Car maintenance tips for the winter

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Winter is well and truly upon us, so it is time to make sure you and your car are ready for it. With frosty mornings and towns covered in decomposing leaves from the now nearly-bare trees, safety must be the number one priority.

One of the most basic things to consider is one that the police regularly highlight, and yet still people are being caught out: if your car windows are frosted up on a morning, you must not leave it running with the keys in while it thaws. Far too many people have had their cars stolen in this manner and it is one that can leave insurance invalid. As tempting as it is, you should also try not to use hot water to quickly defrost the windscreen – you run the risk of cracking it.

In some countries with regular extreme weather, snow chains are an option for the tyres. In the UK these are less likely to be necessary unless you live somewhere isolated and open to the elements, but it is important to make sure you have a decent tread. The minimum legal depth is 1.6mm, but the deeper the tread the better the grip so it is best to replace them before they get too low. Wet leaves are also a big hazard, so caution should be taken even on milder days.

Using Pool Cars – are they a Good Idea?

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Pool cars are cars that can be used by multiple people. They may be part of a lift sharing scheme into work, or they may be available in a particular area for people to use for the day. They are thought of as being a good way to help reduce the number of cars on the roads. If people have cars that they don’t use daily, or they are able to take advantage of a car pool scheme, this could have a significant impact on the number of people deciding to buy cars. A car is an expensive purchase after all and many people are actively looking for ways to reduce their expenses.

However, pool cars have been known to be a nuisance in some areas of the UK. Residents complain that they park in their parking spaces and take up space on residents’-only roads. When people are paying lots of money for a parking permit, this is understandably a problem.

How to Tax your Car

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All cars need to be taxed in order to be driven on the roads. Some will incur very little tax, whereas others will have a higher rate to pay due to the type or age of the car – perhaps it is an older diesel engine or similar. Sometimes, tax will be completely free if a car is very new and is considered to be environmentally friendly. In this instance, you will still need to tax the car and this is your responsibility entirely. You just need to make sure you remember to do it.

When you buy a new vehicle, ask about the tax on it. Tax lasts for a year so you may not need to worry about it for a while. Once you own a car, you should receive reminders about taxing it every year. Tax the vehicle online or send the form off in the post. You will no longer need a car tax disc.

Getting your Car’s First MOT

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A car begins to need a MOT after 3 years. It will need to have the MOT on or before the date it is due, otherwise, you will be illegally driving a vehicle without a MOT. Here are some considerations if it is your first time booking your car in:

  • Choose a reliable garage. Some will offer you discounts so look around for deals as well. Find a garage that offers you reliability and good service as well as good prices.
  • Get a record of your MOT and keep it safe. You never know when you might need it. This is going to come in especially handy if you decide to sell your car.
  • Make any repairs immediately. Your car will not be roadworthy if you don’t make repairs straight away. You may also have advisories so keep an eye on these and make sure you get the work done when you need to.

PCP or a Car Loan – Which is Better?

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Affording a new car has never been so easy, with a range of finance options available. If you are thinking about how to finance your next new car, here are some of the main points you should consider:

  • PCP is good if you just want a car for a certain period. Usually, a PCP finance deal will last for around 3 to 4 years.
  • PCP is only really any good if you can afford it without a deposit. If you are planning to give the car back after the period of your finance deal, you don’t want to put down a deposit or you will lose it. Make sure you can find a deal you can afford without a deposit.
  • Look for loan options. Consider all your options before you make a decision and make sure you fully understand them. Know that you can easily afford the repayments and understand what happens if your circumstances change.