Expert advice: summer car checks for a safe, reliable getaway

summer car checks
Carry out our checks to help ensure a trouble-free trip (Picture iStock/Solovyova)

Now’s the time when most of us are either going away or preparing for our summer break. And it’s when our cars come into their own as a trusty family workhorse. Below are six basic summer car checks you can carry out. They’ll only take a couple of minutes and will ensure your car performs safely and reliably while you’re away.

If you’re worried about anything, don’t hesitate to book your car in for some professional attention. Alternatively, you could take your car for one of Green Flag’s free vehicle health checks. But in the first instance, read on to see the six summer checks I think you should perform.

Pump up your tyres

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Now might be the right time to switch to an electric car

switch to an electric car
Now might be the right time to consider a shiny new Nissan Leaf (Picture Nissan)

If you’re considering the switch to an electric car, now might be the time to do it. A new study by insurer Direct Line has revealed that the average lifetime costs of running an electric vehicle (EV) are now cheaper than the equivalent petrol-powered model.

How much cheaper are electric cars?

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Have you given away your personal data when selling your car?

personal data
Cars are increasingly data hubs. But how do you keep control of personal info? (Picture iStock/oonal)

Modern motors are technical marvels that are more than capable of storing our personal data. And new research has revealed that when they sell their car, thousands of drivers are giving away potentially delicate information such as friends’ and relatives’ names and addresses. Read on to find out if you’re in danger of doing that or have perhaps already done it.

How do cars store personal data?

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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.

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.

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New E10 petrol on sale in 2021. Will it be a problem for your car?

e10 petrol
E10 is already sold alongside super unleaded in fuel stations on the continent (Picture iStock/Dutchphotography)

Hundreds of thousands of drivers could be hit by the introduction of new petrol in the UK next year. The fuel, called E10, will become the forecourt standard petrol throughout the UK from 2021. However, it may not be suitable for older cars. Read on to find out if you’re going to be affected.

What is E10?

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Buying a used car? Our tips should help make it easy and trouble free

buying a used car
Buying a car should be the start of a beautiful friendship, not a relationship to regret (Picture iStock/1001nights)

Research by Green Flag suggests that almost a third (32 per cent) of Britons are now planning to buy a new or used car to avoid exposure to COVID-19 on public transport.

It doesn’t matter whether a car is brand new or not, getting a new motor should be a joyful moment. After all, it’s got to be better than the old smoker it’s replacing. To ensure it is, follow the tips below on how to buy a used car.

Research is rarely wasted

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Changes to Euro NCAP crash tests may harm ratings of large SUVs

crash tests
Changes include smashing into a moving object to make crash tests more realistic (Picture: Euro NCAP)

Testing how cars behave in serious crashes has undergone the biggest shake-up for a decade. The Euro NCAP safety ratings have been overhauled to make them more relevant to the kinds of cars that are now popular.

The independent assessments show in an easy to understand way how cars respond in crashes. They are important in helping car buyers to compare the safety of different vehicles. Read on to see why the new changes could affect you.

What are the main changes?

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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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Face coverings: should you wear one while driving?

face coverings
Wearing a face covering in a private car is a personal choice (Picture iStock/SbytovaMN).

From 15 June 2020, anyone in the UK travelling on public transport should wear a face covering to help limit the spread of COVID-19. But the rules about sporting masks or face coverings elsewhere are less clear. We look at what it means for car drivers.

What is the government advice about masks?

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