Save Money and be safe!

Driving properly and keeping you car serviced will save you money and keep you safe. Consider the following points. 

  •  Aggressive driving: Increases tyre wear, is harder on your car which in turn will lead to replacing tyres and parts earlier than normal.
  • Driving at speed: Increases tyre wear, uses considerably  more fuel. Keep within the speed limit – it is cheaper and  safer!
  • Weight: Only carry what you need  in your car. Extra weight uses more fuel and is harder on tyres. If you don’t need it, leave it at home.
  • Tyre Pressure: Over inflation  or under inflation increase tyre wear. Tyres are costly so keep your tyres at the correct pressure. Check them approximately every two weeks when they are cold using a good pressure gauge.
  • Wheel Alignment.  Incorrect wheel alignment causes your tyres to wear unevenly. Have the alignment checked regularly. It saves you money.

You could expect a  front-wheel-drive car to do  minimum of 20,000 miles for front tyres, and double that for those on the rear. Keeping them rotated is the best way to get the most out of them.  For better and more even wear, move them diagonally between front and rear: i.e. R.H front to L.H rear. L.H front to R.H. rear. This should normally be done if you get your car serviced by a Garage or a mechanic, but keep an eye out that it is done.

In Ireland the legal minimum limit for tyre tread depth is 1.6mm.

Tyre performance, particularly in wet weather gets worse as the thread wears down and can be very dangerous leading to accidents. The greater the wear on your tyres the worse their grip will be in wet weather.  Thread depth should be checked more frequently once it reaches 3mm.  Tyres should be replaced before their thread depth wears below 2mm.  This is especially important when heading into the autumn and winter months.

Regular self checking your car will save you money as you will spot changes as they appear which in turn allows you to take it to the Garage in time.

There is an abundance of good used parts to be found if you need some replacements. On average a good used part will cost 80% less than a new one.

So when you are told that you need a new part check and see if you can source it from a good Car Breaker it is definitely the cheaper option.

Some parts which you should think about before deciding to buy secondhand:

  1. Brakes: Pads should always be new and you should buy the best quality that you can afford!
  2. Shocks:  Normally you should invest in new shocks. They are important for comfort and  play an essential role in stopping your car properly when braking, however your Mechanic will know if a used shock is worth the effort in fitting it.
  3. Clutch: Changing a clutch can be an expensive repair so  be careful if using a secondhand one, weigh up the costs before deciding.
  4. Bearings: These are parts that wear over time so it is probably not advisable to replace them with something that’s already half worn.
  5. Batteries: New batteries will come with a warranty and will sometimes work out cheaper than buying 2ndhand.
  6. Tyres: Partly worn tyres may appear to be cheaper, but look closely at the amount of tread mm you get for your money. New tyres will have 8 mm of tread. So weigh up how much tread you are getting. Always check if the tyre has any lumps or bumps on it, if so don’t buy.
  7. Air Filter: Is not an expensive part, so always buy new. A clean filter makes you car more fuel efficient, and will save you money on fuel.

Get into the habit of checking your car over every week. It will save you from breaking down and costing you money. A few tips:

Lights: Keep your indicators and headlamps clean and ensure all bulbs are  working properly. Be able to see, and be seen.

Fuel: Stay out of the red, always have a good amount of fuel in your tank. If it runs out while driving,  it may suck up some dirt from the tank which will cause even more trouble and expense for you. Not to mention the hassle.

Windscreen water:  Make sure the windscreen water reservoir is filled up and put some wash aid into it. It is very annoying if you are driving and cannot wash your screen. It can also be dangerous as your view could be severely restricted with a dirty windscreen.

Engine water/Coolant:Visually inspect and top up the reservoir if needed to ensure it is up to the correct mark.  If the coolant runs out you will severely damage your engine, which is a very costly business.

Oil: Check levels when cold and while the car is on level ground. Top up if necessary. Keep an eye out for leaks on the ground underneath the car.

Electrics : If any warning lights appear, check your drivers handbook if you don’t what they mean. If they are red and staying on don’t move!

Windscreen and Wipers: Clean them regularly, it helps you see out. Put some additive into your screen wash solution, it prevents smearing.

Tyres – Make sure to check tyre treads and walls for excessive wear and damage.

In Summary, care for your car and you will reap the rewards financially and from a safety viewpoint.

 

 

Winter is here, make sure you are safe while driving.

There are many reasons why accidents occur, and most can be avoided. Below are some points which may keep YOU from having an accident.

  • Leaves falling  on the roads at this time of year can make stopping your car very dangerous.
  • You should always keep an eye on the outside temperature (most cars have a readout on the dashboard). If the temperature shows + 3c then the road might very well be icy.
  • Temperatures can change very rapidly while driving from one place to another and consequently the road conditions can change to a dangerous state in a matter of  minutes.
  • Keep your distance from the car ahead of you. In winter conditions many more  accidents occur  by cars slamming in to the vehicle in front while trying to stop.
  • Dark and wet conditions make us want to hurry home, but slow down and get home safely.

Prepare your car  for the winter conditions.

  • Your car tyres should have a reasonable depth of tread. The legal tyre tread limit is 1.6mm, (in Ireland). It would be more preferable to have at least 3 to 4 mm when heading in to the winter period as the better the tread on your tyre the better your car will stop when braking.
  • Tyres should have  tread evenly over each tyre otherwise they are not legal, and will not allow you stop your car safely.
  • Make sure the wheel alignment/tracking is checked regularly  as this will ensure even tyre ware and longer life.
  • Have your brakes checked to ensure the car’s braking system is braking evenly between all  the wheels.
  • Check all your lights are correctly working as you may be doing a lot more  night time driving. Keep them clean to be seen!

Don’t be caught napping during those cold dark winter days – be prepared!

  • Check that your battery is good enough to give you that extra power needed to start your car during those cold days ahead.
  • Have all the engine hoses and belts checked for cracking and leaks as the frosty conditions can cause serious damage to your engine if the coolant leaks out and your engine overheats.
  • Ensure the engine coolant  is at the correct level. If your car has a cooling system which uses antifreeze, make sure the correct amount is in the system.
  • Check and replace wiper rubbers if necessary. You need a clean windscreen and good visibility during the these dark days to stay safe.
  • Put some antifreeze solution into your windscreen washer reservoir and always keep it topped up. You use it a lot more due to the mucky roads in winter.
  • Try and keep your fuel tank as full as possible at all times, you never know when you might be stuck in bad weather and might not be able to get fuel when needed.

Winter driving is less fun and more dangerous than summer driving, so be prepared with your car and take a little more time to get there safely.