Maintaining your car

Clean Air Day 2019: how to reduce your emissions from driving

clean air day 2019

On Thursday 20 June, it’s Clean Air Day 2019. Organised by charity Global Action Plan, Clean Air Day is the UK’s largest air pollution campaign. It’s been conceived to urge people in Britain to think about how they might reduce their emissions and help improve air quality.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), road transport accounts for up to 30 per cent of particulate emissions in Europe. Much of that comes from the exhaust pipes of internal combustion engine vehicles. Here we reveal how car drivers can reduce their emissions and make every day a Clean Air Day.

Plan your trip

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Expert advice: how you know if your clutch is about to fail

clutch failure
The clutch looks simple but it’s a fundamental part of a car (Picture iStock/irman)

Clutch failure can leave you well and truly stranded The clutch is one of those parts of the car that many of us take for granted. That third pedal sitting to the left of the accelerator and brake is fundamental to how a manual transmission works.

That’s where a bit of self-diagnosis can pay dividends. If you know your clutch is on its way out, you can book your car into a garage before it leaves you high and dry. And you can shop around to get the best deal possible.

The good news is clutches frequently don’t just fail. There will be some tell-tale symptoms. Here’s what you should look out for.

What’s a slipping clutch?

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Motoring costs quiz: guess the prices of these car-related items

motoring costs

How good are you at knowing the cost of things? Motoring costs are crucial for most of us. And how much we pay to keep our cars on the road is one of the questions drivers will frequently ask. But do you know the prices of things associated with motoring? Our cunning quiz reveals the cost of 10 articles to do with car ownership.

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Expert advice: What to do with a chipped windscreen

chipped windscreen
As soon as cracks like these start spreading you can’t repair them. But that isn’t always the case… (Picture iStock/LivingImages)

You might have noticed many of our roads are in a pretty shocking state. And a degrading road surface doesn’t just mean potholes, it also results in debris on the road surface. These small stones can be thrown up and hit the screen of following vehicles. On a 30mph road, that small stone will probably have an impact speed with the glass at the equivalent of 40-50 mph. It’s hardly surprising then that there’s a decent chance it’ll take a chunk out of whatever it hits.

If debris hits the windscreen and damages it, there are plenty of reasons to get it fixed. After all, if a windscreen is chipped in certain areas it’s an instant MOT failure. Here’s what I think you should do, why, when and how.

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The reasons why you should give your car a wash this spring

Spring car wash

Spring has sprung, the bulbs are coming up and the birds are getting frisky. But chances are, your motor is looking far from perky, wearing the cloak of winter in the mucky form of an all-encompassing film of dirt. With warm weather (hopefully) just around the corner, now’s the time to get out and give your car a good clean. There are plenty of good reasons to. Here we list nine of them.

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Expert advice: try my car cold weather hacks on freezing mornings

cold weather hacks

Follow our tips below and this need not be you (Picture iStock/sonsam)

Standing outside on freezing cold mornings scraping ice off your car has to be down there with visits to the dentist and paying tax. All are necessary for very good reasons but that doesn’t make them enjoyable.

I can’t help you with your teeth or tax, but I can give you some pointers to make it easier to get your car ready for the road in the mornings.

Air-con’s your friend

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MOT changes reveal how many ‘dangerous’ cars are on Britain’s roads

MOT changes

Changes to Britain’s MOT test prove an alarming number of cars are on our roads in a potentially lethal state. Official figures show that nearly a third (32 per cent) of MOT failures were due to a dangerous defect.

In numbers, that’s 1.13m cars categorised as ‘dangerous’ after failing their MOT between the introduction of the revised test in May 2018 and the end of the year. This means the car is considered an immediate risk to road safety. The owner is then banned from driving the car until it’s been made road legal again.

However, the Government’s Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) says more than half of MOT failures are preventable. Drivers, it says, could avoid the money and aggravation that an MOT failure can cause by conducting simple maintenance.

What are the MOT changes?

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Simple tips that will reinvigorate your car’s paintwork for 2019

car's paintwork

Returning your car’s paintwork to tip-top might be easier and less expensive than you think. What a car looks like can be blighted by pockmarked paint, unsightly scratches and displeasing dents. However, canny drivers can put all these right with just a little bit of elbow grease. Read on to find how you can return your car’s paintwork to showroom fresh.

Small scratches

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Expert comment: our New Year’s resolutions will help prevent breakdowns

New Year's resolutions

Do you keep to your New Year’s resolutions? Or do you forget them as soon as you’ve made them? No matter how quickly you give up going to the gym three times a week, I hope you’ll stick to the five resolutions here. Not only might they save you a heap of money before the year’s out; they could also prevent you having to sit at the roadside in a conked-out car.

Some recent research found that millions of drivers don’t even perform the most rudimentary maintenance to prepare their motor for winter. Here’s a handful of checks that will keep your car motoring long after memories of New Year’s parties have faded.

New Year’s resolution 1: check the oil

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Quiz: 12 tasty motoring teasers from 2018

Quiz 2018

How well do you remember 2018? Our fun quiz looks at some of the news from the year just gone. Laws to do with car tax, the MOT test and learner drivers all changed. And there was plenty of eyebrow-raising research too.

How much attention were you paying? Take our test to find out. And don’t worry if you get any of them wrong: our questions have been designed to help you become a better, safer driver. Here we pose 12 teasers – one from every month of the year – to see how much you remember.

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