How Often Should You Change Your Air Filter?


One very important component to the smooth and optimised function of your vehicle’s engine, is a clean air filter. Dirty air filters decrease the performance of your engine, as it will not allow the proper amount of air into the engine, that it needs to create efficient combustion. If left unchanged, you would likely continue to see diminished performance and eventually, could even prevent your car from running all together.

The air filter is like the lungs the vehicle and can be affected by dusty/dirty environments and even pollen. It is recommended that you change your air filter every 12,000 to 15,000 miles, or once a year. Signs that you may need to change your air filter could be lower fuel economy, reduced horsepower or rough engine running/misfiring.

If you are unsure of the last time your air filter was changed, its probably a good idea to pull it out and have a look or take it to a professional who can advise you on if it is due to be changed.

Ways to Improve Your Engine Performance


One thing that may be running through your head, is ways in which to improve your vehicles engine performance. When your engine runs more smoothly, you will save on fuel consumption and prolong the life of your engine.

• Ensuring that you change your air filters roughly once a year or every 12,000 miles will help the performance of your vehicle.

• Changing spark plugs every 20,000 miles will also help, and the copper versions have better conductivity.

• If your car battery has a lot of extra space around it, you can get an insulation “blanket” from an automotive parts store that can help keep the batter cool in summer and warm in winter to prolong its life. Having a good battery helps the performance of your engine.

• Changing the oil regularly is also important. Modern cars are quite good at telling you when to change your oil but older cars may not have as good of sensors so you should change the oil every 5,000 miles.

All of the areas can help prolong and improve the performance of your engine.

Finding Second-Hand Car Parts


When things start going south on your vehicle, one excellent way of saving money on car parts is by buying them second-hand. You can typically find the exact part that you need on a budget, even for older vehicles. To do this, you will need to have the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) of the car needing the part. Often the manufacturer of the vehicle will have data tables that will help you identify the right part.

In some instances, the part itself will have a code on it, which will make a replacement much easier to find. Once you know what you are looking for, you can then try to find the replacement part at local scrap yards, ebay, local garages, dealers, forums or swap meets. If you are planning to replace the part yourself, having the knowledge or skills, you will save quite a bit of money in not buying new and paying for labour. However, if you are not much of a mechanic, you can then take the replacement part and vehicle to a garage for the repair.

Why a Tiny Crack in your Windscreen is a Big Deal


Windscreens are far more important than we give them credit for. An undamaged windscreen is an essential part of your vehicles structure and “provides up to 30% of the vehicle’s structural strength, and the passenger airbag relies on the windscreen to provide support if the airbag deploys”, says Autoglass. That is why you should always take chips and cracks very seriously.

A small chip can quickly turn into a large crack which could obstruct your view of the road and also make glare from the sun worse. Additionally, if allowed to remain, a small chip or crack can enlarge to a point where it is unrepairable and you will be forced to get a whole new windscreen which is more expensive. Some windscreen damage could also result in a MOT failure.

A chip can quickly turn into a crack an any time, usually whilst you are driving. As soon as you notice any damage, have it seen to immediately. Typically, a small chip fix runs around £30 but windscreen replacement costs start around £150 or more.

Dealer Services – are they worth the money?


It’s certainly true that vehicles with a full service-history will retain more value than those without, and rightly so, but it’s a commonly-held belief that more value can be added by ensuring that those services are only carried out by recognised dealers.

Here, we explore whether that is actually the case. Dealer services are more expensive; depending on the manufacturer, it’s easily possible to pay at least 50% more for a service from a main dealer. Whilst they will use only genuine parts, is it really worth that premium?

In a word, no. Whilst using genuine parts could have a slight benefit in terms of resale value, there’s no reason you can’t specify this to another service centre, particularly if they’re a specialist in that manufacturer. Besides, in many cases no parts will be replaced at services as they amount to little more than an oil change, and a check & diagnostic. Even where parts are replaced, does it really matter if your wiper blades and bulbs are generic?

As well as being cheaper, independent service agents often offer better quality; dealers often employ junior staff and train them up, with the best then setting out on their own – so chances are your independent is much more experienced and knowledgeable than even the best dealer man.