Maintaining your car

Valentine’s Day 2021: six great gifts to show your car some love

valentine's day 2021
Do you love your car as much as he does? (Picture iStock/HbrH)

How about giving your loved one something really special this Valentine’s Day 2021? No, we’re not talking about a gift for your partner… We mean a present your trusty (hopefully) companion who’s by your side through thick and thin, come rain or shine.

The best gift you can possibly give a car is to have it serviced. But assuming you’ve already done that and a service isn’t due for a while, we’ve got some more ideas. Read on for six great gifts for your car. In some cases, they’ll pay it back for the sterling work it does on your behalf. Oh and some of them might just come in handy for you too.

New mats

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Expert advice: what happens if your car goes into limp home mode?

limp home mode
Limp home mode will enable you to get somewhere safe before stopping, ideally not at the side of the road (Picture iStock/DuxX)

If your car appears to lose power, you might have heard a technician refer to it going into ‘limp home mode’. This is a feature of all modern cars and I think it’s important for drivers to understand what it is.

What is limp home mode?

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Expert advice: how to tell if your car has worn wheel bearings

wheel bearings
Inside this hub are bearings to ensure the wheel turns as smoothly as possible (Picture iStock/Psisa)

Car wheels look so simple, surely there can’t be much to fail? Actually plenty can go wrong from ropey balancing to worn or even broken wheel bearings. It’s often tricky to figure out what is and isn’t wheel bearing trouble but there are some giveaway signs. Read on to find out if that might be the problem with your car.

How do you know you’ve got a worn wheel bearing?

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Christmas presents for cars and car lovers

christmas presents
Christmas present shopping this year might look a bit different. Read on for some great present ideas for car fans (Picture iStock/Kazakiki)

It’s time to think about Christmas presents for the car lover in your life. Or perhaps rewarding your car for all its sterling service by buying it a present. Whoever you’re getting the gift for, you might need some inspiration. And that’s what we’re offering, with a handful of present ideas for all budgets.

Ice scraper glove

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Drivers who need an MOT warned to book early to avoid test backlog rush

test backlog
Drivers are being warned of an MOT backlog over the next three months (Picture iStock/FG Trade)

Car owners whose MOT falls in the coming three months should book their test early. Garages are experiencing a surge in demand for MOTs, creating a test backlog. There are fears some drivers may struggle to get their car tested in time.

The extra demand is thanks to the MOT extension brought in at the end of March 2020. Experts believe there could now be nearly twice as many drivers looking to have MOT tests done in November, December and January. This will make garages much busier than usual.

What happened when MOTs were delayed

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Expert advice: prepare your car for cold weather this winter

prepare your car for cold weather
Give your battery some TLC, and it’ll pay you back in spades (Picture iStock/JoeBelanger)

Updated 02 December

Winter is well and truly here, so now’s the time to prepare your car for cold weather.

If you can, the best way to get your car ready for winter is to take it in for a service. But if your scheduled service isn’t due, here are some important tips that should ensure your car won’t let you down when the going gets cold.

Why your battery needs some love

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Expert advice: how to tell if your car has suspension trouble

suspension trouble
Car suspension is complicated and hard-wearing (Picture iStock/kvsan)

The suspension on our cars is a very hard-working piece of kit. And it’s one we take for granted – until we experience suspension trouble. While we’re driving forwards, the suspension is constantly in motion too, coping with undulations in the road surface and other forces on the car.

It’s the suspension that keeps the car’s road wheels in touch with the ground when we go round corners. And it’s the suspension that helps to insulate the driver and passengers from the outside.

Unsurprisingly with something that’s so busy, cars can suffer suspension trouble. And the number of potholes on our roads seem to be making suspension trouble more likely. Read on to discover how to diagnose it.

Signs of suspension damage

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Car washing in hot weather: our dos and don’ts for the best results

car washing in hot weather
Try to wash your car one panel at a time when the weather’s hot (Picture iStock/rclassenlayouts)

Car washing in hot weather, or even on a warm sunny day for that matter, can become a long, drawn out and frustrating process. Even sunshine on a relatively cool day can cause trouble when you want to clean your car.

Cars heat up astonishingly quickly in the sun. According to researchers at Stanford University in the US, on a day when the temperature is just 20 degrees C, a car’s interior will get to 38.9 degrees C within 30 minutes. If the outside temperature is 24 degrees C, it will reach 42.9 degrees C in 30 minutes.

The car’s mainly metal bodywork soaks up heat just as effectively, causing water to evaporate quickly as soon as it’s spread over your motor. The result will leave a dirty tide mark of combined shampoo and dirt. And when you do manage to rinse that off, it’ll dry quickly again, leaving spots on your paintwork from impurities in the water.

How to wash a car on a hot day

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