Maintaining your car

Summer motoring hacks to help your car hang onto its value

summer motoring hacks
Bird poo is acidic and bad for paintwork (Picture iStock/Gorica Poturak)

Many of us think of winter as being the most testing season for cars. But actually summer throws up just as many challenges. Here we look at some of the main ones and offer some handy summer motoring hacks that will help you to preserve your car’s value and ensure safe, comfortable and trouble-free motoring.

How to clean bird poo off

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Expert advice: keep your car going for a million miles

million miles
Regular servicing is one of the fundamentals if you want to keep your car going for miles more (Picture iStock/A Stock Photo)

Drivers are keeping their cars for longer. If you want to be one of them, I can help you to eke more miles out of your motor.

According to Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) data, more than nine million of the UK’s 40.3 million registered vehicles have more than 100,000 miles on the clock. And trade body the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders says the average age of the UK’s cars is 8.4 years, the oldest since records began.

Regular servicing is important

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Expert advice: Used car tyres? Probably not such a great idea

used car tyres
Used car tyres can be sold with dangerously worn tread compared to new tyres (Picture iStock/Fertnig)

We’re hearing from our friends in the tyre industry that they’re expecting cash-strapped drivers to buy increasing numbers of used car tyres. Of course, it’s related to increases in the cost of living: motoring costs are as badly affected as food when it comes to inflation.

And buying used (sometimes called part-worn) tyres is one way people might think they can save money.

Like a visit to the dentist, no one relishes forking out to replace the rubber on their car. But I think there are several reasons why buying used tyres isn’t a brilliant idea.

What are used car tyres?

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Great motoring ways to spend the Queen’s Jubilee bank holiday

queens jubilee
Why not go to a car show over the Queen’s Jubilee weekend (Picture iStock/Alphotographic)

The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations are on the first weekend in June. Ahead of it, Britain is basking in the knowledge that we get a four-day weekend to help Her Majesty celebrate. But what are you going to do during it?

Below we outline five great motoring ways to spend the long bank holiday weekend.

Celebrate with the Queen

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Now thieves are targeting electric vehicle charging cables

charging cables
Charge your EV in the street and you might get your cable nicked (Picture iStock/Coldsnowstorm)

Thieves are increasingly targeting electric vehicle (EV) charging cables as a quick way to make money.

The cables are either dismantled and the metals inside them are stripped out and sold. Alternatively crooks sell them to other EV owners for up to £200 a go.

Industry experts fear charging cable theft could escalate over the coming years, with sales of new combustion engine cars banned from 2030. The results could cost the UK’s EV drivers millions of pounds annually.

What are charging cables made of?

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The manual handbrake is history and it’s costing us dear

manual handbrake
Most new cars have an electronic parking brake (Picture iStock/Kenneth-Cheung)

If you bought a car that’s either new or just a couple of years old, you might have noticed something missing between the seats. Back in the day there used to be a lever that would operate the parking brake, more commonly known as the handbrake.

No longer. The reassuring old handbrake has been replaced by the much less substantial electronic version. And it could be costing us dear. Read on to find out why.

What is an electronic parking brake?

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Expert advice: 6 questions to ask when getting your car serviced

getting your car serviced
Ask our questions and you’ll get him rather than the dodgy place next door (Picture iStock/Minerva_Studio)

For most of us, getting a car serviced ranks somewhere close to going to the dentist. It’s expensive, it involves hassle and we can’t get away with not doing it. But there is another way.

Pick the right garage to start with and you can make the experience an altogether more positive one. Of course, it’s impossible to know what a garage is going to be like until you use it. But ask the following six questions and you’ve got a fighting chance of picking a decent one.

What trade body do you belong to?

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Our 2021 Christmas gift guide for car fans

If you need a bit of help with ideas for presents, read on to see half a dozen (Picture iStock/Tonito84)

Whether you want to give someone a pointer towards a present you might like, or you’re buying something for a car nut, we’ve got the answer. We’ve found half a dozen affordable gifts for all age groups with stuff that’s fun as well as more practical.

Build it and they will have fun

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Expert advice: cold-cheating winter kit to carry in your car

winter kit
Having a glove with your ice scraper will prevent frost-bitten fingers (Picture iStock/AlenaPaulus)

Around this time of year I always think about winter and what to carry in my car to make life simpler and safer. Compiling a winter kit of equipment to carry in the cold months is easy. It might help you out when temperatures plunge and it could be a life saver if you get stuck in snowy conditions.

Make de-icing a bit nicer

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More than half of car tyres are underinflated. Check yours today

underinflated tyre
Underinflated tyres can be dangerous and costly (Picture iStock/PattyC)

With winter approaching, tyres will play a critical role in how cars handle in colder conditions. New research by transport charity TyreSafe has found that 57 per cent of vehicles on UK roads have underinflated tyres.

Tyres determine how well a vehicle stops and steers. In slippery winter conditions, all the safety technology a modern car is fitted with will be pointless if it’s driving on underinflated tyres.

Here we look at why it’s so important for your tyres to have the correct amount of air in them.

Underinflated tyres wear more quickly

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