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?
If you’re not sure about repairs, ask the technician to point them out to you. (Picture iStock/Sturti)
Has a garage recently suggested you need new brake fluid, an anti-freeze drain and refill or a fuel and oil flush? If so, how do you know whether it had to be done or was unnecessary work? Research by Green Flag has revealed that UK drivers spend £3.4billion every year on work by garages to their cars that doesn’t need doing. That’s around £90 per car per annum.
The problem stems from drivers not having the knowledge about their cars to question whether work recommended by garages is really required. More than a third of drivers (39 per cent) say they have no idea what’s checked when their car has its annual MOT roadworthiness check. But this is when garages often say jobs need doing.
Read on to discover which 10 jobs Green Flag believes should ring alarm bells if they’re suggested by a garage. And find handy hints on how to check whether the work really should be done.
“Your brake fluid needs changing”
The MOT test changes this weekend but you can be forgiven if you didn’t know. New research conducted by Green Flag reveals that six out of 10 drivers (58 per cent) haven’t realised the MOT changes are happening.
More worryingly perhaps, nine out of 10 drivers (89 per cent) are unaware that driving a car with an invalid MOT might result in a £2500 fine. And a quarter (25 per cent) don’t realise that driving a faulty vehicle results in a penalty. Read on to find out more about the changes and how drivers might be able to save themselves money.
What are the MOT changes?
We all know running a car is an expensive business. But exactly how costly is it? Over an average driver’s lifetime, do you think motoring will cost tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of pounds?
Now we’ve got some answers. Two lots of research have come up with figures. While neither agrees with the other, both concur: running a car is more costly than many of us think. According to finance company MyJar, people will start forking out for motoring aged 17 and go on until they’re 80. MoneySuperMarket meanwhile looks at the cost over a car’s lifetime. Read on to find out what they think you’ll spend.
How much is the cost of motoring over a lifetime?
No time off allowed. He’s in for a busy March in 2018
If your car is due its MOT this month you won’t be alone. In fact, it might be an idea to book its test in advance. Record numbers of motors are due to have their annual roadworthiness check this March in an unprecedented MOT rush.
The phenomenon is prompting garage chain Kwik Fit to warn that MOT testers will get very busy over the coming weeks. Kwik Fit’s Roger Griggs said: “March is always a peak month for MOTs, but this year it will be busier than ever as the record-breaking new-car sales of 2015 feed through.” Find out all about the 2018 MOT rush here.
Why is March the month?
Changes to the MOT will come into force this May, making it more difficult for dirty diesel cars to pass air quality tests. A three-tier rating for the severity of faults on all cars will also be introduced.
The Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) claims the revisions to the MOT will make it tougher for anyone trying to cheat emissions tests and help keep vehicles in a dangerous condition off the road.
However, at the same time hundreds of thousands of cars more than 40-years old will no longer be required to take the annual road worthiness inspection. Here’s what motorists need to know about the changes.
Dirty diesels face stricter smoke test
The sun might be setting on another year of motoring, but how much of it do you remember? In many respects it was quite a momentous 12 months. There have been changes to the MOT, driving test, road tax and mobile phone fines. Car makers have launched their own scrappage scheme. And accident-prone TV presenter Richard Hammond had – you guessed it – another headline-grabbing crash. But how much of the detail do you remember?
Take the Green Flag quiz 2017
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?
If there were no emissions standards, pollution would still be this bad
Whether you’re looking to buy a new car or you’re working out where you can use your existing model, it won’t be long before you have to know its emissions standard.
This will tell you whether you have to pay the Toxicity Charge before driving into central London. It is also useful for knowing whether you can take advantage of one of the many car maker scrappage schemes around. And it’ll even help you convince the doubting Thomas next door that your new diesel could well be cleaner than their old petrol.
Read on to find out more about emissions standards and how you tell what your car’s is.
What are emissions standards?
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?