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 that have 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.
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.
Cars work very hard for us every day, so it’s inevitable that you will need to replace parts every now and again. If you need to replace any parts on your vehicle, it’s essential you source ones that are completely reliable. Here is our quick guide to finding the right ones for you:
- Check exactly what you need. Even if you plan on finding the parts yourself, it’s important that you speak to a professional to establish the requirements. Make a proper note of what you need and any serial numbers, product codes etc. that you might need to find the compatible parts.
- Get your vehicle parts from a professional. Certain parts will only be verified if they come directly from a manufacturer or approved retailer. Make sure you know what is required for the job and ask any questions that you need to. If it means spending a little bit more money to get a verified part, do it.
- Visit a scrapyard. You never know what you might find in a place like this. A scrapyard is especially useful if you need body parts such as wing mirrors or exhausts – parts which don’t really require much alteration and can’t have gotten too damaged.
- Make sure you get a warranty. It’s essential that you make sure you are covered in case anything goes wrong. Check the length or the warranty and get all of the correct documentation. Hopefully you won’t need it and your vehicle will continue to function, but it’s better to stay safe with something so important.
Last but not least, it’s essential that you make sure any replacement parts are fitted properly. Even if they are the right parts and are brand new, your vehicle might malfunction if they’re not fitted correctly. If you’re not 100% sure what you’re doing, speak to a professional and call upon their services.
If you are happy to buy second hand car parts for your vehicle then you may be able to save yourself a huge chunk of money compared to prices for the brand new equivalent.
There are risks involved when looking to buy a second hand car part and unless you buy a refurbished one or off a dealer you may find that you have no warranty or even guarantee that it is going to work. Not only do you have to consider the risk of it being faulty, but also ensuring it is the correct part and fitment for your vehicle. Many people will not take back second hand parts because you have purchased the wrong one, it may be that you are then stuck with it.
If you can, always get a mechanic to check over the part or to at least confirm it is the correct one before agreeing to any purchase. Ask the seller if you can have any sort of warranty as even if it is only 30 days, it may be enough to see any intermittent faults.
When you’re in the market looking for a van, you need to take in to account the mileage, how long is left on the mot plus all round condition. You may start to look on websites such as Gumtree, Auto Trader or Shpock to find vans that may be suitable. You need to take in to account what size van you would need depending on the type off work you will be carrying out in it.
If you need to carry quite a bit of equipment which is easily accessible then you may wish to look for something like a Ford Transit Connect, the van has a side loading door which is ideal for easy loading and unloading plus you can easily put a roof rack on top for ladders. There should be enough room in the back for all of your materials and tools. You may wish to put an inverter in the back so you can run 230 volts in the van which will allow you to charge phones, batteries for tools and even run a kettle to make a brew.