Expert advice: why cold weather plays havoc with car suspension springs

Suspension failure

You probably don’t imagine cold weather and car suspension failures go hand in hand, but they do. During December, Green Flag witnessed nearly six times as many call outs for front suspension problems as in November. The number from December 2017 was up by nearly a quarter (24 per cent) compared to the same time the year before.

For our customers, this represents a significant problem. There isn’t just the cost of having expensive suspension parts replaced. It’s the inconvenience of the problem occurring in the first place. That’s because broken suspension isn’t usually a roadside fix: cars must be recovered to garages to be mended. Read on to find out more about this phenomenon.

How do you know if your suspension is broken?

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Valentine’s Day: drivers with common sense are more likely to find love

Common sense in drivers is likely to lead to successful relationships

Do you regularly check your car’s tyre pressures? Maybe you seek out a shady spot in a car park when the temperature is soaring? Or perhaps you have a dedicated key hook or drawer in the kitchen for the car keys?

If any of these rings true, then it’s likely you have a healthy helping of common sense. The good news is drivers who have common sense are more likely to find love and enjoy successful relationships.

According to new research conducted for Green Flag – which is well known for its common-sense prices and outstanding breakdown service – 79 per cent of people value common sense more than having a high IQ.

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Diesels less reliable than petrols and pricier to fix, report claims

Diesels less reliable

As if diesel didn’t have enough on its plate, now experts are saying that cars powered by the fuel are less reliable than petrol motors. The majority of complaints around diesel have been down to its environmental credentials. However, a new report shows that diesel cars could be three times more likely to break down than their petrol equivalent and up to 20 per cent more expensive to fix.

How unreliable are diesel cars?

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Modifying cars: what can you and can’t you do?

Modifying cars

Once upon a time this would have been a humble family runabout…

We all like to give things our personal touch and modifying cars is no different. But while it might please you to make parts of your car bigger, brighter, faster and louder, it could land you in hot water.

For a start, the law takes a dim view of cars that aren’t considered roadworthy. And insurers may even refuse to pay out if you modify a car without telling them. Here we look at what you can and can’t do to your car. And whatever you decide, make sure you do it with safety in mind and that you inform your insurer.

In-car entertainment

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Slowly does it: Britain in the top 10 most congested countries

Britain in the top 10 most congested countries

With more than 65 million people trying to get around and nearly 38 million cars on the road, Britain appears to be becoming increasingly congested.

Now the latest annual study of traffic levels around the world reveals the news few drivers will want to hear: Britain’s roads are grinding to a halt.

Motorists spend an average of 31 hours a year – more than a day – stuck in traffic. It is estimated that the delays cost drivers an average of £1168 in extra fuel and lost time. In London, where levels of congestion are higher, that figure rises to £2430 per driver. That’s equivalent to £9.5 billion for the capital.

Things are now so bad that during rush hour in some cities, it would be as quick to walk. Some average speeds are slower than a horse and carriage.

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Misfuelling: what to do if you accidentally put petrol in a diesel car

Misfuelling

Putting the wrong type of fuel into a car is easy to do. Known as misfuelling, it tends to happen when drivers are in a hurry or distracted. You’re not in your usual motor, maybe it’s your partner’s, a colleague’s, or a hire or courtesy vehicle. Your mind might be on other things and out of habit you lift the petrol pump from its holder and start filling your diesel vehicle. Hopefully you’ll realise your mistake before you drive away…

The good new is, it’s virtually impossible to put diesel in a petrol-engined car. The neck of the petrol filler is tighter than a diesel pump nozzle. The bad news is the wide neck of a diesel fuel filler easily takes a petrol pump nozzle. The even worse news is that putting petrol into a diesel does far more harm than the other way around. Read on to find out all about misfuelling and how to prevent it.

Why is misfuelling so harmful?

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Quiz: how much do you know about cold weather driving?

Cold weather driving

The UK’s climate can feel like a moving target sometimes. But one thing is guaranteed: cold weather driving is something we all have to do at some point in the year.

Whether that’s going to work first thing in the morning and scraping the ice off the car or negotiating slippery bends, it can be enough to send a shiver down your spine. And for some of us, winter weather means driving in snow, which throws up a whole new set of challenges.

But although it’s something you probably do regularly with little thought, how much do you actually know about it? Take our cunning quiz to find out.

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Changes to the 2018 MOT: diesel cars face stricter emissions test

Changes to the 2018 MOT: diesel cars face stricter emissions test

Changes to the MOT will come into force this May, making it more difficult for dirty diesel cars to pass air quality tests. A three-tier rating for the severity of faults on all cars will also be introduced.

The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) claims the revisions to the MOT will make it tougher for anyone trying to cheat emissions tests and help keep vehicles in a dangerous condition off the road.

However, at the same time hundreds of thousands of cars more than 40-years old will no longer be required to take the annual road worthiness inspection. Here’s what motorists need to know about the changes.

Dirty diesels face stricter smoke test

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New road technology that could be coming to you in the near future

Road technology

While much of the focus for the way motoring is changing is on our cars, road technology will play an increasingly important part in our lives. Cars might be getting ever cleverer but the roads are beginning to catch up.

The safety-conscious Scandinavians are at the forefront of advances and here we explore two common sense bits of road technology. Bluetooth traffic monitoring may already be on a road near you, depending on where you live in the UK. And intelligent streets lights with a low power resting mode that become brighter when cars approach could be coming sooner than you think.

Why monitor Bluetooth?

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Expert advice: should I choose synthetic or semi-synthetic oil for my car?

Synthetic oil

Back in the day, oil was oil. It came out of the ground and as long as it was the right viscosity for the engine, we’d trust it to do the job. Now there are effectively three kinds of oil: mineral, synthetic and semi-synthetic. And I’m frequently asked: “Should I use synthetic oil for my car?”

I’ve already spoken about the grade of oil drivers should choose for their cars. But once you’ve decided on that, what are the benefits of synthetic oil?

What is synthetic oil?

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