Increase your chances to pass the MOT test the first time

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Always wondered what issue is most likely to fail your car when you take it for its MOT test the first time? Well, since the exact contents of MOT tests were determined by law in 2012, comprehensive records have been kept showing the most likely defects found. Governing body Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) has recently disclosed this information to inform you and us in more detail about what you can do to prevent your car from failing on often minor issues, saving you the hassle and saving yourself from forking out for an MOT re-test. Our little guide gives you the key details of how your car can pass the MOT test with flying colours.

Lighting and signalling

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A considerable 18% of the reasons cars don’t pass the MOT test are due to general lighting issues, like bulbs that have blown, inadequate reflectors, hazard lights, and other signaling issues.

To give your car a better chance of passing its MOT, and at the very least increase your own safety, it is therefore super important that these items are checked to make sure they are all okay. To increase your chances to pass the MOT test, simply test if the head and rear lights, brake lights, indicator and number plate lights come on and are working as they should. Any blown bulbs can easily be replaced, your car owners manual will tell you how.

Brakes

Brakes are arguably the most important safety feature on your car, hence any MOT test will require these to be in tip-top condition. There is a great chance otherwise you will fail, and indeed the stats show that 10% of MOT failures are due to inadequate braking systems. This does not only concern the condition of your brake pads and discs but also check if your handbrake is in good condition.

If there are any strange noises when you’re braking, or if the car doesn’t stop as it previously did, then chances are there is something wrong with the brakes. Usual suspects will be worn or damaged brake discs or brake pads that have worn beyond the manufacturer’s limit. If you’re unsure just ask a professional for an opinion.

Tyres

car-tyre

Apart from the fact that 8% of MOT failures in the last year are due to tyre issues, it only makes sense to ensure they are in a good condition in general and have a tread depth of at least 1.6mm (the current legal limit). There is an easy way to test if your tyres meet the legal standard using a 20p coin: insert the coin into one of the groves in the tread. If the outer rim is visible, then it is time to get your tyre replaced.

Remember, tyres are your car’s only contact point with the road surface and give your car the grip and stopping power needed to drive your car safely. Make sure that things like your tyre pressure, overall condition of the tyres and tread depth are checked out prior to the MOT test and have any issues addressed.

Driver’s view of the road

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Already aware that your windscreen wipers do not work properly or wiper blades are not as effective as they should be? Then there’s a good chance your car will not pass the MOT test on these items. Indeed, around 7% of MOTs fails were due to issues related to visibility in the last year and can range from windscreen wiper issues to damaged mirrors and window stickers.

With windshield wiper blades being some of the easiest and cheapest things to replace, make sure you sort out any aspects in the car that might obscure your view and easily increase your chances of passing your MOT test. Also, remember to top up windscreen washer fluid before you drive to the MOT centre.

Suspension

Whilst suspension issues will be more difficult to quickly check it is sometimes not hard to identify whether there is something wrong with the suspension. There may be strange noises when going over bumps or your car may be unstable if you go through corners. If you’re unsure exactly what the problem is then make sure to ask help from a professional, they will be able to find out more during an inspection.

The Dangers Of Driving With An Expired MOT

Not only is the MOT a vital safety check to ensure your car is safe and ready to drive, but you are also expected to have a valid MOT when using your car. Remember, when you drive without a valid MOT you risk:

  • A fine of up to £1000
  • Being banned from driving
  • Receiving 6-8 penalty points
  • Your car insurance may become invalid

To stay ahead of the curve, make sure you book your MOT well in advance. At ClickMechanic, we offer MOTs with home collection and delivery. You can book your MOT for only £25 when you book a service at the same time!

Do you think your car is ready for its MOT? Then consider getting one with free collection and delivery to the test centre, and save yourself lots of hassle. Get a quote for your region now at www.clickmechanic.com/mot

Book your MOT now

Happy driving!

Top 5 Tips To Be A Good Mobile Mechanic

Mechanic with his vanAs a car repair enthusiast and auto repair technician, mechanics are innately inclined and passionate about fixing things. When you instil the technical know-how and experience necessary to work with vehicles, no job is too hard. But becoming a good mobile mechanic can take years of experience and training. Just having technical knowledge may not always be enough. Irrespective of how many years you’ve been in the industry fixing cars, there are some things that you need to keep in mind to become a good mobile mechanic.

Here are our top 5 tips to be a good mobile mechanic:

First impressions

It’s all about making your first impression count. The importance of first impressions cannot be overstated – they are crucial in setting up the base of your relationship with a customer.

Firstly, ensure you have a clean van. If you have left any remnants from a job, make sure you clean them up after each job. Furthermore, you will minimize the amount of work you need to do when performing routine cleaning.

When it comes to your van, make sure that it’s kept damage-free. For instance, having a dent on your side door while you’re on a job site will reflect poorly on your work ethic from the customer’s perspective.

It’s also important to present yourself professionally. Ensure you’re wearing clean overalls when visiting a customer location. Even if a mechanic’s job is thought to be messy and greasy, it doesn’t have to be that way when doing mobile jobs.

Having a professional business card is an excellent tool to make an in-person first impression with your customer. We have a great guide to business card designs and ideas here.

Tools

More often than not, customers will take a peek inside your van. Ensure you have a neat and tidy set-up in the back of your van. Consider investing in some tool storage equipment so tools such as socket sets, spanners, wrenches etc are neatly arranged. Organizing your tools and equipment in this way will not only be visually pleasing but will also help you get organised and be able to find them more easily.

Being a mobile mechanic means you do not have access to the comfort of a spacious garage or workshop. You may need specific set of tools so invest in the right tools that you can afford; remember a good mechanic never blames his tools!

Communication

Good mechanics know more than just repairing and replacing car parts and knowing the difference between an alternator, starter, and generator. Customers tend to go back to and appreciate mechanics who take the additional effort of communicating and engaging with them. Stay in touch with the customer if you are running behind schedule. If the repair is complicated, or needs further explanation, ensure to spend some time communicating this information in an easy to understand manner.

There will be some tough days, and days when jobs just don’t seem to be going well. It’s important to be polite, patient and cheerful even on bad days. Remember, this customer is your next advert.

Once you complete the job, make sure you follow up with the customer to ensure everything went smoothly.

Organise your diary efficiently

To reduce travel times, costs, interruptions and the chance of putting off customers consider scheduling customers in area groups. Don’t overburden yourself – taking on too much will only result in letting your customers down and causing you stress.

Customer database

It’s easier (and more efficient) to serve your existing customers than to go looking out to acquire new ones. One way to keep track of your customers is having a CRM  (Customer Relationship Management) tool that specialises in auto repair. These tools help maintain customer records, sales, accounting and invoice management. These tools can help you understand when your customer’s next MOT or service is due, thus helping you re-engage with your customers and providing additional value.

Don’t forget to contact customers in an area you’re going to, to ask if they need any help with their vehicles (it’s a good idea to offer a special discount in this instance since you’re ‘in the area’). It also shows you would like to work for them again (or even their neighbours!).

ClickMechanic is looking for mobile mechanics to service the jobs that our millions of users are booking each year. If you are a mobile mechanic and have Motor Trade insurance, Public Liability insurance, and 5 years experience then take a look at our mobile mechanic sign-up page.

Top 5 Tips For Becoming A Mobile Mechanic

Mobile mechanicMobile mechanics are becoming a growing trend in the UK auto repair industry, especially in the post-COVID era. Data suggests that there has been a 127% year-on-year rise in mobile mechanics taking out insurance for their sole traderships in 2021. Customers have come to appreciate the sheer ease and convenience of the service. Instead of waiting for a customer to get to the garage or workshop, mobile mechanics give them a more flexible solution and fix their cars right on their driveway.

Why become a mobile mechanic?

The two big advantages of being a mobile mechanic are independence and flexibility. Many mechanics have been able to combine their passion for repairing cars while enjoying the privilege of working for themselves by setting up their own mobile business. As the costs are relatively low compared to setting up a garage, this is a practical first step into launching a solo independent business.

In terms of flexibility, mobile mechanics are able to have a more flexible schedule most of the time as compared to working at a dealership or a bigger garage. They can decide how many days a week they’d like to work and also choose the type of jobs they want or do not want to do.

In terms of demand and profitability, that really depends on the amount and type of work taken and of course the marketing channels the mechanics choose to utilise to reach more customers.

Mobile mechanics on the ClickMechanic network can earn around up to £15,000 in additional revenue a month completing an average of 60 bookings per month via requests through the platform.

Getting started as a mobile mechanic

The work you enjoy doing and the tools

As a mobile mechanic you will be working for yourself or in the long run, even become a ‘boss’ with staff to manage. Even before you decide the name of your new company it is important to consider the type of work and jobs you enjoy doing.

Check what tools you have or what tools you may need to invest in to become a mobile mechanic. You already know that different jobs require different tools but this goes a step further when you’re on-site and not in the comfort of a garage or workshop. You may need to purchase special equipment to carry out certain jobs so ensure you take this into account before deciding what kinds of work you want to carry out as a mobile mechanic.

Few tools and equipment you may need to invest in include diagnostic equipment, additional hands tools, tool storage solutions, jacks and jack stands, and a big van with ample storage space.

The boring BUT very important paperwork

When just starting out as a mobile mechanic you’ll likely be classified as self-employed for tax-related purposes. Which? has an excellent guide that explains the expenses you can and can’t claim with HMRC when you’re self-employed. If you’re not sure about this, you can always check with your local council for more information and clarification.

You should also consider opening a business bank account to manage your business efficiently. Talk to a few banks before making a decision; different banks have different incentives available and are specially built to support small businesses.

All mobile mechanics should have a basic level of motor trade insurance in place since it is required by law. The minimum level of insurance required by law is designed to cover any damages caused to third parties in the case of an accident.

Every mechanic is different so the type of insurance covers can also differ. While thinking about an insurance cover, it is important to consider the following:

  • Insurance that covers customers vehicles for when you need to test drive them
  • The risk of being sued in relation to work you carry out
  • The value of goods, plant, machinery, stock and portable hand tools you store in your van
  • Including your own van as part of a motor trade road risks insurance

We have an extensive and helpful guide on insurance for mobile mechanics here.

Understand costs

Don’t undervalue yourself or the service you will be offering. Remember to consider overhead costs as well as operating costs such as the cost of fuel. Check out the rates of other mobile mechanics in the area; this will help you gauge and understand your hourly labour rate. Ask a friend or family member to phone local mechanics and get some quotes for some common jobs if you don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself.

There are numerous websites and businesses that offer trade discounts on car parts, tools and other supplies. Make sure you talk to a few before deciding on who you want to trade with. Pro-tip: joining an online platform like ClickMechanic (for free!) gives you access to heavy trade discounts with Euro Car Parts.

Most customers nowadays prefer paying by card, so ensure you have a payment system in place (that’s also cost-effective) to avoid the hassle of cash payments with customers. Using this website, may help you determine what is the best payment card system for your needs.

Marketing and getting your first customers

Creating a website or setting up a social media profile for your business is crucial to have an online identity. Make sure to include the services you offer and contact information. Customers also appreciate useful information so if you do have the time, you can also post some interesting car repair-related articles that will help your website or page get more visitors.

Setting up a Google My Business account is the best way for your business to show up in local searches and is also a good way to display reviews from customers. If you’re looking to do some offline marketing, you can always put up flyers in your local supermarket or community centres.

When you’re just starting to take a few jobs in the beginning, a mobile phone and a diary may do the trick but eventually, as you grow your business, you’ll appreciate the need to maintain your bookings and customer information on a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system. It’s also important you set up an invoicing and an accounting system to maintain and organise your records.

It can take a lot of work and can sometimes feel overwhelming to run an independent business especially when you’re just starting out, and this can pull you away from where you’d rather focus your time and effort on. Car repair platforms such as ClickMechanic aim to enhance the productivity of mobile mechanics and help save time by taking care of the admin, marketing, accounting, and getting more bookings so that you can focus on doing what you love – fixing cars.

Keep it professional

With your business all set up, remember that you represent your company and its image. Everything you do is a reflection of your work ethic and values as an independent business.

Ensure you have a clean van. If you have left any remnants from a job, make sure you clean them up after each job. Furthermore, you will minimise the amount of work you need to do when performing routine cleaning.

It’s also important to present yourself professionally. Ensure you’re wearing clean overalls when visiting a customer location. The work of a mechanic may be viewed as messy and greasy, but it does not have to be when they do mobile work.

ClickMechanic is looking for mobile mechanics to service the jobs that our millions of users are booking each year. If you are a mobile mechanic and have Motor Trade insurance, Public Liability insurance and 5 years experience then take a look at our mobile mechanic sign-up page.

What Insurance Do Mobile Mechanics Need?

Mobile mechanic with a vanSo you’ve decided to take your business from the workshop to the road. One of the first questions you may have is how easy is it to set up on your own and what insurance will you need?

When you’re a mobile mechanic, your vehicle and equipment are essential to your day-to-day work. Therefore, it’s imperative to make sure you’re properly covered. As a mobile mechanic, you’ll be spending a lot more time on the road than a trader with a fixed business premises. This means you’ll need a different insurance policy specially designed to cover you, your business, your customers’ vehicles and any claims made against you.

What is Mobile Mechanic Insurance?

The Mobile Mechanic insurance cover is designed for mechanics who don’t operate from a fixed location or workshop, but rather visit their clients’ premises, homes and workplaces on the road.

You will need adequate insurance coverage if you are a mechanic who operates from a van. The policies include all components of risk, such as vehicles you drive as well as those of clients, public and employers’ liability cover (a legal requirement if you have employees), as well as equipment coverage for mobile and fixed machinery and tools.

Anyone working within this field should have the proper insurance policy, regardless of whether they are full-time or part-time, work from home or even operate from a garage. The policy should be able to cover machinery, tools, and most importantly must cover you to drive customers’ cars for testing and diagnosing them. It’s important to remember that in the event of an accident in which you are driving either your vehicle or customers, your insurer will only payout to cover the third-party costs, leaving you out of pocket.

If you’re starting out as a mobile mechanic, it can be confusing and sometimes overwhelming with all the different terminology and policies available. It’s recommended to discuss all your options with your broker before making the final purchases.

What Should Mobile Mechanic Insurance Cover?

Every mechanic is different so the type of insurance covers can also differ. While thinking about an insurance cover, it is important to consider the following:

  • Insurance that covers customers vehicles for when you need to test drive them
  • The risk of being sued in relation to work you carry out
  • The value of goods, plant, machinery, stock and portable hand tools you store in your van
  • Including your own van as part of a motor trade road risks insurance

Types of Traders Cover Available

Road Risks Insurance

One thing that is inevitable is that accidents happen, so it’s crucial you are covered, both for yourself and your customers. As a mobile mechanic without a fixed business premise, Road Risks Insurance is an absolute must. It’s a given that you will have a customer’s vehicle in your care on a daily basis, therefore a Road Risks policy ensures you meet the minimum insurance requirements when the vehicle is your responsibility.

A Road Risks policy covers:

  • Named drivers only
  • Vehicles owned by the Policyholder or Policyholder’s spouse if they are a named driver. (Policyholder must have a Limited Company or Limited Partnership and the vehicles must be owned by the Ltd Co or LLP.)
  • Customers’ vehicles while they are your responsibility (motor trade use only).

Click this link for more information on Road Risks Insurance options from Road Runner

Liability Insurance

In addition to Road Risks, Liability Insurance is also worth considering for any mobile mechanic. Accidents can happen at any time, and you could be held responsible. A Liability policy from Road Runner will help ensure all mobile mechanics have the funds to defend or settle a claim made against you or your business.

Liability Insurance can cover many aspects – products, the public, defence costs associated with claims made against the mechanic and Employer’s Liability (compulsory in the majority of cases if you have employees). Road Runner also has the option to cover portable hand tools which are highly recommended for mobile mechanics.

For more information on Liability Insurance from Road Runner, click here

Why Do You Need Mobile Mechanic Insurance?

All mobile mechanics should have a basic level of motor trade insurance in place since it is required by law. The minimum level of insurance required by law is designed to cover any damages caused to third parties in the case of an accident.

Motor trade insurance covers you to drive both customer vehicles and company-owned vehicles. In addition, it covers potential risks associated with your field of business, such as accidental damages and issues resulting from faulty work. If you have employees, it is also a legal requirement to have Employers’ Liability insurance. Public liability insurance covers both you and your employees against claims made by customers and members of the public.

Where Can You Purchase Mobile Mechanic Insurance?

There are several websites available that can help you compare the cost and benefits of motor trade insurance based on your requirements. There are also comparison websites online that compare prices and quotes from different insurance companies and helps you understand which insurance policy may be right for you.

ClickMechanic has an exclusive partnership with Road Runner Motor Trade Insurance which means that if you’re a member of a ClicMechanic, you can receive two months of free insurance* with Road Runner. To redeem this offer, simply fill out your details on the form and a member of the Road Runner team will be in touch to discuss your motor trade insurance and help you choose the best policy to suit your needs and requirements.

How Much Does Mobile Mechanic Insurance Cost?

The cost can vary greatly, depending on both your personal circumstances and the unique needs of your business, so an average cost can be difficult to determine.

When calculating your premiums, most insurance providers take into account one or more of the following:

Age – if you are under the age of 25, you could expect to pay more for your insurance policy than an older, more experienced driver.

Claims history – The greater your claim history, the higher your premium will be.

The type of cover – The level of cover will also influence the price; choosing a more comprehensive level of cover will be more expensive but will leave you better covered against a claim.

Tools, equipment and your van – This can vary depending on the value of your van and how secure it is. For instance, parking your van with all your tools and equipment in a locked garage is more favourable to the insurer than parking it on the street.

Of course, any extras on top of this will also increase the overall cost of your insurance policy.

How Can You Save Money On Your Mobile Mechanic Insurance?

Pay annually

It is best if you pay your insurance in a lump sum at once instead of in monthly installments. Even though it might seem like a huge expense at the first instance, you won’t have to pay any additional administrative or interest charges saving you money in the long run.

Compare the market

There are several companies offering various types of cover with a variety of benefits. Our partnership with Road Runner Insurance gives ClickMechanic members two free months of free insurance on their policies. By choosing Road Runner, mobile mechanics have access to their online portal where mechanics can quote online, view policy documents including certificates at the touch of a button and have a dedicated team available to answer any insurance queries.

Secure your van and equipment

It will certainly help to lower your insurance premium if you take steps to make your van more secure. The best place for parking your van is on a driveway, or better yet, in a locked garage. Besides parking safely, you should also consider getting an alarm for your van if you don’t already have it.

Mobile Mechanic Insurance FAQs

I am only working part-time – do I need insurance?

Yes, you would still need insurance. If you are trading as a business and not a hobby then part-time cover may be best for your requirements as you can get a policy that covers you when you need it to. Traders’ insurance is quite expansive so make sure to check with your insurer about what policy is the best for you.

What type of cover is best for my business?

The most important type of cover you need as a mobile mechanic is for road risks. This insurance will cover your own vehicle as well as any vehicles you work on. It’s highly recommended you get public liability insurance as well as cover for your tools and equipment. If you have employees, it’s crucial to get the Employers’ Liability insurance as this will protect you against legal and compensation expenses from employee claims.

To join ClickMechanic, you will need Motor Trade insurance as well as Public Liability insurance. If you don’t have insurance we can help you acquire them.

ClickMechanic is looking for mobile mechanics to service the jobs that our millions of users are booking each year. If you are a mobile mechanic and have Motor Trade insurance, Public Liability insurance, and 5 years experience then take a look at our mobile mechanic sign-up page.

5 Ways You Can Save Fuel In Your Car

While there is no confirmation of an actual fuel shortage by the UK government officials, car owners across the country have started stocking up on fuel, leaving empty petrol stations and making it increasingly difficult to get hold of any fuel.

As car owners grow concerned about the fuel crisis and driver shortage, it’s worth looking at 5 ways you can save on fuel in your car.

Remove the unnecessary weight

When you have a boot full of things you don’t need, your car has to work harder to drive, resulting in it using more fuel. Remember to remove unnecessary items from the boot if you’re not going to need them on your journey. Similarly, roof racks, or anything else that adds weight, can be removed if they are not used regularly.

Check your tyres!

When you drive with tyres not inflated properly, you consume more fuel than you should. Refer to your user manual or look on the inside of your car door or fuel cap to determine the right pressure for your vehicle.

Tyre ratings can also make a difference to overall fuel efficiency in the long run. The first diagram in the tyre rating chart (below) refers to how much rolling resistance the tyre has when the wheels are turning. The best rating is an A grade and G, the worst. If you do not cover great distances, this shouldn’t greatly concern you, but if you do a lot of miles, then the difference in the efficiency of over 7% between A and G can mean a lot!

Tyres rating

Check the news and plan your route

Keep in mind to check the local news or listen for the latest updates on the radio about road closures and traffic jams causing long queues. This will help plan your route better and potentially save fuel.

Combine short trips

Whenever possible, consider making one trip rather than several short trips. A warm engine is much more efficient than a cold one. Lots of cold starts will most likely use more fuel even if the total mileage is the same.

Regular service and maintenance

Carrying out regular maintenance and servicing can help improve the efficiency of your vehicle and bring down fuel consumption. Even something as basic as having your oil changed as recommended for your vehicle can positively impact overall fuel economy.

Car servicing can be booked with ClickMechanic within seconds! To place a booking, head to our website and a trusted mechanic can carry out a service at your choice of time and date.

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What Car Repairs Can Mobile Mechanics Do?

Have you been in a situation where you needed to go to a garage to have your car repaired but didn’t have the time? Or maybe you were unable to drive the car at all? Mobile mechanics are extremely convenient since they come straight to you and are trained to fix a variety of car problems mobile.

Although certain car repairs require the vehicle to be on a ramp, most repairs can be done mobile as long as the vehicle is in a safe position and on solid ground.

Here are some popular repairs that can be carried out by mechanics right on your driveway:

Braking

Brakes

Most brake-related repairs can be done mobile including brake pads and discs, brake shoes, brake caliper replacement and brake hydraulic fluid change.

Servicing

Servicing

Mobile mechanics can also perform routine maintenance such as an oil change, an interim service, a full service or even a full-fledged major service.

Electrics

Electrics

Some jobs relating to the electrics of the car can also be done without the need of going into a workshop. Common repairs include battery replacement, alternator replacement and starter motor replacement.

Engine

Engine

Even engine related jobs can be carried out mobile like timing belt replacements or fan belt replacements. Jobs such as head gasket replacements and draining and replacing of the coolant or antifreeze can also be done on your driveway.

Steering & Suspension

Suspension

Some common steering and suspension mobile repairs include coil spring replacement,
power steering pump replacement and the replacing the steering rack.

So the next time you need your car fixed, you could actually have it repaired right outside your door with the help of ClickMechanic’s vast network of highly skilled mobile mechanics. And don’t worry, if the repair cannot be done mobile, we also offer free collection and delivery if the vehicle is driveable.

Simply enter your postcode and vehicle details to get an instant price for the service. A vetted mechanic can carry out the work at a location convenient to you and at a date and time of your choice.

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ClickMechanic selected as finalist in National Technology Awards 2021

National technology awards banner image

ClickMechanic is proud to announce that we have been shortlisted as finalists for Tech Growth Business of the Year at the National Technology Awards 2021. The National Technology Awards are the most comprehensive celebration of technology in the year, organised by National Technology News.

The National Technology Awards are the most comprehensive celebration of technology in the year, organised by National Technology News. Previous winners include the likes of Vodafone, Xero, Darktrace and Barclays. The awards are scheduled to take place on 29 September 2021.

We’re honoured to be judged by a distinguished panel of judges which include Nimisha Brahmbhatt, Founder and CEO, Quantum Global Consultants, David Price of Scala Advisors and Ed Turner, Chief Information Officer, Asendia UK.

“We’re really pleased to be finalists at the National Technology Awards this year. Despite the challenges of 2020, we’ve been able to grow from strength to strength and this would not have been possible without the perseverance of the entire team here at ClickMechanic,” said Andrew Jervis, CEO and co-founder of ClickMechanic.

Some of the other shortlisted companies in the category include Adverttu, BCN Group, Brightpearl, Bulb Energy, Coderus, Genba Digital, Huboo Technologies, Seccl and Tradeteq.

View the shortlist here.

Top 5 Easy Car Cleaning Hacks You Need To Know

Owning a car is an investment and besides the money spent on fuel and maintenance, we often forget to give our vehicles the love and attention it deserves. Regular upkeep of your car is key to maintaining its value. That doesn’t necessarily mean you need to spend a fortune.

We’ve tested simple household items that can double up as brilliant cleaning hacks for your car:

Baby Wipes

Baby Wipes

Baby wipes can be used in multiple ways to keep your car clean. They are gentle and are great for cleaning the dashboard and the glovebox. Baby wipes are great to clean bugs off the car windows and windscreen too. They’re super cheap too – you can get a pack for about 50p each. However, avoid using this on sensitive surfaces such as infotainment and display screens.

Slime

Slime

It can be really hard to clean nooks and crannies just by vacuuming. One way to clean those hard-to-reach places is using the hugely popular kids toy product called ‘slime’ – the weird gooey substance that kids are so fascinated with. You can roll the slime through crevices of the interior where dust and dirt accumulate. If you don’t have this at home, there are loads of different options available online and in stores, including dedicated cleaning gel versions.

Cotton Buds

Cotton buds

Cotton buds are a handy tool for cleaning and picking up built-up dirt and dust in crevices. For example, you can use cotton buds to clean out crevices around the dashboard or gear stick. They’re also great to clean the dashboard air vents – you’ll be surprised at how much dust and dirt can accumulate!

Vinegar

Vinegar

If your car has cloth seats, a DIY vinegar and water solution can be a life-saver! Mixing equal parts vinegar and warm water in a spray bottle can help to get rid of stains and dirt.

Car Trash Can

Car trash can

This is more of a preventative measure, but we thought this product deserved a special mention. There are small car trash cans on the market, designed to fit perfectly in your cup holder. It’s super handy and makes keeping your car clean of random food wrappers, receipts, and other small pieces of trash a lot easier! A wide variety of options are available on places like Amazon or eBay.

Do you have any cleaning hacks that you use to clean your car? Let us know @ClickMechanic and maybe we can do a part 2 on car cleaning hacks!

If you ever need help with your car, ClickMechanic provides repairs and servicing with a 1-year warranty on parts and repairs. All you need to do is tell us about your car and a vetted mechanic can carry out the work at a location convenient to you and at a date and time of your choice.

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Top 3 Car Repair Questions That People Ask Our Mechanics

With the many moving parts of a vehicle, come the numerous questions about car parts and repair. Our free consultation service allows customers to ask our team of expert mechanics for help diagnosing what is wrong with their vehicles.

Here are the most common enquiries our in-house mechanic team receives with a brief explanation of the problem:

‘I am losing water from the cooling system”

Coolant

The engine cooling system circulates coolant around the engine to keep the temperature down and circulates coolant through the car’s heating system. Over time leaks can develop in the system, which ought to be fixed as soon as possible.

What next? A major leak can generally be detected easily, however, if there is a gradual leak it will not be easily noticeable. In order to find the leak, the cooling system is topped up and then pressurised to force the coolant out of the failure point so it can be seen by the mechanic.

“I have an oil leak”

Oil leak

Oil leaks are very common on all engines as they get older. Seals become brittle, gaskets fail and parts crack, so it is almost inevitable that there will be a leak at some point over the lifetime of the vehicle.

What next? Locating the source of an oil leak is not always easy. Mechanics will need to clean down as much as possible before looking visually and using diagnostic cameras to see into hard-to-reach places. It is rare to find a problem with the actual head gasket, however, the rocker cover gasket and the sump gasket are the two most likely places to present a defect.

“My engine is over-revving when I accelerate”

Foot on pedal

Both manual and semi-automatic gearboxes have a clutch which together with the flywheel transfers the engine’s power into momentum. When the clutch doesn’t make solid contact with the flywheel, though, the engine speed increases but your speed will not, hence the over-revving effect you get when accelerating!

What next? The clutch will need to be replaced sooner rather than later. A worn clutch can damage the expensive dual mass flywheel (DMF), as fitted to most modern cars.

Do you have a problem with your car but are not sure where to start? Our excellent in-house mechanic trio Nigel, Stew, and Jack can help. Fill out and submit our technical assistance form.

Alternatively, you can also try our FREE diagnostics tool to identify what repairs might be needed for your vehicle.

5 Checks To Prepare Your Car For Long Distance Drive

If you’re going on a long-distance drive it’s worth doing a quick maintenance check-up to ensure your car is all good to go, and for you to stay safe on the road. Here are 5 quick checks you can do yourself which help make driving long distances safer and without worries:

1. Engine oil level check

The oil in your engine helps to keep your engine running smoothly which is exactly what we want on a long drive. The engine oil acts as a lubricant to ensure all the metal parts can slide past each other smoothly. It’s essential the oil level is checked regularly. It’s easily done by way of checking the oil dipstick in your engine bay. The oil level should be between the recommended minimum and maximum level indicated on the dipstick. Check our full guide here.

“Check your oil levels at least once per fortnight and before really long journeys” – Russell from Birmingham with 25+ Years Experience

2. Tyre pressure check

Manufacturers advise to periodically check the tyre pressure, as pressures will drop over time. Deflated tyres lead to bad handling and increased fuel consumption and on top of that, your tyres will wear out quicker.

Having the correct tyre pressure, therefore, can help to make your car safer to drive over long distances, and will also help you save money. To check the tyre pressure you could get a portable tyre inflator, but you could just as easily go to your local petrol station where a pressure tool will be available as well. Read our complete guide to tyre pressures here.

3. Wiper blade check

As we’re in the UK, sudden downpours are more than likely to happen when you’re on a long car journey. To ensure road visibility is not impaired by bad weather conditions it’s important your wipers are working properly. In particular, make sure your wiper blades are able to move smoothly across your windscreen. Worn wiper blades will struggle to clear all the rain, and will leave streaks on the windscreen. Over time, worn wiper blades can even damage your windscreen. Getting them replaced regularly is vital, especially if you’re going on a long drive.

4. Coolant level check

The coolant in your car helps to ensure that your engine doesn’t overheat. It’s vital to ensure the level of coolant in the car is right to prevent expensive repairs. The coolant reservoir is easily accessible in your engine bay. Check that the level is between ‘full’ and ‘low’ (or ‘min and ‘max’). If the coolant has dropped below the minimum level, make sure to top up with fresh coolant before you leave for your long journey.

Learn more about coolant and why it is important in our comprehensive guide to car fluid.

5. Light check

If you’re going on a long-distance drive make sure that all your lights are working properly. You can do so by checking that all lights are switching on and that the intensity of the light is right. It’s probably best to get someone to help with that as you test the headlights, brake lights, indicators, and fog lights.

Apart from that, also ensure that the headlight lens covers are clear. Over time dirt will build up and scratches will appear, which can lead to a weaker beam.

Additionally, staying refreshed and sane while you drive is important for your comfort and, more crucially, safety. Here are our best tips to stay safe on a long road trip:

Plot your course

Most people will simply pop their destination straight into their sat-nav. On the whole, this is a pretty bad idea if you have a run-of-the-mill sat-nav, the likelihood you’ll get stuck in heavy traffic or you may find you have to make hour-long diversions to a service station. Be smarter, by planning the route to include service stations and fuel stations, where you’ll have a safe place to stretch, eat and use the toilet facilities. You may even plan your route to run by landmarks like Stonehenge. On the day you should also be aware of weather conditions and occasionally check traffic reports of the route, something quite easy to do with Google maps.

Get a good night’s sleep

Getting drowsy when driving can be very dangerous. 2 seconds asleep could have you move over 100 metres at high speed. Make sure you get proper sleep, and a strong cup of coffee to leave you energised to drive. Avoid alcohol or other depressant drugs which can leave you hungover or tired, as this will impact your reaction speeds.

Take regular breaks

The UK Government advise that you take a short 15-minute break every two hours of driving. This is especially important during the night, where your eyes are increasingly strained and the orange lights lull you to sleep.

A break may mean a quick stretch, a bathroom stop, and a cup of coffee to keep you going. It’s important to stretch your legs, as you may find blood doesn’t flow very well whilst you’re parked in your seat.

Share the drive

Many drivers loathe this, especially with a new car, but sometimes you have to just do it for safety reasons. There are the times you have had maybe a tipple too much or are obviously drowsy when others aren’t. You may decide this before or midway through your drive but it’s important you only drive for a maximum of 8 hours a day.

Give yourself time

Rushing not only is bad for your miles per gallon but can also cause a serious accident. Enjoy a slightly more relaxed drive at 50mph, where your engine works best. Leave time for service stations and other pit stops along the way. You’ll be sure to enjoy this drive more than a race to the finish.

Dress comfortably

Your clothes and shoes should be appropriate for the weather and the car. Shorts or skirts can leave bare flesh against leather seats which is very uncomfortable. A winter jacket can quickly leave you in puddles since cars heat up a lot faster than you think. You may even want to apply and reapply sunblock to your skin that is exposed to the sun. The front windscreen is usually not protected against UV rays, so make sure to get some good quality sunscreen!

Eat small but drink plenty (not alcohol!)

Heavy meals mean heavy trips to the toilet, and as you will know public toilets are never nice. Fast food can also upset your system, especially if the food comes from a side of the road seafood stand. Unfortunately, we do encourage you to drink plenty as this usually keeps you alert, and hydrated. The sun and the heat of the car can leave you a bit exhausted, this is usually due to dehydration. It may mean you’ll have to visit the service station toilets a bit more often, sorry ladies.

Crank up the AC or crack open a window

Fresh air is essential to staying awake and alert. It may even protect you from a faulty boot, which can leak exhaust fumes into the car. Fresh air also helps you feel refreshed, which helps to keep you comfortable in the process.

Pack an emergency kit

Emergency kits are vital to any car journey. They don’t take up much room but can save lives or keep you on the road when you otherwise might have been taken off. They will usually contain:

• a first aid kit
• puncture repair kit
• some spare fuses and bulbs
• a foot pump
• a pressure gauge
• some engine oil
• some snack bars
• a bottle of water
• and some blankets for the winter

Keep yourself entertained

Long journeys can be tedious and a droning BBC Radio 4 might not help that. A novel solution to car boredom is to get a lot of language learning audio or interactive audiobooks. These can be easily accessed online and plugged straight into your car for surround sound learning or adventure. It kills the time quite well whilst also being quite a pleasant and active experience.

Happy driving!

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