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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What’s your 2021 resolution?

From healthier eating to breaking bad habits, you probably have some new year resolutions in mind for 2021. We’ve put together a top 5 of resolutions you can make to keep your car in great condition.

Top 5 New Year Resolutions For Motorists

  • Driving economically
    You’re aware of the dangers of speeding, but did you know that slowing down is 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 have an increasing impact on fuel consumption and generate additional emissions.
  • Give your car a good clean
    Keep your car as clean as you’d keep your home. Road salt, for example, can cause corrosion across the outside of your car whilst leaving old food items in your car is never a good idea. Try to clean your car at least once a month to help keep it in good shape.
  • Take a break
    The Highway Code recommends that drivers should take a 15-minute break every two hours. Even if it’s just pausing to stretch the legs; it’s an opportunity to take a break from the road and refresh.
  • Checking your tyres
    Tyres are what keep your car rolling, literally. Make sure you check tyre pressure and tyre tread to avoid damage to your car. Here’s a helpful guide to tyre pressure.
  • Stick to your service schedule
    Keeping on top of your car’s servicing schedule can help you avoid any potential repairs and breakdowns. Also, if you’re thinking about selling your car in the future, buyers will feel more confident buying a car that’s been well maintained with documented service checks.

Have you made a resolution for your car yet? What are your car goals for 2021? Let us know by tweeting to us @clickmechanic

All our mechanics follow contact-free booking procedures, so if you want to book a service, it’s super simple; select your car, fill in your postcode and we’ll provide you with an instant price.

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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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New car on your mind? Consider a classic!

Now that dealerships are back open, there are some unbelievable deals on new vehicles in the market. Whilst we all dream of selecting an ideal car, choosing the colour, the trim and accessories, have you ever thought of a more exciting vehicle, one that doesn’t depreciate like a stone as soon as it drives off the forecourt? One that doesn’t lose up to 20% of its value every year?

Our Mechanic in Residence at ClickMechanic, Nigel, who has owned classic Jaguars and Alfa Romeos, takes a look at the alternatives to buying a new car.

New Mini v Classic Mini

  • New Mini
    The cheapest new Mini is £16,200 on the road. This gets you the 3 door hatch one, with a 1.5, 3 cylinder engine. This vehicle is estimated to be worth £12k in three years.
  • Classic Mini
    A 2000, classic Mini Cooper Sport with just 18,000 miles in British Racing Green for the same money. These cars are gaining in value more and more, so look after it and it is likely to rise in value.

Jaguar XF v Jaguar Mk II

  • Jaguar XF
    A new introduction level Jaguar XF will cost you in the region of £35k. With an estimated depreciation of 40% over three years, that means you could lose £14,000 in that time.
  • Jaguar MkII
    A 1960s Jaguar MKII 3.8 in Old English White. Just think of glinting chrome work, the wire wheels and driving up the gravelled drive of a National Trust mansion with your wicker picnic basket in the back. (Just don’t get a red one or you will forever be called Inspector Morse!)

VW Golf MK8 v VW Golf MK1

  • VW Golf MK8
    The ever popular Golf in its latest incarnation starts at just over £20k for the base model, the epitome of average!
  • VW Golf MK1
    OK, this one is trickier! So I am going to opt for a double purchase. A MK1 Golf GTi AND a MK1 Golf Cabriolet for when the sun comes out! Scruff of the neck fun on one hand and probably one of the prettiest average car drop tops made. Both are holding their value well and certainly won’t lose you money.

So, what else?

What would £20k get you? How about a 1993 Rolls Royce Silver Spirit II in Brooklands Green, perhaps a TVR Chimera 5.0 in stunning yellow, maybe an awesome Mercedes CL600 5.5? The choices are endless and with networks of owners clubs, readily available spares and advice – what’s not to like about the idea?


If buying a second-hand car, it’s always best to have a professional check over the car. ClickMechanic can help with a Contact-Free Pre-Purchase Inspection, book yours here today.

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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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Choosing Car Tyres – Tread Carefully

For most of us, car tyres are an expense we could do without. They usually require replacing at the most inconvenient time and therefore we either look for the cheapest deal or go with whatever the garage has offered you.

However, tyres can make a difference in how your car handles as well as your car’s fuel consumption so it’s worth considering the different options available. Here’s how to find the best tyre for your car and budget.

Tyre Ratings

Tyre ratings, as presented in the tyre label above, can help you make an informed choice to suit your needs. There are three components to the label:

Fuel Efficiency

The first diagram 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! 

Wet Grip

This is THE important one! Wet weather conditions can adversely affect stopping distances of a car. The wet grip score on the tyre label is an indicator of how well a tyre performs when braking in the wet. An A graded tyre can mean a stopping distance of almost 20 meters shorter than a G rated one. That is at least two cars in distance.

What it also means though is that your car is more likely to lock up the brakes under heavy braking sooner with a G rated tyre as opposed to an A-rated tyre. If your car doesn’t have an anti-lock braking system (ABS) this will mean a loss of control. 

Noise

The third indicator is the amount of noise a tyre makes at 50mph and is expressed in decibels (dB). The higher the figure, the louder the noise. For most car owners this is of little concern, just turn the radio up! The other bit of information that is hidden in that picture though is the black filled arcs coming out from the tyre. One filled arc means the tyre complies with the legal limits of the future, whilst three filled black arcs means is just above the currently permitted maximum and future lower limits.

So what should you choose? Quite simply it’s a balance. A fuel-efficient tyre may be rated as an A because it has lower rolling resistance, however, this will impact the wet grip which will mean it scores lower on this indicator. The same for excellent wet grip vs fuel efficiency. 

Our advice is to get the best-rated tyres for your budget. For the average motorist, keeping the wet rating as a B or under and the efficiency rating under a C means you won’t go too far wrong in your choice.

To better understand how to choose a car tyre, we had a chat with our expert Head Mechanic in Residence, Nigel Bennett, to take us through how he chooses a tyre for his car.

Could you tell us more about how you choose car tyres?

This is the tyre choice for my car on the ClickMechanic website. I change the rating into numbers. So for Efficiency, A gets a score of 7, G gets a 1. For Wet Grip, which is the most important, A gets a 21, B get an 18, C gets 10 etc.

Here is the list in price order.

Tyre Cost Efficiency Wet Grip Score VFM
Joyroad ‘Sport RX6’ £93.00 3 18 54 1.72
RoadX ‘Rxmotion U11’ £102.47 2 15 30 3.42
Bridgestone ‘Potenza S007’ £167.29 2 15 30 5.58
Pirelli ‘Cinturato P7’ £173.05 5 18 90 1.92
Uniroyal ‘RainSport 5’ £176.76 5 21 105 1.68
Avon ‘ZV7’ £176.76 3 21 63 2.81
Bridgestone ‘Potenza RE050A £177.55 3 18 54 3.29
Firestone ‘RoadHawk’ £181.50 5 21 105 1.73
Yokohama ‘Advan Sport V105’ £188.61 3 21 63 2.99
Bridgestone ‘Turanza T005’ £188.92 6 21 126 1.50
Goodyear ‘Eagle F1 Asymmetric 5’ £189.32 5 15 75 2.52
BFGoodrich ‘g-Grip’ £190.97 5 18 90 2.12
Pirelli ‘P Zero Nero GT’ £191.45 5 18 90 2.13
Dunlop ‘SP SportMaxx RT2’ £191.84 5 21 105 1.83
Bridgestone ‘Potenza S001’ £192.00 2 18 36 5.33
Michelin ‘Pilot Sport 3’ £192.47 3 21 63 3.06
Goodyear ‘Eagle F1 Asymmetric 5’ £197.45 6 18 108 1.83
Goodyear ‘Eagle F1 SuperSport’ £198.87 3 21 63 3.16
Continental ‘Sport Contact 5’ £205.00 5 18 90 2.28
Continental ‘Sport Contact 6’ £205.00 2 18 36 5.69
Bridgestone ‘Weather Control A005’ £232.00 5 21 105 2.21
Bridgestone ‘Potenza RE050A’ £244.45 2 18 36 6.79

 

And here is the same list in score order

Tyre Cost Efficiency Wet Grip Score VFM
Bridgestone ‘Turanza T005’ £188.92 6 21 126 1.50
Goodyear ‘Eagle F1 Asymmetric 5’ £197.45 6 18 108 1.83
Uniroyal ‘RainSport 5’ £176.76 5 21 105 1.68
Firestone ‘RoadHawk’ £181.50 5 21 105 1.73
Dunlop ‘SP SportMaxx RT2’ £191.84 5 21 105 1.83
Bridgestone ‘Weather Control A005’ £232.00 5 21 105 2.21
Pirelli ‘Cinturato P7’ £173.05 5 18 90 1.92
BFGoodrich ‘g-Grip’ £190.97 5 18 90 2.12
Pirelli ‘P Zero Nero GT’ £191.45 5 18 90 2.13
Continental ‘Sport Contact 5’ £205.00 5 18 90 2.28
Goodyear ‘Eagle F1 Asymmetric 5’ £189.32 5 15 75 2.52
Avon ‘ZV7’ £176.76 3 21 63 2.81
Yokohama ‘Advan Sport V105’ £188.61 3 21 63 2.99
Michelin ‘Pilot Sport 3’ £192.47 3 21 63 3.06
Goodyear ‘Eagle F1 SuperSport’ £198.87 3 21 63 3.16
Joyroad ‘Sport RX6’ £93.00 3 18 54 1.72
Bridgestone ‘Potenza RE050A £177.55 3 18 54 3.29
Bridgestone ‘Potenza S001’ £192.00 2 18 36 5.33
Continental ‘Sport Contact 6’ £205.00 2 18 36 5.69
Bridgestone ‘Potenza RE050A’ £244.45 2 18 36 6.79
RoadX ‘Rxmotion U11’ £102.47 2 15 30 3.42
Bridgestone ‘Potenza S007’ £167.29 2 15 30 5.58

With so many choices, how do you make a decision?

Uniroyal Rain Sport’s! I’m not too fussed about the efficiency and they are the cheapest in that band – a saving of £48 over the top-rated Bridgestone. The other thing is that Bridgestone is a very soft compound. They are excellent, but only for 7,500 miles if that! If I didn’t drive my cars “enthusiastically” and just pottled about, then I would consider the Joyroad.

Book a tyre fitting now

 

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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Are you ready for your MOT test? Here’s a checklist!

An MOT test for your car might sound like just another annual task you need to do to fulfil legal requirements as a driver, but the MOT test can reveal car problems that you were unaware of and could potentially be dangerous.

If your MOT due date is approaching, here are a few basic vehicle checks that you can carry out yourself to avoid those annoying minor failure items.

Checks To Carry Out Before Getting An MOT

  • Are the lights and indicators working properly?
    Start your vehicle and put on all the lights, including the hazard warning indicators and check that all the bulbs are illuminated. Check especially the number plate ones, as people often miss these. Also switch between high and low beam headlights and if possible get someone to put their foot on the brakes so you can check the brake lights.
  • Do the tyres have enough tread?
    Tyre wear is a common MOT failure. Turn the steering to full lock, both ways, and check the inner section of the front tyres for wear, as you don’t always see this. Each tyre will have a wear indicator in between the treads to show if the minimum depth has been exceeded, or use the edge of a 20p coin and ensure the tread is above the raised outer edge of it.
  • Are the windscreen wipers in a good condition?
    Activate your windscreen cleaning via the stalk and check for any smearing or missed sections. Even a single line of remaining water can indicate they need changing. Also – fill the washer bottle, it’s your responsibility to fill it, not the examiner’s.
  • Shake, rattle & roll!
    A large proportion of the MOT failures are due to worn suspension components. We appreciate that it is difficult to check these yourself, but if you have noticed any knocking, rattles or undue handling, get these checked by a mechanic prior to the test as the examiner will find them.
  • Is the engine oil at the correct level?
    During the test, the examiner will need to rev your engine for a period of time to test the emissions. Before doing so, they will check the oil level and if it is low, they will stop the test and fail the vehicle. Do not overfill the oil above the max level on the dipstick, if you are unsure, have a mechanic do this for you.
  • Warning Lights
    When you switch on your ignition, an array of lights will appear. These lights need to go out once the engine is running, if they do not, then the vehicle will fail. However, the lights DO need to come on first – if they do not, then it will also fail! If you are unsure about any warning light, get a mechanic to check it over.

Unfortunately, we cannot cover every aspect in detail, but furthermore check if your car brakes work well, the handbrake works, the seatbelts click in OK and all the doors open from the inside (a rather common issue!).

We’d urge drivers due an MOT soon to book a slot timely. At ClickMechanic, we offer contactless MOTs with home collection and delivery.  You can also book your MOT for only £25 when you book a service at the same time!

Book Your MOT Today

Is Your Car Touring Ready?

After more than 3 months, lockdown restrictions will be eased on caravan and touring parks from the 4th of July in England. As the British Summer is well and truly here in its full glory, no doubt many of you will be keen to get away in your Motorhome or take your caravan somewhere to enjoy our celebrated beauty spots.

However, before doing so, especially 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. The last thing you’d want is a delayed or even an abandoned break.

Checks To Carry Out Before Travelling

  • Battery
    If you have had to recently “jump start” your vehicle after it was not used for a while, make sure that it is now starting up without any problems, especially if being left for a few days. A flat battery can spell disaster on a road trip.
  • Fluids
    Check the levels of your vehicle’s essential fluids thoroughly. Ensure your engine oil is in-between the minimum and maximum marks of the dipstick, top up if required using the correct oil, but do not overfill.Check that your coolant has recently been refreshed and is in between the minimum and maximum marks on the header tank, topping up if required – but please do both the check and top up when the engine is cold.It is also worthwhile to check your windscreen washer fluid reservoir and top that up too.
  • Tyres
    Make sure your tyre pressures are correct and make any adjustments required, especially if you intend to tow a caravan as the pressure requirements on the rear may be slightly different from those when unladen. Also check your spare wheel – and of course your caravan’s tyres!
  • Lights
    Do a visual check of all your lights AND those of your caravan and replace any failed bulbs or have any electrical issues resolved in towing electrical connections well in advance.
  • Brakes
    Take a moment to visually inspect your brake pads, through the wheels, where possible. Towing adds extra pressure and reliance on good brakes. You’d be surprised at the amount of call-outs for brakes that are received from holiday destinations!
  • Clutch
    Does your clutch pedal feel it has good even pressure and have you noticed any untoward noises, snatching as you change gear or even difficulty getting into gear. Now would be a good time to have that looked at.

Aside from that, don’t forget to check your cigarette lighter socket is working properly, so you can charge mobile devices, and ensure you carry your car insurance and breakdown assistance details with you.

A note from our Mechanic in Residence

Drive carefully with due consideration to other road users, know the speed limits and check the access before heading down a lane and off the main highway. You may not be in a rush, but do check your mirrors for following traffic and pull over when safe to do so to let the “locals” past you. We do appreciate it, especially down here in Devon! Happy Touring!

– Nigel, ClickMechanic’s Mechanic in Residence and Devon resident!

If you are unsure whether your vehicle is safe and ready to drive for a longer road trip, then book a FREE phone consultation  with one of our experienced in-house mechanics or place a booking online for our 28-point Vehicle Health Check.

Book your car repair now