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?
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.
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.
are not only an inconvenience but sometimes they can also be very dangerous, If
you break down on the motor way for example then you are at high risk of being
involved in a another accident. This is why it is very important to try and
find ways to cut down on unexpected breakdowns.
last few decades there have been a number of huge advances in the motoring
industry such as improved safety features and environmental features such as
Many of the
new cars that are on the market have colour coded speedometers not only
displaying your speed on a digital display but also showing you if you are
driving economically or not.
little device that may be worth purchasing is one of the portable real time
diagnostic boxes that many of the breakdown companies are offering. Companies
such as the AA and Green Flag have created these boxes that plug directly into
the diagnostic port on your vehicle. They are set up to read any error codes
that come up on the ECU of your vehicle and report them to you in real time.
This may be by sending you a text message or a phone call. They can read data such
as battery issues, engine management fault codes and even driving styles
faults on a car can be very frustrating. Often you may notice that something is
not quite right but then when you take the car to the garage, they cannot
replicate the fault. This can result in costly investigation costs and may mean
you have to go without your car for a period of time whilst they complete their
are built with a type of on board computer that can be linked up to a
diagnostic machine that will check the system for faults. This will then create
a diagnostic report listing any fault codes it has found. The fault codes will
refer to a problem with a specific part or function of the vehicle. Not all
garages will be able to do a diagnostic on your car so it is worth checking
with them first. Once you have the results of the diagnostic you can then make
a decision as to what you want to do with the vehicle. If it is quite old, you
may feel that it is not worth repairing and better to cut your losses.
can cost around £20-£40 depending on where you take it and you need to bear in
mind that the diagnostic will not pick up everything that is wrong with the car
just faults that have been recorded on the on-board computer.
are a common component that needs replacing usually every couple of years,
maybe more depending on how much you use your vehicle. The cost of replacing
brake pads can vary drastically from car to car and they always need to be
replaced in pairs as if you only replace the one, the car will not brake evenly
when the brakes are applied and the car may swerve or skid.
If you take
your car to a main dealer you may end up paying in excess of £300 to have the
brakes replaced. If you take the car to an independent garage it will probably
be around £200 for new pads all round.
The job of
changing brake pads is fairly straight forward, and if you are feeling
confident then you may wish to have a go yourself. Although the job isn’t too
difficult, it is vital that you get it right. Be certain that you know what you
are doing, and ideally have them checked over by a mechanic once you have
completed the change.
You can save
quite a bit of money in buying the brakes and fitting them yourself. The parts
will probably cost you around £75 – £100 and then it is just a case of your
Over time you will notice that the headlights on your car often become cloudy not only looking unattractive but also making it harder to drive at night with the limited light that is able to get through. This can also be an MOT failure and one that can be easily avoided or corrected with a little money and elbow grease.
Some garages will often to Mop the lights for you which is usually a quick way to fix the problem, but you may be surprised to be left with a rather large bill for doing so. If you are happy to have a go yourself then here is a method you can try using toothpaste.
Because of the abrasive texture of toothpaste, it can be used to clean headlights in a relatively easy way. Smear the light in toothpaste and then using a cloth or hand held polisher carefully rub the paste off the lights in a circular motion. If using a hand help buffer, take care with not to do it too much or not to do it in the same place for too long. This process may have to be repeated a number of times for you to see the lights start to become clearer. Remove the toothpaste from the light using warm water.
With many of us relying on our cars day to day to get us to and from work or to do the school drop off, being without a vehicle for a few days can be a bit of a nightmare. If you need work doing on your car then you may have the option to use a mobile mechanic. Mobile mechanics will usually come to your home or place of work and carry out repairs there allowing them to work on your vehicle when you have no need for it.
When using a mobile mechanic it is important to check them out first by either getting reviews online or by speaking to people who have dealt with them in the past. Some mechanics may even offer to pick your car up for you and drop it off once they have completed the repair. This again can be a great way of getting work done. You may end up paying a little more for the work than you would if you took it in to a garage, but it is often less disruptive. Always be sure that the person working on your car is capable and that if they are going to be driving your vehicle, they have the right insurance to do so.
If you have not got break down cover either through your insurance company, through your bank or direct through one of the break down companies, then you are taking a bit of a risk every time you drive your car. With breakdown cover costing as little as £5 – £10 per month, it really won’t break the bank but can save you a fortune in recovery costs.
There are often different packages available when taking out break down such as road side assistance, home start and nation wide recovery. It is important to understand exactly what cover you want and to check that the package offers that before committing. As with all policies you do get 14 days to cancel should you make a mistake.
Many breakdown policies that are offered as free through your bank account etc only offer minimal cover so you may wish to upgrade or take out additional cover anyway.
If you often drive other cars or are a passenger in another vehicle then you may want to take out cover that covers you and not just the one car you are driving for further peace of mind.
When you need your vehicle repaired it can be quite a mine field, particularly if you don’t know much about cars.
So how can you get your car fixed without being ripped off?
Firstly always ask for personal recommendations for garages that people you know have used before or failing that look up online reviews before contacting any garages to ensure that they do not have negative feedback.
It’s then a good idea to do a bit of your own research online as to what the issue could be with the car along with a guideline as to how much you can expect to pay for the repair.
Once you have an idea of what may need doing you could then ring around a number of local garages to get a quote. Once you have found one that you are happy with ensure to ask them to take a look at the car and asses what needs doing and then contact you prior to any work being carried out on the car so that you can authorise work only once a price is agreed.
Never allow yourself you be rushed into any decisions or be pushed into going ahead with a garage just because you’ve contacted them for a quote, a good garage will be happy to answer your questions and will be able to give you a comprehensive quote for the work to be done.
If you have recently had a new car or have noticed a new noise or some odd behaviour then you are likely to panic what it is and we often assume the worse. It is right to be concerned if you notice something different about the way your car sounds or drive or notice that it is using too much fuel for example, but sometimes we may put off taking it to the garage in fear that we may have to fork out a lot of money.
Often these noises etc. may only be something small and it might be easily fixed but even if it isn’t the chances are, if you leave it, it will only get worse. The problem arises when we notice something wrong and do nothing to then find that something has broken, such as the cam belt, which has caused additional damage as a result. This may have been avoided had the initial problem been investigate as and when it should of.
Ensuring that all your fluid levels are topped up, that the car is regularly serviced and generally looking after your vehicle can help avoid some problems and if not avoid them, may be an opportunity for them to be picked up before they get too bad.
Finding a garage or mechanic that can work on your car can be easy as there are quite a few choices, but finding one that you can trust is often a different story. Some people choose to only ever take their car to a main dealer for repair or maintenance work. This is often more so with new cars that maybe are still under a manufacturer’s warranty, but main dealer prices for labour and for parts can be quite a bit higher than a local garage or mobile mechanic.
When shopping around for a mechanic, try and use one that has been recommended to you or that has a lot of good independent reviews. If you are ever in doubt about work that you have been quoted for from a mechanic or garage then I would strongly suggest getting a second opinion, as many places will do this for a small charge or even for free.