The country is in lockdown due to the COVID-19 coronavirus. The government has told people to work from home where possible and suspended all but essential services. What does this mean for car owners? Read on to find out what happens if you need an MOT, if your vehicle breaks down at home or on the motorway, and what services are and aren’t available.
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?Continue reading
How many trouble-free miles has your car covered? And perhaps more importantly how many more is it good for? Records by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) show there are more high mileage Skoda Octavias in the UK than any other vehicle. That’s currently 1950 UK-registered Octavias with a valid MOT that have done more than quarter of a million miles.
But how do you get that many trouble-free miles out of your car? It certainly doesn’t happen by accident. Here are my tips.
Have your car serviced regularlyContinue reading
When is a flat battery not a flat battery? When it’s a problem with glow plugs. OK, that’s a bit simplistic but frequently people breakdown with what they think is a battery problem, only for it to turn out to be the glow plugs that are at fault.
The reason is that diesel engines use these heaters to help them start. In warmer weather they’re not as necessary. However, when the weather gets cold, glow plugs are vital. That’s why in November 2017, the number of call outs Green Flag attended for glow plug problems rose by 112 per cent. Read on to find out what the problem is and how you can diagnose it.
What are glow plugs?
If your car has ever needed a replacement exhaust you’ll know just how expensive this essential mechanical component can be. As it’s such a pricey part, it pays to know what to look for and it’s important to shop around. That might seem daunting, but the potential price savings alone should convince you research is time well spent.
The exhaust is an essential part of your car. It keeps the engine healthy and ensures the emissions being pumped out do as little harm as possible to the surrounding environment. But over time, the effects of high temperatures, water and grime, the occasional bash from a speed hump and general wear and tear from continuous movement mean it can end up needing replacing.
Here’s the exhaustive low down on repairing or replacing a car’s exhaust.
Signs you need a replacement exhaust
In the autumn 2017 budget, the government dangled more carrots to entice drivers to switch to electric cars. It promised not to tax those who charge their cars for free at work. It also said there would be £400m for additional charging points and revealed increases in Vehicle Excise Duty (road tax) for new diesel cars.
The incentives are intended to accelerate the drive toward electric cars that emit no emissions. Even so, most drivers still have practical questions over the suitability of battery powered vehicles and, importantly, their running costs.
One of the most significant running costs of any car is the price of servicing. And manufacturers of electric models often highlight how much cheaper they are to maintain than a comparably priced diesel car. But are there really savings to be made? And how often do they need to be serviced? We investigate. Continue reading
Getting a car serviced is one of the fundamentals to ensuring you don’t break down. However, visiting the garage is viewed with the same dread many people experience when a visit to the dentist is on the cards. A new survey has revealed that car owners fear dealing with garage mechanics more than any other trade.
Why do we hate dealing with garages?
Car servicing costs could escalate by as much as 10 per cent after Brexit. A new report conducted for car industry body the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) warns that if tariffs and other trade barriers come into force when the UK leaves the European Union, prices could rise. It claims the average annual cost of car servicing would then increase to £777.
According to the SMMT, 80 per cent of car spares are imported. Almost three quarters of those come from EU-based suppliers. The SMMT is concerned that if no new trading relationship with the EU is secured, tariffs and customs barriers will hike the prices of these parts.
Last year, every UK car owner spent an average £707 on car maintenance. Tyres, lubricants and filters were the most commonly replaced items. However, demand is rising quickly for telematics devices and tyre pressure monitoring sensors. Read our five top tips on how to save money on car servicing.