car maintenance

Cars to fail MOT if owners don’t get recall work carried out

Recall work

Cars could automatically fail their MOT if they haven’t had important recall work done. A government body has recommended that all MOT testers should check cars for any recall work. If this hasn’t been done, they will then be able to refuse to give the car a valid MOT certificate.

While car owners will bear the brunt of this, the move has actually been proposed to put pressure on car makers. The government wants them to work harder to ensure all recall work is carried out. The House of Commons Transport Select Committee has put these plans to the government. It is expecting to hear back by the end of March 2018.

The proposals come after Vauxhall was slammed by the Transport Select Committee for the way it handled fires affecting its Zafira B model. Chair of the committee, Lilian Greenwood MP said: “The public needs to be confident that their safety comes first.” Here’s what the changes could mean for drivers.

What is a recall?

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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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MOT 2018: what the changes are and what they mean for drivers

MOT changes

Next year the UK government is planning to bring in MOT changes. The tweaks to the annual vehicle roadworthiness test have been designed to make life easier for drivers preserving historically interesting ‘classic’ cars.

But critics say they will increase the number of unsafe cars on the country’s roads. Further changes are afoot too. The Driver Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) is currently considering the results of a consultation paper on the age that cars first take their MOT. Read on to find out more about the changes.

What are the changes to the MOT 2018?

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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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Expert advice: Simple car care tips for young drivers leaving home

Car care tips

Going off to college can be a great adventure. Our tips will help ensure your car doesn’t spoil it

I’m sure there are some exceptions to every rule, but I’ve never yet met a student who’s rolling in money. And running a car that keeps on conking out can be like having a hole in your pocket. The key with cars is prevention rather than cure. Keeping on top of regular maintenance will prevent all manner of mechanical mishaps.

But more than that, a regular maintenance routine will actually help save you money. Tyres that are properly inflated don’t wear out as quickly and mean your motor won’t use as much fuel. And having the oil and filters changed when the maker suggests will guarantee your car performs as economically as possible. Read on to see my top car care tips.

Ready…

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Video revolution should help drivers get fairer deal from garages

video

New tech is designed to let mechanics show you what needs fixing without you being there

A virtual revolution is taking place in the UK’s garages with video becoming a workshop must have. Garages film what needs repairing. They can then show this to customers and seek approval before doing the work. The idea is to give car owners more control over repairs and reassure them that they’re not being ripped off. Here’s how it works.

Why video technology is needed

For most drivers, the dodgy reputation garages have is a worry. Recent research by online garage booking service BookMyGarage found that three quarters (74 per cent) of drivers felt hidden costs or paying too much for extra work were the biggest concerns when taking their car to a garage for its regular service. Drivers fear that unscrupulous operators can use superior mechanical knowledge to bamboozle them into repairs that don’t need doing. Continue reading

Rotating tyres: is it a good idea and how do you go about doing it

Rotating tyres

Rotating tyres can be time consuming and some experts advise against it

Rotating tyres to get the maximum wear from them has been something canny drivers have been doing for years. But there is now some confusion over whether switching your car’s tyres around is the way to go or not.

Look up rotating tyres via the websites of the major tyre makers and they will give you information on how to do it. So will suppliers such as Blackcircles.com. However, Kwik Fit says it does not recommend tyre rotation. Those that do favour switching suggest it should be done every 6000 miles. Direct Line Group’s head of automotive technology, Nick Reid explained: “This is one of those jobs that really is down to personal preference.”

Here we look at why rotating tyres may not be such a good idea, how it can eke more life out of your rubber, which tyres you move where and how you go about it.

Rotating tyres is a bad idea

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Expert advice: How to make your car last forever

Car last forever

If the last owner had looked after it a bit better, this might still be running…

It would be great if we could make a car last forever like Irvin Gordon did. The American driver and Guinness World Records holder, runs a Volvo P1800S coupe that has clocked up more than three million miles and counting over the last 50 years. That might be pushing it a bit for most of us. But there are plenty of things we can do to keep cars healthy for as long as possible.

Whether your car is brand new or more than 10 years old, there are simple steps to keep it running smoothly: from being gentle with an engine as it warms up, to treating it to a regular wash. These are my tricks of the trade when it comes to making a car go the distance.

Make a car last forever: regular maintenance

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Quiz: How well do you know car dashboard warning lights?

Quiz: How well do you know your car's dashboard warning lights?

Take the quiz and see whether you can identify our dozen dashboard warning lights…

We learn how to drive, repeat the mantra ‘mirror, signal, manoeuvre’ and remember what road signs mean. But how many drivers know their car’s dashboard warning lights? 

When Green Flag surveyed more than 2000 drivers, earlier this month, only 27 per cent said they could immediately identify a warning light. Another 35 per cent checked their car’s handbook, and 21 per cent took their car to a garage for help in understanding what the problem was. Some even admitted to phoning a friend, an approach that could easily result in a dodgy diagnosis.

It’s important to heed any warning flagging up by dashboard warning lights. Typically, they give drivers the opportunity to have a mechanical or electrical problem investigated and repaired by a garage, before it becomes serious enough to cause lasting damage to a car.

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Car servicing: save money and get the best service by shopping around

Car servicing: a Which? investigation found drivers can save over £200 in many towns and cities by shopping around 

Most drivers appreciate the need to have their car serviced on a regular basis. They will follow the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended service intervals, or with modern digital systems, keep an eye on a display in the dashboard which counts down the miles or days until a car next needs servicing. But when the time comes to have the job done, how many of us shop around to save money and get the best standard of work?

The answer is probably not many. It’s all too easy to go with convenience, such as a local garage. And with younger cars, drivers are often swayed by sticking with franchised dealers.

However, the hourly labour rates that greatly influence how expensive a car’s servicing bill vary greatly.

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