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.
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.
Sometimes your car may start to play up or you may have warning lights on your dash board that you are unsure as to why they have appeared. If this is the case you may need to take your car to a garage to be put on a diagnostic machine to read what faults are showing up on the on board computer.
Not all garages will be able to carry this out for you as they have to have the correct software for your make and model of vehicle which is why many people go to a main dealer. Although this is fine, you may find that you get charged a lot more than taking it to a local dealer that has the correct equipment. A quick call to the garage will confirm if they can carry the work out.
Once the car has gone on the diagnostic it will list a fault codes if any are found. These fault codes will then give the garage an indication as to what is the matter with the car so they can advise you.
There is one really simple thing you can do to get the most out of your tyres: check their pressure regularly. Under-inflated tyres are the biggest cause of unnecessary tyre wear. Not only that, they increase stopping distances, without needing to mention the extra strain on your brake discs & suspension. Put crudely, under inflating by a third – which is the average level of cars on the UK road – can increase stopping distances by more than a third, as well as increasing the risk of a blowout, and increasing natural wear by anything up to 40%.
Measured against tread or ice, it has a significantly greater effect than low tread depth, and nearly as significant an impact as extreme wet or icy conditions. For your own safety then, as well as to get the best out of your car, it is important to check tyres regularly and adjust for the road conditions.
If you do decide to have it repaired (this is especially if you are doing the work yourself or a friend / family is) be sure that you fully understand everything that needs doing. If the car has sustained a significant impact there may be further damage found when you strip parts of so you should always allow for this as once you have brought the car back, the insurance company or garage will not be responsible for anything else that is found. The vehicle may need to go on a jig to pull it straight again, if this is the case the use of a jig alone can be costly and the chances are there may be more to the damage than meets the eye. You will probably also have to have the car wheels realigned and may need a certificate to show that it is roadworthy again. Some insurance companies will not insure written off vehicles once repaired and if they do will charge a hefty premium.