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Old 27th September 2020, 23:01   #1
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Default Interesting find in my Skoda Laura - An Allen Key to open / close the sunroof

Hello TeamBHP family, hope everyone is safe!

This post is about an interesting find I made inside my 2007 Skoda Laura. But first, a small backstory!

After keeping my Laura parked in the basement parking of my in-law's apartment for a week, the interior of my car has gone extremely mouldy. I had this problem previously for which I've done a 3M treatment about 3 years back. Guess the effects of 3M treatment has worn off. I've throughly cleaned the entire mould off, wiped the entire interior except the floor(surprisingly it wasn't mouldy at all!) in Dettol and kept the car in direct sun for a couple of hours, I've also kept a box of AbzorbIt Moisture absorber inside as a temporary solution. I've since moved the car from basement. Any ideas on keeping the car mould free will be greatly appreciated!

During the cleaning process, I noticed that the sunglass holder was a bit loose, just a light pull & the entire sunglass holder assembly came off. While having a closer inspection, I found an interesting item, an Allen Key neatly tucked in the sunglass holder assembly! I couldn't make it out as an allen key at first, I thought it might be some kind of enforcement, but then it clicked!

Interesting find in my Skoda Laura - An Allen Key to open / close the sunroof-p1.jpg

I remember watching the guys at my FNG(RVS MotoHub) using a hex bit to open a non functioning sun roof on a Laura once, this allen key is for that purpose provided by the manufacturer.

Interesting find in my Skoda Laura - An Allen Key to open / close the sunroof-p2.jpg

This is where the allen key would fit in, turning this would open/close the sunroof depending on the direction of turning:
Interesting find in my Skoda Laura - An Allen Key to open / close the sunroof-p3.jpg

Interesting to see the manufacturer including the tool to open/close the sunroof in case of a failure. I've also read somewhere that It is mandatory to have an option to open the sunroof in case of an emergency. Nevertheless, I'm still finding interesting things on this car even after all these years!

Make sure to keep yourself safe, Thanks for reading!
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Old 28th September 2020, 19:41   #2
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Default Re: Interesting find in my Skoda Laura - An Allen Key to open / close the sunroof

Quote:
Originally Posted by vsaravind007 View Post
After keeping my Laura parked in the basement parking of my in-law's apartment for a week, the interior of my car has gone extremely mouldy.
Check & ensure that you don't have water leakage anywhere in your car. That's one of the most common reasons for mold.

Quote:
this allen key is for that purpose provided by the manufacturer.
sweet! That's the thing with European cars - they continue to amaze you after years of ownership. Can't help but smile at the thoughtfulness behind these little things.
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Old 29th September 2020, 15:16   #3
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Default Re: Interesting find in my Skoda Laura - An Allen Key to open / close the sunroof

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Check & ensure that you don't have water leakage anywhere in your car. That's one of the most common reasons for mould.
My Grand i10 was parked in the basement during the lockdown for a relatively long time. The battery needed a replacement but no other issues.

But the seats and interiors had mould on them. Blurry white patches spread over the seats. The basement is powder dry even during heavy rains. Speed breakers and humps all around have kept water from entering no matter what. But there was still mould in the car. And everything was shut tight. I wonder how it happened.
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Old 30th September 2020, 11:24   #4
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Default Re: Interesting find in my Skoda Laura - An Allen Key to open / close the sunroof

Using the car cover helps a bit, but as GTO pointed out, first thing to be fixed is source of leakage.

Not properly closing the windows and sunroof are other reasons.

Also when parked inside basement it is better to turn on the recirculation knob/button before locking the car as this will shut the air inlet.
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Old 30th September 2020, 17:50   #5
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Default Re: Interesting find in my Skoda Laura - An Allen Key to open / close the sunroof

Great find.
Reminded me of similar discovery in the old Ford Figo. Ford had given spare fuses and a small tool called fuse puller. The fuse puller comes in very handy to cleanly remove the fuses from the fuse box.

Was disappointed to see that this is not the case with the new Ford Figo though.
I think even maruti also provides fuse puller nearly tucked inside the fuse box cover in case of 2nd gen swift.
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Old 30th September 2020, 21:14   #6
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Default Re: Interesting find in my Skoda Laura - An Allen Key to open / close the sunroof

Quote:
Originally Posted by vsaravind007 View Post
Interesting to see the manufacturer including the tool to open/close the sunroof in case of a failure. I've also read somewhere that It is mandatory to have an option to open the sunroof in case of an emergency.
Good to see such tool for an emergency.

But if it is indeed for an emergency, it shall not be hidden without notice. Presence of such tool shall be announced, using some label or sticker.
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Old 30th September 2020, 22:57   #7
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Default Re: Interesting find in my Skoda Laura - An Allen Key to open / close the sunroof

That's an amazing find I wish I had an opportunity to check the same in my close friend's Octavia L&K 2003.
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Old 1st October 2020, 00:18   #8
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Default Re: Interesting find in my Skoda Laura - An Allen Key to open / close the sunroof

When we are using the car, there is a lot of moisture coming off our bodies that gets absorbed by the various surfaces of the car. In normal usage, these areas get aired or dried from the fresh air from open windows or from the AC. The AC evaporator is also a good source of moisture (hence the drain pipe below it)
Add to this moisture, the dead skin cells we all shed. you realise that you arrange a veritable feast for the microorganisms wherever you sit. That is why there is always going to be some mould etc that grows in cars (or in any area inhabited by humans). Wait for a couple of days and open a car parked in shade and you will find minuscule amounts of growth on areas like the car seats and the steering wheel, which see regular contact from our skin. these may or may not be visible to the naked eye, but are there.
When the car is parked closed for a long time, in a shady area, the mould gets time enough to grow to an extent that they become visible to the naked eye.
So periodic cleaning is a must to keep these in check. A desiccant is a good choice to have in the car if you are planning to keep it parked for long.
Another option, is to switch off the AC while keeping the fan on a few 100 meters away from your home so that the car AC evaporator has time to come to room temperature and also any moisture collected on it gets dried off.
I would not recommend harsh chemicals (read fumigants) as a moving car nowadays is a closed environment and you don't want to be breathing those same fumes when you are in the car.
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Old 1st October 2020, 08:15   #9
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Default Re: Interesting find in my Skoda Laura - An Allen Key to open / close the sunroof

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ravi Parwan View Post
Wait for a couple of days and open a car parked in shade and you will find minuscule amounts of growth on areas like the car seats and the steering wheel, which see regular contact from our skin. these may or may not be visible to the naked eye, but are there. When the car is parked closed for a long time, in a shady area, the mould gets time enough to grow to an extent that they become visible to the naked eye.

I would not recommend harsh chemicals (read fumigants) as a moving car nowadays is a closed environment and you don't want to be breathing those same fumes when you are in the car.
In past, I have noticed that the gear knob and the steering grip got sticky occasionally. It was nothing but a thin layer of mould, not visible enough.

What I did: Took some sanitizer on a piece of cloth and wiped it.

After I purchased my SX4 in 2011, I have been always keeping a bottle of Sterilium (a sanitizer I first saw in the ICUs of the hospitals back then). The original purpose was to sanitize the hands after washing, when I stop at an eatery on highway trips. After buying (and consuming) a few bottles, I substituted it by Anhydrous Ethyl Alcohol (80% or more) purchased in bulk from chemicals shop. It was way cheaper then the Sterilium.
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Old 1st October 2020, 08:43   #10
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Default Re: Interesting find in my Skoda Laura - An Allen Key to open / close the sunroof

Quote:
Originally Posted by vsaravind007 View Post
Hello TeamBHP family, hope everyone is safe!

This post is about an interesting find I made inside my 2007 Skoda Laura. But first, a small backstory!

After keeping my Laura parked in the basement parking of my in-law's apartment for a week, the interior of my car has gone extremely mouldy......... I've since moved the car from basement. Any ideas on keeping the car mould free will be greatly appreciated!
That is an amazing find !

Regarding the mold, I have the same issue in my Punto and as GTO mentioned I also know the reason. The front windshield sealant has cracked due to age and is letting in water droplets and moisture. I am yet to get it resealed.

March to June, I had no issues of mold when the car was parked continuosly. End of June it started to rain and I noticed a severe mold growth on the dashboard, steering wheel and gear knob. Took it to 3M got their antimicrobial treatment and realised I wasted my money when the mold reappeared after 2 weeks.

Wiped it off with a wet cloth and After that towards the end of August the mold was reappearing only on the steering wheel and gear knob.

I started using the car again for regular weekend drives for the past month and found it a pain to clean the mold everytime. Not to mention the severe health hazard it can turn out to be.

After reading many online forums, YouTube videos I tried Distilled white vinegar mixed with distilled water in equal parts. Sprayed down the entire interior, let it soak for 4-5 minutes and parked the car for 7 hours in the Chennai sun.

I was sceptical about my car smelling of vinegar, but all the smell had vanished (almost) after parking it under the sun. It has been a week of heavy rain since and I don't see anything growing back.

P.S. Don't forget to spray a little into the AC vents. Be careful spraying around switches/knobs.
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Old 1st October 2020, 09:04   #11
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Default Re: Interesting find in my Skoda Laura - An Allen Key to open / close the sunroof

I am curious as to why the manufacturer will not want to write about this in the User
Manual ? Should this be left as a secret at all ? It may not suit its purpose as an emergency exit ( given the time it takes to operate ), but it still is a useful available feature and should have got a mention in the user manual.

Nevertheless, a good find.
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Old 1st October 2020, 09:04   #12
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Default Re: Interesting find in my Skoda Laura - An Allen Key to open / close the sunroof

That's a nice find! Anything that is electrically operated should have a manual override option. Like those manual fuel lid/boot openers.

Coming to the mold problem. I see the OP is based in Trivandrum. The humidity will be > 90% most of the time and the chance of fungus growth is very high. Even in the dry Bangalore weather, I used to see mold formation after a couple of weeks of basement parking. This is especially true when the car has gone for a wash and has not dried completely before parking. Once the fungus has formed, it is very difficult to eliminate it completely. The key is to make the car interior moisture free for sustained period to prevent the growth.

I found a recommendation of using Absorbia (link below) from the detailing thread. Got them and it has been a life saver. No more mold/fungus/foul smell in my cars. Highly recommend it when parking the car long term, especially in the basement.

Name:  absorbia.png
Views: 709
Size:  147.0 KB


https://www.amazon.in/dp/B08B1QDK5H

Last edited by bejoy : 1st October 2020 at 09:06.
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Old 2nd October 2020, 18:44   #13
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Default Re: Interesting find in my Skoda Laura - An Allen Key to open / close the sunroof

Quote:
Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Check & ensure that you don't have water leakage anywhere in your car. That's one of the most common reasons for mold.
Did a through check everywhere, no leakage anywhere!

Quote:
Originally Posted by viXit View Post
My Grand i10 was parked in the basement during the lockdown for a relatively long time. The battery needed a replacement but no other issues.

But the seats and interiors had mould on them. Blurry white patches spread over the seats. The basement is powder dry even during heavy rains. Speed breakers and humps all around have kept water from entering no matter what. But there was still mould in the car. And everything was shut tight. I wonder how it happened.
Same situation here, basement is bone dry, I washed the car a day back, I'm guessing that the floor mats were moist.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rahul Bhalgat View Post
Good to see such tool for an emergency.

But if it is indeed for an emergency, it shall not be hidden without notice. Presence of such tool shall be announced, using some label or sticker.
I think i would be, will check the manuals and update here

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ravi Parwan View Post
When we are using the car, there is a lot of moisture coming off our bodies that gets absorbed by the various surfaces of the car. In normal usage, these areas get aired or dried from the fresh air from open windows or from the AC. The AC evaporator is also a good source of moisture (hence the drain pipe below it)
Add to this moisture, the dead skin cells we all shed. you realise that you arrange a veritable feast for the microorganisms wherever you sit. That is why there is always going to be some mould etc that grows in cars (or in any area inhabited by humans). Wait for a couple of days and open a car parked in shade and you will find minuscule amounts of growth on areas like the car seats and the steering wheel, which see regular contact from our skin. these may or may not be visible to the naked eye, but are there.
When the car is parked closed for a long time, in a shady area, the mould gets time enough to grow to an extent that they become visible to the naked eye.
So periodic cleaning is a must to keep these in check. A desiccant is a good choice to have in the car if you are planning to keep it parked for long.
Another option, is to switch off the AC while keeping the fan on a few 100 meters away from your home so that the car AC evaporator has time to come to room temperature and also any moisture collected on it gets dried off.
I would not recommend harsh chemicals (read fumigants) as a moving car nowadays is a closed environment and you don't want to be breathing those same fumes when you are in the car.
I think on Laura, the recirculation vents auto closes(not 100% sure though!) when the car is turned off. Can hear small noises from the motors and flaps behind the audio system.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rahul Bhalgat View Post
In past, I have noticed that the gear knob and the steering grip got sticky occasionally. It was nothing but a thin layer of mould, not visible enough.

What I did: Took some sanitizer on a piece of cloth and wiped it.

After I purchased my SX4 in 2011, I have been always keeping a bottle of Sterilium (a sanitizer I first saw in the ICUs of the hospitals back then). The original purpose was to sanitize the hands after washing, when I stop at an eatery on highway trips. After buying (and consuming) a few bottles, I substituted it by Anhydrous Ethyl Alcohol (80% or more) purchased in bulk from chemicals shop. It was way cheaper then the Sterilium.
I've addressed the same like you did, had a little stock of Ethyl Alcohol I bought for PCB cleaning. I wiped the seats with it, but the leather wax and the treatment by 3M came off I think! Seats became a bit too dry after the alcohol treatment. Might have to polish them again.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shanksta View Post
That is an amazing find !

Regarding the mold, I have the same issue in my Punto and as GTO mentioned I also know the reason. The front windshield sealant has cracked due to age and is letting in water droplets and moisture. I am yet to get it resealed.

March to June, I had no issues of mold when the car was parked continuosly. End of June it started to rain and I noticed a severe mold growth on the dashboard, steering wheel and gear knob. Took it to 3M got their antimicrobial treatment and realised I wasted my money when the mold reappeared after 2 weeks.

Wiped it off with a wet cloth and After that towards the end of August the mold was reappearing only on the steering wheel and gear knob.

I started using the car again for regular weekend drives for the past month and found it a pain to clean the mold everytime. Not to mention the severe health hazard it can turn out to be.

After reading many online forums, YouTube videos I tried Distilled white vinegar mixed with distilled water in equal parts. Sprayed down the entire interior, let it soak for 4-5 minutes and parked the car for 7 hours in the Chennai sun.

I was sceptical about my car smelling of vinegar, but all the smell had vanished (almost) after parking it under the sun. It has been a week of heavy rain since and I don't see anything growing back.

P.S. Don't forget to spray a little into the AC vents. Be careful spraying around switches/knobs.
Checked the windshield as well, no leaks! I guessing that I might've put in the floor mats while they were wet. Distilled water+vinegar = acetic acid!! This can corrode switches, electronics & also can cause discolouration of leather!

Quote:
Originally Posted by bejoy View Post
That's a nice find! Anything that is electrically operated should have a manual override option. Like those manual fuel lid/boot openers.

Coming to the mold problem. I see the OP is based in Trivandrum. The humidity will be > 90% most of the time and the chance of fungus growth is very high. Even in the dry Bangalore weather, I used to see mold formation after a couple of weeks of basement parking. This is especially true when the car has gone for a wash and has not dried completely before parking. Once the fungus has formed, it is very difficult to eliminate it completely. The key is to make the car interior moisture free for sustained period to prevent the growth.

I found a recommendation of using Absorbia (link below) from the detailing thread. Got them and it has been a life saver. No more mold/fungus/foul smell in my cars. Highly recommend it when parking the car long term, especially in the basement.

Attachment 2061447

https://www.amazon.in/dp/B08B1QDK5H
I think the floor mats were not fully dry, I've kept a box of AbzorbIT inside the car now, the same product you've mentioned above.

Interesting find in my Skoda Laura - An Allen Key to open / close the sunroof-abz.jpg
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Old 3rd October 2020, 08:17   #14
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Default Re: Interesting find in my Skoda Laura - An Allen Key to open / close the sunroof

Quote:
Originally Posted by vsaravind007 View Post
Checked the windshield as well, no leaks! I guessing that I might've put in the floor mats while they were wet. Distilled water+vinegar = acetic acid!! This can corrode switches, electronics & also can cause discolouration of leather!
Zero discoloration ! As I said I looked this up a lot on the internet before attempting on my car.

Trust me when I say I would never do something that harms my car, which is why I went running to 3M first. Sharing the link here for your reference - Link !
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