Is going to a motor sport event a good day out for all the family?

Posted on March 23, 2021 at 1:05 pm

When it comes to planning days out for the family, it can be hard to know exactly where to go and what to do. Often it is very hard to please everyone, especially if you have got children of varying ages as they will probably be in to different things. Sometimes events come up such as car racing, monster truck derbies or rally events that you may think you would like to go to. Before booking tickets for everyone it is important to consider if it is something they are going to enjoy too. If you are going as a treat to yourself or for your birthday you may be tempted to just book it, assuming everyone else will just have to put up but this could actually mean you don’t get to enjoy your day as much as you should. You get child especially may find it really quite boring and therefore start to moan or play up. This may mean that you miss some of the event trying to sort them out. Often with car shows, it may be better to try and find likeminded friends or family member to go with so everyone can enjoy.

Posted in Cars

Is it safe to carry out repairs to your own vehicle?

Posted on February 5, 2021 at 12:33 pm

Running a car can be expensive. It’s not only the tax, insurance and fuel that you have to find the money for but also services, MOT’s and any repairs that may crop up. Many garages charge quite a high hourly rate for repairs, so often the part is relatively cheap but the labour costs push the price right up.

For this reason, many people choose to do their own repairs where possible to save a bit of money. Some repairs and general maintenance things such as changing bulbs and topping up levels and possibly even changing wiper blades are often fairly straight forward to do and don’t require any experience, but other repairs should only be undertaken if you know what you are doing. Not only can you get hurt whilst carrying out repairs if you do not have the right equipment or do not have the car securely jacked up, but it may also be not fit to drive if you haven’t fitted the part correctly.

You can watch videos online that will show you how to do certain things such as change parts of the suspension or carry out an oil change, but unless you are really confident, it is best to take it to an experience mechanic.

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Drivers to face sever fines over simple number plate mistakes

Posted on January 27, 2021 at 2:59 pm

All cars in the UK have to have a unique number plate. This may have been one that was assigned to it when it was first registered with DVLA or it may be a personalised number plate that someone has bought. No two vehicles should ever have the same plate. It is important that you are aware of and understand the rules and regulations regarding number plates as if you get caught breaking one of these, even if you were not aware of them, you may still be prosecuted.

One of the main points to notice is that the background of the number plate must be the correct colour. The front plate needs to have a white background and the rear plate needs to have a yellow background.  There is also a standard font that should be used on a number plate. Any other font used than the standard one is breaking the rules and can land you with a hefty fine.

You can personalise the font by making them 3D but you cannot use italics since that rules was changed in 2001.

Another easy rule that many people fall foul of is the cleanliness of their number plate. During these winter months it is easy for our cars to get covered in mud and grim from the roads but making sure your plate is clean and can be easily read is essential.  

Posted in Cars

Keeping up to date with services on your car

Posted on December 23, 2020 at 8:41 pm

Services for your car can be an expensive outlay and although it is not mandatory like an MOT or insurance, it is something that you should not miss out.

It can be hard to understand the importance of having a service done, especially as there may not be any signs that it needs doing i.e. things going wrong or low fuel economy.  But it is important to understand that a service is vital to maintaining the vehicle and should not be overlooked. When a car is serviced it will often have oil and filter change, brakes checked, suspension checked along with other major components. If it is a petrol car then the spark plugs may be checked/ changed. All coolant levels will be checked and topped up if needed.

Regular services for your car can make the difference and often you can tell once you come to drive it again after a service. The service intervals for a vehicle vary and will depending on the make, model, age and mileage of the vehicle. The schedule can usually be found in your car manual.

You can take the car to any garage to have a service but if still under warranty you my have to take it to a main dealership.

Posted in Cars

What to do if you break down on the side of the road

Posted on November 5, 2020 at 2:27 pm

Breaking down in your car can be a nightmare and often one that you may not be able to foresee. There are a number of reasons why a car may breakdown, some are an easy fix, others may require you to be towed away. Two of the most common reasons for a breakdown involve batteries or tyres. With many of the UK roads in desperate need of repair, it is of no wonder why so many people end up with flat tyres of blow outs. IF you have a spare wheel and the necessary tools then you may be able to change the wheel yourself on the side of the road (if it is safe to do so). If not then you should be able to call out your breakdown company to come and change it for you. If you do not have breakdown then you will need to try and find a mobile mechanic that will be able to come out to change it for you.

Batteries are another common reason for your car failing to start. This is especially true as the colder weather starts to hit and batteries that are already struggling often will fail. Often people cannot get their cars started in the morning, so it may be that the car is already on your drive, or it could possibly be that you have driven a short distance and drained the battery using lights, DVD players etc to find that it wont start again when you come to leave. Again, your breakdown company should be able to get you on the move, but often being able to jump start the vehicle off another car will be enough to get you home.

Posted in Cars

Replacing brake pads and discs on your vehicle

Posted on August 20, 2020 at 7:39 am

The brakes on your car or van are a very important part of the safety of the vehicle. Brakes are checked during an MOT but they are only tested by being put on to a machine to get a reading which will then tell the mechanic whether it is a pass or fail. The vehicle may well pass the brake test but actually the brakes could well need replacing very soon as the test does not show how much wear is left on them.

Brake pads will need replacing more often than your discs usually and depending on the way in which you drive, brake pads usually last between 25,000 and 60,000 miles, depending on how you drive the vehicle and what make and model your vehicle is. The brake discs will usually last about 60,000- 70,000 miles for most vehicles, so you may only have to change them once or twice during the whole lifetime of the vehicle. The constant friction caused by the pads rubbing on the discs can cause a lot of heat, if you then drive through a big puddle and a lot of water is splashed on them this can cause them to warp over time. If the vehicle is stood without being driven for a long time, especially outside in the wet, the brake discs can seize and become rusty.

When changing your brake pads, always check your discs thoroughly to ensure that they are in good condition. Some garages will allow you to purchase the pads and discs elsewhere for them to then fit them for you, often saving you money.

Posted in Cars

In case of a car accident – stay calm

Posted on July 27, 2020 at 10:37 am

Should you find yourself in the unenviable position of having an accident in your vehicle the main thing to remember is to stay calm and make sure that everyone involved is not seriously injured. If this is the case, then the first thing is to call on the emergency services so that they can attend the scene and give any aid that is needed.

For the majority of minor accidents that occur on the roads the emergency services are not required to attend unless there is a danger to life, or the carriageway is blocked or littered with debris causing a danger to other motorists.

After a collision it is a legal requirement to stop your vehicle and to exchange details with the other party. These should include name, address, phone number and insurance company name along with the registration number of the vehicle. If it is possible for both parties to take photographs of any damage sustained to the vehicles this is useful evidence should there be any dispute. Should your vehicle be damaged to such an extent that it is undrivable the breakdown services will need to be contacted to arrange recovery of the vehicle to a garage.

As soon as possible report the accident to your insurance company so that they can begin the claim and organise for the vehicles to be repaired.

Posted in Cars

How important is it to have my vehicle regularly serviced?

Posted on June 30, 2020 at 8:15 pm

Most people are aware of the necessity of keeping their vehicles in a safe condition and ensuring that they take their vehicles to a reliable and trustworthy garage for the annual MOT to be carried out but are they as conscientious about having their cars serviced regularly?

Usually this oversight is because of financial restrictions but it is important to keep your vehicle in good condition as the likelihood of a breakdown is less and the cost of recovery and repairs if you do breakdown can be higher than the service charge.

It used to be that some of the routine checks and jobs that are carried out during a service could be attempted by the car owner with some help from online forums or instruction manuals but as vehicles have become more complex in design and performance this is now not the case. For example, changing the air filter is a relatively simple procedure but changing the oil and oil filter will need a mechanic.

Local garages are good places to start when sourcing a garage to carry out servicing and are usually a lot cheaper than car dealership service centres. By looking at reviews from previous customers it is possible to check whether the company is reliable and whether they give a good level of service.

Posted in Cars

Changing the brake pads on your vehicle

Posted on May 29, 2020 at 8:09 am

If you have not used your car much during lock down or have missed your MOT you are likely going to need to get it a once over before you start using it again, if it has been stood still for a while. All MOT’s have no been extended but with many garages starting to open again and able to take on more work, it is advisable to get your MOT done as soon as possible.
Car brake pads are often usually need replacing once every – one to two years depending on the mileage you do. When you take your car in to a garage to replace the pads they should also check the brake discs and other pads on the car (front or back). They may offer to clean the other set of pads that you are not having replaced. You may find that when you take your car in t the garage to have the pads replaced they advise you that you will also need to have the pad discs replaced too. This can very quickly add quite a chunk on to the price but it is always worth investing in your brakes and getting them done as soon as possible. Try not to drive your vehicle far if you notice your pads are worn out as not only is this dangerous but will also damage your disc.

Posted in Cars

How to check that your shock absorbers are ok

Posted on April 19, 2020 at 8:23 am

Shock absorbers are very important part of a vehicle and often you can tell when they are on their way out or completely ruined. If your car seems to be a bit bouncy or not handling correctly it could be an issue with your shock absorbers. You may have juts had a 12 month MOT done and assume because the vehicle didn’t fail that the shock absorbers are ok, but this is not always the case. Shock absorbers often have to be really worn excessively or leaking  before they fail an MOT.

A simple test to see if your shock absorbers are going is to push down on each corner of the car and see how quickly it stops bouncing. It should only go up and down once or twice, if after this it is still bouncing then the likelihood is it will need new shocks. This test is not definitive though and you may still have an issue with your shocks even if the vehicle passes this test.

A garage will often charge you around £250-£300 to supply and fit a pair of shock absorbers. If you are able to source the parts yourself you may be able to save a huge chunk of money.

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