4 easy steps to defrost your car windscreen

A recent TikTok video went viral showing a person using boiling water in a bag to defrost a windscreen. While this may seem like a quick hack, it can prove to be dangerous and may lead to cracking of the windscreen.

So before you make that essential trip to stock up on some groceries, here are some helpful tips to safely defrost your windscreen:

  1. Before starting your vehicle make sure your wipers are turned off, as they may be stuck to the windscreen
  2. Start up the engine and use the interior heater blower to warm up the windscreen from inside, it will help to slowly but safely defrost the windscreen. If you have them, also turn on the rear window heater and heated mirrors to help defrost the rear window and mirrors.
  3. Clear any snow off your car with a soft brush, then use an ice scraper and de-icer to remove the frost from the windscreen and windows on the outside as the heater warms up the windows from the inside.
  4. Wait until all the frost and mist has cleared before setting off.

And remember:

  • Avoid using any sharp objects such as credit cards to remove the frost which could cause damage to the glass. Always keep a dedicated car ice scraper to de-ice! Do NOT use hot or boiling water to defrost your windscreen or windows, it could crack the glass!
  • If you know you’re going to use the car the next day on a cold night, cover the windscreen with a dedicated windscreen frost protector.
  • Do not leave your car running unattended to keep your car safe from thieves.

If you have any concern that there may be something wrong with your car, then our in-house mechanic team can help. Submit our technical assistance form with a brief description of the problem and your details.

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Do you have these winter essentials in your car?

You’ve probably brought out your favourite pair of gloves and your best winter hat but what about your car? With a drop in temperature, you and your car need a bit of extra care during winters too. Here are a few winter essentials you should consider keeping in your car during winter:

  • Ice scraper:
    This one’s a must-have! Even in temperatures above freezing, the surface of your car can develop frost. With an ice scraper, it’s important to clear the windscreen thoroughly before driving to aid visibility. Also, it should help ensure your wipers don’t wear out quickly. Keeping a snow brush handy is a good idea, too.
  • Screenwash:
    It’s worthwhile checking and replacing your screenwash if needed – this acts as an antifreeze agent for the wash wipe system. If there are frosty conditions then de-icing the windows is the first thing to do before setting off. Keeping your windows clean whilst driving is the second step. To do that it is worth ensuring your screenwash is topped up.
  • Power bank charger:
    You don’t want to be left stranded without a working phone! Ideally, you’ll always have a car charger handy, but having a power bank in your car is beneficial in case you can’t use the USB or charging port.
  • Water and non-perishable snacks:
    It’s always a good idea to keep some snacks in your car. Especially during unpredictable weather conditions that might cause a delay.
  • Warm blanket:
    Temperatures this time of year can drop below freezing so it’s smart to store a blanket in the boot, especially if you’re planning long trips. In the event your car breaks down, you have something to keep you warm until help arrives.

If you’re unsure your car is ready for winter conditions then get a Vehicle Health Check or a Service to get your car ready for the weather coming up. Checking the battery, fluids, wipers and tyres is critical during these colder months of the year.

If you want to book a serviceit’s super simple; select your car, fill in your postcode and we’ll provide you with an instant price.

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Should you panic if your engine warning light is on?

Header image for blogYou’ve probably seen the engine warning light, commonly known as ‘check engine light’, light up on your dashboard on at least one occasion. So what next? More often than not, you don’t need to panic, but it is definitely a sign to get your car checked.

 

What is the Engine Management Light (EML) and why is it there?

Think of your car as a computer on wheels – running complex technology to ensure you have a smooth and safe driving experience. The EML light is connected to the Engine Control Unit (ECU) to alert you if there are any issues with the engine efficiency of your car.

Is it safe to continue driving your car if the warning light is on?

If the light comes on while you are driving, the best thing to do is pull over when it is safe to do so. Whilst the majority of engine management warning lights will not mean an immediate repair is required, should you decide to continue on with your journey, you need to exercise caution in doing so. You may find that your car has limited performance, generally referred to as “limp home mode” which allows you enough power to get to a safe location. Make sure to get any issues checked by a professional as soon as possible as it could lead to more serious and expensive damage to your car.

What happens during an EML diagnostic?

The mechanic will go through the diagnostic error codes and read live data to pinpoint the cause(s) of the warning light. If it is an intermittent fault they may be able to extinguish the light, clear the error code and it will not return. If the cause of the issue requires additional work and parts, the mechanic will provide you with a quotation and a detailed description of the fault(s).

If you are not sure what is wrong with your car, then our in-house mechanic team can help. Submit our technical assistance form with a brief description of the problem and your details.

If you want to book a diagnostic inspection, it’s super simple; just tell us about your car and fill in your postcode and we’ll provide you with an instant price.

 

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Top Tips For Travelling By Car This Summer

How to get ready for summer travel

2020 has been a rollercoaster year so far. But the summer isn’t over yet and most of us are still trying to make the most of it. With many international travel restrictions still in effect, summer travel this year will be very different for many of us. Domestic travel by road this summer is looking like a great option to consider.

Before you head off for a road trip, here are some top tips to keep in mind:

Pre-Travel

  • Packing up all your summer road trip essentials
    Besides your favourite summer hat, make sure you pack things that will come in handy. Some essentials include a roadside emergency kit and first aid kit, reusable bottles of water and snacks, sunscreen and most importantly a playlist that includes all your favourite road trip sing-alongs.
  • Is your car ready for a summer road trip? 
    If your vehicle hasn’t been used to any great extent recently, it is recommended to do a thorough checkup of your vehicle in advance and get any issues fixed prior to traveling. Check our 6 car checks you can do yourself here.
  • COVID-19 precautions you can take
    Once you decide your destination, do your research about local guidelines and policies. Some beaches and tourist locations have rules in place to ensure the safety of both the locals as well as tourists.Along with the mandated face mask, it’s advisable to carry sufficient hand sanitiser, disinfectant wipes and sprays.

During Your Travel

  • Social Distancing
    With COVID-19 still being a significant threat to our health, it’s important to maintain social distancing especially at high touchpoint areas such as petrol stations, garages or even convenience stores.
  • Sanitising
    Use that hand sanitiser you carried if you come in contact with any public space. When you re-enter or exit your vehicle, it is advisable to sanitise or wash your hands for 20 seconds whenever possible.
  • Eating out
    If you are to dining out, make sure you double down on the preventative measures and take all the precautions needed to protect yourself and the people you interact with. The government has provided more guidance for your journey here.

Once You’re back home

  • Clean Up
    Or even better, do a deep clean! Make sure you separate your clothes for laundry and hop into the shower. Disinfect your car and any other surfaces such as luggage, picnic baskets, coolers, etc.

At ClickMechanic, we offer contact-free car servicing & repairs to help keep customers and mechanics safe. If you are concerned that your vehicle may not be ready to drive or if you are not sure what is wrong with your car then place a booking online for our 28-point Vehicle Health Check.

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Contact-Free Car Care: Everything We Offer at ClickMechanic

At Clickmechanic one thing most of our customers have in common is that they normally have an amazing experience leading to our excellent 4.7 out of 5 ratings on Trustpilot. Right from the start, with every booking, we’ve improved the booking experience and continue to add more services to cater to a wide variety of car care needs.

Any booking placed through ClickMechanic remains “contact-free”, to aid with the government recommended social distancing. Here’s what ClickMechanic can do for you to keep you on the road and moving:

Repairs

Whether you need a new clutch, cambelt, battery or brake pads, our quoting engine will give you an instant upfront price based on industry standard data. Simply place your booking online and opt for a vetted mechanic to come to you to do the work at your home or collect & deliver the car for free.

Diagnose and fix

Car won’t start? Unusual noises from your car? As we understand that sometimes it’s difficult to determine what is wrong with your vehicle we’d recommend booking a FREE phone consultation with one of our experienced in-house mechanics. 70% of issues can be diagnosed over the phone, so you can get booked in for the required repair. Alternatively, you can book a diagnostic inspection on our site.

Servicing & MOT

MOTs due on or after 1 August will once again be mandatory in England, Wales and Scotland, when the government’s 6-month MOT extension scheme comes to an end. Book your MOT with collection and delivery for only £25 when you book a service at the same time.

Tyre Fitting

Checking tyre tread depth periodically and ensuring the legal minimum depth has not been exceeded can help you stay safe and avoid hefty fines (up to £2500 per tyre!). If your tyres do need replacing, we can help with a tyre fitting service at home to get your car’s tyres replaced right on your driveway!

Pre-purchase inspections

As 1 in 6 used cars needs over £500 in repairs, getting a car checked over by a mechanic prior to buying can give the all-important peace of mind that you are not buying a dud. We can help you buy a used car with confidence, book a vetted mechanic to carry out a mechanical inspection at the seller’s location, starting from only £49.74. Three inspection levels are available to suit your needs:

  • Basic – 72-point inspection
  • Standard – 105-point inspection
  • Premium – 143-point inspection

If you are concerned that your vehicle may have become unsafe, unreliable or something has happened to it, book a FREE phone consultation with one of our experienced in-house mechanics or place a booking online for our contact-free mobile mechanic service.

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Con-fused? What To Do When Your Car Blows A Fuse

At some point, you’ve probably heard someone mention that their car has ‘blown a fuse’, the reasons why can often be mystifying. This week we’ll break down what fuses do in a car and how you can best deal with a blown fuse.

Fuses are an integral part of a car’s electrical system, and help protect the various electrical components fitted to your car. With cars becoming ever more complex electrically, however, the number of fuses used has also increased. With this has come more confusion over which fuse could have blown and why.

Fuses – What Do They Do And What To Do If They Fail

  • How does a fuse work?
    The main part of a fuse is a thin wire or metal strip designed to melt at an electrical current draw slightly over the standard draw of the electrical component(s) and wiring it is protecting. When this metal strip or wire melts, it does so very quickly, which is why you can see them flash and pop, hence the term ‘blown’.
  • How do I know a fuse has blown?
    The first obvious sign is that the equipment you were trying to use, no longer works. You may also find that a few other items may not work either and that is a very clear indication of a fuse being blown. Many circuits use the same fuse to protect them, so for instance, if your radio, interior light and electric mirrors no longer work, it could be the fuse that covers them.
  • How do I find out which fuse has blown?
    The best place to start is your vehicle’s handbook, if you still have it. There will be a section on the fuses and what they cover. It will also tell you the location of the fuse box and also, more importantly, which fuse it is! Most fuses will be colour coded. The most common ones are 5A orange, 10A red, 20A yellow and 30A green. When you pull out the fuse, you should be able to see if it has blown by the broken strip or even a blackened burn mark where it has burnt.
  • Do’s and Don’ts
    • Only replace a fuse when the equipment, and ideally the ignition, is switched off.
    • If there are a number of items that are protected by one fuse, only switch them on one by one. Otherwise, if it blows a second time, you will not know what item is causing it.
    • Never replace a fuse with a higher rating than the one you are replacing. Equipment may be damaged, or in the worst-case scenario, the wiring loom can melt instead which can cause a fire!

If you are unsure what is wrong with your car’s electrics or need help finding out why a fuse keeps blowing, then book a FREE phone consultation with one of our experienced in-house mechanics or place a booking online for a diagnostic inspection.

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How To Keep Your Car Safe And Ready To Drive

As we’re sure you’ll be aware, to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 the government has asked everyone to stay home for all but essential travel. That means using your car only for the most essential journeys like shopping for basic necessities, attending to medical needs or, if you cannot work from home, travelling to and from work.

As a consequence of this, your car may move a lot less than usual, or potentially not move at all. Like humans, cars do not cope well with being left alone. They seize up, go flat and will moan and groan when they do have to move again.

So we decided to pull together 5 essential tips to help keep your car in good shape and ready for when you need it.

5 Tips To Keep Your Vehicle Safe And Ready

Battery & Electrics

If your vehicle isn’t started periodically then the battery is likely to go flat. Despite being switched off, certain circuits like the alarm and immobiliser do take a trickle of power, and can drain the battery over time.

So, to keep your battery in good shape, once a week at least, start the engine and let it run up to temperature to give the battery a boost.

Engine

To prolong the life of your engine and reduce the chance of seizure start the engine on a weekly basis. By starting the engine, you will give the oil a chance to warm up and run around the internal components and lubricate them.

It also gives the drive belts a chance to move their position against pulleys, tensioners and guides. If you don’t do this, the belts can become weakened at the constant pressure points.

The engine coolant will also get to circulate and as it also includes a rust inhibitor it will dilute any condensation and refresh the system. Once started, all the other items such as your alternator and water pump will self lubricate their bearings, once again prolonging their life and reducing the chance of seizure.

Wheels & Tyres

If a vehicle is left standing for a period of time, the sidewalls of the tyre in that one position will take all the strain. Moving the car forwards or backwards by just half a wheel turn will shift the pressure point.

This is also a good time to check your tyre pressures as under-inflation will cause further damage to the sidewall and may even render the tyre dangerous.

Suspension

Just like our joints, your car’s suspension needs to be kept supple. We are not suggesting going out for a drive but a little bit of movement can make all the difference! Even just sitting in the car will move a lot of the components enough to prevent most issues. You would be surprised by the amount of springs that break when a car is left stationary for a long period!

Brakes

When you give your car its weekly warm up, dab the brakes a few times and while your feet are down there, give the clutch pedal a bit of exercise as well if it’s a manual!

If you don’t drive your vehicle, inevitably your brake discs will gain a coating of rust. This is quite normal and in most cases once the car is moving and the brakes applied a few times, this will clean off. It may be a bit noisy to start with, but it’s ok!

And finally, don’t leave the parking brake on unless really necessary!

If you leave your parking brake on for a long period, it is highly likely it will “stick on”. So although you released the handle, the brakes are still applied. You will feel the car try and move but it may drag the wheel(s) or rise up and not budge! To prevent this, leave the car in gear and release the handbrake if it is a manual, or simply leave it in P on an automatic.

If you do forget and it sticks on, do not under any circumstances simply try and keep driving it to release it as you can damage the brakes. Book a mechanic to come out and do it safely.

If you are concerned that your vehicle may have become unsafe, unreliable or something has happened to it, book a FREE phone consultation with one of our experienced in-house mechanics or you can use our new contact-free service to place a booking.

Catalytic converter theft and how to prevent it

Your catalytic converter, the part in your exhaust system which turns toxic emissions into less harmful substances, contains this precious metal palladium. With the rising prices for valuable metals like this one, the numbers for catalytic converter theft are also currently rising. Here are some tips on how to prevent and slow down thieves dismantling your car:

Prevent catalytic converter theft by:

  • Parking closer to walls, other vehicles or close to the kerb, to make climbing under your car more difficult.
  • Marking the catalytic converter with an engraved serial number can allow easier tracing as well making it harder to sell.
  • Welding the bolts if the converter is bolted on. This does not stop thieves but makes it harder to remove the converter using only a spanner. The downside to consider is that it not only makes it harder for thieves but also mechanics when they are working on your exhaust system.
  • Get a protective cover fitted to make it more difficult for thieves to remove the converter.
  • Get a catalytic converter alarm that is set off when the catalytic converter is tempered with.
  • Increased security measures, e.g. if possible park in a lockable garage, fencing, park in well-lit areas or CCTV.

What to do if the catalytic converter has been stolen?

In the case when your catalytic converter has been stolen, additional damage might have been caused to the exhaust system. As the converter is removed by force, the act of removal can have damaged surrounding parts as well. This means that you will need to have a mechanic take a thorough look at the exhaust system to determine the extent if other parts of the system have to be replaced as well.

In these cases, our in-house mechanics can help advise you to get your vehicle fixed.

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Happy driving!

How to clean a car’s windscreen scuttle water drains?

As you drive the car, the car collects dirt and debris in all kinds of nooks and crannies. Usually a bit of dirt won’t affect the car’s functionality, it only ruins the looks of your car. In some cases though it can be that dirt prevents parts of the car working properly. Take, for example, water leaks which usually come about due to inadequate drainage of water in wet weather conditions. A common drainage problem usually occurs at the drain holes just under the windscreen.

How does it happen?

Dirt (like sand, decomposing leaves and so on) can block the drain holes preventing water to clear from the plastic windscreen scuttle (or cowl) underneath the car’s windscreen. If, added to that, the seals around this area are not in a good shape it can be that water drips into the passenger compartment, in many cases it will run into the footwell. If not addressed, the affected areas can ultimately start to corrode leading to further, more expensive repairs.

INSTANT QUOTE

Prevention?

Thankfully, preventing the drains from clogging up is super simple. It just takes you, your hands and some regular effort. With other words you ought to make sure the scuttle is clear of leaves and sludge whenever possible, to reduce the chance a drain clogs up. Especially because water drains are not usually cleaned at regular services. Remember to raise this at your next service with your mechanic too. The drains and scuttle should be cleared of any dirt and debris at your next service. Of course, if you can, do remember to clean the scuttle of leaves and dirt yourself daily.

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How to clean?

Should you be so unlucky to already have a blocked drain hole, then try following the following to clean the drains:

  • Accessing the drain holes depends on your car, in some cases it might mean that you would have to remove the windscreen wipers and scuttle.
  • Once having gained access to a drain hole it can usually be cleaned with a flexible wire and flushed with warm water.
  • Seek professional advice if you find that the water still does not drain correctly or if water still leaks into the passenger compartment.
  • Done!

The nitty-gritty?

Don’t forget that every car is a little different and might need a different approach to unclog the drain holes than the one presented here. Seek professional advice if you find that water has seeped through to other areas, risking corrosion of underlying components. Especially, as water leaks around the windscreen are not necessarily down to clogged drain holes (in this case consider one of our other guides).

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