Expert advice: liquid inside your car? How to find where the leak is

leak

Water can make its way into a car in all sorts of ways. Here’s how to find a leak

One of the most frustrating elements of car ownership is when you discover a leak. You might be alerted to it by a stale musty smell. Or perhaps the carpet feels damp. Or you may notice that the car steams up of its own accord when there’s no one in it.

All are depressing because cars are supposed to be like a mobile home from home; something that will keep you dry and warm whatever the weather. Finding moisture on the inside of a car is as unsettling as having a leak in your home. But leaks in cars are trickier to find than those in a building. Cars have lots of hidden pipe work and virtually every wall is an outside one. But it is possible and here’s how.

Where is the water gathering?

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Motorway services: drivers urged to share good and bad examples

Motorway services: drivers urged to share good and bad examples

Motorway services and rest areas have long been the bane of drivers’ lives. Now anyone who is blowing a head gasket over the poor conditions of facilities can do something about it. Drivers of cars, vans and lorries are being urged to name and shame poor motorway service areas.

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) has launched a social media campaign. It wants to use people power to drive up the standards of services and rest areas across Britain.

The FTA is taking action after the government revealed it wants to fine drivers for not taking breaks away from their vehicle. Drivers who spend rest times in their cabs face a £300 fine. But HGV drivers complain that rest facilities on Britain’s motorway network leave a lot to be desired. They argue their full-fitted cabs are frequently more comfortable.

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Balancing act: how to load a car roof rack safely

Balancing act: how to load a car roof rack safely

When drivers run out of space in their car, an increasingly popular practical solution is to fit a roof rack and storage box. These allow for a holiday’s worth of luggage to be carried without resorting to packing out the passenger seats. But failing to load road-mounted luggage correctly might lead to more than scattered clothes in the road. It could cause an accident.

According to IAM Roadsmart, a leading UK road safety charity, each year thousands of accidents are caused by debris falling from vehicles. Even if there aren’t any casualties caused by such an event, the charity points to the practical problem of delays. It claims that each incident leads to a 20-minute traffic jam on average.

To help keep drivers safe, the IAM’s driving experts share some simple tips for loading a roof rack safely.

Why use a roof rack or roof box?

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Expert advice: How to drive in strong winds

Expert driving advice for stormy weather and high winds

We rarely need reminding that the UK is an island. And one of the consequences of not being part of a larger continent is we’re frequently buffeted by strong winds. And that means whenever the Met Office issues weather warnings drivers in particular should pay attention.

Car owners frequently think rain and snow present the most challenging driving conditions. But wind is up there with the worst of them. Short of staying at home, lighting the fire and pouring a cuppa, what practical steps can drivers (along with bikers and cyclists) take to stay safe when they need to get from A to B in strong winds?

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Lost car keys: what to do and who to call

What to do if you have lost your car keys

A car is of no use without its key. It can’t be opened, so it’s going nowhere. And if it was locked and left in gear with the handbrake applied, it’s going to be devilishly difficult to move.

The moment most drivers realise they’ve lost their car keys, is when they need to be somewhere, soon. But first they’ve got the headache of working out how best to remedy the situation. Should they phone a friend who knows their way around a car? Perhaps it’s better to call a garage or should it be a breakdown service provider? And what about a car locksmith? Here are the steps drivers can take when they have lost their car keys.

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Expert advice: how to achieve better fuel economy from your car

Expert advice: how to achieve better fuel economy

Hyper milers: Paul Clifton (left) and Ian McKean with their diesel Ford Fiesta (Picture © Ford)

Failing to achieve the fuel economy that their car is claimed to return is one of the most common grumbles among drivers.

So what would you say if simple driving tips could improve your car’s economy? And in some cases it might even climb by a staggering 60 per cent compared with the manufacturer’s figures.

Most of us would raise an eyebrow and wonder if it’s really possible. But these aren’t the claims of sharp-suited sales execs; they’re perfectly practical tips from normal drivers that anyone can put into practice.

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New insurance categories to make write-off cars easier for buyers to spy

insurance categories

It might not take that much damage for a car to be written off. But can it be put back on the road?

From October 2017 onwards, the insurance categories for damaged cars change. Where once these categorisations went neatly from A to D, they now go A, B, S, and N. The classes have been changed in a bid to ensure fewer dangerously crash-damaged cars end up being put back on the road. We look at what’s been done, what it means for drivers and whether it’ll make a difference.

What are insurance write-off categories?

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Highway Code stopping distance needs urgent review, experts say

stopping distance

New research has revealed that the stopping distance prescribed by the government’s Highway Code is too short. They now believe it could take drivers half as much time again to come to a halt in an emergency. Road safety campaigners have called on the government to undertake an urgent review. They want the stopping distance section of the Highway Code revised.

How is stopping distance calculated?

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Smoking harms car resale value. How to spot a smoker’s motor

Smoking

Smoking isn’t just harmful to you and your passengers

We all know smoking is bad for us. But now there’s conclusive evidence that it’s harmful to our car’s health as well. Anyone who partakes in the evil weed will realise that smoking is an expensive hobby. But the impact on our pocket doesn’t stop with buying tobacco or cigarettes. It can keep on hurting us financially when we sell our cars too.

A new report by car valuation experts CAP HPI reveals that cars can lose as much as £2000 off their resale value if they’ve been smoked in.

Why does smoking in cars hit their value?

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How to choose a reliable used car – and avoid one that may break down

Reliable used car

Drivers may be tempted to imagine that the most reliable cars are the most expensive models from the poshest brands. But the latest independent surveys of car owners suggest otherwise.

Audi, BMW and Land Rover can be found languishing at the bottom of tables ranking the most and least reliable car makers. And budget brands, including Skoda and Suzuki, are often given the highest ratings.

It means that when buying a used or new car, drivers should do their homework carefully. If they don’t, they run the risk of their car being off the road and unexpected repair bills.

To help inform car buyers, we’ve got some top tips on how to choose a car that won’t let you down.

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