Advice

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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Expert advice: why your stop-start might not be working in cold weather

Stop-start

Is your car’s stop-start system on the blink at the moment? If it isn’t working as you think it should, there might be a very good reason for it. Stop-start is designed to save you fuel and cut a car’s exhaust emissions by reducing the amount of time your engine sits idling without going anywhere. And it’s on nine out of every 10 new cars sold. But if it stops stopping, is it a problem? And should you take your car to the garage?

It might be due to the cold weather

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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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New data reveals the UK’s most unreliable used cars

Unreliable cars

Buy an unreliable car and this could be you (Picture iStock/Webeye)

If you’re considering buying a new car, it’s always handy to know the most unreliable models around. Thanks to data from car guarantee firm Warranty Wise, we can now see which cars are most likely to conk out, which year are the most prone to problems, what the trouble is likely to be, and even how much the average cost of some repairs is.

Warranty Wise admits that the problems it specifies aren’t guaranteed to occur on these models. But the data is from genuine warranty claims so provides a good pointer to the kind of trouble that is more likely to afflict some cars than others. Read on to discover 2018’s 10 least reliable used cars and which specific models to be wary of.

10 most unreliable cars

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Expert comment: Why the Slow down, move over campaign makes sense

Slow down, move over

The roadside can be a dangerous place. If you see something like this ahead, slow down and give it plenty of space (Picture iStock)

If you’ve ever had to get out of your car at the roadside, you’ll know what a hostile place it can be. It’s no exaggeration to say that for some people it can be deadly. To raise awareness about this, we at Green Flag have come together with the AA and RAC to support the ‘Slow down, move over’ campaign.

We’re asking drivers to pay more attention to what’s going on at the side of the road. We all know how easy it can be to have our attention diverted when driving. Whether it’s by something interesting on the radio or pondering a problem at work, we don’t always think about what’s going on outside our own little bubble.

Slow down, move over campaign in detail

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Got the hump? Drivers say speed bumps damage thousands of cars

Speed bumps

Speed bumps are used by councils to slow traffic in residential areas (Picture © iStock/AndrewMaltzoff)

Has your car been damaged by speed bumps? According to a new study, one in five drivers has suffered broken car components after hitting one of the traffic calming lumps in the road.

Measures to slow drivers down ‑ and particularly speed humps ‑ have been contentious among car owners since the bumps were launched in 1983. Now there are 29,000 of them in the UK and research by comparison website Confused.com claims 22 per cent of car owners have had their motors damaged going over humps. Of those, half suffered tyre trouble; a third said driving over humps had resulted in suspension problems. But what can you do about it? Read on to find out.

Are there any laws around speed humps?

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Is now the right time for drivers to switch to buying electric cars?

Buying electric cars

Is it time for more of us to head down electric avenue? (Picture © Nissan)

A new report reveals that the time could be right for drivers to start buying electric cars. Currently, sales of battery powered motors are tiny compared with conventionally fuelled vehicles. That will eventually change with the government demanding all new cars sold from 2040 are electric. But drivers who switch now could reap significant rewards immediately.

Why is now the time to go electric?

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Expert advice: how to know when your brake pads need replacing

Brake pads

Emergency stops can be frightening enough without having dodgy brakes too (Picture iStock/RapidEye)

Braking and brake pads are vitally important when it comes to road safety. We’re frequently so consumed with how fast cars can go or the economy they return that we forget how important stopping is. And anyone who’s had any kind of brake failure will testify to what a terrifying experience it can be.

But some recent research revealed that the confusing way garages measure brake pads isn’t helping. It could mean drivers are leaving it too long to have their pads changed. Or they might even be changing them too soon, without getting the full amount of wear out of them.

How is brake pad wear measured?

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Part-worn tyres: nine in 10 chance of buying a dodgy one

Part-worn tyres

Tyres might be on the scrap heap but they can still be sold legally in the UK (Picture iStock/Birdofprey)

If your car needs new tyres you might be shocked at how much replacement rubber can cost. But while often cheaper than new, buying second-hand tyres can have serious safety implications. New research has found that nine out of 10 retailers selling used or part-worn tyres are trading in illegal rubber.

Charity TyreSafe and Trading Standards have spent the past five years investigating part-worn tyres on sale in the UK. They discovered that just 13 of the 152 dealers they visited were selling roadworthy tyres. TyreSafe chairman Stuart Jackson said: “As far as we’re aware there is no other retail sector with such an atrocious track record.”

What exactly are part-worn tyres?

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Your car’s colour might make its value plunge

car's colour

You could well pay for choosing a wacky colour like this (Picture Volkswagen)

Experts say you should think carefully before choosing an outlandish shade for your car’s colour. That’s because your motor’s paintwork has a bigger influence on its value than you might think.

Recently, reality TV star Katie Price put her Barbie pink Range Rover up for sale. However, experts reckon that its colour alone could have knocked as much as £3000 off its estimated £22,900 value. If you’re buying a new or used car, what impact will its colour have on the price you pay and what you sell it for? Read on to find out.

Which car colours lose value?

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