Do you have an oil leak?

An oil leak is a common issue on a car and it can happen at any time. There are a number of place sin which oil can leak out from and it can be hard to diagnose sometimes. Often the only way you know you have an oil leak is when the move the car and find a patch of oil underneath it, or when you check the dip stick and the level is really low.

Ideally the car needs to go up on a ramp for a mechanic to be able to check where the oil is leaking from. Sometimes it is obvious to them and other times it may need more investigation work. It is important not no drive the car too much when you have an oil leak and to ensure that you regularly top it up if you are having to drive it to a garage.

If you have recently had the car serviced then you may find that they have not replaced the sump washer or that they have not fitted it back in correctly. This can cause the new oil to leak out quite rapidly. If this is the case then the garage that did the service should replace the part and the oil free of charge. If your low oil light comes on when you are driving, be sure to stop immediately as driving with no oil will ruin the engine of the car.

Should you sell your second hand car or part exchange it?

If you are looking to buy a new or used car from a garage then they may give you the option to part exchange yours in. Park exchanging is when you hand over your old car to the garage and they use the money they give you as a part payment towards a new car. You can sometimes even part exchange your car when it has outstanding finance on it as they will obtain a settlement fee from the finance company and include this in the price.

There are many advantages to part exchanging your car such as cutting out all the hassle of having to try an sell it privately, not having to spend ages cleaning it and getting ready for sale and not having to worry about letting people test drive it etc. The one downside to part exchanging your vehicle is that you usually do not get as much money for it as you would if you sold it privately. Depending on the make and model and also the age and mileage, this could range from a few hundred pounds to a couple of thousand pounds difference in price. Some people don’t mind getting a little less for it in in part exchange to cut out on all the hassle.

Finding a used 4 x 4 family car

If you are looking to buy a new family car but want something that is good down little country lanes as well as motorway runs, then why not opt for a 4 x 4 vehicle. There are a number of different types of 4 x 4 vehicles and they can vary a lot in price. 4 x 4’s usually hold their value really well so you may find one that is 10-15 years old is still in excess of £4000. They tend to often be diesel and usually automatic although you can find manual versions.

Some people have a 4 x 4 to use off road on their farm or down tracks others have them to go round town in and rarely take them off road. If you do want to go off road then you need to do plenty of research to find out which ones would be best suited to you.

If you are looking for a 4 x 4 that is within a £5000 budget then you may be a little limited on choice.  Some of the more expensive models such as the newer Range Rovers or Discovery’s will probably be out of that price range or will have extremely high mileage on them. You could opt for the Land Rover Freelander, but these have not always been known for reliability. The Freelander 2 is supposed to be a better model than the first but they are prone to having electrical faults, which can end up being expensive. The BWM X3 is a great choice for a 4 x 4 that is nippy but also economical. You can choose from diesel or petrol and there is a good number of manual versions out there if you don’t want automatic. If you are buying a vehicle that is high mileage, then you may want to stay away from the automatic gears boxes as if they go wrong, they can be very costly to fix.

The BMW X5 is another great choice when it comes to 4 x 4’s. Bigger than the X3 it boosts more leg room and room in the boot but it is not very efficient and you may be lucky to get 25 – 30 miles to the gallon. Pick up trucks are becoming a popular choice for families, especially if you have dogs or bikes etc you want to take out with you.

How to give your car a makeover

If you are getting bored of your car or if you think it looks a bit tired then you may want to give it a bit of a makeover. There are a number of things that you can do to improve the look of your car without spending a fortune.

Interior – you can get vinal stickers to stick over parts of your dashboard to give it a wood or carbon fibre effect. You do need to be careful when sticking these down as it is quite easy to get bubbles or creases in it which can then end up looking messy. Adding some new car mats, steering wheel cover and even a gator cover can add a personal touch to any vehicle. You can often get sets that are matching or colour coded. Hanging something from your front mirror such as dice or a mini football short or air fresher can look great but be sure that it does not distract you or compromise your view at all.

Exterior – sometimes all your car needs is a bit of TLC. Washing it regularly with a good quality soap will keep the grim from setting in. Every so often it may need a good polish to put the shine back in to it. If you notice scratches or chips on the exterior of your car you can try and touch them up yourself, but they often still stand out. The best option is to take it to a professional body shop, but it can be quite costly to start respraying panels.

You may be able to extend your insurance cover

Many people are having to use their cars for work purposes and to help out with collecting groceries for local people etc. These types of journeys may not be covered under your car insurance if you do not have business use listed on your policy.

It may be that you have an accident whilst running one of the errands and then find that your not covered. Most insurers have now come out to say that they are extending cover to these people who need to now use their vehicle for these purposes. It may be that you are volunteering with administering the vaccine or that you are taking elderly people to doctors appointments. It is vital that all of these things continue and it is nice to see that insurers are offering this to many customers without trying to charge them extra. If you are having to do any of these types of additional journeys then it is worth ringing your insurer to check that you are covered. You also need to keep an eye on how many miles you do and inform them if you think you are going to go over as they make need to adjust your policy for you.