Taking the time to get to know your car

Posted on August 6, 2021 at 1:43 pm

Getting to know your car and learning the basics can help save you a lot of money over the period of time you own the vehicle. Historically most cars used to run the same way. If you could work on one type of vehicle then you could work on another but this is not the case anymore. Every make and even model of vehicle is often built quite differently. This can make it tricky to carry out simple tasks such as changing light bulbs or checking oil levels. If you have a modern diesel car then you will also have to consider the DPF and ensure that you run the vehicle properly to protect it.

When you first buy a new or second hand car you should check to see where all the fluid level markers are. Start to understand what is under the bonnet and what levels need to be for optimal performance. Also check you tyres, see what pressure should be in them and if you have locking wheel nuts fitted then be sure you know where the locking nut is.

Try and get used to how the car sounds and drives as this will allow you to quickly notice if something changes. Picking up on issues early often means they cost a lot less to fix and reduced the risk of them causing further damage to other components.

Posted in Cars

Looking after your diesel car

Posted on July 22, 2021 at 9:39 am

If you have a diesel car then there may be a few additional things you need to do to look after it.

All diesel cars have been designed to be used when you do a fair few miles. Diesel vehicles that have been built since 2009 must by law have a diesel particulate filter fitted to them. This filter helps to stop harmful substances from being released into the atmosphere. Instead, the engine has to get hot enough to burn up the soot that the diesel particulate filter has collected up and turn it in to ash.

If you have not done a long journey for a while you need to ensure that you take it on a good run. The regeneration process can only work if the engine is at a certain temperature so this usually requires you to run the car for around 25-30 mins at high revs.

Another thing to look out for with diesels is the injectors. To prolong them you should try and use quality fuel. The worse the quality of the fuel, the more negative impact it will have on the injectors; they are prone to damage and expensive to replace and remember you have four of them so this can very quickly add up.

Posted in Cars

How to look after the interior of your car

Posted on June 7, 2021 at 12:18 pm

If you have recently had a new or used car then you may decide that you really want to try and look after it well. Cars that have been not only well maintained in terms of mechanically, but also looked after on the inside, tend to retain their resale value better.

If you have children and allow them to eat in the car, you will probably already be aware of how messy they can be. Crumbs and crisps can very easily become ingrained in the seats and spilt drinks can create stains that can be almost impossible to remove.

Although you may set rules that drinks and food cannot be consumed in the vehicle, there may come a time when this is impractical. Instead, it is often worth while investing in some good quality seat covers. You can get seat covers that just fit around the front seats but you can also get covers that go all the way along the rear seats. You can even get them that have cut outs for the armrest (should your vehicle have one). These really can help protect the seats and can be removed to shake off or clean when needed

Posted in Cars

Why is your car leaking oil after a service?

Posted on May 26, 2021 at 1:13 pm

If you have recently had your car serviced you may be surprised to find some oil on your drive afterwards. If you are not sure if the oil was there before then put a piece of paper underneath the front of the car and run the engine for a little bit. Then turn it off and see if there is any oil on the paper. If there is, then you may well have a leak.

When the service is carried out, there is a chance that they could soil some oil on to the heat shield or plate that is fitted under most vehicles. Over the next day or so this lol could start to work it away out and that could be why you are seeing on the door. If there seems to be more oil each time or you notice that it is happening longer than a day or so then you need to investigate. First thing to check is the engine oil level using the dipstick. If this is low and it’s just been serviced it is most likely that you have a leak. The leak could becoming from an ill fitting oil filter or it could be that the sump plug has not been fitted correctly.

Posted in Cars

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.

Posted in Cars

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.

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