Could Brexit Make Your Car Repair More Expensive?

On 31st January, the UK will leave the European Union and enters the next stage to finalise Brexit. With 11 crucial months of trade talks ahead, we take a look at what Brexit means for UK drivers and the impact on the cost of repairing, maintaining and running a car.

The impact of Brexit on the cost of car repair

UK motorists could see a 10% rise in their annual repair and service bill once the UK leaves the EU single market. The collective car repair bill could rise by more than £2billion due to new tariffs.

This according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), assumes the UK will fall back into the World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules in a hard Brexit situation. The new research falls in line with many other industries predicting sharp inflation, due to higher import/export costs.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “Our car maintenance sector is one of Europe’s most competitive, and motorists enjoy a great choice over where they have their cars serviced. However, if we don’t secure a new trading relationship with the EU that is free of tariffs and customs checks, British consumers could face significant increases to their annual car repair bill due to new tariffs and other trade barriers…If we don’t secure a new trading relationship with the EU that is free of tariffs and customs checks, British consumers could face significant increases to their annual car repair bill due to new tariffs and other trade barriers…The government must now prioritise an interim arrangement that maintains a single market and customs union membership until the right trade deal with the EU is implemented.”

In 2016, the UK automotive aftermarket sector grew by 2.4% in terms of turnover to £21.6 billion, creating an extra 1,400 jobs. The market now employs almost 350,000 people, more than the population of Coventry.

The amount and age of vehicles in the UK will only increase, as cars last longer than before. The UK automotive aftermarket sector is on track to grow to £28 billion, with 400,000 employees by 2022.

The SMMT’s report suggests that WTO tariffs will add between 2.5-4.5% onto car parts, adding an average of £21 to replacement parts. Quotas, subsidies, customs delays, and regulatory barriers could add an extra £49 for all these handling issues.

The UK government has signaled there will be a hard Brexit, with Prime Minister Theresa May suggesting “no deal is better than a bad deal” and “free movement will end in March 2019” which is a tenant to single market access. This presents the picture that the UK could fall back on the WTO rules, outside of the single market.

The SMMT stress the magnitude of the tariff problems with “80% of replacement car parts fitted to British cars are imported, with almost three-quarters of these coming from EU-based suppliers. However, the manufacture of components in the UK is growing, making the risk of tariffs on British products sold in Europe and other key global markets another major concern.”

The report finally suggested that WTO tariffs on parts exported from the UK could cost the industry £3 billion in lost revenue, “with a potential impact on future investment and jobs”.

The impact of Brexit on buying a used car

If as a result of failed negotiations on trade tariffs we will see new car prices going up (up to 10% on WTO terms), it is likely that used car prices will follow suit. The change in prices could mean that more people are putting off buying a new car, hang on to their car for longer or are opting to purchase a used car instead of a new one leading to more demand on the used car market.

The impact of Brexit on insuring a car

A rather overlooked issue, but currently drivers are covered by a ruling by the European Court of Justice which requests insurers to offer equal premiums for male and female drivers. Upon leaving the EU, this directive could be reviewed or abandoned by the UK government, meaning that insurers could charge different costs by gender with premiums for male drivers potentially going up. Another privilege that could be affected is the EU wider coverage for motorists. At the moment, the UK driver’s insurance covers them for driving across the EU. If this directive is abandoned as well, you might have to look into purchasing additional insurance should you plan to go on a road trip across the continent.

The impact of Brexit on running a car

A rather overlooked issue, but currently drivers are covered by a ruling by the European Court of Justice which requests insurers to offer equal premiums for male and female drivers. Upon leaving the EU, this directive could be reviewed or abandoned by the UK government, meaning that insurers could charge different costs by gender with premiums for male drivers potentially going up. Another privilege that could be affected is the EU wider coverage for motorists. At the moment, the UK driver’s insurance covers them for driving across the EU. If this directive is abandoned as well, you might have to look into purchasing additional insurance should you plan to go on a road trip across the continent.

ClickMechanic scores £1m airtime-for-equity deal from UKTV

UKTV Ventures has invested £1 million of airtime into ClickMechanic in exchange for equity in the online marketplace.

Online car repair marketplace ClickMechanic.com has received investment from UKTV using its multi-million pound investment fund, UKTV Ventures. The online start-up has secured £1m worth of commercial airtime across the broadcaster’s network of channels.

UKTV reaches over 33 million viewers every month* and ClickMechanic’s debut TV campaign will run exclusively on UKTV channels Dave, Gold, W, Drama, Alibi, Eden and Yesterday from today, and for several months throughout 2020. Recent research commissioned by Thinkbox and carried out by Data 2 Decisions, the econometric arm of Dentsu Aegis, found that on average, for a brand with less than £50m brand value, a £1m TV campaign can drive overall sales by circa 20%.

Launched in 2012 ClickMechanic is transforming the car repair space with its innovative technology. The product enables customers to get a fixed price industry standard quote in a matter of seconds and book in with a vetted mechanic who comes to the consumer. Going live on TV with its first commercial is a huge milestone and is set to see the company dramatically increase its growth and reach millions of more customers in 2020.

Launched in 2018, the UKTV Ventures fund offers high-growth start-ups an opportunity to advertise on TV for the first time and therefore accelerate their business growth. The fund has already made investments into award-winning preschool learning and entertainment platform Hopster, and pet tech start-up, PitPat.

Sheena Amin, director of UKTV Ventures said: “ClickMechanic is the perfect start-up to benefit from our innovative fund and we’re excited to launch its first ever TV ad. This online marketplace is solving a real customer pain point when it comes to finding and booking a car mechanic and there is a compelling and substantial growth opportunity to go after in taking this market online. With all the engaging motoring programmes that Dave has to offer, we see a strong fit with ClickMechanic’s target customer base and expect to drive considerable growth and new customer acquisition for the business via the impressive power of TV.”

Founded in 2012 by Andrew Jervis and Felix Kenton, ClickMechanic makes car care easy for everyone, everywhere. The online marketplace allows drivers to get quick online quotes and book pre-vetted mechanics. Its real-time, online quoting engine is the first of its kind in Europe and empowers users to get the best deal possible and ensure they pay a fair price.

Andrew Jervis, CEO of ClickMechanic said: “We’re excited for this fantastic opportunity to reach millions of new consumers. To be partnering with and having one of the UK’s biggest multi-channel broadcasters as an investor will enable us to ramp up our growth efforts and bring our service to a mass market. We’ve already had success building a product that customers and mechanics love and we hope they enjoy our new ad too.”

ClickMechanic’s debut ad has been designed and created by Happy Hour. It showcases the convenience of ClickMechanic’s services and how their mobile mechanics can get you back on the road quickly and efficiently.

Nicola Tyler, Managing Partner at Happy Hour said: “As a first-time TV advertiser, we knew the creative for ClickMechanic needed to work hard to educate the audience, whilst balance brand memorability & cut-through with response tactics. With this in mind, our approach was to cement in viewers’ minds both visually and audibly exactly what ClickMechanic provides; so hopefully the next time you need a mechanic your immediate thought will be to simply ‘ClickMechanic’”

Driving Home For Christmas – Tips For A Save And Festive Journey

It is the most wonderful time of the year – but for everyone who is driving home for Christmas first comes the most dreaded time of the year: sharing the road with thousands of other drivers how also want to get home to spend the festive season with loved ones.

The team at the ClickMechanic HQ thought long and hard about ways to make your Christmas journey more pleasant, save and most of all: festive.

Preparing for the drive home

As with all long-distance drives, we recommend checking your car before you set off. The key things to tick off the list are:

  • Engine oil levels incl. top up if needed
  • Tyre pressure
  • Wiper blades
  • Coolant levels
  • Lights

Recommended song to feel festive: Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree

While you are stuck in the annual Christmas traffic

We have all been there – sat in a long queue of cars on the motorway on weekends and Bank Holidays, or stuck in slow-moving, rush-hour traffic. To get through it smoothly, here are 4 Do’s and Don’ts for heavy traffic jams:

  • Put your car in neutral: When you are stuck in slow-moving, stop-and-go traffic, it’s tempting to keep the car in gear and the clutch engaged, in case you start moving again. This puts unnecessary strain on your clutch, decreasing its longevity.
  • Switch your engine off: Research shows that even idling for short time burns more fuel and emits more nasty emissions than restarting your car, so switching your engine off in idle traffic would offset this.
  • Drive smoothly in slow-moving traffic: It can be tempting to slam the accelerator down when a gap opens up in traffic. However, if all this means is that you will brake again within a short distance, you will wear out your brakes quicker than if you drive in a slow and steady fashion.
  • Don’t tailgate: As we can all agree, tailgating is one of the worst things you can do whilst driving. Not only will you put yourself and other drivers in a dangerous situation, but your brakes will also wear out faster if you constantly need to hit them hard when traffic slows down.

Recommended song to remind you of the merry season: It’s the most wonderful time of the year

When the road clears after a traffic jam

Finally, you are really driving home for Christmas. The free road ahead brings you closer to your final destination. While it is tempting to put the foot down a bit further to speed up to make up for some time lost, remember to stick to speed limits. Take extra care in wintery and adverse weather conditions which make driving more tricky with slippery road surfaces, rain, and darkening skies.

Recommended song to cheerily celebrate: Candy Cane Lane

When it starts snowing

While snow is rare in the UK and the predictions for a white Christmas are low, there still can be a Christmas wonder. Seeing the first snow is something special and wonderful. On the other side, it makes your journey more challenging. We have written a post about driving on wintery roads so you can get safely to your destination.

The obvious song to mark this moment: Sleigh Ride

When you tuck into your Christmas sandwich

As a prepared driver, you brought a sandwich for the trip. It is recommended to pack snacks and drinks when you embark on a long journey – especially when you can expect it to take longer than usual due to heavy traffic. And as it is Christmas, it should be a festive snack or sandwich.

Recommended song while you are munching through our treat: All I Want For Christmas Is You

When you wish for a new car for Christmas

Spending a long time in your car might make you realise it’s small niggles and aches even more. Even more so, you might come to the conclusion that you will be looking for a new car next year. We have just the right tips on what to look out for when buying a new car.

But in the meantime, listen to this song instead: Santa Baby

When you finally reach your Christmas destination

Give a cheer for you are here. Your mood lightens after a long Christmas journey. Welcome home!

Recommended song to share the joy: Santa Claus Is Coming To Town

Happy driving home for Christmas and a wonderful festive season!

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Photo by Jamie Davies on Unsplash

How to get the best car repair experience possible

We recently asked our customers about their experiences with mechanics and garages. A large proportion told us that they find engaging with a mechanic or garage a daunting experience.

Engaging with a mechanic or garage can be scary for a couple of reasons. Old school garages can be intimidating places with all the noise, smells, tools and machinery, especially if you don’t know a great deal about cars. To help cut through all of this, here are our top tips on how to overcome any car care anxieties, create a trusting relationship with a mechanic and get the best car repair experience possible:

Be nice 

It sounds simple but people often forget that mechanics are also human beings and want to deal with nice people. Don’t worry that you do not possess any technical understanding – that is what the mechanics are here for.

Ask questions around the repair and the mechanic’s experience

When you’re handing over your car to a mechanic, you want to know if it is in good hands. The best way to find out is to ask him or her some questions around the problem and way of working. Here is a list of questions we prepared for exactly this case.

Get familiar with your car

This sounds silly but this tactic helps to tackle car repair-related anxieties. You don’t have to become an expert but it helps reading the car owner’s manual, perform regular oil checks or simply have a look under the bonnet. How does the engine look like, where are fluids located? This basic knowledge helps you understand things better when you speak to a mechanic about a repair.

Plan and budget for car maintenance

Costs for car maintenance are a necessary life cost you should budget for like you do with your rent, mortgage or bills. The downside is, if it is not an MOT or service, you can’t plan for a repair so it often comes at the most inconvenient times. A high unplanned expense understandably can add to the daunting feeling which can overcome you when you step into a workshop. If it is possible, set a fixed amount of money aside on a regular basis, dedicated to cover the surprise repair costs.

Happy driving!

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The Top 5 Car Repairs to Expect This Christmas and How Likely You Are to Face Them!

Christmas is only a few weeks away and it’s already looking to be a rather wet one! Yet, whilst many dream of a White Christmas filled with snowball fights and picturesque scenery, it is worth remembering that the colder or even freezing temperatures can be a killer for your car. Each winter, countless motorists face a variety of car issues and fear the potential cost to repair. This is why we have analysed our own data to find the most likely repairs which UK motorists will encounter over the winter. Read on to find out how you can prolong the most popular repairs and save money in the long-term.

Andrew Jervis, Co-Founder of ClickMechanic, said: “Many motorists forget to take care of their vehicle at this time of year. Cold conditions can cause an array of expensive problems for your car and, with a little TLC, potential repair bills can be reduced and the repairs themselves may last longer.”

1. Wing Mirror Glass Replacement

Increased odds of its breaking at Christmas: 4.3x

Signs you need a wing mirror replacement:

– Glass is broken/scratched
– Casing is broken/scratched

Why is it breaking and how do I extend its lifespan:

On the icy roads, many motorists will struggle to control their vehicle at times and as such, they are far more likely to clip their wing mirrors or even slide into things. In fact, drivers are actually more than 4x as likely to damage their wing mirror glass in the winter compared to the rest of the year, so it’s a very common problem.

The only remedy for this would be to take more care on the road and reduce speed when necessary. Damaged wing mirror glass should be replaced as soon as possible, particularly if it restricts your vision.

2. Battery Replacement

Increased odds of its breaking at Christmas: 1.8x

Signs that a battery replacement is imminent:

– The car’s engine will turn over slowly prior to starting or will not turn over at all
– None of the electrical equipment works
– The battery’s terminals and connectors show signs of erosion
– A pale blue or white powder has appeared on parts of the battery

Why is it breaking and how do I extend its lifespan:

Despite lasting longer in the colder climate, winter’s freezing temperatures actually causes the battery to lose power. The colder environment means the engine will require more power to start up and continue to run. This is why the winter will usually finish off an old (5 years plus) or struggling battery.

You can prolong your battery’s charge by switching off electrical items such as the heater blower, the headlights and the rear screen demisters for a few minutes prior to switching the engine off. Short journeys during winter will also place additional strain on the battery, so bear that in mind when popping down to the shops! If you’re unsure of its current condition, have the battery checked professionally.

3. Coil Spring Replacement

Increased odds of its breaking at Christmas: 1.7x

Signs your car needs a coil spring replacement:

– The car will bounce excessively after driving over a bump
– The car leans to one side or one corner is lower than the others
– You may feel a difference in the car’s handling
– You may hear odd noises, such as a banging or even a ‘twang’ when turning the steering

Why is it breaking and how do I extend its lifespan:

The coil springs act as support for the shock absorbers. They smooth out any bumps or irregularities you encounter on the road’s surface and, as such, they will eventually wear over time. They are also made of ferrous metal, meaning they will suffer from corrosion. Most coil springs are coated in a plastic sleeve, however, this sleeve will suffer from nicks and scratches from road debris, which allows water to seep in and erode the metal.

During winter, the metal becomes brittle and will be more likely to break under shock, such as from speed bumps and potholes. This can lead to expensive damage if a worn spring reaches this stage, so it should be seen to as soon as you notice any of the above symptoms. Regularly washing debris off of the springs with a hose can help to prolong them.

4. Alternator / Alternator Belt Replacement

Increased odds of its breaking at Christmas: 1.6x/1.3x

Signs the alternator belt or alternator needs replacing:

– A battery warning light has appeared on the dashboard
– The dashboard/interior lights are not as bright as usual
– The battery does not charge or has run flat
– A squealing or screeching sound comes from the engine

Why is it breaking and how do I extend its lifespan:

The alternator charges the car’s battery, which in turn powers all electricals. As such, it too takes additional strain in the colder months when more power is needed to run the vehicle. The first and major indication that something is wrong will be the sight of a small red battery sign on your dashboard. This warning light should illuminate when you switch the ignition on and then go out when the engine is running. Should this light become slow to extinguish, that could be a sure sign that the alternator is on its way out.

In essence, there is little that the general car owner can do to prolong the lifespan of an alternator. However, it is important to give it the best chance of working efficiently by avoiding deep water and ensuring that the belt which drives it is in good condition. Should you start to hear a “squeal” on start-up or when driving, the belt may require adjusting or even replacing.

5. Starter Motor Replacement

Increased odds of its breaking at Christmas: 1.3x

Signs the starter motor needs replacing:

– The engine does not start or you have issues making it start
– The starter motor makes more noise than usual when you start the engine
– You can hear a clicking noise when you turn the key

Why is it breaking and how do I extend its lifespan:

As the name suggests, the starter motor starts the car – which is known to be a common issue during the wintertime. This is because, in a colder climate, more energy is needed to turn the starter motor and power the engine, putting additional stress on both it and the battery.

The starter motor will, once again, wear with time, and as it is for all repairs in this list, it should be replaced as and when necessary in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommended schedule. Like the alternator, there is little you can do to generally prolong the life of a starter motor. However, if your vehicle is reluctant to start, avoid continually trying to run the starter motor without giving it a chance to cool down. For guidance, you should only use the starter motor for 30 seconds and then let it cool for 30 seconds before re-trying it. You should also, once again, avoid deep water, ensure that your undertray is secure and check that your battery is in good condition to give it the best possible power source to use.

If you are unsure whether something is wrong with your car, speak to one of our experienced inhouse mechanics by using our free phone consultation service.

Happy driving!

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The Importance of Locking Wheel Nuts

Locking wheel nuts are an important part of the security of your vehicle. They are obviously there to prevent the theft of your alloy wheels, which are expensive enough in their own right, but also the tyres too, which on larger vehicles and SUV’s can be as much again as the cost of the wheel.

How wheel locking nuts add to the security of your car

The most convincing reason to get extra security for your wheels and alloys is theft prevention. A number of thefts occur simply for the tyres as the market for cheaper “part worn” tyres has increased dramatically due to the consumer demand for bigger cross over vehicles that have bigger wheels and ultimately, more expensive tyres. Therefore it is important that you have a locking or security wheel nut/bolt on your vehicle.

Remember to ask for the locking key

Firstly, it is very important to ensure that the locking wheel nut removal tool is with the car when buying it second hand. You also need to ensure it is supplied on new cars too – ask your salesman where it is and in both cases ensure that it fits ALL the wheel nuts as it should!

Remember to keep the lock removal tool safe (but not too safe)

This sounds obvious, but is often overlooked – know where your locking wheel nut tool is and that it can be accessed easily when required. There is nothing worse than an inconvenient puncture, but that is made even worse if you can’t find the locking wheel nut tool!

It is also a very good idea to make sure it’s easily available to the technicians when taking your car for any repair or service. Not only does its unknown whereabouts hold up the mechanics but also means they have to go searching around your car, from glovebox to boot in order to find it.

What to do when the wheel lock removal tool is lost or worn?

All is not lost! Well, it is, but it isn’t the end of the world! The important thing is to act now and not leave it “until you need it” as that time may be the most inconvenient one.

Some locking wheel nuts can be removed easily using specially made removal tools and most garages and mechanics have them. However, these only work on certain types and if that is the case then there will be considerable work required to get them off. In some cases, there may also be damage caused to the wheel, no matter how careful they are in getting them off.

So, if you have lost your wheel nut tool, you need to get a new one as soon as possible. If the wheel nuts are the standard ones from the manufacturer, the first place to try is a dealership. If that yields no luck, then get in contact with us and we will source a mechanic to get them removed for you and supply a replacement set with a new key.

Wheels, alloys, and tyres are not the only car part thieves have an eagle eye on. If you want to know more about how to prevent theft of car parts, read our article on how to prevent catalytic converter theft.

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Happy driving!

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Road Safety Advice Every Driver Should Know

Every 20 minutes, someone is seriously injured or killed on British roads. These accidents are all preventable if simple rules of road safety are followed.

Easy to follow road safety tips

Slow down

Speed is a crucial factor when it comes to road safety. The faster you drive, the greater the risk of accidents. Driving within the speed limit and using suitable speed in bad weather conditions is common sense. At speeds exceeding 50mph, a reduction in speed by 1mph can lower the likelihood of crashes by up to 5%. Test your knowledge with the Road Safety Stopping Distance Game

Never drive under the influence of drugs and alcohol

It is widely known that drugs and alcohol impair drivers’ judgment and perception, even small amounts below the legal driving limit can impact your reactions in traffic. Better be safe than sorry and plan ahead to get home safely.

It might take some courage but if you see someone planning on driving after a few drinks, try to persuade them to leave their car until the next day. Don’t get into the car with someone who has been drinking.

And don’t forget those mornings after a night out. Use this handy calculator to see how long you should wait before you get behind the wheel again. As a final thought: if you are taking any medication, even flu medicine can impair your ability to drive.

Stay focused and calm

Make sure you stay sharp and focused when driving. Planning your journeys and anticipate traffic events ahead can really take the stress out of driving. If you are feeling tired after some time behind the wheel, take a break. It is recommended to break up longer journeys after 2 hours for some fresh air and a stretch of your legs.

Avoid driving if you are under stress or feel angry as your mind might not be fully focused on the task at hand – driving safely. In these situations, it is recommended to wait for a while before driving off to allow yourself to calm down and refocus on safely driving your car.

Not only your mind can have an impact on how focused you are. Your eyes are working overtime while driving, so it is vital to have your eyes checked regularly and wear glasses or lenses if you have been prescribed some. This reduces tiredness and ensures your vision is perfectly clear and unobstructed while on the road.

Keep your passengers safe too

If you are regularly traveling with passengers in your car, it is vital to ensure they are as safe as possible – even on short journeys. Insist that everyone traveling in your car is putting the seat belt on before you take off. When you are traveling with children, always ensure they sit in fitting and appropriate child seats and are buckled up correctly.

Make your car safe to travel

There are a few more things drivers can do to contribute to safer journeys and car maintenance is key here. Have your lights and brakes checked regularly, e.g. during your regular car servicing appointment, ensure your tyres are inflated to the correct pressure and remove any unnecessary weight you are driving around in your car. We have written a handy post about the 5 car and road safety checks you should perform before a long-distance journey.

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Happy driving and safe travels!

OEM vs Aftermarket Car Parts – What Is The Difference

OEM vs. Aftermarket Car Part Guide

When it comes to car repair, choosing the right parts can be confusing and in most cases overwhelming with so many options from OEM, OE, aftermarket or refurbished parts out there. To cut through this, here is our overview of the different part categories that are out there:

Genuine (OE) car parts

Genuine parts, often called OE (Original Equipment) parts are the same parts which are used and built into your car when it was first made. They usually come branded with the manufacturers’ logo on the part and/or on the box. Dealerships will typically use these parts when your car needs a repair. They are a safe option if you want to maintain the same quality and performance, however, they come with a high price tag if your car is no longer in warranty.

OEM car parts

OEM stands for Original Equipment Manufacturer and is made by a company that supplies car manufacturers with parts. While they are normally identical to genuine parts, they are sold under the manufacturers’ name rather than the carmakers’ brand. OEM parts usually retain the same quality as genuine parts, with the upside of a lower price point than genuine parts. They are ideal to be used on slightly older cars which are around 3-4 years old, or cars where the manufacturer warranty has just expired.

Aftermarket car parts

There is a huge market for parts that are not made by the original supplier. These parts are known as aftermarket parts and they are built using the same pattern as OEM parts. An often acknowledged issue with aftermarket parts is the wide spectrum of quality. Some aftermarket parts are manufactured to a high standard so that they are outperforming their OE/OEM counterparts. For example, products made by Brembo, Mintex or Pagid are known for their outstanding quality, surpassing their OE counterparts. On the other hand, some parts can be made using less durable material which means they can wear out faster. The outstanding benefit of aftermarket parts is the price point being much lower than the original equipment, which makes them perfect for older cars.

Salvage parts

Salvage parts are usually available at a very low price point, typically as they are taken from cars which were sent to the scrapyard, or have been sold on. They are second-hand parts, typically with not much history behind them. They range from anything from OE parts in perfect working condition or used parts with not much life left in them.

Reconditioned or remanufactured parts

Some car parts can be reconditioned by taking them apart and assembling them again, using new parts to replace broken pieces. This is usually true for engines or gearboxes. They can come at a higher price and as its a rebuilt part you should be asking for some kind of warranty.

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Happy driving!

 

What is The Difference Between Winter Tyres And Summer Tyres?

Are Winter Tyres Worth It

Winter tyres can seem like a bit of a mystery. Often it’s unclear what they actually do and if they are any different from summer tyres. Tyres are tyres, right? Truth is that winter tyres are a highly specialised piece of kit. They will help keep your car stable in winter weather. They are, in fact, significantly different than summer tyres.

Summer tyres are fitted as standard to most cars and are the perfect companion to your car for the summer months. And up to a certain point, they work fine in other seasons as well. Their performance, however, rapidly declines as temperatures drop. Summer tyres are made in such a way that they are soft and grip well in normal and warm temperatures. But once temperatures approach 7C and below the summer tyres will start to lose traction with the road surface. Your car will start to feel unstable and it may not be very comfortable to drive. At that point, it is probably worth getting some winter tyres for your car.

Why do winter tyres work better in cold weather?

Winter tyres are made out of a different type of rubber which makes them softer. It ensures they remain supple in cold weather. It helps to make them ‘grippier’ in winter conditions. On top of that, the tyre tread design is deeper and has more sipes (small slits) which help it process water and snow better.

This all contributes to the fact that winter tyres are proven to stop a car better in cold weather than summer tyres. Tyre manufacturer Continental found that winter tyres can help to stop a car traveling at 31mph eight metres before the same car on summer tyres. That might not seem like much, but it can be the difference between crashing into the back of another car or stopping just in time.

Are winter tyres worth it?

Deciding whether winter tyres are worth it is a much-debated topic. Many say it’s a waste of money having them in the UK as it’s never cold enough for them to have any effect. Others find that they are worth it and say that they feel safer driving with winter tyres in winter.

One of the main misconceptions about winter tyres is that they are only useful if it snows. Seeing that there is little snow in the UK it’s easy to dismiss them on that basis. The fact is, though, that they can be useful way before frosty conditions come round. The general rule is that if it’s under 7C degrees, they grip the road better than summer tyres. They will improve handling and braking no matter whether it snows or rains.

Do you need winter tyres?

Winter tyres have clear advantages in some weather conditions. Their design can really help to cope with bad and cold weather. And can help stop your car much sooner if you brake on snow or ice.

That said, it is less clear if you actually need them. Remember, in large parts of the UK it is barely cold enough in winter for winter tyres to have much effect. On top of that snow in most parts of the country is a rare sight. After all, the UK is not quite Austria. It might just be that weather conditions in your area might be so mild that there is not much point getting them.

Consumer advice organisation Which? has suggested that it will depend on where you are whether they would be useful. It would mean that it makes sense to get some if you are in a colder part of the UK. There where bad winter weather conditions are far more likely. If you mostly drive in a city environment where it’s less cold, the tyres may have less use.

When to get winter tyres?

Winter tyres are not compulsory in the winter months in the UK, so it is always a personal choice. Unlike in most other European countries where they are mandatory. If you do decide to have them fitted, then the time most people get them is around October. That way you’re in time for the first bits of cold weather and are all prepared for when it starts freezing.

What to do with your summer tyres?

That leaves you with your summer tyres, though, which have to be stored somewhere. If you have a garage or shed this is no problem. If you haven’t got the space the decision to get some may be a lot more complicated. Many tyre fitters nowadays offer summer tyre storage for a small price.

Top Tips

For any tyre to work well, it needs to be in good condition and inflated to the right level. A winter tyre that is worn and underinflated may work no better in winter than a brand-new summer tyre. On the other hand, a summer tyre that has almost worn beyond the legal limit will be no good even if it is summer. That’s why it’s very important to ensure at any time of the year that the tyre tread depth is well within the legal limit. On top of that, make sure your tyres are inflated to the right level. This will help the tyres perform better, your car will be a safer place to be in and will waste less fuel in the process.

 

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How Often Should You Change The Pollen Filter?

How often should you change the pollen filter?

A pollen filter or cabin air filter keeps the air that flows into the cabin clean. What it does is filter out any pollen or dirt that flows into the car. This is not only great to keep the air clean for any passengers inside the car, but it will also keep the system clean. The downside to this is, the more you drive the faster the filter gets blocked and you will find yourself soo in the situation when you will have to replace the pollen filter. The upside of keeping the pollen filter clean is that you can help improve the performance of your ventilation or air conditioning system.

How Often Should You Change The Pollen Filter?

The pollen filter is a part that would regularly need to be replaced. The more you drive the car, the dirtier it will get. That’s why it should really be replaced at regular intervals. Your car’s service schedule will give advice as to when it needs replacing. How often it is needed as such does really depend on the type of car you have and how much you drive and where. After all, driving in traffic or in heavily polluted areas will mean that the pollen filter needs replacing more often. As it will be more affected by grime and dust.

How Can You Tell If The Pollen Filter Needs Replacing?

The pollen filter’s main job is to stop the dirty air from entering the cabin. But if the air ventilation system is not performing very well it’s possible that it’s dirty. Over time lots of dust, grime, twigs, leaves, and even insects can accumulate across the service of the pollen filter.

The filter traps dust, pollen, and other foreign particles, essentially cleaning the air before you breathe it in. Often you may be able to remove some of the bits and pieces that have nestled itself in the filter. Like all filters, they need at least cleaning when they become clogged or start to smell. At some stage, though, a pollen filter replacement is inevitable.

Checking the condition of the pollen filter can be left to the mechanic for your next service. Usually, the pollen filter replacements will be covered by your service schedule which is recommended by your manufacturer. These scheduled services are important to the maintenance of your car and will prolong life for many years. There are multiple signs of a pollen filter that just isn’t working anymore, here are a few now.

Sign 1: Poor airflow

The most common issue with pollen filters is poor airflow, as more and more debris clumps together to block the filter. This will obviously mean that you don’t actually feel much, despite you speeding down the motorway. Opening a window hurts your MPG so this small breeze is a bit more of an issue.

Sign 2: A bad smell?

Another symptom of a blocked up pollen filter is a foul-smelling breeze. As dust builds, so does bacteria and fungus. These microorganisms will release a lot of pungent smells that no scented pine will ever protect you from. You might not notice it if you drive often, but newcomers to the car may just plug their nose as they struggle to breathe the ‘clean’ air.

Sign 3: Is that a WRRRR CRCH CRCH SSSSS sound I hear?

If there is some blockage, you may hear odd noises or just a loud low tone sound. This might alarm your passengers if you can even hear them over the sound of air being squeezed into your car. It definitely puts a slight dampener on any relaxing drive.

Particularly in the city, it is important to have a functioning pollen filter as there are plenty more pollutants in the air which you need to avoid. In urban environments, you may want to get your filters replaced more regularly due to the stop-start nature and heavy traffic. We recommend sticking to your scheduled servicing per your manufacturer’s guidelines, as this will keep the filters and the rest of the car in prime condition.

If you think there is a problem with your pollen filter then get a certified Clickmechanic to come out and inspect the problem with your airflow system.

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