Nick Reid

Expert advice: How to keep your car motoring with our winter checks

Winter checks

Hopefully we won’t see too much of this. But it’s good to be prepared…


To coincide with 2015’s Road Safety Week, it seems sensible for us to carry out some simple checks to ensure our cars are up to everything that winter weather can throw at it. Of course, at Green Flag we know from experience that there are some things no driver can predict. But there are plenty that we can. To help less experienced or less confident drivers be prepared for bad winter weather, I’ve compiled these six simple checks that take just couple of minutes to carry out and can minimise the chances of a car breaking down in harsh winter weather.

Check your tyres

Even if this winter is a relatively mild one, as it has been so far, it’s likely to be pretty Continue reading

Expert advice: Do-it-yourself checks to prepare your car to pass an MOT test

How to carry out DIY checks on your car before an MOT

Even without a ramp at home you can easily carry out DIY MOT checks

 

Carrying out DIY checks on your car before you take it for its actual MOT inspection is surprisingly easy to do and could save you money. Passing the test is a legal requirement for all cars more than three years old. But for many of us, the MOT is a bit like having the outside of your home painted; we know we need to do it but we don’t look forward to it because it can bring to light remedial work that will hit the wallet hard.

According to the Driver Vehicle Services Agency (DVSA), which oversees the annual MOT test, around 40 per cent of cars fail. Yet many flunk their MOT for reasons that even a novice mechanic could spot. Follow my tips for your own basic DIY MOT test, and you could stop your car failing on the simplest points.
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Expert advice: How to change your car’s windscreen wipers

Windscreen wipers

Windscreen wipers have come on a bit since these. They’re more efficient now as well as being simple to change

Windscreen wipers are vital because good visibility is one of the most important elements of driving. If you can’t see a hazard, you can’t avoid it. Like tyres, oil and filters, windscreen wipers wear out over time. The good news is it can be fairly straightforward to change them. Your car’s handbook is a useful ally here. But if you struggle, a wiper is far too important to take risks with so ask a friend who knows what they’re doing, or your local garage to help.  Continue reading

Expert advice: the importance of car servicing

Importance of car servicing

Having your car serviced regularly will ensure it runs reliably (Picture © IMI)

The importance of car servicing should never be underestimated. There have been various surveys suggesting that at the height of the recession, increasing numbers of drivers were trying to save money by cutting back on scheduled car maintenance. In Green Flag’s experience at the roadside, it’s evident that many of the breakdowns our technicians attend are the result of cars not being properly looked after. Here’s all you need to know about the importance of sticking to your car manufacturer’s recommended servicing intervals.  Continue reading

i-sapping is a threat to our cars’ health

i-sapping

Using a sat nav app such as Tom Tom on tablets can be a marriage saver (Picture © Fiat)

You may not have heard the term ‘i-sapping’ before, but the majority of drivers suffer from it. I-sapping is when mobile electronic devices are plugged into a car and charged from the vehicle’s battery. However, devices such as satellite navigation systems, smart phones and tablets can leave batteries drained if the cells aren’t in tip top shape.  Continue reading

Checking engine oil: what you should know about your car’s life blood

Checking engine oil

Wearing a ball gown to inspect your oil in a field might be taking things a bit far… But it’s still important to check it regularly. (Picture © Mobil 1)

If the engine is the heart of your car, the oil is its blood, but checking engine oil is a lot simpler than major surgery! Without oil your engine can’t function as the oil lubricates all the moving parts and ensures your engine leads a long, healthy and happy life. It’s a worry that surveys show the majority of drivers can’t and don’t check the oil level in their cars because if the lubricant level gets too low, an engine will literally grind to a halt.  Continue reading

How to get your car ready for cold weather

How to get your car ready for cold weather

You don’t need four-wheel drive to stay safe in snow – but it helps. And there are other ways to get your car ready for cold weather. (Picture © Ford)

With temperatures set to plunge this week, new research reveals how unprepared many drivers are for the onset of freezing weather. With the Met Office predicting snow in some parts of the country, along with the thermometer dropping to -5 degrees Celsius in rural areas, Green Flag shows how to get your car ready for cold weather.  Continue reading

Expert tips: how to put screen wash in your car

Screen wash helps ensure you can see in low winter sun

Topping up your screen wash helps ensure you can see in low winter sun. (Picture © Prestone)

Car maintenance such as topping up screen wash isn’t everybody’s cup of tea. But there are some things drivers really should be able to do to ensure their cars are as roadworthy as possible. It’s quite a worry that a new survey shows that two thirds of drivers can’t check the oil level in their cars; 31 per cent don’t know how to check tyre pressures; and nearly a third don’t know how to fill their screen wash bottle.  Continue reading