Help my car won’t start?

There are few things as frustrating as getting into your car, turning the key in the ignition and the car failing to start especially if you are about to go to work or go for an appointment. If you have breakdown cover that covers you from your home address as well as when you are away from home then sometimes the simplest solution is to give them a ring and arrange for a mechanic to come out to you however if you do not have cover or if you have but it does not cover home start it will be necessary to either find a local mobile mechanic to come out to you or get the car towed to a local garage. There are always going to be occasions when your car breaks down unexpectedly but there are measures that you can take to prevent some breakdowns or at least minimise their frequency.

One of the major car parts that fail particularly during the winter months is the battery. As soon as the weather gets colder and the nights draw in meaning that we need to use car lights more frequently our car batteries are put under more pressure and some older batteries then let us down.

It is worthwhile asking your usual car garage to check the battery when your car is in for its service or MOT to see whether it is holding its charge efficiently so avoiding the situation of the car failing to start due to battery failure.

Winter is on the way so give your car some attention now

Unfortunately, the summer is long gone, and we are faced with the prospect of the cold and frequently wet winter months ahead. Some people do not worry about preparing their cars for winter and expect them to start first time and run well every journey. With a brand new car this may be true but if you find yourself driving a car that is more than a few years old it is a sensible idea to plan ahead for the winter months saving yourself the worry of the car breaking down.

One of the most important issues for a car in winter are the condition of the tyres. It is worth investing in specialist winter tyres on your vehicle if you can afford it as safety should be a priority, if however the current tyres are still roadworthy an extra set of wheels with winter tyres on them could be put on to the vehicle and changed back in the summer months. Often a set of wheels can be purchased cheaply from a breakers yard and for a small charge a garage can swap them over for you.

Probably the part of the car that fails more frequently during the winter months is the battery. It is worth getting it checked to make sure it is maintaining its charge and if not, a new battery should be purchased and fitted.

Fitting your own brake pads and brake discs

Cars can be costly to run and repair and so any jobs that you can do yourself will help keep repair costs to a minimum. You do not have to be a trained mechanic to work on vehicles but many modern cars are so overly complicated that it can be hard to do so without a good sound knowledge. Some more simpler jobs may be able to be accomplished by watching video tutorials but you should only attempt to do so if you are confident you are able to finish the job as intended and safely.

One job that many people do themselves is to fit new brake pads and discs. This is often straightforward as long as the callipers are easy to remove.

When buying the new parts, you need to make sure the fitment is the same. Ideally you want to remove the old ones and double check the part you are ordering is correct. If this is not possible then you should make sure that you can return the part for a refund or exchange if it isn’t the right one.

Try and avoid doing jobs on a car when you are on your own, especially if you are going to have to be going under the vehicle whilst it is jacked up.

Dent repair without having to respray your car

If you discover that you have a small dent on your car, on the paintwork, then you may not have to go to the expense and hassle of having to have it filled and resprayed. Depending on where the dent is and how bad it is, it may be able to be removed by a specialist company simply by pushing the dent out from behind or pulling it with a special tool.  If the paint on the car has been scratched then this will not help with that but by removing the dent you will then only need a touch up or respray rather than having to have the panel filled.

Not all garages will offer this service, but before you go down the route of going to a main bodyshop to get the repair done, why not search paint-less dent removal companies near you and pop it to them first. If someone has opened their door into yours for example then they can often pop the dent out easily for a fraction of the cost of a respray.  Ideally you want to avoid getting the car re-sprayed if at all possible as you may find that you then have problems with colour matching, overspray and if not done correctly, peeling paintwork years down the line.

Getting the best price for your car repairs

Cars can be costly to run and we all hate it when those unexpected repairs crop up. Prices for the same job can vary drastically from garage to garage, so it is always worth obtaining a few different quotes before you decide who to go with.

If you want to save money you may be better to avoid using main dealers and use a local garage

Main dealers often charge a lot more for parts as well as their labour rate so the overall price is usually higher, but you may find that you need to go to the main dealer if the vehicle is still under a warranty for example.

It is important to ensure that when comparing prices that you are comparing like for like. For example, when it comes to having a full service done, some garages will not include the cost of replacing the spark plugs or the engine oil and others will.

All garages should check with you before completing extra work. If you have not authorised work to be done then you could complain to the garage and say you are not happy about paying for it.