2018 is here, and while people across the land would have set out various personal New Year’s resolutions which they may or may not stick to, it’s easy to neglect your car which will no doubt serve an important purpose for you throughout the year.
You may even be one of those who haven’t come up with any type of resolutions at all. If so then fear not, we have selected some key resolutions which you should stick to with your vehicle, and these ones aren’t optional!
Although these may seem trivial in comparison to your personal goals, you’d be surprised how may neglect these obvious but important duties for their car.
Keep it clean
It’s rather embarrassing giving someone a lift in a grubby vehicle full of crumbs and takeaway wrappers, amongst other things. The cleanliness of your car reflects on you so make sure you maintain it in the same way you do with your own hygiene.
Pick a nice day and be thorough with the job. Vacuum out all of the mats and give the dashboard a proper scrub down to get rid of any grime. Even when you don’t have time to be so thorough, keeping your vehicle clear of rubbish on a daily basis will go a long way to maintaining the state of its interior.
Acknowledge suspicious symptoms
We’ve all been there, hearing a strange noise mid journey and momentarily turning your music down to see what it was, before continuing as normal if no immediate problems persist and forgetting about it completely. While it could of course often just be a meaningless noise, it could also be a more serious problem waiting to develop. Catching a problem early could make a significant difference to your bank balance.
Keep your fluids topped up
The last thing you want while going at 70mph on the motorway, with your visibility skewed due to something unwanted landing on it, is having no wiper fluid to clean your windscreen. Distracted at 70mph with hampered vision is a recipe for disaster.
This of course isn’t the only fluid you need to watch though, as your coolant and oil levels need to be correct as well for your car to function as you want and need it to. It’s simply better for your car and your own health to keep on top of these.
Be sure to schedule the required service checks
For something that you devote as much faith, time and money into as you do with your vehicle; let it know you respect it by scheduling its required service checks. It’s dangerous to just assume your car is invincible and can get away without it.
Getting your car into service at least once a year will both keep your car in prime condition, while also constantly keep you aware of any potential issues you should be looking out for.
Ensure your tyres and wheels are as they should be
The last thing you want is for your tyre to blow out on your way to work early on a freezing cold January morning, due to you neglecting the low tyre warning light. Any morning for that matter, but as you’re all aware, it’s very cold out there at the moment. You simply don’t want to be sat outside with a busted tyre!
Take notice of any warning lights but don’t solely rely on those either. Keep your tyres filled up, and look out for any balding or strange bulges on them. At the end of the day, your car can’t move without tyres.
As mentioned before, these are all very basic duties, but you’d be surprised at how many neglect them and face more serious complications that could’ve been avoided as a result. With any issues you’re suspicious or unsure about regarding your vehicle, as a rule of thumb, get it checked. Of course some things are out of your control but generally, the more you maintain your car on a regular basis, the less likely it will be to go wrong.
Key things every driver should budget for
Keeping a car on the road can cost drivers thousands each year, so along with safety and reliability, running costs are often a top consideration for many when choosing a car.
Warranty Direct has put together its guide on the most expensive outgoings that come with owning a car and how to keep them as low as possible…
Begin with your insurance
In the UK, it is illegal to drive without insurance and if get caught you could face an unlimited fine and disqualification from driving.
Prices for car insurance can vary massively with insurance companies basing prices on different risk factors. Not all factors can be changed, but there are things you can do to help keep premiums down:
- Keep the vehicle in a secure location
- Add an experienced driver to your policy
- Watch your annual mileage (more miles = higher insurance as there is greater chance of an incident)
Comparing quotes from different insurers could end up saving you hundreds a year, so make sure you shop around to get the best possible deal.
Invest in an insured warranty provider
Taking out a warranty is the best way for someone on a budget to monitor their expenditure when it comes to cars.
There is nothing worse than paying out for an unexpected hefty repair bill if something goes wrong. With an extended warranty* this stress is removed should the worst happen, as a warranty can help contribute all or some of the costs associated with getting new parts and paying for the repair labour.
A fixed monthly cost that can be worked into your monthly budget will be more cost-effective than paying out for one large bill per repair.
Shop around for fuel
Pump prices vary around the country and there are even different forecourts in the same town – so it pays to get to know the cheapest in your area.
Motorway fuel stations tend to be more expensive, so if you are planning a long journey it’s worth filling up beforehand to avoid potentially paying £8 a tank more.
Supermarkets will often give you a discount at their petrol pumps when you spend a minimum amount in store, so kill two birds with one stone and fill up after doing your weekly shop.
Efficiency is essential
Eco-driving saves an average of 15% in fuel costs, so small everyday things to improve your fuel efficiency can have a big impact.
Drive smoothly and change gear as soon as possible without revving the engine too much – ideally before 2,500 revs in a petrol car and 2,000 in a diesel. You should also change to a lower gear when the engine speed drops below 1500 rpm.
Stick to 70mph on the motorway. By travelling at 80–85mph, fuel costs can increase by 25% or more – (oh, and it’s illegal too!)
Essential car maintenance
The average cost of maintenance on a used car is £472 a year. However, through regular upkeep you may be able to reduce these costs and keep your car on the road for extra miles too.
Here is Warranty Direct’s top do-it-yourself maintenance tips:
- Check and change the oil every 5,000 miles or every six months, whichever comes first
- Check fluids – keeping coolant, brake, power-steering and transmission fluids topped up is essential to safety and extended engine life
- Check tyre pressure – correct pressure improves your car’s safety, fuel efficiency and makes them last longer
- Change the filters – it’s an inexpensive, quick fix which prolongs engine life, increases efficiency and reduces emissions
Warranty Cover is arranged and administered by BNP Paribas Cardif Limited. Warranty Direct is a trading style of BNP Paribas Cardif Limited. BNP Paribas Cardif Limited is a company, registered in England and Wales No. 3233010 at Pinnacle House, A1 Barnet Way, Borehamwood, Herts, WD6 2XX and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority, Register No.309075
A checklist for when the unanticipated occurs
While there has been an 11 percent decrease in UK road accidents within the last five years, there were still 181,384 reported cases during 2016.
When it comes to car accidents many may think, ‘it will never happen to me’. Unfortunately, that might not be the case and things can happen outside even the most experienced of motorists’ control.
For help when you need it most, Warranty Direct has put together advice to make sure you’re prepared, whatever happens on the roads…
You never know when an accident might occur, so it’s important to be prepared. Have your insurance information, vehicle registration and license available at all times while on the road.
In case emergency situations occur in the dark or with bad visibility, it’s a good idea to have a torch, reflective triangle and high visibility jacket in your car to ensure other motorists can see you.
Even if you think it’s not serious and you’ve only caused a couple of scuffs or scratches, you must stop after an accident. Failing to do so is a punishable offence by the Road Traffic Act.
If your car is driveable, find a safe place to pull over, switch off your engine and turn your hazard lights on to alert other road users.
If anyone has been hurt, contact an ambulance as soon as possible. Unless their injuries prevent it, remove passengers from the vehicle to a safe place. If the road is blocked, you should call the police.
You and your passengers should stand behind the motorway crash barrier, wearing reflective jackets, so you are visible to other drivers and wait for the emergency services to arrive.
According to the Highway Code, you must leave any animals in the vehicle or, in an emergency, keep them under control on the verge.
Collect all the necessary details
When you’re involved in a car accident you’re obligated to give your name and address to anyone else involved. You should also collect contact details from any drivers, passengers and witnesses.
Ask any drivers involved for their insurance details and establish whether they own the vehicle. If they don’t, find out who does and note their details.
If damage has been caused to third party property or a parked car you should leave a note with your contact details on a car’s windscreen if you’re unable to find the owner. If you don’t exchange details at the scene, you must report the incident to the police within 24 hours.
You’ll also need to make note of other details, which will help when it comes to sorting out the incident with insurers.
- Time and date of the crash
- Registration, colour, make and model of all vehicles involved
- Photos for evidence – most mobiles will take good enough pictures to help you recall significant details.
Dealing with your insurer
It’s important to try to stay neutral and not accept liability or apologise if you’re unsure of who or what has caused the accident. Of course, this can be difficult in a stressful situation when emotions are heightened, but believe it or not, even saying something as small as ‘sorry’, could work against you later on when claiming for insurance.
While you are not obligated to claim after an accident, you should report the accident to your insurer within the time stated in your policy. Otherwise, your insurer has the right to refuse to cover you in future.
If you have GAP insurance, it’s worth noting some providers will ask you to call them before accepting any offer by your regular insurer. Make sure you inform the insurance provider of the accident to ensure the correct pay-out from the motor insurer.