Maintaining your car

COVID-19 lockdown easing – prepare for May and beyond

Back in May, COVID-19 lockdown measures eased, and we’re expecting further easing of measure in the near future. Many of us are excited to get back on the road, see friends and family, and maybe even enjoy a summer staycation.

But, before you hit the road, it’s important to make sure you and your vehicle are prepared. Here’s some handy advice.

Give your vehicle a proper check

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Preparing for a staycation by car this summer

staycation
To help you get to your destination safely, read our top tips (Picture iStock/pixdeluxe)

With continued uncertainty over whether we’ll be allowed to go abroad without extensive quarantining, 2021 is looking like the year of the staycation. And that means rather than letting the plane take the strain, a lot of drivers will be turning to their cars.

Here we look at what you need to ensure you have a dream holiday rather than a trip from hell. The key is planning. If you carry out our checks the week before you go away, it gives you options to act on them. Do them the day before your holiday and it might result in more stress than you need.

And because a lot of people will be taking their motorhome or caravan away, we’re including those too.

Start by checking the battery

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One in five MOT extension cars still haven’t had a test

mot extension
Nearly two million drivers don’t have an MOT (Picture iStock/Mark Eastham)

Around one in five of the drivers who opted for the MOT extension during the pandemic last year hasn’t had their car retested. The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) which oversees the annual roadworthiness checks said that around 1.86 million vehicles (19.5 per cent) still have to take their test.

It means hundreds of thousands of vehicles that are potentially unsafe could be on the road. Using a dangerous car is illegal and their drivers could be liable for a £2500 fine.

What was the MOT extension?

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Take our quiz: find out how much you know about your car tyres

Test your knowledge of tyres (Picture iStock/PeterSchreiber.media)

Our car tyres are one of the vehicle’s most important pieces of safety equipment. They’re its only contact with the road so keeping them in good condition is vital for reliable and safe motoring.

But how much do you actually know about them? Take our quiz to find out.

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The 9 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 spring car wash. There are plenty of good reasons to. Here we list nine of them.

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Expert advice: the difference between the MOT and servicing

mot and servicing
The MOT test is a legally required check to ensure a car is safe for the road (Picture iStock/Vershinin)

Many drivers believe that as long as their car has passed its MOT test, other mechanical jobs are optional. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Here I look at the difference between the MOT and servicing and why both are equally important for your car.

MOT is required by law

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Expert Advice: all about turbo trouble in your car’s engine

turbo trouble
This is what a turbocharger looks like inside an engine (Picture iStock/Kool99)

Ever more cars use turbocharging on their engines. And that makes turbo trouble a problem some drivers might face for the first time. A turbo is a way of getting a smaller, more fuel-efficient engine to match the power of a larger capacity unit.

To work their magic, turbos have to work at high speeds, high temperatures and high pressures so they can be susceptible to failures. But if a turbo packs up, the engine won’t necessarily stop. Here I look at what a turbo is and the kinds of problems your turbo car might experience.

What is a turbo engine?

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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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