Tyres

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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Expert advice: car care during the COVID-19 lockdown

COVID-19 lockdown
If your car is equivalent to this during its lockdown lay-up, follow our expert tips to keep it in the best shape (Picture iStock/Istanbulimages)

Updated: 03 November

With the country seeing a second COVID-19 lockdown between 05 November and 02 December, we wanted to share some important car care advice. 

Cars are designed to be driven. Some parts rely on regular use to stay in tip-top shape. That means if you’re not driving regularly during the COVID-19 lockdown, your car will need some attention to stay fighting fit and ready for any essential journey.

How long you can leave a car parked and expect it to work as it should depends on what condition it’s in. But follow my tips and when you can drive your car, there’s a much greater chance it’ll start first time after a lockdown lay-up.

Look after your battery

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How much do you know about modifying cars?

car modifications
Thinking about modifying your car? Want it to look like this? You might think again when you’ve done our quiz (Picture iStock/DavidF)

Car modifications are a thorny subject. The law around cars and what you can and can’t do to them is very strict. To see how much you know about modifying cars, take our cunning quiz. And if you do decide to go ahead and fix up your car, remember you must tell your insurer or your cover could be invalidated.

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How to save money buying new tyres for your car

buying new tyres
Even tyres for a small car can prove expensive (Picture iStock/GeorgeRudy)

Buying new tyres is one of the necessary evils of running a car. Not only do tyres inevitably come to the end of their life, they’re also deceptively expensive. Replacing all four tyres on even a modest family saloon can leave you without much change from £500. And the bigger the car, the more you’ll pay. Buy four new tyres for a high-performance motor and it’ll cost the thick end of £2000. But there are ways to save money without scrimping on safety.

Find out about your tyres

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Car tyre fragments could damage our health, experts say

tyre particles
Tyres give off particles of different sizes. Even the smoke contains tiny fragments of plastic (Picture iStock/Toa55)

We’re frequently told that cars are bad for the planet. That’s why we’re being pushed towards driving electric cars. But exhaust emissions aren’t the only nasties to come from our cars. Every time we drive, tiny bits of rubber fly off our tyres and into the atmosphere. In some cases, these particles are so small they’re considered to be microplastics. Read on to see if they really pose a threat.

How do tyres release fragments?

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Clean Air Day 2019: how to reduce your emissions from driving

clean air day 2019

Thursday 20 June was the UK’s Clean Air Day 2019. Organised by charity Global Action Plan, Clean Air Day is the UK’s largest air pollution campaign. It’s been conceived to urge people in Britain to think about how they might reduce their emissions and help improve air quality.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), road transport accounts for up to 30 per cent of particulate emissions in Europe. Much of that comes from the exhaust pipes of internal combustion engine vehicles. Here we reveal how car drivers can reduce their emissions and make every day a Clean Air Day.

Plan your trip

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Punctured tyre? We look at the best solutions

Punctured tyre
This doesn’t have to be you if you’ve had a puncture (Picture iStock/Bobex-73)

Had a punctured tyre recently? If so, how did you deal with it? Chances are you didn’t change the wheel at the roadside. Not because you couldn’t be bothered but because spare wheels are considered old tech by most car makers now.

More than 90 per cent of new cars are sold without a spare wheel as standard. Drivers can often specify one as an optional extra (they cost between about £100 and £300 depending on the car), so it’s worth checking whether that box has been ticked by a previous owner if buying a used car.

If it hasn’t, what are your choices and are they any good? We investigate three puncture solutions.

What is a run-flat tyre?

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Expert advice: cheap car checks to do before the Easter getaway this year

cheap car checks
You really don’t want your bank holiday to end up like this (Picture iStock/Jimdoberman)

This Easter bank holiday weekend thousands of drivers will take to the road for breaks with or to see family. At Green Flag we’ll be super busy attending breakdowns, many of which drivers can avoid by performing some simple checks before setting off.

I’ve compiled this list of routine maintenance because according to research by Select Car Leasing, fewer than a third of car owners (31 per cent) check their tyre pressures at least once a month. And in the 18-24 age group, more than a quarter (27 per cent) don’t know how to check their tyres. Read these simple car checks for safer – and cheaper – motoring this Easter.

Check your tyres

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Valentine’s Day quiz: how much of a car lover are you really?

Is this you? Or aren’t you that passionate about your car? Our quiz tells all (Pictures iStockimages)

Valentine’s Day is coming up and it’s time to shower the one – or perhaps ones! – you love with gifts and attention. But where does your car rank in your affections? Will you be showing it how much you care this year? Or don’t you really care for it at all? Take our quiz to find out how much love you lavish on your car.

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MOT changes reveal how many ‘dangerous’ cars are on Britain’s roads

MOT changes

Changes to Britain’s MOT test prove an alarming number of cars are on our roads in a potentially lethal state. Official figures show that nearly a third (32 per cent) of MOT failures were due to a dangerous defect.

In numbers, that’s 1.13m cars categorised as ‘dangerous’ after failing their MOT between the introduction of the revised test in May 2018 and the end of the year. This means the car is considered an immediate risk to road safety. The owner is then banned from driving the car until it’s been made road legal again.

However, the Government’s Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) says more than half of MOT failures are preventable. Drivers, it says, could avoid the money and aggravation that an MOT failure can cause by conducting simple maintenance.

What are the MOT changes?

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