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
When the weather turns cold you really don’t want this to be you (Picture iStock/Sestovic)
Here in the UK, we might have had an exceptionally warm summer followed by so far, a mild autumn. But winter car faults are just around the corner, waiting to plague our motors and interfere with our best-laid plans.
Every year at Green Flag we see an increase in call outs as the weather gets colder. And it’s always the usual suspects. But if you act now, you can ensure you and your car are prepared for winter’s worst. Here are four popular faults and solutions for them.
Winter car faults 1: Non-start, fuel flooded
For some drivers, the excitement of a showroom-fresh motor is short lived. Car faults can frequently take the pleasure out of owning a new motor.
At least, that’s the view of members of consumer champion Which?. Nearly 45,000 owners of cars aged up to three-years old were asked to rate their motor for reliability. Yet despite many of the vehicles still having that new-car smell, a surprising number of problems reared their head.
Here are the five most common faults that occur in a new car’s first three years of driving. And we’ve added the symptoms to help you understand if your car might be suffering from one.
Fault 1: Exhaust or emission control system Continue reading
Winter has bitten for the first time in 2017 and more prolonged cold weather spells are forecast. For car owners it’s a challenging time of year. Freezing weather doesn’t just make driving treacherous. It also exposes weaknesses in our cars. Here we look at 10 things you can do to make driving better and safer.
Make sure you’ve got an ice scraper
Battery trouble is the number one reason that Green Flag’s technicians are called out to broken down cars. So it’s true to say that the battery is the weakest link in a car. New research by parts company Mopar shows that every year, around a fifth of car batteries in the UK need to be replaced.
The reason people get caught out by battery trouble is that frequently there are few pointers that it’s about to strike. That’s why Green Flag’s new AlertMe technology is such a breakthrough. It can tell drivers when a car battery is on the verge of failing in sufficient time for them to do something about it. If you don’t have AlertMe, here’s why your battery is the power behind your engine.
How the battery starts your engine
Up to the 1960s, pretty much every car had a hole in its front bumper where you could slot in a starting or cranking handle. By putting your back into it and turning this you turned the engine over and hopefully it fired into life. That job is now done by a starter motor which is powered by the car’s battery. Although the starter motor doesn’t operate for long, it can sap a lot of power from the battery. Turning an engine over does require a bit of oomph. Anyone who’s done the job using a cranking handle will know. And the bigger the engine and the colder the weather, which makes the oil thicker – think running in mud!– the more effort that’s required to get an engine going. Once the battery has done that main job, you might forgive it for feeling a little jaded. Continue reading
A car battery is a bit like the family pet dog. With the right care and attention, it will be faithful and obedient. But drivers who don’t give it a moment’s thought could find it lets them down and goes flat when they need it the most. And unfortunately, that’s most of us: a flat battery is one of the most common causes of car breakdowns for Green Flag members, and the most common in winter.
That goes some way to explaining why this Thursday (18 February) has been named National Battery Day. Knowing how to care for a car battery means knowing how to charge it from time to time. Researching the charging process will throw up all manner of well-meaning amateur and professional advice with conflicting guidance. So this guide is intended to help drivers understand how to better care for their car and charge its battery. Continue reading
Flat batteries are the most common cause of breakdowns. The easiest technique to start a car with a dead battery is called jump starting. This is where you use the power of another car to charge a second vehicle’s dead battery. Always check your car’s handbook before doing this: some manufacturers recommend their cars aren’t jump started because it can damage the engine management system.
If you’re confident jump starting won’t harm either car, follow these basic safety rules: Continue reading