Keeping your engine cool

Over the last few weeks the temperature across England has been hotting up. We are beginning to see temperatures in to the high 20’s and whilst this may be nice for those that like to sit out in the sun or sun bathe, it can be a time when you really need to pay extra attention to the car.

Before setting off on a long journey in your car you should always check the coolant. Even if the journey is going to only take you 30 mins, in high heat especially, you may want to make a few extra checks. If the coolant is low, be sure to top it up before you set off. Always check a day or so after topping up the coolant and driving the vehicle that it has not moved much. Coolant should not need topping up that often, but if you have a slow leak you may notice it going down.

Finding out about and rectifying coolant leaks is far better than finding out when it’s too late and your car has over heated. Over heating can be very detrimental to a car’s engine and sometimes can make the vehicle a write off.

If you notice the temperature gauge on you vehicle creeping up and you are in a place where you cannot stop then put your heaters on full heat and full power, this will help to take some of the heat off the engine.

 

 

New car features – useful or just pointless?

So most new car models come with standard features and optional add ons, these come at a price so sometimes it’s worth looking into which ones are worth having and which are, well, pretty much useless!

One example of a pointless feature is the logo projection that some cars come with that shine a light onto the floor from under the wing mirrors with a picture of the cars logo, maybe nice to have if you are driving a Porsche not so much if you are driving a Skoda!

Auto boot open can be a good feature if you have your hands full as you can then easily open the boot by activating a sensor with your foot.

Automatic windscreen wipers seems like a great feature as in theory they auto adjust to the level of rain that you have. However in practise it can actually be just as frustrating as you end up constantly adjusting the settings as it rarely gets the speed of the wipers right.

Automatic dimming rear view mirror can be great if you find that you get dazzled driving at night with the lights of other cars blinding you through your mirror. The feature can also be turned on and off so if you struggle to see through it when auto dim is activated you can switch it off for a bit.

Checking for oil leaks

An Oil leak can be minor or it can be a major issue but it needs to be found and dealt with promptly to avoid further damage to your vehicle. If your vehicle needs to be topped up with fresh oil more than usual or if you notice a pool of oil under where you park the car then the chances are you have an oil leak. Oil can leak from a number of places and it can be hard to find out exactly where it is coming from. The first thing to do is to clean the engine off and try and remove as much of the oil as possible. Once you have done this, top the oil up and start the car, whilst running see if you can see any oil spraying or dripping out from anywhere. Before replacing anything it is essential to find out where the leak is coming from. There is no point forking out hundreds of pounds to replace parts that will not fix the issue.

You will need to take the car to a garage to get the oil leak checked but there are a few things you can try at home if you feel confident enough to do so. Adding a small amount of trace dye to the oil and then using a UV light should allow you to see where the oil is coming out from.

 

Switching your car insurance

If you are buying a new car then you most likely need to switch your insurance over on to it. If you are trading your current car in part exchange or if you are selling it after then you may need to have both cars insured for a period. Most insurance companies will give you 24 hours cover on both to give you plenty of time to collect the new one whilst still being insured on the old one.

When swapping insurance, firstly call your current provider and check what the cost would be to swap. There may be an additional premium to pay and possibly an admin fee too. Once you have a price go online and obtain a quote from a comparison company to see what others may offer you. I often find a price for a few hundred pounds less than your current provider. If you are going to swap insurers check what the cancellation fee is going to be as often this can be in excess of £75 which can make it worth while paying a little extra and staying with your current insurer. Be sure to also check the level of cover you are being offered with the new company is the same as with your current one and that the excess is not a lot more than you would have had to pay.

 

Getting your wheels aligned

Wheels alignment is very important but not everyone knows that or even knows that it is something you can have done. When your car is made in the factory the wheels are set up to be aligned exactly with each other meaning that it steers as it should and does not cause any issues with the tyres. Over time the wheels can be unaligned or if you hit a pot hole or a curb for example you may knock the alignment out. You may notice this by the fact that your car is pulling to the right or left when you drive it or a vibration through the steering wheel.

Most car garages can check and alter the alignment for you for less than £30 but if left out of alignment you may find that you end up having to fork out a lot more. The ill alignment or tracking as it is also known can cause  uneven tyre wear, often on the inside of the tyre meaning that you may not even realise until you take the car to the garage. If this happens the chances are you will also have to fork out for a pair of new tyres. Getting your tracking done once every 12 months or if you have recently had a bump to the wheel can save money in the long run and can avoid unnecessary problems with your tyres.

Advice when buying a used car

When it comes to the time to get a new car, you have a choice as to whether to buy new or used. New cars always come with a manufacturer’s warranty which is often three years but can be as much as seven years or 100,000 miles (currently Kia offer this warranty). This can give you hassle free motoring and although the warranty will not cover everything such as tyres and general wear and tear, it can mean if anything big goes wrong, you don’t have to fork out the thousands of pounds to fix it. Buying a used car always carries more risk than buying a new one as you often will have a short or possibly even no warranty. If you are buying a car off a private buyer you often have little come back as it is a private sale. It is worth remembering though that even for private seller used cars you are still covered by a general sales of goods act so if you can prove that a car was bought and was not fit for purpose you may be able to take them to a small claims court. Some companies offer used car checks and will go out even to a private sale and give the car a once over before you agree the sale. It is also strongly recommended that you carry out a HPI check to see information such as if the car has ever been recorded as stolen, written off, outstanding and finance.

 

 

Switching insurance

If you are buying a new car then you most likely need to switch your insurance over on to it. If you are trading your current car in part exchange or if you are selling it after then you may need to have both cars insured for a period. Most insurance companies will give you 24 hours cover on both to give you plenty of time to collect the new one whilst still being insured on the old one.

When swapping insurance, firstly call your current provider and check what the cost would be to swap. There may be an additional premium to pay and possibly an admin fee too. Once you have a price go online and obtain a quote from a comparison company to see what others may offer you. I often find a price for a few hundred pounds less than your current provider. If you are going to swap insurers check what the cancellation fee is going to be as often this can be in excess of £75 which can make it worth while paying a little extra and staying with your current insurer.

 

Mini service

Servicing can be an expensive part of owning a car. Many cars require a service every 12 months or 10,000 miles and then a major service every 30,000 miles or three years. Many new cars now come with long life service schedules meaning that they only need a service every 2 or 3 years for example.

Services can range from £100 upwards to £500 if it is a major main dealer service but is essential to maintaining your vehicle the best you can. Many people do not want to spend this money on old cars and therefore garages are now offering mini services. The mini service often includes oil and filter change, checking and topping up of other fluids and all over check on the brakes, suspension and tyres for example. This can cost as little as £40 so can be a huge saving on the normal dealership service prices.

 

 

Lowing your car insurance

Car insurance can be a massive annual cost for many motorists. Young drivers, especially males or anyone with convictions / endorsements on their licence can see their premiums well over a thousand pounds a year often making it a struggle to stay driving n the road.

Did you realise that the area in which you live in can have a massive effect on the cost of your car insurance and in some cases can over double your premium.

With this in mind, we should all look at ways in which we can reduce or insurance costs as much as possible to keep pour outgoings lower.

/keeping your car in a locked garage for example can often reduce the cost of your insurance compared to if you were keeping the car on a public road over night. This is because the car is likely to be more secure in a locked garage than on a road.

 

Cars that maintain their value

It is a fact that most cars lose money year upon year from wear and tear on the paintwork, interior and engine or even because a newer model has come out making yours seem outdated.

There are certain cars that do hold their money or some classics even increase in value. You can also increase the value of a car by doing work to it, such as a respray or completing repairs that needed doing when you purchased it but there is always a ceiling limit as to how much you can recoup.

Studies show that a new car loses approximately 17% of its value within the first 12 months but some cars lose money quicker than others.

The Honda CRV, the Nissan Frontier and the Jeep Wrangler are amongst some of the cars that lose less than 17% in the first year with these three particular models losing on average between 7 and 8 percent. This can mean an additional £1000-£2000 in your pocket should you wish to sell it after a year.