially adopted in 1993 for the W124 series, with the cars using let­ter ‘E’ fol­lowed by a two- or three-digit num­ber for their names.

Our model here is a third-gen­er­a­tion W211, as built from 2002 to 2009. It was more an evolution of the previous W210 than a new design and con­tin­ued with its dis­tinc­tive four head­lamps,

al­beit of two dif­fer­ing sizes. Although di­men­sion­ally larger, the cars were less spa­cious in­side, but did bal­ance this by pack­ing in lots of tech­nol­ogy.

Over seven years of pro­duc­tion, there was a be­wil­der­ing num­ber of petrol and diesel en­gine options, rang­ing from a 1.8 four-cylin­der Kom­pres­sor through to a thun­der­ing 507bhp 6.2-litre V8. The diesel vari­ants sold well in the UK, and it’s one of those we have here, in the form of a four-cylin­der E220. Although 12 years old, it dis­plays few signs of its age, as this gen­er­a­tion were gen­er­ally well-built and re­li­able, with the diesel en­gines ca­pa­ble of rack­ing up big mileages. One ad­van­tage of these lowlier-en­gined mod­els is that there’s a huge amount of space in the en­gine bay, mean­ing ser­vic­ing is sur­pris­ingly easy. Well, ex­cept when it comes to check­ing the au­to­matic trans­mis­sion fluid, that is.

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 ??  ?? 6 CHANGE FUEL FIL­TER The fuel fil­ter is quite ac­ces­si­ble. There are two clips on the side, which are best un­done using a screw­driver as a lever. Undo the two clips on the top that se­cure the pipework (one of ours was a re­place­ment Ju­bilee clip) and dis­con­nect the pipes, after which you can draw out the fil­ter con­tainer.
6 CHANGE FUEL FIL­TER The fuel fil­ter is quite ac­ces­si­ble. There are two clips on the side, which are best un­done using a screw­driver as a lever. Undo the two clips on the top that se­cure the pipework (one of ours was a re­place­ment Ju­bilee clip) and dis­con­nect the pipes, after which you can draw out the fil­ter con­tainer.
 ??  ?? 9 TOP UP SCREENWASH The screenwash fluid reser­voir, marked by a blue cap, is on the near­side of the en­gine bay. Lift the cap, then top up with an ap­pro­pri­ate mix of water and screenwash. It’s sur­pris­ing how quickly it gets used up, even in sum­mer, and with win­ter ap­proach­ing you’re likely to need it.
9 TOP UP SCREENWASH The screenwash fluid reser­voir, marked by a blue cap, is on the near­side of the en­gine bay. Lift the cap, then top up with an ap­pro­pri­ate mix of water and screenwash. It’s sur­pris­ing how quickly it gets used up, even in sum­mer, and with win­ter ap­proach­ing you’re likely to need it.
 ??  ?? 4 CHANGE OIL FIL­TER Twist and pull the old el­e­ment off the cap’s spine and dis­pose of it. Clean the hous­ing, then fit the two new O-rings supplied with the new fil­ter – one on the thread top, the other on the spine bot­tom. Give them a coat­ing of oil, then in­sert the new el­e­ment and re­fit it.
4 CHANGE OIL FIL­TER Twist and pull the old el­e­ment off the cap’s spine and dis­pose of it. Clean the hous­ing, then fit the two new O-rings supplied with the new fil­ter – one on the thread top, the other on the spine bot­tom. Give them a coat­ing of oil, then in­sert the new el­e­ment and re­fit it.
 ??  ?? 5 CHANGE AIR FIL­TER The large air fil­ter is lon­gi­tu­di­nally mounted along­side the en­gine block. There are seven clips keep­ing its cover in place – use a screw­driver blade to lever off the more dif­fi­cult-to-reach ones. Take off the cover, re­move the old fil­ter, clean out the box, then fit the new el­e­ment, mak­ing sure it seats prop­erly.
5 CHANGE AIR FIL­TER The large air fil­ter is lon­gi­tu­di­nally mounted along­side the en­gine block. There are seven clips keep­ing its cover in place – use a screw­driver blade to lever off the more dif­fi­cult-to-reach ones. Take off the cover, re­move the old fil­ter, clean out the box, then fit the new el­e­ment, mak­ing sure it seats prop­erly.
 ??  ?? Con­nect a length of pipe and a fun­nel to one of the pipes on the new fil­ter con­tainer and fill it with ei­ther fresh diesel or diesel cleaner ad­di­tive. Do­ing this will make the en­gine eas­ier to start later. Put the fil­ter back in the en­gine bay and make sure the pipe clips are done up tightly. 7 FIT NEW FIL­TER
Con­nect a length of pipe and a fun­nel to one of the pipes on the new fil­ter con­tainer and fill it with ei­ther fresh diesel or diesel cleaner ad­di­tive. Do­ing this will make the en­gine eas­ier to start later. Put the fil­ter back in the en­gine bay and make sure the pipe clips are done up tightly. 7 FIT NEW FIL­TER
 ??  ?? 1 RE­MOVE EN­GINE COVER This be­ing a Mercedes-benz, mak­ing the en­gine look nice and tidy seems to have been one of the ma­jor con­sid­er­a­tions, so you’ll find a plas­tic en­gine cover shield­ing much of the grubby end of things. For­tu­nately, it just pulls away. Store it some­where safe where it won’t get dam­aged.
1 RE­MOVE EN­GINE COVER This be­ing a Mercedes-benz, mak­ing the en­gine look nice and tidy seems to have been one of the ma­jor con­sid­er­a­tions, so you’ll find a plas­tic en­gine cover shield­ing much of the grubby end of things. For­tu­nately, it just pulls away. Store it some­where safe where it won’t get dam­aged.
 ??  ?? You’ll need a spe­cial cup-type wrench to re­move the oil fil­ter cap, sit­u­ated just above the aux­il­iary drive­belt. Such wrenches are cheaply and read­ily avail­able. Put some old rags around the fil­ter hous­ing to ab­sorb any spillage, then undo the cap and re­move. You’ll need to drain the oil next (see Step 22). 3 UNDO OIL FIL­TER
You’ll need a spe­cial cup-type wrench to re­move the oil fil­ter cap, sit­u­ated just above the aux­il­iary drive­belt. Such wrenches are cheaply and read­ily avail­able. Put some old rags around the fil­ter hous­ing to ab­sorb any spillage, then undo the cap and re­move. You’ll need to drain the oil next (see Step 22). 3 UNDO OIL FIL­TER
 ??  ?? 2 CHECK DRIVE­BELT This is prob­a­bly the eas­i­est mod­ern car on which to check the aux­il­iary drive­belts. They’re at the front of the en­gine, with lots of space around them. Look for tear­ing, fray­ing or crack­ing. Also check the ten­sion, which should be no more than a quar­ter-ofa-turn be­tween pul­leys.
2 CHECK DRIVE­BELT This is prob­a­bly the eas­i­est mod­ern car on which to check the aux­il­iary drive­belts. They’re at the front of the en­gine, with lots of space around them. Look for tear­ing, fray­ing or crack­ing. Also check the ten­sion, which should be no more than a quar­ter-ofa-turn be­tween pul­leys.
 ??  ?? 8 CHECK POWER STEER­ING The PAS fluid reser­voir is next to the oil and fuel fil­ters. The level should be checked with the wheels di­rectly ahead and the en­gine off. Wipe the area around the filler cap, then un­screw the cap – there’s a dip­stick underneath. The level should be be­tween the ‘MAX’ and ‘MIN’ marks de­pend­ing on fluid tem­per­a­ture.
8 CHECK POWER STEER­ING The PAS fluid reser­voir is next to the oil and fuel fil­ters. The level should be checked with the wheels di­rectly ahead and the en­gine off. Wipe the area around the filler cap, then un­screw the cap – there’s a dip­stick underneath. The level should be be­tween the ‘MAX’ and ‘MIN’ marks de­pend­ing on fluid tem­per­a­ture.
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 ??  ?? 12 CHECK ATF LEVEL The owner’s man­ual states there is no need to check the au­to­matic trans­mis­sion fluid level. How­ever, there is a tube up near the bulk­head, with a plas­tic cover marked ‘MB WORK­SHOP ONLY’. You can buy a flexible dip­stick on­line – they’re usu­ally less than £10 – to check the level and con­di­tion of the fluid.
12 CHECK ATF LEVEL The owner’s man­ual states there is no need to check the au­to­matic trans­mis­sion fluid level. How­ever, there is a tube up near the bulk­head, with a plas­tic cover marked ‘MB WORK­SHOP ONLY’. You can buy a flexible dip­stick on­line – they’re usu­ally less than £10 – to check the level and con­di­tion of the fluid.
 ??  ?? 11 CHANGE POLLEN FIL­TER The pollen fil­ter cover has three clips. Turn them anti-clockwise and lift the cover away. Undo the plas­tic nut that holds the fil­ter tray in place, release the clips and pull out the fil­ter tray. Re­move the fil­ter el­e­ment, clean out any de­bris, then fit a new el­e­ment and re­fit the hous­ing.
11 CHANGE POLLEN FIL­TER The pollen fil­ter cover has three clips. Turn them anti-clockwise and lift the cover away. Undo the plas­tic nut that holds the fil­ter tray in place, release the clips and pull out the fil­ter tray. Re­move the fil­ter el­e­ment, clean out any de­bris, then fit a new el­e­ment and re­fit the hous­ing.
 ??  ?? 10 CHECK COOLANT It’s dif­fi­cult to check the coolant level through the trans­par­ent cas­ing of the ex­pan­sion tank, so con­firm things by re­mov­ing the cap. To check the mix­ture strength, use a hy­drom­e­ter to en­sure it is still giv­ing ad­e­quate pro­tec­tion. Have a look in­side the cap to make sure the seal is OK.
10 CHECK COOLANT It’s dif­fi­cult to check the coolant level through the trans­par­ent cas­ing of the ex­pan­sion tank, so con­firm things by re­mov­ing the cap. To check the mix­ture strength, use a hy­drom­e­ter to en­sure it is still giv­ing ad­e­quate pro­tec­tion. Have a look in­side the cap to make sure the seal is OK.
 ??  ?? 14 CHECK UN­DER­BODY With the ve­hi­cle safely up in the air, in­spect for any rust or dam­age underneath, specif­i­cally the con­di­tion of ex­posed metal on brake and fuel lines, and con­firm the integrity of the ex­haust sys­tem and its mount­ings, mak­ing sure there’s no sig­nif­i­cant cor­ro­sion al­low­ing gas and fumes to es­cape.
14 CHECK UN­DER­BODY With the ve­hi­cle safely up in the air, in­spect for any rust or dam­age underneath, specif­i­cally the con­di­tion of ex­posed metal on brake and fuel lines, and con­firm the integrity of the ex­haust sys­tem and its mount­ings, mak­ing sure there’s no sig­nif­i­cant cor­ro­sion al­low­ing gas and fumes to es­cape.
 ??  ?? 13 CHECK BRAKE FLUID The brake and clutch fluid reser­voir is on the right-hand side of the bulk­head, un­der a large cover. You need to rotate the two fas­ten­ers an­ti­clock­wise, after which you can lift the cover for ac­cess to the reser­voir. It has ‘MIN’ and ‘MAX’ marks on the cas­ing, but we rec­om­mend using an elec­tronic fluid checker.
13 CHECK BRAKE FLUID The brake and clutch fluid reser­voir is on the right-hand side of the bulk­head, un­der a large cover. You need to rotate the two fas­ten­ers an­ti­clock­wise, after which you can lift the cover for ac­cess to the reser­voir. It has ‘MIN’ and ‘MAX’ marks on the cas­ing, but we rec­om­mend using an elec­tronic fluid checker.
 ??  ?? 16 UN­LOCK WHEELNUTS As you’d ex­pect, these cars have lock­ing wheelnuts to make sure no­body heads off with those nice al­loys. If you’re not car’s orig­i­nal owner, or this is the first time you’ve at­tempted ser­vic­ing, make sure you have the lock­ing wheel­nut key – it’s usu­ally in the boot or with the spare wheel.
16 UN­LOCK WHEELNUTS As you’d ex­pect, these cars have lock­ing wheelnuts to make sure no­body heads off with those nice al­loys. If you’re not car’s orig­i­nal owner, or this is the first time you’ve at­tempted ser­vic­ing, make sure you have the lock­ing wheel­nut key – it’s usu­ally in the boot or with the spare wheel.
 ??  ?? 17 CHECK WHEELS Scru­ti­nise all tyres. En­sure they’re road le­gal, with ad­e­quate tread – use a depth gauge if avail­able – and look for crack­ing, kerb­ing or bulging. With the hand­brake off, rock the wheels top to bot­tom; sig­nif­i­cant play points to sus­pen­sion prob­lems. Fi­nally, spin them and lis­ten for the drone of a worn wheel bear­ing.
17 CHECK WHEELS Scru­ti­nise all tyres. En­sure they’re road le­gal, with ad­e­quate tread – use a depth gauge if avail­able – and look for crack­ing, kerb­ing or bulging. With the hand­brake off, rock the wheels top to bot­tom; sig­nif­i­cant play points to sus­pen­sion prob­lems. Fi­nally, spin them and lis­ten for the drone of a worn wheel bear­ing.
 ??  ?? 18 CHECK SUS­PEN­SION Once the wheels are out of the way, care­fully check all the sus­pen­sion and steer­ing com­po­nents. Things to keep an eye out for are any per­ish­ing of rub­ber bushes. Look out for broken road springs and leak­ing dampers, plus leaks from any brake lines, usu­ally around unions.
18 CHECK SUS­PEN­SION Once the wheels are out of the way, care­fully check all the sus­pen­sion and steer­ing com­po­nents. Things to keep an eye out for are any per­ish­ing of rub­ber bushes. Look out for broken road springs and leak­ing dampers, plus leaks from any brake lines, usu­ally around unions.
 ??  ?? 15 RE­MOVE UN­DER­TRAY To fa­cil­i­tate fur­ther in­spec­tion – and drain the oil – you’ll need to re­move the two un­der­trays. These are held in place by a num­ber of 8mm bolts: four on the front and eight on the rear, although you can rea­son­ably ex­pect some to be miss­ing and re­placed by ca­ble ties. Store them safely.
15 RE­MOVE UN­DER­TRAY To fa­cil­i­tate fur­ther in­spec­tion – and drain the oil – you’ll need to re­move the two un­der­trays. These are held in place by a num­ber of 8mm bolts: four on the front and eight on the rear, although you can rea­son­ably ex­pect some to be miss­ing and re­placed by ca­ble ties. Store them safely.
 ??  ?? 26 CHECK ALL IN­STRU­MENTS AND SEAT­BELTS Give each seat­belt a tug, to make sure they’re ‘grab­bing’ prop­erly – it’s a safety and MOT is­sue if they don’t. You should also make sure all the in­stru­ments, con­trols and lights func­tion as intended. You can check the rear brake lights by back­ing up to a nearby wall while look­ing for re­flec­tions.
26 CHECK ALL IN­STRU­MENTS AND SEAT­BELTS Give each seat­belt a tug, to make sure they’re ‘grab­bing’ prop­erly – it’s a safety and MOT is­sue if they don’t. You should also make sure all the in­stru­ments, con­trols and lights func­tion as intended. You can check the rear brake lights by back­ing up to a nearby wall while look­ing for re­flec­tions.
 ??  ?? 25 CHECK REAR PADS One thing in common with the front brakes is that there’s a pad sen­sor wire on just one wheel only, so take care with it and dis­con­nect it be­fore re­mov­ing the calipers. The in­ner pad will come off with the caliper, the outer should stay around the wheel. Clean and lu­bri­cate the pads as be­fore, then re­assem­ble.
25 CHECK REAR PADS One thing in common with the front brakes is that there’s a pad sen­sor wire on just one wheel only, so take care with it and dis­con­nect it be­fore re­mov­ing the calipers. The in­ner pad will come off with the caliper, the outer should stay around the wheel. Clean and lu­bri­cate the pads as be­fore, then re­assem­ble.
 ??  ?? 21 CLEAN BRAKE PADS As­sum­ing the pads can be reused – with at least 3mm fric­tion ma­te­rial left – clean the fronts by rub­bing them on abra­sive paper on a flat surface. Also ap­ply ce­ramic brake grease to the rears and mount­ing lugs, wheel hub flanges, plus the points on the mount­ing cradle where the pads mount. Now re­assem­ble.
21 CLEAN BRAKE PADS As­sum­ing the pads can be reused – with at least 3mm fric­tion ma­te­rial left – clean the fronts by rub­bing them on abra­sive paper on a flat surface. Also ap­ply ce­ramic brake grease to the rears and mount­ing lugs, wheel hub flanges, plus the points on the mount­ing cradle where the pads mount. Now re­assem­ble.
 ??  ?? 19 UNDO BRAKE CALIPERS Clean the brakes thor­oughly be­fore you dis­man­tle them. Use a wire brush over the ex­te­rior of the caliper as­sem­bly to re­move rust and dust. A bit of pro­pri­etary brake cleaner spray won’t go amiss. Take care when clean­ing be­cause of the del­i­cate brake sen­sor wire on the off­side front wheel.
19 UNDO BRAKE CALIPERS Clean the brakes thor­oughly be­fore you dis­man­tle them. Use a wire brush over the ex­te­rior of the caliper as­sem­bly to re­move rust and dust. A bit of pro­pri­etary brake cleaner spray won’t go amiss. Take care when clean­ing be­cause of the del­i­cate brake sen­sor wire on the off­side front wheel.
 ??  ?? 20 RE­MOVE BRAKE PADS Un­plug the brake sen­sor wire (if ap­pro­pri­ate), then undo the two rear caliper bolts; they should be 13mm items, but one here was 12mm. Lift off the caliper, re­move the pads, then carry on with fur­ther clean­ing, such as turn­ing the disc rim against a screw­driver blade to re­move any loose cor­ro­sion.
20 RE­MOVE BRAKE PADS Un­plug the brake sen­sor wire (if ap­pro­pri­ate), then undo the two rear caliper bolts; they should be 13mm items, but one here was 12mm. Lift off the caliper, re­move the pads, then carry on with fur­ther clean­ing, such as turn­ing the disc rim against a screw­driver blade to re­move any loose cor­ro­sion.
 ??  ?? 24 RE­MOVE REAR BRAKES The rear brakes have some dif­fer­ences with the fronts. There are rub­ber caps on the back of both caliper bolts, which are T40 Torx items. After you’ve done the same clean­ing and checks as with the fronts, undo these. There’s also a clip on the front pad that will need to be taken off.
24 RE­MOVE REAR BRAKES The rear brakes have some dif­fer­ences with the fronts. There are rub­ber caps on the back of both caliper bolts, which are T40 Torx items. After you’ve done the same clean­ing and checks as with the fronts, undo these. There’s also a clip on the front pad that will need to be taken off.
 ??  ?? 22 DRAIN EN­GINE OIL The drain plug is on the bot­tom of the sump and re­quires a 13mm socket to undo it. Oil should be drained when warm but not too hot. Ex­pect about six litres to come out, so have some­thing of ad­e­quate ca­pac­ity underneath to catch what pours out. Dis­pose of it in an en­vi­ron­men­tally-friendly man­ner.
22 DRAIN EN­GINE OIL The drain plug is on the bot­tom of the sump and re­quires a 13mm socket to undo it. Oil should be drained when warm but not too hot. Ex­pect about six litres to come out, so have some­thing of ad­e­quate ca­pac­ity underneath to catch what pours out. Dis­pose of it in an en­vi­ron­men­tally-friendly man­ner.
 ??  ?? Use C3 5W-30 fully-syn­thetic low SAPS oil to re­fill the en­gine. The of­fi­cial ca­pac­ity 6.5 litres, but you won’t get all that in due to resid­ual stuff. Put in about 4.5 litres, then start the en­gine briefly to cir­cu­late. Stop the en­gine and top up slowly, mak­ing fre­quent ref­er­ence to the dip­stick.
Use C3 5W-30 fully-syn­thetic low SAPS oil to re­fill the en­gine. The of­fi­cial ca­pac­ity 6.5 litres, but you won’t get all that in due to resid­ual stuff. Put in about 4.5 litres, then start the en­gine briefly to cir­cu­late. Stop the en­gine and top up slowly, mak­ing fre­quent ref­er­ence to the dip­stick.
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 ??  ?? 31 RESET SER­VICE IN­DI­CA­TOR We used an elec­tronic di­ag­nos­tic tool to reset the ser­vice in­di­ca­tor. How­ever, it can be done using the menu con­trols in­side the car, although it is a com­pli­cated process and varies de­pend­ing on whether your car is pre- or post-septem­ber 2003. For that rea­son, we sug­gest check­ing the in­ter­net for in­for­ma­tion on the ap­pro­pri­ate process.
31 RESET SER­VICE IN­DI­CA­TOR We used an elec­tronic di­ag­nos­tic tool to reset the ser­vice in­di­ca­tor. How­ever, it can be done using the menu con­trols in­side the car, although it is a com­pli­cated process and varies de­pend­ing on whether your car is pre- or post-septem­ber 2003. For that rea­son, we sug­gest check­ing the in­ter­net for in­for­ma­tion on the ap­pro­pri­ate process.
 ??  ?? 30 CHECK BAT­TERY Along­side the spare wheel, you’ll find the bat­tery. Make sure the ter­mi­nals are done up tightly and are clean, and give them a light coat­ing of grease. You can check the acid lev­els by un­screw­ing each of the six peep­holes, to make sure it’s cov­er­ing the plates in­side. Top up with dis­tilled water, if nec­es­sary.
30 CHECK BAT­TERY Along­side the spare wheel, you’ll find the bat­tery. Make sure the ter­mi­nals are done up tightly and are clean, and give them a light coat­ing of grease. You can check the acid lev­els by un­screw­ing each of the six peep­holes, to make sure it’s cov­er­ing the plates in­side. Top up with dis­tilled water, if nec­es­sary.
 ??  ?? 27 CHECK ALL WIPERS Are the wipers be­hav­ing them­selves? Check to make sure the rub­ber blades aren’t per­ished or torn, which will make them less ef­fec­tive at clear­ing the screen and could lead to the screen be­ing per­ma­nently marked. The washer jets on the bon­net aren’t ad­justable.
27 CHECK ALL WIPERS Are the wipers be­hav­ing them­selves? Check to make sure the rub­ber blades aren’t per­ished or torn, which will make them less ef­fec­tive at clear­ing the screen and could lead to the screen be­ing per­ma­nently marked. The washer jets on the bon­net aren’t ad­justable.
 ??  ?? 28 LU­BRI­CATE ALL LOCKS All the locks, catches and hinges should be lu­bri­cated dur­ing ser­vic­ing – it’s of­ten skipped, so it may not have been done for a while. The re­sult is that items can get stiff or seize up com­pletely. Use spray grease or house­hold oil from a can, with an ex­ten­sion noz­zle to get deep into things.
28 LU­BRI­CATE ALL LOCKS All the locks, catches and hinges should be lu­bri­cated dur­ing ser­vic­ing – it’s of­ten skipped, so it may not have been done for a while. The re­sult is that items can get stiff or seize up com­pletely. Use spray grease or house­hold oil from a can, with an ex­ten­sion noz­zle to get deep into things.
 ??  ?? 29 CHECK SPARE WHEEL The spare wheel is in the boot, un­der the false floor. It’s a space­saver type, with a max­i­mum speed of 50mph, so will need to be pumped up to 60psi. Make sure it’s fit for pur­pose, with no dam­age, and ad­e­quate tread left. Also check that the tool kit around it is com­plete.
29 CHECK SPARE WHEEL The spare wheel is in the boot, un­der the false floor. It’s a space­saver type, with a max­i­mum speed of 50mph, so will need to be pumped up to 60psi. Make sure it’s fit for pur­pose, with no dam­age, and ad­e­quate tread left. Also check that the tool kit around it is com­plete.

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