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.


All over safety check

If you have just bought a car or even if you just want someone to give your existing car a once over, there are many garages now offering a free visual inspection. If you call up one of these garages and explain to them that you want a free visual inspection they can often fit you in the same day. The car is put up on a ramp in the work shop and then the mechanic will check over it to find out any damage on the car. They sometimes will ask you over to have a look whilst it is on the ramp so you can see for yourself what needs doing.

This service is usually designed to check many components such as the brakes, suspension, tyres and sometimes the battery. Once the garage has given you a list of items that may need to be replaced they can provide you with a quote to do the work, but you are under no obligation to take it.


Hiring a car in the EU

If you’re heading to Europe, either on holiday or for business, you need to be aware of recent regulation changes regarding the documents you’ll need when hiring a car. You used t need the paper part of your UK driving license but now things have changed.

Earlier this year, the DVLA scrapped the paper part of the license in an effort to save money and red tape. The paper part holds details of any previous convictions and offences and, as such, was used by hire car companies to check a driver’s history. In place of the paper license, you now need to present a hire company with a code obtained from the DVLA’s website. This code allows the hire company to check your history online.

The code is only valid for three days so if you don’t plan ahead you will be relying on being able to access the DVLA’s website or their phone line when you need to hire a vehicle.


Sneaky tricks used at second hand car garages

If you are looking to buy a second hand car then you should read this article that can give you an insight to some of the common tricks used at a used car showroom to entice you in. One of the main ones is the bait car – you may have seen and advert in the local paper or on the website showing a car for sale that seems too good to be true. It might be way below the usually selling price and very low mileage. But when you enquire about it at the garage, it has already been sold. This can be a way for used car garages to entice you in. Even if you call them rather than visit they will often state that the vehicle has been sold but they have many more similar deals on the forecourt and you should pop in. Once they have you at the showroom, and know that you are keen to buy, it is usually a lot easier for them to talk you in to a sale.



Cam belt worries

The engines cam belt drives and regulates the cam shaft, which in turn moves the inlet and exhaust valves in your engine. If the cam belt snaps during operation of the engine, many of the moving parts in and around the combustion chamber can sustain serious damage leading to costly repairs. This is one of the reasons buying a second hand car with only partial or no service history is a risky business. Cam belts usually need changing at around 60,000 miles but the cars service schedule should indicate the correct time for your specific vehicle.

If your vehicle has a higher mileage than this and you don’t know whether the belt has been changed it’s a good idea to swap it as a matter of course. This can be quite costly as it requires a lot of work, though the belt itself isn’t that pricey. However, potentially having to repair or replace all 16 valves in your engine will undoubtedly cost more. Some cars feature a timing chain instead of a rubber belt and these should theoretically never break, though some can eventually stretch and throw out the timing.