Green Flag

Lost car keys: what to do and who to call

What to do if you have lost your car keys

A car is of no use without its key. It can’t be opened, so it’s going nowhere. And if it was locked and left in gear with the handbrake applied, it’s going to be devilishly difficult to move.

The moment most drivers realise they’ve lost their car keys, is when they need to be somewhere, soon. But first they’ve got the headache of working out how best to remedy the situation. Should they phone a friend who knows their way around a car? Perhaps it’s better to call a garage or should it be a breakdown service provider? And what about a car locksmith? Here are the steps drivers can take when they have lost their car keys.

Continue reading

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…

Continue reading

Vous êtes nicked! British drivers face hefty fines for speeding abroad

Speeding abroad

If that’s a speeding ticket he’s writing, it could blow the holiday budget

More than four out of five British drivers are oblivious to tough new fines for speeding abroad. Just weeks after UK speeding fines changed in April 2017, the EU increased the penalty for breaking the limit on the Continent. That means drivers could be fined up to £640. Other motoring offences, such as not wearing a seatbelt and using a mobile phone at the wheel, are covered by the law change too.

When UK drivers were asked by Green Flag about their driving habits , the largest proportion (45 per cent) said they broke the speed limit abroad by mistake. And more than a third (38 per cent) claimed they find themselves speeding abroad because they don’t know the limits.

Driving abroad: what are the speed limits?

Continue reading

Pothole warning system: new virtual map to help drivers avoid car damage

Pothole warning system

Imagine if your car could warn you of a pothole like this. You could then avoid it

Think about how useful a pothole warning system in your car might be. We’ve all felt that sickening thump on hitting a pothole. The first thought is frequently whether the wheel is still attached to the car, let alone  how damaged. And with cold weather giving way to warmer temperatures, now is the time potholes begin to appear on winter-ravaged roads. But a new virtual map could make hitting potholes a thing of the past.

Continue reading

Telematics: How new Alert Me is helping to make cars clever

Green Flag Alert Me

Breaking down could become a thing of the past with telematics

Technology that only a few years ago would have seemed like a dream is now coming to a car near you. The latest can predict if your car is going to break down. It’s estimated it could save British drivers 38,000 hours waiting for roadside rescue with their conked-out car.

Green Flag Alert Me plugs into the car’s On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) port. From there, the matchbox-sized device monitors the car’s battery and electronic brain. This enables it to record changes such as the battery failing to hold its charge before the driver would ordinarily notice them. If it does see changes, Alert Me reports it to Green Flag over the mobile phone network. Green Flag then notifies the driver via a smartphone app or text message. Continue reading

Driving holidays on the up: great places to stop on British road trips

Driving holidays

Exploring is the main reason more than half of us love driving holidays

Forget sweltering in a steamy sun-baked airport departure lounge, the driving holiday is the new way to take a summer break for many British travellers. It coincides with the increase in popularity of the ‘staycation’ that will see a dramatic 250 per cent increase in the number of people holidaying in the UK compared to five years ago.

New research from Green Flag reveals that this summer 56 per cent of people will be driving to their holiday destination. And 13.2 million of us have already been on a driving holiday this year. If you’re one of the millions planning a road trip this summer, we’ve compiled the following list to help you break your journey.

Six great places to stop during a driving holiday

Continue reading

Scenic Route prize draw: Win a Scottish Highland Safari for four

Taking the Scenic Route is a celebration of going places and doing things by car that you wouldn’t ordinarily be able to get to. Such as a Scottish Highland Safari. As actor and TV presenter Joe Swash discovered, driving off-road takes a bit of getting used to.

Along with Highland Safaris, we’re offering you and three friends the chance to have your own 4×4 driver for the day. To win, you simply follow @GreenFlagUK and retweet our ‘RT to win’ tweet. Whoever is successful in the prize draw will have the adventure of a lifetime by Land Rover across some of the most breathtakingly beautiful and inhospitable terrain in the country.

The experience will start with fully paid-for travel and transfers to the Fisher’s Hotel in Pitlochry. Following an overnight stay in the stylish and sumptuous hotel and a hearty breakfast, you’ll transfer to the Highland Safaris HQ in Aberfeldy, Perthshire. There you and your three guests will enjoy a full day of 4×4 driving with your very own kilted off-road driving expert.  Continue reading

Quiz: Guess the Green Flag tools and beat Joe Swash’s score

Guess the Green Flag tool

Joe Swash has been on a road trip of a lifetime, touring the Scottish Highlands in a vintage Land Rover as part of Green Flag’s Scenic Route series of inspiring drives. But when a car is almost as old as its driver, things will inevitably go wrong under the bonnet.

When cars breakdown, getting to the root of the cause is half the battle to swiftly getting it back on the road. That’s why every Green Flag breakdown van carries hundreds of tools, each with a very specific purpose. It means if a driver’s motor splutters to a halt – as Joe’s Land Rover did several times – the Green Flag technician should be able to fix the problem at the roadside.

The tools vary from the simple to the highly complex, costing from pence to hundreds of pounds. And several of them came to the rescue of Joe Swash, although he wasn’t too sure what many of them were for.

Take our quick quiz and see if you can guess the Green Flag tools and identify more of them than Joe could…

Continue reading

Scenic Route: Buying old Land Rovers – the Green Flag expert’s guide

 

Fans will tell you buying old Land Rovers can be a fun and rewarding experience. Old versions of the model we now know as the Defender were the original ‘go anywhere’ vehicle. Ever since its introduction in 1948, the Land Rover is one of the few cars that can truly lay claim to having a cult following. It’s no surprise then that Joe Swash picked a Land Rover for his epic road trip for Green Flag’s Scenic Route series.

Joe’s is a 1985 Land Rover 90 Soft Top, the short wheelbase version fitted with what appears to be a poorly erected tent covering the back seats and load bay. You need a sense of adventure to own and drive a car like Joe’s. It’s also ideal to have a little mechanical knowledge or, at the least, the enthusiasm to roll up your sleeves and get stuck in, learning to fix faults as they arise. And they will – as any Land Rover owner will tell you. Continue reading

Avoid buying a flood-damaged car

Flood-damaged car

This might look like a watery write-off but it could be dried out and sold on

Thousands of used car buyers could be at risk of buying a flood-damaged car. The insurance industry is currently dealing with 2800 motor claims resulting from December’s Storm Desmond alone, according to the Association of British Insurers. The Christmas and New Year flooding in the north of England and Scotland is likely to increase that number dramatically.

Green Flag head of rescue and motor claims response, Neil Wilson, believes one in seven cars rescued by the company in flooded parts of the country will be an insurance write-off. That means six out of seven cars from flooded areas – thousands – will be put back on the road. And some will undoubtedly be sold as used cars. Here are some simple checks to ensure you don’t buy a flood-damaged car.

Continue reading