Hands free kits and driving

The law is hotting up on drives who use mobile devices whilst driving. It is against the law to drive a car whilst using a mobile phone, unless it is using a hands free device. There is still quite a valid argument though that using a hands free device is still not completely without risk and may not be as safe as you would like to think. You are certainly better off not to use your phone at all, but often this is not possible especially for people like reps etc who need to be able to have the ability to make and take phone calls when on the road all day.

There is a huge selection of hands-free devices out there which range in price and functionality. If you have a stereo that has an aux port on it or a micro usb / Apple connection then you should be able to link your phone directly to the car stereo.  If you are intending using your hands free a lot then it is recommend that you invest in a good quality one that may cost a bit more. Some newer vehicles also have a blue tooth connection to allow you to link your device that way. These systems often will link to your phone book allowing you to ring contacts in your phone.

Adding personality to your car

For some people a car is just something that gets them from A to B and as long as it is reliable, they don’t worry too much about what it looks like let alone stylising it. For others, their car is their pride and joy and they do not mind spending money on make it look better and adding their own personality in to it.

When buying a new car you often have the option of choosing the colour, trim level, interior colours and materials and wheels, allowing you to style it how you wish. With second hand cars, you don’t get the same options so you may look at other ways in which you can make your car fit your personality. There are so many accessories you can buy for your car and many of them you can personalise.

Car mats can change the look of a car interior, and some people are opting for ones with their name or initials on. Steering wheel covers, seat belt covers, car seat covers and even baby seats can all be changed to create a matching look and feel.

If you want to go all out you could even have the vehicle reupholstered although this is often not a very cheap option and not always worth doing on older vehicles.

Buying your dream car

For many people a car is more than just something to get from A to B. Often people who have a passion for cars are very enthusiastic and have a dream car that they aspire to own. This may be anything from a modern Ferrari to a classic Rolls Royce. Some people favour something sporty and fast for others it may be something that offers a lot of luxury. Whatever the car may be, you may be tempted to spend a small fortune on getting it and possibly also maintaining it.

You may think that sports cars are always expensive and that you could not possibly afford one, but many of the modern sports cars do not hold their value as much as their current owners would like. This is especially true for cars such as the RX 8 or Subaru Impreza. Often cars like this will lose value very quickly and make them much more affordable but you can expected to spend quite a lot of fuel, repairs and running costs. This is often why these cars lose value, as people can afford to buy them but not to maintain them. Another factor is the insurance on these types of cars is often quite high and because of issues with emissions you may also find that you are stung on the road tax.

How much is your second hand car really worth?

When it comes to selling cars, many of us simply do not know the real value of our cars. Often people think that because they paid a high price for their car that they should be able to sell if for a high price, but this is simply not the case. The car is only worth as much as people are willing to pay for it. There are many factors that affect the value of a car and the price can vary drastically even between vehicle of the same make and model. Some of the main factors that will affect the resale value are; mileage, age, condition, service history, MOT remaining and any other repairs that may need doing.

If you take your car to a garage to trade in, they will often give you less than the market value (also known as part exchange value), unless you are buying a new car or a high value vehicle where there is more profit in the sale. Your car may be able to be sold for a lot more privately but you will need to decide if you have the time to do so. You may also have to pay for advertising, so consider this when making your decision.


How to look after your brakes

Brake pads and discs are checked during an MOT and you can expect to have to replace your discs every 40 – 50 thousand miles and you discs every 60-70 thousand miles on average. Although pads and discs are not a huge expensive a full set all round will often cost a few hundred pounds plus and therefore the longer you can keep your brakes maintained the better.

Although your front brake discs are used a lot more than your rear brakes, you may find that the rear ones have to be replaced more often and this is usually due to corrosion. Discs and pads are made from cast iron which is an ideal material to use but the down side is it rusts. The front brakes can quickly wear off any rust that has accumulated by normal braking on a journey whereas the back ones may not be used for a while and therefore the rust just builds up. This can cause pitting on the brake discs and can weaken them meaning they will need to be replaced. Sometimes with a bit of heavy braking, you can remove some of the rust off the discs but if it has built up too much for example, if it has been sat for a long time or over driven short distances, then you will have to fork out for a new set.


Suspension coil springs

Repairs on vehicles regardless of if mechanical or body repairs can be costly. Garages usually put a good amount on top of the cost price of the parts and labour charges can vary from twenty five upwards of sixty pounds an hour, so what may seem like a small job can soon add up.

If you want to try and save money on your car repairs then you can try and sort out the parts yourself. You do not have to be a whizz with cars to do this, just need to know exactly what parts you need. Some garages will not be happy fitting parts that have been supplied by someone else, but if you use a mobile mechanic then often they will be ok with it.

I recently had to have a new coil spring fitted on a 2005 Vectra and was shocked to be quoted £140 for the pair (they are often done in pairs). After doing a bit of shopping around I managed to get the parts for £32 and found a mobile mechanic that would fit them for £35 saving myself a whopping £73!



Putting a number plate on retention

If you have a personalised number plate assigned to your car, then when it comes to the time you wish to sell the vehicle, you will have to apply to put the private plate on retention.

Putting a private number plate on retention will allow you to keep hold of the plate whilst you find another car to put it on, or enable you to sell the plate on.

The fee to put a plate on retention was reduced in March 2015 from £105 to £80 as DVLA have removed the £25 charge that was in place to renew the retention of the plate on an annual basis. DVLA have also now removed the charge to add or amend nominee details which means the how retention process can be carried out a lot quicker by DVLA.

Once you have put a number plate on retention, you will receive your new V5 detailing the new reg number assigned to the vehicle and a copy of the retention certificate.


Shop around to get the best car parts prices

If something goes wrong on your car or you need something replacing it can often be a costly experience. You need to know exactly what part you require first to enable you to do your own research in to pricing.

If you have been given a quote by a garage for a part, then ask them for specific details on what the part is and be honest with them and say you may ask for a few quotes off other places – if they are competitive they should not mind this.

Once you have the part details ring up a number of garages, local and national companies to obtain the best price. Be sure to check such things as warranty and time to fit the part as this may affect your decision as to where you have the repairs carried out.

Do not be afraid to barter a bit with the garage and ask them if they would match a lower price or throw in a pair of wiper blades for example.

Dealing with Electrical Faults

Electrical faults can be a bit of a nightmare for drivers today, especially considering the fact that cars today use a great deal of electrical components to function, even if they’re petrol or diesel.

If you have a selection of lights on your dashboard flashing, perhaps a problem with your fob or endless electrical complications, then it’s important to get your car checked out. You should visit a garage with an engine diagnostics department.

They are then able to identify any faults and provide the solution. It is important to be aware of the costs involved though, and these test can cost anywhere from £30 to £100, and that’s before they’ve carried out any maintenance or repair work. Electrical issues are real problems on cars, and they can cause severe issues in the long run, so get errors checked out quickly.

Car Valeting – The Complete Works

If you want to treat your car or simply just want it to look as good as it ever has, then you should definitely consider getting it valeted. We’re not talking about a quick car wash and vacuum, we’re talking about getting it cleaned in detail, every inch.

Professional car valeters will clean the outside, then dry it and wax it, while the components under the bonnet will be wiped down. Then on the inside, you can have your dashboard sparkling, as well as your ashtrays, carpets, seats and mats.

A good car valeter will give every aspect of the car a through clean and some cleaners will work in teams so the job can be completed in an hour or two, so you don’t have to wait around all day for your fresh new car.