Finding a trust worthy mechanic

When it comes to car repairs many of us worry about getting ripped off and over charged for work or quoted for work that doesn’t need doing. Finding a mechanic that you can trust is one way to put your mind at ease, although this can take some time.

I recently used a garage that my sister had used previous following the good experience she had had with them, but unfortunately, my experience was somewhat different.

I took my car in for a MOT to be told that the handbrake had failed and would need replacing costing just over £220. I needed the vehicle as soon as possible so agreed for them to go ahead with the work. Once I had collected the car and got it home, I found that the hand brake would not hold on my drive and after a call was told that it would take some time for it to bed in. A few weeks later I still had the same issue and they replaced the handbrake again, still not fixing the issue. I found it hard to believe that a handbrake that was working fine (to my knowledge) could then be replaced and not working correctly but was told that it was just the way they worked on BMW’s. I lost all faith in the garage and ended up taking it elsewhere.

Problems with suspension

I recently had an issue on my Vauxhall Vetra that caused the back end of the car to skip out when travelling a normal speeds and going round a bend. This was especially noticeable if there was a slight dip in the road or a pot hole. I first inspected my tyres which had over 8 mm of tread left meaning that low tread level was not the issue. The car was also very bumpy in general.

Upon taking the car in to a local garage, they inspected the suspension on the vehicle. The fault was found to be caused by the shock absorbers and they would need to be replaced in order to rectify the situation.

I was quoted a price of £200 for the pair which I felt was extremely expensive for a relatively small part, but after ringing around a bit managed to get the car suspension parts down to £150. It just shows what calling around can save you!

Knowing when to start again with your car

Used cars can be a nightmare. You often take a risk when buying one not knowing if there is anything wrong with it or if there is anything likely to go wrong soon. Too many people get tricked in to buying a car that the previous owner knows is on its last legs or is going to cost a lot to get it through its next MOT and this can be awful for the new owner.

If you have a car that needs repairing always try and find out the full extent of the work required before they start, it may be that you even have to pay a labour charge for them to spend and hour or so stripping it down to find out what the issues is but this can be well worth the money. You may find that actually the car is going to cost far more to repair than it is worth and therefore you are better to scrap it and start again. But on the other hand sometimes it is better the devil you know and you may want to pay to have the issues fixed knowing you have peace of mind that it has been done and should not go wrong again in the near future.

Obtaining your Ideal Registration


The Driver & Licensing Agency, commonly referred to as DVLA, is an executive agency owned by the Transport Department of the United Kingdom. It is a government department whose primary responsibility is to allocate numbers to vehicles in the UK for purposes of law enforcement, taxation and registration. Since 1983, there have been certain combinations of numbers, which have been held back from the normal registration procedures as a result of the demand from clients who desire to have their vehicles personalised. This prompted the establishment of the DVLA registrations in the same year.

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Vehicle Diagnostics

Most of us have had a car or many cars over the years that has suddenly developed a problem that we do not know what the cause of it is or how we can fix it. This can be a major worry for some people as you have no idea how much it is going to cost to rectify it. Before just taking the car to a garage and asking them to repair it, try and find somewhere you can have a diagnostic carried out on the vehicle. This is where a computer is linked up to the onboard computer in the car and the mechanic is able to see if there are any fault codes listed.

These fault codes may mean very little to me and you but most mechanics will have a good idea as to what is causing the problem if a fault is found. However, this is not always guaranteed as sometimes there may be a number of faults listed (some of which are not causing a major issue) or the fault code given could point to a number of problems.

Blown Head Gaskets – Why are they such a nightmare?

A blown head gasket is one of these problems that no driver wants to encounter. It basically means you’re car is no longer drivable, and a costly repair is needed to get your beloved motor working again.

As always, the expensive part is not necessarily the part itself, it’s the fact that it’s labour intensive. It’s not usually a case of merely replacing the head gasket, and quite often mechanics need to fix the part that’s caused the gasket to blow. This means more labour time and that’s before anything has been replaced.

A decent gasket is also pretty pricey and that obviously only adds to the expensive costs, and many old vehicles have been scrapped because of this issue, mainly because the price to repair the car is more than the car is worth itself.

Listening Carefully for Mechanical Faults

There are so many different mechanical faults that can arise on a particular car and an unusual sound can be the first warning sign.

If you really listen to your car from time to time rather than just cranking up the stereo, then you may be able to identify part of the problem, which makes life a whole lot easier for your chosen mechanic. Wheel bearings can make a grinding sound when they begin to fail, whilst brake pads will also grind or screech when they need replacing.

Power steering will vibrate when turning if there is a lack of fluid, and exhausts can really roar and blow when they’re damaged or split. An unusual sound may well be nothing, but it’s always better to get it checked out early, so make sure you’re listing out for anything peculiar on a regular basis.

The Engine Warning Light

Most car models will have an engine warning light, and it’s one of those lights on the dashboards that people dread. This is because it can mean a number of things. The only way to find out what the issue is, is to take the car to a garage, they will then find out what the malfunction is and fix it.

This is a light that should never be ignored and on some cars it will flash as you accelerate, so in this situation you should avoid driving the car, or drive it very slowly and carefully. This light will not come on unless there is a malfunction with the engine management system and to avoid a costly repair in the future you should always have the car checked out.

The one part you don’t’ want to cause damage to is the very expensive catalytic converter, and a repair in some cases cost more than the vehicle is worth, so make sure you get your vehicle looked at fast when this light comes on.

Bumper Scuffs – No problem

We all make minor mistakes form time to time, but you don’t want to make too many as a driver. Bumper scuffs happen, and it could just be because you’ve not paid enough care and attention when you’re reversing, but they’re easy to get rid of.


Most body repair shops will be able to fix a bumper cuff in just a few hours, and the next owner of your vehicle will never know you had a little accident. Some scratches and dents can be quite substantial, but most of the time a bit of panel beating, smoothing and spraying is all that’s required.

You can always tell the difference when you opt for professional services rather than a bottle of spray from your local store, and most garages will be able to offer professional colour matching, so the spray used 100% matches the paint that was originally used on your vehicle.

Pressure – Get it right

Choosing the right tyre for your vehicle is obviously important, but no matter how much you’ve spent on it, you have to make sure the pressure is right, if you want it to last. Over time an overinflated tyre or an underinflated tyre can cause problems such as uneven wear and extra fuel consumption.


You may also find that you’re tyres have gone bald very quickly, but this is not likely to be due to the quality of the product. You’ll struggle to get any money back if the wear on your tyre reflects that the tyres were not at the right pressure.

It’s quite surprising how often people lose points on their licence because they have not maintained the right pressure or have simply not checked their tyres for months-on-end. Make sure you get the pressure right, and keep those tyres at a healthy tyre pressure, you’ll then have tyres that last longer and save you money over time.