How could the lockdown affect your car’s dependability?

While we have all been having to stay at home during the coronavirus pandemic our cars have been used less and less perhaps only being used once a week for essential shopping trips. This can cause major problems when you do use your car especially if it is not a newer model.

Brakes and tyres are two essential parts of a car that will need to be checked if the car has been immobile for a while. Moving the car around just a short way will mean that the tyres will be rotated, and the brakes applied. Visual checks on the tyres to check for bulges or splits is a good idea as is making sure the tyre pressures are correct. The correct pressures can be found in the handbook or on a plate inside the door frame.

A working battery on a car is a necessity to ensure your car starts first time reliably and although the battery is not used very much when the car is idle it can become flat. If you are not using your car regularly it should be started and run for at least fifteen minutes or alternatively a trickle charger can be used if your car is parked on a drive or in a garage.

These simple steps can help to keep your car ready for the journeys you will make and improve its dependability.

Choosing a good car to tow your caravan

If you are considering replacing your current vehicle it is important to give some time to think about how you will use your car. If towing your touring caravan is on your list of uses, there are a few points to remember.

The First thing you will need to judge is whether the car will tow a caravan of a given weight. Some modern hatchbacks will tow a small caravan but if your caravan is larger or a twin axle version you will need to look at the torque of the vehicle to see whether it is powerful enough to successfully pull your caravan without putting your vehicle under strain and possibly causing mechanical issues.

If you are sure that your potential vehicle has the torque you need next it is time to decide whether you need a manual or automatic transmission. Surprisingly, people who regularly tow a caravan say they prefer automatic transmission as it makes towing easier.

Four-wheel drive vehicles would be advised if towing a large twin axle caravan however as some estate cars offer four-wheel drive options this does not necessarily mean that a SUV is needed.

If you are unsure about the suitability of a particular make or model of car most representatives in car dealerships will be able to advise you on the best vehicle for your needs.

How to find the correct car seat for your child or baby

Car seats are of vital importance to a baby or child’s safety when travelling. It is essential that you ensure that your child always has the correct car seat for their, height, weight and age.

There is a huge selection of car seats to choose from and they are often split into stages. New-born babies will often need a different car seat to a 5-year-old for example although you can get some seats that have been designed to be used from birth to age 5 or above. The latest law requires a child to be in a car seat from birth up until they are 135 cm or 12 years of age although many experts suggest that you should actually use a child seat until your child is 150cm tall.

When using a car seat that has a harness system, the harness should be level with their shoulders, with the harness fitting snugly around them. You should only be able to get two fingers under the harness. Always be sure to remove any padded jackets and do not strap them in with a blanket under the straps as if you do have to stop the vehicle suddenly the belts may not be tight enough when the clothing / blanket compacts.  

Some cars have built in booster seats which can be used from a certain age or height.

How can you get rid of dents in a plastic bumper?

Dents in cars happen often. It may be that you accidently reverse in to something or that you bought a second hand car that already has a bump in it. Dents can look unsightly and can even cause issues with the paintwork if on metal as exposed areas can begin to rust.

They can make even the newest of cars looked uncared for and can make it difficult to sell. If you have a car with a plastic bumper and get a dent, then you may be in luck as there are a few tricks you can try to remove the dent relatively easy.

Before taking the car down to the local body repair workshop or forking out for a new bumper try the method below as many people have reported great success with it. But make sure this is only done on plastic bumpers.

Apply heat to the dented area either with a hairdryer or by pouring boiling water on it. I found the hair dryer to be the best method. Once the area is warm you can push your hand up under the dent and apply pressure to it from behind. The dent should just pop right out and often leaves little or no indication that it was ever there.

Saving towards your MOT

A MOT is one of those things that may cost you only the price of the test or may end up with you having to fork out hundreds of pounds.

A MOT is an inspection that needs to be carried out by an authorised garage that checks certain parts and the running of your vehicle. Some aspects that are checked are safety related and other such as CO2 emissions are more for the environment. Every car that is over 3 years old must have a valid MOT to allow it to be driven on the roads in the UK.

The cost of a MOT for a car is usually around £35-£45 pounds. If the car passes, then you will only have to pay this amount. If the car fails, then you will have to fork out for the repairs that need doing and have it retested. You will not have to pay again if you take it back to the same test centre before the end of the next working day for a partial retest but you may have to pay for a partial test if it is over this time but within 10 working days. After ten working days you will have to pay for a full retest again.  

You often do not know how much you will need to spend to get the car through and MOT until the car has undergone the test. If the car fails and is out of MOT, then you will not be allowed to drive it until a valid MOT has been issued. Try and put aside an amount of money each month towards your MOT to allow you to have an amount saved towards repairs that may need to be carried out.