Breaking down could become a thing of the past with telematics
Technology that only a few years ago would have seemed like a dream is now coming to a car near you. The latest can predict if your car is going to break down. It’s estimated it could save British drivers 38,000 hours waiting for roadside rescue with their conked-out car.
Green Flag Alert Me plugs into the car’s On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) port. From there, the matchbox-sized device monitors the car’s battery and electronic brain. This enables it to record changes such as the battery failing to hold its charge before the driver would ordinarily notice them. If it does see changes, Alert Me reports it to Green Flag over the mobile phone network. Green Flag then notifies the driver via a smartphone app. Continue reading
If the last owner had looked after it a bit better, this might still be running…
It would be great if we could make a car last forever like Irvin Gordon did. The American driver and Guinness World Records holder, runs a Volvo P1800S coupe that has clocked up more than three million miles and counting over the last 50 years. That might be pushing it a bit for most of us. But there are plenty of things we can do to keep cars healthy for as long as possible.
Whether your car is brand new or more than 10 years old, there are simple steps to keep it running smoothly: from being gentle with an engine as it warms up, to treating it to a regular wash. These are my tricks of the trade when it comes to making a car go the distance.
Make a car last forever: regular maintenance
Your car needs engine oil. You need to choose the right kind
Cars are now so sophisticated that choosing engine oil has never been so important. Some require different oils to others. Get this wrong over a period of time and you could cause irreparable damage to your motor. On top of that, the engine oil you choose can make a difference to fuel economy and how long your car can go between services without performance deteriorating or vital components getting damaged.
On the upside, advances in engine oil technology mean that modern engines will cover ever greater mileages in their life time. Here’s my guide to choosing engine oil that will achieve that. Continue reading
This might look like a watery write-off but it could be dried out and sold on
Green Flag head of rescue and motor claims response, Neil Wilson, believes one in seven cars rescued by the company in parts of the country hit by flooding will be an insurance write-off. That means six out of seven cars from flooded areas – thousands – will be put back on the road. And some will undoubtedly be sold as used cars. Here are some simple checks to ensure you don’t buy a flood-damaged car.
This is what the Christmas break will mean for more than half a million drivers
Driving home for Xmas with the family is waning in popularity. But of the millions of car owners who do make the trip home for Christmas, 510,000 will be delayed on the way by a conked out car. According to Green Flag research, between December 24th and 29th, there will be a breakdown every six seconds.
Throughout December and January, Green Flag warns there will be 900,000 breakdowns. Despite that, only 23 per cent of drivers now carry a tool kit in their car. However, 41 per cent do have a first aid kit; 44 per cent will be carrying water and 74 per cent of British drivers will be armed with their trusty ice scraper.
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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