Maintaining your car

Quiz: How should you look after your car?

You should regularly check the oil level in your engine (Picture iStock/Moyo Studio)

One in 10 UK drivers say they never perform any kind of safety check on their vehicle. And 14 million licence holders check their cars once a year or less. Those are the shocking findings following some recent research by Green Flag and road safety charity Brake.

To help, Green Flag is offering all drivers the chance to have their motor given the once over with our free vehicle health checks. You can have the 10-point inspection done at a garage near to you and it will include checks on battery health, brakes and tyre condition.

In the mean time, if you want to test your knowledge of car maintenance, why not try our quiz? It’s fun and it’ll help give some tips and pointers for what you should do to keep your car in top shape – other than taking it for a free vehicle health check.

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Expert advice: all about replacing an engine’s timing belt

timing belt
Here’s what your timing belt looks like inside the engine (Picture iStock/Warut1)

The cambelt or timing belt is an integral part of many engines. It also needs replacing on a regular – if thankfully not too frequent – basis. Read on and I’ll explain why the cambelt is so important, how you know if your car has one (not all do) and why replacing them is an absolute must-do.

Why is the timing belt so crucial?

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MOT extension to end over unfit cars? Do your own vehicle health check

mot extension
Many MOT testing stations are open for business (Picture iStock/Marbury)

The UK’s six-month MOT extension might end early because of fears about increasing numbers of unroadworthy cars. Car owners are also being warned that if they don’t keep their motors in a fit state to be driven, their insurance may not cover them.

In the latest report by Green Flag and road safety charity Brake, an alarming number of drivers revealed gaps in their knowledge about vehicle maintenance. Around one in 10 drivers (9 per cent) claim they never carry out any vehicle safety checks.

One in four (27 per cent) said they care for their car just once a year. More worryingly, a fifth of drivers (20 per cent) said they’d knowingly driven an unroadworthy car.

We investigate why the MOT extension might end early and how you can ensure your car is roadworthy.

Who wants the MOT extension abandoned?

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What to do if your keyless entry doesn’t work

Modern cars are often accessed using remote fobs and keyless entry. But what do you do when it doesn’t work?

Thankfully, these vehicles are fitted with a key blade inside the fob, and a lock that’s either visible or hidden behind a cover on the door.

Below, we’ll show you some examples of what to do to gain entry to your car, and how to start it if the key is not detected.

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Expert advice: how to check your car’s fluids

fluids
It might look complicated but checking fluids is a simple task that anyone can do (Picture iStock/Ljubaphoto)

During lockdown, there’s every chance you won’t have been using your car as much as usual. Before driving it again regularly, it’s a good idea to check it and its fluids thoroughly.

All cars rely on fluids to operate properly. And it’s simple to check oil, coolant, brake fluid and screenwash. Follow my tips for doing so below.

When you’re checking a car’s fluids, it’s important that you park on a flat surface or you may think you haven’t got enough when you have, or more worryingly, vice versa.

How to check your oil

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Pro tips on cleaning your car to stop COVID-19 spreading

stop COVID-19 spreading
Cleaning parts such as vents using an anti-bacterial and virus cleaner will help stop the spread of the disease (Picture iStock/zoff-photo)

There are 40 parts of your car that you should consider cleaning during the current coronavirus pandemic. Ben Murphy is the man who’s responsible for keeping Toyotas in tip-top shape for the Japanese firm. He’s outlined the 40 areas that he thinks drivers should target to stop COVID-19 spreading.

The virus is spread by tiny droplets sprayed from the mouth when an infected person coughs. And it can survive on hard surfaces. That means if your car goes to the garage for emergency repairs, it might spread the virus, or on return, harbour it. And if you get the virus on your hands while out, you can transfer it to other areas of your car. That could spread it to others.

How to clean your car

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Expert advice: car care during the COVID-19 lockdown

COVID-19 lockdown
If your car is equivalent to this during its lockdown lay-up, follow our expert tips to keep it in the best shape (Picture iStock/Istanbulimages)

Updated: 13th May 2020

Whether you’re now travelling to work again, or if your car is still sat idle, following the advice below is vital to keep your vehicle safe and ready to go when you need it.

Cars are designed to be driven. Some parts rely on regular use to stay in tip-top shape. That means during the COVID-19 lockdown, your car will need some attention to stay fighting fit and ready for any essential journey.

How long you can leave a car parked and expect it to work as it should depends on what condition it’s in. But follow my tips and when you can drive your car, there’s a much greater chance it’ll start first time after a lockdown lay-up.

Look after your battery

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Expert Advice: all about turbo trouble in your car’s engine

turbo trouble
This is what a turbocharger looks like inside an engine (Picture iStock/Kool99)

Ever more cars use turbocharging on their engines. And that makes turbo trouble a problem some drivers might face for the first time. A turbo is a way of getting a smaller, more fuel-efficient engine to match the power of a larger capacity unit.

To work their magic, turbos have to work at high speeds, high temperatures and high pressures so they can be susceptible to failures. But if a turbo packs up, the engine won’t necessarily stop. Here I look at what a turbo is and the kinds of problems your turbo car might experience.

What is a turbo engine?

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Valentine’s Day 2020: great gifts to show your car you care

valentine's day
Do you love your car as much as he does? (Picture iStock/HbrH)

How about giving your loved one something really special this Valentine’s Day? No, we’re not talking about a gift for your partner… We mean a present your trusty (hopefully) companion who’s by your side through thick and thin, come rain or shine.

The best gift you can possibly give a car is to have it serviced. But assuming you’ve already done that and a service isn’t due for a while, we’ve got some more ideas. Read on for six great gifts for your car. In some cases, they’ll pay it back for the sterling work it does on your behalf. Oh and some of them might just come in handy for you too.

New mats

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