Winter Car Care

Winter Car Care

'Tis the season for shopping and partying! But while you're living large, don't forget your little bug, parked outside in the cold. This is one friend who is invaluable on those Christmas shopping expeditions! Remember that your car doesn't like being out in the freezing cold any more than you do - so do yourselves both a favour and follow this simple 10-point guide: 1 - … [Read more...]

Car Emergency Battery Light On?

battery car

Your car's emergency battery light will turn red to tell you that the charging circuit isn't working as it should. It may be due to a faulty alternator (the generator that produces the electric current) or drive belt, or another component in the circuit. Either way, it's not generally a roadside repair option for the average driver. All is not lost, however! If … [Read more...]

Push Starting a Car: Warning!

push car

We do not recommend push starts for many reasons. Unburnt fuel in the exhaust is a bad thing if you have a catalytic converter. When the car fires, this unburnt fuel will explode and, whilst this might sound like a pop in the exhaust system, it can damage the catalyser – and they are very expensive to replace. A damaged catalyser can cause your car breathing … [Read more...]

How to Replace Windscreen Wipers

wipers

Changing your  wiper blades Replace your windscreen wipers as soon as they aren't cleaning as well as they used to – at least every year or two – dirty smears left by old blades cause impaired visibility, which is particularly bad in low sun or night driving conditions. It can be a bit frustrating doing this the first time, but you'll soon get the knack for next time.  We … [Read more...]

How to Jump Start a Car

ignition

To jump start a car, first of all you need a set of jump-leads (sometimes referred to as booster cables). These will give you the opportunity to pipe battery power from another car (the donor) to get yours (the casualty) started. Always buy the best jump-leads you can afford; if they're as skinny as a pencil, they won't carry a lot of current without getting hot, but if they're … [Read more...]

How to Change a Car Battery

under hood

Always consult your car's user manual or the Haynes workshop manual for your vehicle's model for more specific information – not all methods will be exactly the same as this.  Be aware that by disconnecting your battery you may lose electronic settings for things like you're your stereo presets, your alarm and key fob settings – if in any doubt consult your car's manufacturer … [Read more...]

How to Change a Tyre

1920s-woman-changing-tyre

If you experience a puncture whilst driving and need to Change a Tyre, slow down to no more than 5mph, and drive yourself to a safe place away from other traffic – ideally a lay-by or car parking space, and preferably near a light if it is dark. You may need to park the car on the other side of the road to get the side of the punctured tyre out of the way of the traffic, but DO … [Read more...]

What to do With a Flat Car Battery

roadside

If the battery is flat because you left the side lights on by accident, turn them off now. After ten minutes or so the battery may recover sufficiently to start the car so turn everything else off to give it a chance and make sure the car doors are closed or your efforts will be defeated by the interior lights. If you have been suspicious that your battery is on its way out … [Read more...]

Review of Volvo XC60

Volvo xc60

The motoring public have developed a strong affiliation with compact SUVs over recent years, with BMW, Honda and Nissan benefiting greatly. Volvo's sole entry in the SUV market has been the XC90 – a big car, with big engines, and therefore big running costs. But now, in the midst of a recession, car manufacturers are preparing for customers to look elsewhere. So where does a … [Read more...]

Review of VW Scirocco

Scirocco

Do you remember the original VW Scirocco? You may not, as the car was launched 34 years ago, with the final, second generation vehicles being produced back in 1993. But Volkswagen has now revived the name for 2008, as it launches the latest iteration of its two-door, four-seat sports coupé. Volkswagen is keen to tap into the coupé market; the Scirocco launching just after … [Read more...]

Review of VW Golf MkVI

Volkswagen Golf MkVI

Over thirty-five years ago, Volkswagen introduced the world to the Golf, a family car that used quality materials, offered good driving characteristics and was engineered to near perfection. Over 26 million Golfs later, the sixth generation of the car is here. It might have grown up a bit over the years, but the new car sticks to the same principles it had a generation ago. … [Read more...]

Review of Renault Megane & Twingo Renaultsport 133

510twingo-front

Despite being over 30 years old, I have recently experienced a car that I fear I am already too old to fully appreciate. My story begins on a Thursday morning at my home on the south coast of England. I had just spent a week with Renault's new Mégane, a fitting competitor to Ford's Focus and a step forward in terms of Renault's engineering from the previous model. The old … [Read more...]

Review of Kia Soul

Kia Soul

What is the Kia Soul? A funky looking addition to the Kia range that fits five adults and plenty of luggage with ease. Or, as the company says: "A true urban crossover combining SUV looks with urban style." That clears that up then! Kia has grown steadily as a company throughout the decade and now has the new products to match that success. Building attractive and … [Read more...]

Review of Honda Insight

Honda Insight

What is the Honda Insight? The Honda Insight is second generation of Honda's original hybrid car, powered by a petrol engine and an electric motor. Its predecessor, which debuted in 2000, might not have sold in big numbers, but was applauded for its efforts towards eco-driving. The new model replaces the old 1-litre engine with a 1.3-litre unit (borrowed from the Honda … [Read more...]

Review of Ford Kuga

Ford kuga

Engineered with off-road capabilities, the Ford Kuga will probably never venture further than a grass verge. Despite this fact, Kuga certainly adds something to the Ford range, which doesn't seem to have a bad car in its line-up at the moment. The advertising around the new Ford may be all about starting again with a blank canvas, but fortunately there is plenty about the … [Read more...]

Review of Ford Focus RS

Ford focus RS

What is the Ford Focus RS? The ultimate version of Ford's popular hatchback. Equipped with 300bhp and 440Nm of torque, Ford's engineers have developed a car that carries true racing pedigree onto the road. The introduction of a successor to the original Focus RS, which ended its production run six years ago, was in doubt for some time - but with the public demanding such a … [Read more...]

Review of BMW 3 Series (2008)

BMW 3 series Review

Despite people having issues with, or in some cases a hatred of "BMW drivers", the German company continues to go from strength to strength. Brand new models, such as X6, and a commitment to build cleaner, more economical cars are all paying dividends when it comes to sales figures. Especially important to the brand is the 3-Series. The complete 3-Series range accounts for … [Read more...]

Review of Audi TT TDi

Audi tt tdi

I know what you're thinking it's an Audi TT, and they've been around for ages. That much is true, only this version of the TT has one small difference: it's got a diesel engine. If you think that a non-petrol-powered version of the sporty German 2+2 would be a big mistake, think again. The TT TDi is arguably the best TT that has ever been built. Not only that, it is … [Read more...]

Review of Alfa Romeo MiTo

Alfa Romeo Mito

Alfa Romeo's new B-segment level vehicle will compete with the hugely popular BMW MINI and sister company Fiat's cute 500. Other vehicles in the segment include the Peugeot 207 and Ford Fiesta. In a bid to reduce the average age of Alfa Romeo drivers, the MiTo is targeting the 25 to 35 year old age group with a 50:50 split between males and females. The car's name is derived … [Read more...]

What to do when your Car Breaks Down

Breakdown

If you break down on your own and roadside repairs are needed, phone for help. Tell the breakdown recovery service that you are on your own. They will normally text you details of who is coming to recover you as this isn't always a branded name you'll recognise. If at night, ask them to keep in touch with you or to give you a number you can call if you are worried. Phone the … [Read more...]

How to Choose a Car Garage

Garage

Choosing the wrong garage can seriously compromise your personal safety.  This is because UK garages do not have to be licensed and mechanics do not have to be qualified to repair your car. Similarly a friendly receptionist is no guarantee of competent garage workmanship behind the scenes.  Women are known targets for overcharging and selling services they don't need and … [Read more...]

How to Avoid Car Depreciation

car depreciation

Vehicle depreciation, or the gradual reduction in the value of a vehicle over time, is one of the major financial perils facing the UK motorist today. It is a "hidden" cost, in that it is not realised until you are ready to sell the vehicle, but it could cost you literally tens of thousands of pounds in the most extreme cases. The AA states that the average new car, clocking … [Read more...]

Basic Car Care

Car

Important basic car care checks include tyres, water top up and oil levels (assuming your car lets you do all these things for it - some cars demand to be taken to a garage for specialist oil changes) –all these are all fairly straight forward maintenance checks that even the laziest of us can do. Of course, many women are as good as, if not much better than, men in the area … [Read more...]

What to Keep in Your Car

Car interior

At all times you should include in your car mobile phone, portable satnav system and a book of maps, just in case the satnav fails or leads you up a blind alley... Instead of carrying a de-icer aerosol, you can get your windscreen coated with Duxback at a Nationwide Autocentres. This coating treatment costs about £20, lasts through winter months and is used by aircraft to … [Read more...]

Top Tips for Passing your Driving Test

159woman-in-car-300x241

Learning to drive is one of the few life changing, momentous experiences most of us will go through. It's a life skill that enables you to become independent, opens doors to more career options and also makes a noticeable dent on your bank balance! However, many of us will trip at the last hurdle, struggling to control our nerves and making silly mistakes. Here are a few … [Read more...]