Weather

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

Winter tyres or 4×4: What’s best for cold weather driving?

Winter tyres

Is four-wheel drive better than winter tyres in the snow? (Picture © BMW)

The clocks have gone back, it’s getting dark ever earlier, and the forecasters say it’s going to be a cold winter. It means the roads are wet and greasy, or even worse, could be slippery with ice or snow. And that means regular two-wheel drive cars like most of us own can struggle for grip. It’s little surprise that so many drivers consider swapping the family saloon for a four-wheel drive SUV at this time of the year.

However, there could be a simple, more affordable approach for drivers other than forking out for an SUV, or indeed any four-wheel drive car: fitting winter tyres to their current car. Here’s how drivers can keep moving this winter.
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Tyre labels: What they mean and why they’re just the start for buyers

Tyre Labels

Labels are supposed to make buying tyres easier. But have they succeeded? (Picture © Emissions Analytics)


In November 2012, tyre labels became a fundamental part of the way we bought tyres. Realising that for many people purchasing tyres was a puzzling process, the EU attempted to demystify it with labels for all car tyres. They look much like the labels you now see on white goods or new cars. But rather than energy ratings and exhaust emissions, they carry information on the tyre’s performance.

The aim behind tyre labels was to make it easier for buyers by enabling them to assess the best, safest tyres possible for their budget and motoring needs. And by showing fuel efficiency, another aim was to enable buyers to choose tyres that would help their cars’ economy. It also enabled customers to compare products, which to the untrained eye – and many expert eyes too – look virtually identical.
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Convertible roof repair: cleaning, caring for or replacing you car’s hood

Convertible roof repair
With the chimes of Hear Comes The Summer now a distant memory, drivers of soft-top cars should think about convertible roof repair before the winter weather sweeps in.

The life of a fabric or vinyl hood for a convertible, cabriolet or roadster can be greatly extended by cleaning it correctly and then reapplying a waterproofing agent. At the same time, any nicks and tears can be patched up, much like a child’s pair of jeans, and electrical or mechanical problems can be fixed without resorting to a complete replacement of the hood.

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Why sunny weather increases drivers’ skin cancer risk

Drivers' skin cancer risk

In sunny weather, drivers of convertible cars should apply suncream – whether the roof is open or closed (Picture © Ford)

The arrival of the sun comes with a serious risk for drivers and their passengers: skin cancer. Drivers of cars with a convertible roof will already be aware of the harmful side effects of the sun’s rays. But studies in the US (where cars are left-hand drive) have discovered that for drivers, the left side of the head, neck, arm and hand receive up to six times the dose of UV radiation as the right side. This makes drivers more susceptible to skin cancer on their left sides. In the UK, where cars are right-hand drive, driver’s right sides will be more vulnerable. Read our guide to this invisible problem and how to guard against it.  Continue reading

Britain’s roads: pothole plague, compensation & billions in repairs

Britain's roads

The sign says it all (Picture © Potholes.co.uk)

Britain’s roads are getting worse with one in six of them classed as in poor condition. The result is a backlog of 13 years’ worth of required repair work. The most accurate survey into the state of the nation’s carriageways now shows the number of potholes being filled in England and Wales is up by a third to 2.7 million. And it reveals that the amount of compensation paid to drivers whose vehicles have been damaged by unavoidable holes in the road has rocketed. Here are the main findings of the 2015 Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance (ALARM) survey of councils, produced by the Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA).  Continue reading

Driving in snow: How to prepare and stay safe

Driving in snow

Snow can make for the most hazardous driving conditions (Picture © Renault)

Driving in snow presents car owners with one of their biggest challenges at the wheel. And with an arctic blast prompting forecasters to predict snow for the rest of the week, and some reports suggesting we’ve got a month of icy weather to look forward to, it’s time to be prepared for driving on slippery surfaces.

Research by tyre maker Goodyear showed that less than half of drivers, 48 per cent, ready their car for freezing conditions. Here are some simple steps to prepare for and then actually drive in snow.  Continue reading

Expert tips: how to drive safely in winter weather

Driving tips for winter weather

As winter sets in, drivers face a host of hazards from the harsh weather. From dark mornings to icy roads, and smearing windscreens to sudden heavy snowfall, the winter brings added challenges that are just waiting to catch out drivers.

To help ensure everyone gets to their destination safely, Green Flag turned to the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) which promotes better driving, and asked Peter Rodger, its head of driving advice, to share his top 10 tips for driving safely in winter weather. Continue reading

How to clean and care for your car in winter weather

Clean and care for your car this winter

Give your car a good clean and work off the Christmas excess while you’re at it. (Picture © Autoglym)

Many drivers rarely give their car a second glance, but our motors do need a bit of TLC. So here are half a dozen ways you can clean and care for your car in the harsh winter weather 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