Advice

Keyless car theft: how to protect your car from new relay technique

Keyless car theft

Crooks can bypass car security systems as long as their equipment can pick up the signal from keyless fobs

Thieves are increasingly targeting cars with keyless ignitions. Just as drivers can get into their cars without touching the key, so crooks can steal the car without having the key on them. And a new technique called relay attack is being used increasingly.

Vehicle recovery company Tracker says 66 per cent of the cars it recovered last year were stolen by relay. And Tracker claims that 96 per cent of drivers whose cars have keyless ignition could be vulnerable to this form of theft.

Andy Barrs, head of police liaison for Tracker said: “The new relay attack technique has gained significant ground in the US and Germany. But it’s also beginning to take hold in the UK, so vehicle owners need to protect themselves and their assets.” Here are some simple steps drivers can take to prevent themselves becoming victims.

How ‘relay’ theft works

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Green Flag Smart Service: the clever way to keep your car in great shape

Green Flag Smart Service

For many drivers, the cost of keeping their vehicle properly maintained and road legal can be a real worry. And studies show drivers dread taking their car into garages thanks to overuse of technical jargon and the fear of being ripped off.

A lot of drivers find just remembering the MOT is a trial: a quarter (27 per cent) don’t know when their annual test is due, never mind how much possible repairs might cost them. But what if you had a qualified technician on your side? And what if they oversaw any work that needed doing to your car and could get preferential rates as well? Green Flag Smart Service provides exactly that, and it’s available for all Green Flag customers at no extra cost as an added benefit of your breakdown cover.

What is Green Flag Smart Service?

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Expert advice: Dos and don’ts for stopping on motorway hard shoulders

Motorway hard shoulder

Don’t try to fix it yourself. Read our five dos and five don’ts for stopping on a motorway hard shoulder

A motorway hard shoulder is a dangerous place to spend time. Recent figures released by the Highways Agency revealed that between 2011 and 2016 there were 403 collisions on Britain’s motorway hard shoulders. Over that five-year period there were hundreds of injuries and, sadly, 38 deaths.

All our technicians receive comprehensive training on what to do and how to behave on the hard shoulder. While it’s their job to spend time at the side of motorways, it’s also something every driver could have to face at some point in their car-owning career. For that reason, I’ve compiled five dos and fives don’ts for the motorway hard shoulder.

DO take care entering the hard shoulder

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All you need to know about coolant and antifreeze for your car

Coolant

The colder the weather gets the more drivers should consider the coolant in their car. This is because engines need liquid circulating through them to keep cool. But freezing weather can turn that fluid to ice, rendering it useless.

Coolant is vital because when a car is going at speed, pistons travel at around 40mph, shafts whizz round and bearings are under extreme pressure causing heat to build up. To stop this becoming so intense that metal parts begin welding themselves together, coolant is used. Here’s all you need to know about it.

Is coolant the same as antifreeze?

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Expert advice: water 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 home from home; something that will keep you dry and warm whatever the weather. Finding water 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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Quiz: Do you know how to prepare your car for summer driving?

Quiz: Do you know how to prepare your car for summer driving?

Drivers often check their car during the poor weather that rolls in with the winter. But those everyday safety checks are just as relevant in the summer. And whether motorists are simply commuting to work or planning a great escape to France for the summer holiday season, these pointers could keep drivers and their family safe and ensure they stay on the right side of the law.

Naturally, the Green Flag blog has lots of helpful advice on how to look after a car. But to encourage more drivers to consider their car’s general condition, we thought it was time to test everyone’s car knowledge and common sense – with our summer driving quiz.

So flex those brain cells and give it a go. After all, it could help you have a smooth roadtrip this summer.

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Sat navs: why they don’t tell the truth and how to get the best from one

Sat navs

“Take the next left. Or is that right?” Sat navs aren’t always infallible

Sat navs are one of the wonders of modern motoring ‑ until they direct you to somewhere you don’t want to be. There are numerous stories of satellite navigation systems going bad. Drivers have been directed onto the middle of ski slopes, articulated lorries pointed down totally unsuitable country lanes and coach parties sent on 750-mile detours.

Although most of us have been led up the metaphorical garden path by a sat nav at one stage, they will become an even more vital part of modern life. From December 2017, drivers will have to follow follow a navigation system for at least part of their driving test.

Research by uSwitch suggests that around four in five of us rely on navigation systems over maps. And more than half (56 per cent) use the navigation unit as a handy reminder of the speed limit.

However, systems aren’t 100 per cent reliable. Research carried out by uSwitch found that around one in five drivers (17 per cent) had been given the wrong speed limit by their navigation system. So why are we being misled by our sat navs? And what can we do about it?

Why don’t sat navs tell the truth?

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How to pack your car for a self-drive ski holiday

How to pack your car for a self-drive ski holiday

As sure as you’re going to have at least one spectacular wipe-out on the ski slopes, packing the car for a self-drive ski holiday will have you muttering under your breath and wondering whether it would have been easier to fly and rent all your equipment at the ski resort.

But keep the faith. As many holidaymakers know, there’s a whiff of romance to a long distance road trip, and during the winter ski season the traffic at the ports and on the roads is mercifully light – unlike the queues at airports.

Most of the popular European winter resorts are less than 10 hours from the continental coast. And once you know how to properly pack your car with ski gear, you’ll find everything slots into place like a series of deftly executed parallel turns.

Here’s how to do it.

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Simple tips to prevent a flat battery in a car

Simple tips to prevent a flat battery in a car

On the face of it, a car battery is a boring piece of equipment that’s often hidden away and rarely given a moment’s thought. But drivers who don’t want to end up stranded at home or, worse still, at the roadside should pay more attention to their car’s battery, or it could go flat.

It’s no exaggeration to say that the battery is the heart of a car. If it goes flat, your car stops working. And flat batteries are the number one cause for technicians from Green Flag to be called out to rescue drivers.

The reasons car batteries are the number one culprit causing breakdowns are simple. Batteries don’t last forever; they typically have a working life of between five and seven years. And batteries are placed under increasing strain, as new cars offer a rising number of convenience features that can drain them with precious little warning.

Happily, you don’t have to be a trained technician to care for a battery. These are the simple steps any driver can follow to prolong the life of their car’s battery. Continue reading

Not-so glorious mud: what to do if your car is stuck in mud

What to do if your car is stuck in mud

Mud, mud, glorious mud, goes the song, but it’s not something many drivers will be singing about if they end up stuck in the stuff.

Unfortunately, a combination of British weather and occasional parking venues at weddings, outdoor events and even farm shops mean it’s not just intrepid explorers who find their cars come a cropper and end up bogged down in mud. Everyday drivers do too.

So without further delay – especially for those who are, literally, stuck in the mud as they read this – here are some tips that may help get things moving again. Continue reading