How secure is your garage?

Garages are not always used to store vehicles in, many people use their garage as another room in their home or as a storage place for gardening equipment and tools etc. This time of year people may also be using their garage to store Christmas presents in. This is fine as long as your garage is secure. The first thing you need to check when it comes to the security of your garage is the garage door. If it can be easily opened with force applied or is easy to pick the lock then it may be time to invest in a new one. If you open and close your garage doors often then you should consider installing an automatic garage door that will allow you to control it with a remote.

You can now buy sensor alarms that cost as little as £20 that will detect movement in your garage. They will play a siren that is approximately 125 decibels, lounder than most car horns, to alert you of an intruder. These again are often remotely controlled allowing you to set it and disarm it as and when needed.

Having a CCTV system installed that can overlook your garage door is another level of security that you can add. You can often set these up to notify you of any movement detected within the range set.

What is the best flooring for a garage?

Often a garage is built with a concrete floor. This can make it very sturdy and strong but is often not the most comfortable and does not offer much warmth. If you want to only use your garage to store your car in or to store tools and gardening equipment then that may be fine but if you want to use the garage like another room such as a playroom, gym or laundry room you may decide to put down different flooring.

If the room is going to be used as a playroom then why not fit some carpet? This will instantly transform the room and make it feel cosy. If you are going to do this you do need to ensure that the garage is waterproof as if not, the carpet will get wet and become mouldy / damp. It is also important to ensure that you have ventilation to allow fresh air to circulate. Many rooms have a ventilation brick, but these often get covered up over time, so ensure that this is left open. For a laundry room you may prefer to have lino which again will be a little warmer but more practical should you have spillages etc.

Are you sharing your garage with unwanted visitors?

Garages have many different purposes. Some people use their garage purely as a place to keep their car overnight. They may also have a lawnmower and a few household tools in their but it is mainly a place for their car. Others may decide to use the garage as a gym or a playroom, either by properly converting it or simply moving equipment in to there. The problem with garages is often they are the perfect home for unwanted guests such as mice or rats. Especially during the colder months, mouse or rats will try and find somewhere they can go out of the cold and rain and a garage is often the perfect solution. Because it is not as busy as a room in your house, rodents can go undisturbed for weeks if not months and often you only realise they are there because you find something they have chewed through.

Although you cannot always completely stop rodents from getting in to your garage, you can try and block up as many holes as possible to make it harder for them. If you want to get rid of a mouse then why not invest in a humane mouse trap which will allow you to catch it so you can release it in a field.

Is your garage storage utilised efficiently?

Most homeowners tend to use their garage for purposes other than housing their vehicle even though money can be saved on insurance premiums by stating that the vehicle is kept in a garage.

Many people use the garage as a storage space for the home and store a mixture of garden furniture, boxes, tools and other items without any organisation in there. If the storage space is organised effectively it will appear as if the garage is much larger than it is in reality and access to items stored there will be simpler.

One thing that can be done is to put up shelving so that items can be stored on shelves rather than on the floor. The shelving can be made from any oddments of wood or worktop so expensive ready-made shelving is not necessary. Clear plastic boxes are useful to store decorating materials and tools so that the contents can be seen without lifting the boxes down.

Another way of organising storage is to look at the possibility of hanging some items up on hooks attached to the walls. Garden tools often have handles that enable them to be hung up easily and hose pipes, which are notoriously difficult to store can also be hung up in this way.

Should you let the garage replace or try to repair a damaged exhaust system?

The exhaust on your vehicle is a common component to get damaged or worn. If you often drive over rough road surfaces or uneven land then you will likely catch your exhaust which over time can cause a hole or part of it to come loose.

If you suddenly find that your car sounds particularly loud when you accelerate or even just when idling and the noise is coming from the back end of the car then you most probably have a hole in your exhaust pipe. A damaged exhaust pipe will usually fail an MOT and if the car sounds very loud you may attract unwanted attention from the police. It is important to get it repaired or replaced as soon as possible.

So what options do you have? Depending on where about the hole is in the exhaust and how big it is, you could try repairing it. You can buy exhaust bandage or ask a garage to weld it for you. This may solve the problem but may only be a temporary fix.

The best way to ensure that the issue is properly fixed in to replace that section of the exhaust. This may be a relatively small job, so always get a quote first before rushing out to repair it to try and save a bit of money.

Using your garage as a workshop

Having a garage can be a huge help when it comes to storage but most of us just fill them with junk that we don’t really need any more. This can mean that any spare room you do have cannot be used for anything useful.

There are many different uses for a garage such as a place to store your car, a gym area, a place to store your gardening equipment such as strimmer’s and lawn mowers or even a workshop. If you are considering turning your garage in to a workshop then there are some things you need to thnk carefully about.

Firstly you need to decide if you are going to turn the whole garage in to a workshop or only part of it. IF you are going to only be using part of it, you may want to put up some petitions or section off a corner. You will need to have space for a work bench and some tools and organisation is key to get the most out of the space. Shelving and hanging racks will allow you ensure that everything has its own place so you can keep it tidy and organised. You need to check that you have power to the garage. If your garage is attached to your house, there are likely outlets in your garage already. If it is a separate garage, however, you’ll want to double-check that you have access to power.

Will a garage add value to your home?

If you are considering building a garage on to your home then you may wonder if it will add value. A lot of this depends on how the garage is built and whether it adds space or removes it from your home. If for example you only have a very small garden then adding a garage which uses up a lot of this space may reduce the amount your house is worth. In most cases, though adding a garage to your home will add value. If you have the garage built with deep enough foundations then you may even be able to build on top of it and add another room if needed. This again will add value on to your home and make it easier to sell.

Garages used to be built to store vehicles in but often now, people do not always use the garage for that purpose and instead use it to store items such as lawnmowers, camping equipment or set it up as an indoor gym. You want your garage to be waterproof and if you are going to want electrical sockets in there, you will need to ensure that it is all wired correctly. You may even deice to use your garage as a laundry room, in which case ventilation is important.

How often do homeowners use their garages to house their cars?

The majority of new build houses are designed and built with a garage or a parking space on the property if this is an option, but how often do we actually use our garages to house our cars and if not then why is that?

Garages are a particularly useful addition to any home in terms of general storage space. They are often used to store garden furniture during the winter months and gardening equipment such as lawnmowers and gardening tools throughout the year. Whilst some people build a garden shed to house this equipment it is more common for it to be kept in the garage.

Some homeowners use the garage as an additional room either as a laundry room with a washing machine and tumble dryer or possibly a games room for the family to use. With the increased interest in health and fitness some garages are utilised as a gym with treadmills, rowing machines and weightlifting equipment.

The difficulty for some when thinking of using the garage to accommodate their car is that often the garage is not wide enough to be able to park the car and get out without damaging the doors on the garage wall. Older properties often have larger garages, so this is not usually an issue for these homeowners.

Buying a cheap but reliable car

Should you be unable to afford a new or relatively new car you will be looking at the used car market to find your next vehicle.

Your first consideration is whether to buy from a private seller perhaps from an online auction site or as advertised in the local paper or whether to visit a local car dealership to see whether there are any cars that may be suitable and in your price bracket.

The cost of the car will usually be more expensive from a dealership, but you are usually given a short warranty which is good for your peace of mind. If you are buying from a private seller it is worthwhile checking online to see past MOTs and any advisories that have been issued so that you can ask the seller if these have been dealt with. If you can take a mechanic with you to view and test drive the car before you buy it may give you an indication of the car’s worth and any issues it may have.

Although reliability cannot ever be guaranteed when buying a used car, if checks are made before purchasing the chances of getting a car that can be relied upon will be greater.

What should I do if I breakdown?

It is something that most drivers dread, and many drivers try to prepare for, but it is still very worrying when your car breaks down by the roadside. If you do have the misfortune to break down do you know what to do?

Hopefully you will have previously organised breakdown cover with a reputable organisation and have the details of your cover and the relevant telephone numbers on hand. A phone call to the operator with details of your car and location will be the first thing to do and help should be on its way often within the hour.

If you are carrying an emergency triangle it is a good idea to place this a few metres from your car to warn other motorists of the hazard along with switching on your hazard lights. It is essential, especially if you breakdown on a motorway that you do not stay inside the vehicle but stand some metres away in case your car is hit by another vehicle.

Should you not have breakdown cover you will need to either phone a family member or friend to tow you to garage not to be attempted by the fainthearted or ideally phone a local garage to recover your vehicle.