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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5 New Year’s Resolutions for Motorists in 2018

The New Year is finally here and with its arrival comes the vowing of countless New Year resolutions from across the country. From leading a healthier lifestyle to breaking bad habits, Brits will be trying to make all sorts of changes for the better. As such, we felt it more than fitting to find the top 5 New Year’s resolutions for UK drivers. Read on to see how much of a difference can be made from behind the wheel this year.

Andrew Jervis, Co-Founder of ClickMechanic, said: “These resolutions can make a significant difference in terms of saving money, emissions and, most importantly, lives. Be sure to stick to them for the best start to 2018!”

1. Slow Down

The majority of motorists recognise the dangers of speeding, yet few realise the full benefits of slowing down. It’s not only safer, but more cost effective for the driver as well – particularly if travelling on the motorway. Most cars are designed to drive at an optimum speed of about 55mph, which means driving any faster will cost more and generate additional emissions.

As such, driving at an average speed of 80mph on the motorway, as opposed to 60mph, will cost the motorist an additional £3000 in fuel over a lifetime and generate an elephant’s weight in carbon emissions on top of that. Not to mention, any speeding fines are going to add to this cost too!

2. Put Down the Phone

Any habits which distract the driver from the road should be broken immediately, including the handling of smartphones. Even if the driver is merely using the phone to control the music, or program directions into the map, this should never be done whilst driving if it involves handling it.

Being distracted for even a fraction of a second can cause a serious accident, and whilst many are aware of its being a crime, countless motorists are still caught with their phone in their hand. In fact, the DVLA reported that almost 16,000 drivers received points on their licence for using a mobile phone between March and August last year.

3. Take Care of Your Car

Many motorists will avoid car maintenance, including the most basic self-check-ups, and will only address any needs once it turns into a problem. Simple routine inspections, such as checking the tyre pressure, the oil level and the lights, can easily save drivers from an expensive bill down the line.

However, countless drivers still neglect to examine their car and ensure it’s in full-working order. In fact, our recent research found that 1 in 5 drivers ignore their manufacturer’s recommended schedule, whilst 3 in 10 will wait for up to two weeks or more before dealing with a check engine light. Offering a vehicle more care and attention can only save money over time and extend its life.

4. Don’t Idle with Your Engine Running

Another great habit to break this year is idling with the engine running. The awareness and discouraging of this habit has risen recently, particularly in London; motorists will now be fined £80 fine if caught idling in Central London, and the City of Westminster introduced a #DontBeIdle pledge to reinforce the capital’s commitment to improving air quality. Not to mention, leaving the engine running is technically illegal; according to Rule 123 of The Highway Code, ‘You must not leave a vehicle engine running unnecessarily while that vehicle is stationary on a public road.’

Despite this, countless drivers are still guilty of this habit on a daily basis, particularly during the school run. Indeed, idling for 10 minutes with the engine running on every school day will equate to 1,520m³ of excess fumes a year, which is enough to fill two Jumbo Jets. Even 5 minutes of idling will fill an additional 23 shipping containers with fumes per year!

5. Take a Break

One of our recent surveys found that half of UK motorists will only take a break after 3 hours of driving. This is a worrying statistic considering that the Highway Code recommends a minimum respite of 15 minutes after just 2 hours on the road.

Taking regular breaks when travelling long-distance is imperative as the driver will inevitably grow tired, affecting their awareness and increasing the chances of collisions. Even if it’s just pausing to stretch the legs; it’s an opportunity to take a break from the road and refresh. So, as well as vowing to be more active this year, remember to take some healthy breaks too!

The Top 7 Gifts for Every Car Lover This Christmas!

Christmas is now less than a month away and, if you haven’t already, it’s time to make a start on the present shopping. This grows trickier and usually more daunting every year, however, fear not if you’re looking to buy for an obvious car enthusiast; we have scoured the market to find the best ideas for you. Read on to find the top 7 gifts to suit every car lover this Christmas!

Andrew Jervis, Co-Founder of ClickMechanic, said: “The traditional car experience packages are still a safe option, however, the below gift ideas are bound to impress any true car enthusiast. There’s a present to suit every taste and price range!”

1. Midi Bonnie Car – Playforever

This retro-inspired toy will actually suit car lovers of all ages. Its robust build means it can withstand even the most unforgiving of playtimes and it can also feature as a decorative piece for vintage fans. It’s available in multiple colours and the range offers several shapes and styles including a motorbike with a sidecar and even an aeroplane.

If you recognise the design, it may be because Playforever has also recently partnered with Hugo Boss to create a collaborative collection, including an inspired clothing line. You can even see the toy cars dotted throughout Hugo Boss stores!

The Midi Bonnie Car is available from Playforever from £38.

2. Tim Layzell Artwork

Why not offer your loved one a little motorist culture this Christmas? Tim Layzell has become a renowned motoring artist and sells an array of originals as well as prints. His work features alternative art styles including his own ‘pop art’ take on races as well as a range of ‘realism’ styled pieces which are designed to reflect the motoring world in the 50’s and 60’s.

These paintings would make a brilliant addition to any car enthusiast’s art collection or it would be a fantastic start for one!

Tim Layzell’s artwork is available from his own website. Originals are priced on request and prints start from £75.

3. Garmin – DriveAssist

The Garmin DriveAssist is unique in that it combines a sat nav with a dashcam. This useful piece of tech offers numerous smart features including advanced camera-assisted driver alerts and real-time services, such as live parking and weather. If you are unfortunate enough to be involved in a collision, on impact, the camera will automatically save all recorded footage and can even text a contact to alert them of the incident. Such a gift will bring any driver added security and peace of mind.

The Garmin DriveAssist 51 is available from Garmin for £309.99.

4. Chocolate Tool Kit

You can never really go wrong with chocolate, especially if it has a personal twist! This chocolate tool kit is bound to please any keen mechanic or engineer. The set comes complete with two spanners, a pair of pliers, a drill bit, nut, bolt, and washer. The parts look so real, it will almost be a shame to eat them… almost.

The Chocolate Tool Kit is available from Not on the High Street for £25.50.

5. Classic Car Parts Chess Set

If you’re looking for a truly unique gift and the price is no object, then look no further! The Classic Car Parts Chess Set combines luxury with sophistication; the steel and alloy pieces are handcrafted using recycled parts from Aston Martin, Range Rover, and Lotus vehicles.

Made in the United States, the chessboard itself is also handcrafted and the set comes with a signed certificate of authenticity. It is an elegant gift for any keen motorist, to say the least.

The Classic Car Parts Chess Set is available from Me and My Car for £1,500.

6. Micro Scalextric Set – James Bond

A classic gift for racers of all ages! Scalextric has always been a popular game to challenge friends and family to, and the modifiable track really does make each race different from the last. On top of this, Scalextric also offer themed cars and sets to suit all kinds of motoring tastes including Formula One, Touring Cars and, our choice, James Bond.

This set would be perfect for any competitive Bond fan; it includes a classic Aston Martin DB5 and an Aston Martin DBS. Being of the Micro range, it would also suit the younger racers and take up less space than the standard sets.

The James Bond Micro Scalextric set is available from Scalextric for £55.99.

7. Home Charging Station

Whilst a home charging station does not sound like a traditional Christmas present, if you’re buying for someone who uses an electric vehicle, it will certainly be a useful addition to the house. Using a home charging station will charge the car much quicker (30-60% quicker according to Energy Saving Trust), and it is safer to use than a regular plug socket.

It sounds pricey, however, the OLEV is currently offering an Electric Vehicle Homecharge Scheme which offers applicants grant funding to cover up to 75% of the cost to install one. It’s certainly a convenient gift for any green driver.

Home Charging Stations are available from Franklin Energy from £299 + VAT.

 

UK Drivers Are More Likely to Have an Accident Driving Home from Work in the Evening Than First Thing in the Morning

We have analysed the latest figures from the Department for Transport and can reveal that UK drivers are more likely to have a car accident when driving home at peak time in the weekday evenings, than driving in the mornings.

In fact, the figures for all recorded causalities in 2016 show that 5-6pm on weekdays is when UK drivers have the highest chance of an incident occurring, as 7,150 accidents were reported during this time. This is followed by 4-5pm on weekdays with 6,612 incidents, after which 8-9am is most likely with 6,024 car accidents. The afternoon school run then ranks 4th with 5,814 incidents occurring between 3-4pm over 2016, after which the evening peak time of 6-7pm places 5th with 5,657 recorded accidents. The remaining morning hours of 9-10am (3,978 incidents) and 7-8am (3,678 incidents) then rank at the lower-end of the table.

Looking at the weekends, car accidents have a slightly higher chance of occurring on a Saturday than a Sunday, though not as likely as the weekdays. 2016’s figures show most incidents are occurring between 11am and 6pm on both days with Saturday peaking between 1-2pm with 1,246 reported accidents. Whereas Sunday drivers are more likely to face an incident between 2-3pm, as 1,109 accidents were recorded in 2016.

Interestingly, the seasons have little effect on the number of accidents which are spread out fairly evenly across the months of 2016. There is a slight increase in some of the winter months, however January (9,276), August (9,249) and November (9,200) have the highest number of road accidents. The slight increase in accidents during the winter may be a result of the shorter, darker days and potential ice on the road. Whereas the increase in August could be a result of the summer holidays and drivers attempting to travel on new roads.

Andrew Jervis, Co-Founder of ClickMechanic, said: “We must take care and stay alert as we drive, particularly during the peak travelling times as there is more traffic and a higher chance of an incident occurring. The fact that drivers are having more accidents in the evenings implies that they are tired after a day’s work and are perhaps eager to get home, resulting in them being more careless on the roads. With the winter months and the shorter days coming up, all UK drivers must ensure that they make every effort to drive safely and take their time during their commutes.”