5 signs that your brakes need attention

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Your car’s brakes are one of the most important aspects of safe driving. At the moment, most braking issues are due to vehicles being stood for a number of months which is due to corrosion to the brake discs. Another common issue is seized parking brakes, especially vehicles with rear drum brakes or drum parking brakes.

Maintaining your brakes is critical to staying safe on the road so it’s important to know the signs when your car might need new brake pads, shoes, drums or calipers.

  1. Brake system warning lights appear on the dashboard
    A number of vehicles have sensors on the rear brake calipers that illuminate the brake pad warning light when the pads (or discs) are coming to the end of their service life. It could also mean brake fluid is low. If the brake light turns on, always get a professional to check your brakes and recommend next steps.
  2. Brake Noise When Stopping
    Noise when braking is common, and it can often mean that your brakes are dirty or that your brake pads are worn down. However, if you hear a loud squeak or a scraping sound then it’s probably because your brake pads or shoes have worn down. If this is the case you should get it inspected by a mechanic urgently as it can affect your ability to stop safely.
  3. The Pedal Feels Soft When Braking
    This is often caused by a lack of braking pressure. You’ll need to press the brake pedal further to stop the vehicle which means it will take longer to come to a halt. This implies there is an issue with the brake hydraulic system so be sure to get a mechanic to check this out for you.
  4. The Steering Wheel Shakes When Braking
    A shaking steering wheel is usually a sign of a warped brake disc. Often the issue can be fixed by having the brake discs and pads replaced, but always check with a professional first.
  5. The Car Pulls To One Side
    This can happen due to a number of issues including damaged brake linings, fluid contamination, failing wheel cylinder, seized brake caliper or even a failed suspension component. In this case, a braking system inspection would be required to identify and fix the problem.

If you’re having trouble with your brakes, or 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.

Alternatively, to place a booking head to our website and a trusted mechanic can carry out a contact-free repair at your choice of time and date.

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Is it time to replace your windscreen wipers?

When we think about car maintenance, windscreen wipers are probably not the first thing to come to mind. As far as car safety is concerned, this is one of the most important tools to ensure an unobstructed view for the driver.

Windscreen wiper blades of your car are used to clear the water from the screen during rain, and also to clear snow, debris and dust when used with the vehicle’s washer fluid system.

Windscreen wiper

Signs your windscreen wipers might need replacing

  • Streaks and smears
    You may start to see streaking and smearing across the screen during their operation. Sometimes this can be caused by debris that can be cleaned easily, but take a closer look at the rubber to see if there are any signs of it being worn out.
  • Unusual noises
    Windscreen wipers are generally silent. You may sometimes hear a squeak or screech which could mean it’s improperly fitted or in some cases is an indication of worn-out blades.

  • Skipping
    This usually happens when the wipers are unused for a prolonged period of time which can cause improper contact of the rubber with the windscreen.
  • Other irregularities
    In this case, you may notice that the leading edge of the blade has started to come adrift from the main body of the blade.

The lifespan of wiper blades depends on the quality, weather and extent of usage but can get worn out in 6-12 months. Make sure you keep an eye on any signs of replacement mentioned above to avoid causing damage to the windscreen. These are a few tips and tricks on how to take care of your wipers.

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Car Safety Tips That Every Driver Needs To Know

Car safety tips that every driver needs to know

Car safety is something that should obviously be focused on by everybody, but it seems
that it is always taken for granted. It’s actually a scary thought. 1.35 million-deaths-per-
year-scary.

Yes, you read that right. According to the World Health Organization, approximately
1.35 million people per year die in road crashes. The saddest part is that the majority of
what causes road accidents are preventable such as car maintenance and driver
competency. If you yourself are a driver, then you must be alarmed by these facts.

The best way to prevent and reduce the number of road accidents that happen annually
is to start with yourself. Educate yourself and do what you need to do to stay safe and to
keep others safe. This article will give car safety tips that every driver needs to know to
inform with emphasis on road safety.

Perform safety checks

Regularly check your car even before you get on the road. Proper car maintenance not
only assures safety but also extends the lifespan of your vehicle. Here are the simple
car safety checks that you have to work your way through regularly before driving:

● Check your tyres
Never overlook the condition of your tyres. Your tyres are the only things that provide
cushion between your car and the asphalt. Schedule regular checking of your tyre
pressure and tyre tread depth. If you see that you need to replace them, get to your
trusted and nearest tyre shop to purchase and install new ones.

● Check your battery
Have your battery tested as part of your routine safety check. Drained batteries are one
of the most common causes of breakdowns, which is an inconvenience that you don’t
want to encounter, particularly if you have a schedule to follow.

● Check your lights
Inspect both exterior and interior lights of your car at least once a month and refer to
your owner’s manual to understand the use of lighting systems in your car. Brake lights
are integral to your safety, so make sure that you don’t leave those out. Thoroughly
check your lighting and replace bulbs if necessary.

● Check your engine oil and other essential car fluids
The engine oil lubricates, cleans, cools, and protects your car engine. It’s important that
your oil and oil filter are changed according to your car manufacturer’s guidelines.
Aside from your engine oil, you must also keep an eye on your car’s coolant level,
power steering fluid and brake fluid, as they also play an important role in your car’s
functionality.

● Check your windscreen wash and wipers
Check your windscreen washing fluids and top up as needed. Also, take a look at all
window cleaning and demisting features and see if everything is working properly. You
don’t want anything blurring your view, especially during the rainy season.

Tips for safe driving

The simplest tips are often the best ones when it comes to driving safely. Here is a
refresher of what some of these tips are:

● Buckle up
Seatbelts save lives. It’s a cliche, but it’s true. This cannot be stated enough. Always
wear your seatbelt regardless of the speed that you are driving.

● Focus
Never be distracted by anything while driving. Always stay alert and stay focused on the
road at all times and be wary of what other drivers around you are doing.

● Obey traffic rules
Pay close attention to the traffic signs and the stoplight. Respect and obey all of them
and always use indicators when turning or moving between lanes.

Final thoughts

Yours and other people’s safety starts from you. Ensure that your car is in good
condition and always drive safely. Don’t be a statistic by being a better car owner and
driver.

Guest Writer: Rosette Monell

Rosette has a knack for anything DIY, but not only that,
she also knows a lot about chores and stuff as
she spent her younger years immersed in books about
hardware tools, equipment, and tires. As a child, she
once dreamed of establishing her own hardware & tire
store. Her career options may have changed, but today,
she continues to write so passionately about her first
love.

5 ways you can show some love to your car

Blog post header imageIt’s Valentine’s Day! Whether you’re single or taken, you’re probably not forgetting about your #1 Valentine who’s there for you during all the important journeys of life.

In celebration of our love for cars, we thought of sharing some TLC car care tips that may extend the life of your special one. Your car will love you for it!

5 ways you can show some love to your car

  1. Check how it’s doing
    Just like your loved ones, your car also needs some attention from you. Spend a little time with it checking the tyre tread, tyre pressure, wiper blades and fluid levels such as oil, water and anti-freeze. Here’s some essential checks you can do.
  2. Make it feel beautiful
    Most of us might not be using our cars as much as before so a car wash (or even a vacuum of the interiors) could be the perfect gift for your vehicle. Added tip: keeping your car clean and tidy and in great condition will also help reduce depreciation!

  3. Get rid of the distractions
    Take some time out to clear all the unnecessary clutter – your relationship with your car doesn’t need any distractions. You could also install a new car air freshener to spice things up!

  4. Be gentle with it
    Sometimes a hug is all we need to feel better. The best way to extend a warm hug to your car is to go gentle with the brakes and a lighter foot on the accelerator.
  5. Treat your car to a special date
    If it’s been a while since your car last had a full service you could show some love by sending it for a full service. You can book a mechanic on our network to come to you so your car gets the love it deserves.

If you are concerned your vehicle may have become unsafe, unreliable or something has happened to it, then our in-house mechanic team can help. Submit our technical assistance form with a brief description of the problem and your details.

How to make car travel COVID-safe

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Car travel right now looks a lot different than before. We all miss the weekend getaways and family trips, but until it is safe to do, we need to ensure we’re being responsible and staying safe.

With the whole of the UK in lockdown, according to the government guidelines, only travel for work and other exemptions are still allowed. Rules vary for different parts of the UK so make sure to check them before travelling.

If you do have to travel for essential trips we put together some tips to help you stay safer while travelling in a car.

Top tips to make travelling by car safer during COVID

  • Sanitize and clean:
    If you’re travelling in your own car, remember to regularly clean ‘high-touch’ surfaces that include the steering wheel, door handles, stereo controls, etc. Use a cleaner approved for the surface you’re cleaning, on a microfibre cloth to disinfect these surfaces. Sanitiser sprayed on a cloth can also be used to wipe down and sterilise the interior of your vehicle.Always remember to wash your hands for 20 seconds before and after your journey to reduce the risk of catching the virus. Pro tip: the chorus of Jolene by Dolly Parton is the perfect 20-second hand washing reference!
  • Space out and mask up:
    A car is a small space so we might forget to keep distance when travelling in a car. When travelling in a taxi, avoid sitting on the front seat and opt for the seat diagonal to the driver’s seat instead. And of course, when you’re not in your own car, always use a face covering.

  • Check if your car is safe to drive:
    If you haven’t been using your car as often due to the lockdown, it is important to ensure your vehicle is safe and roadworthy before you drive. Most car breakdowns can be prevented with basic vehicle checks.  Here are five essential car checks you can do.

Keeping in mind government guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19, we offer contact-free car repair services to keep you (and mechanics) safe at this time.

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Have you checked up on your battery?

We’re in the fourth week of national lockdown which means most of us are keeping safe by staying home more. That will likely mean you are not using your car as often, or only making short journeys. This can in turn mean that your car battery is not being charged regularly and fully, increasing the potential for damage to your battery. Batteries do not like being left discharged as it damages them and reduces the storage capacity.

SIGNS YOUR CAR BATTERY MIGHT NEED REPLACING

  • Engine is beginning to turn over more slowly on startup
    When a battery becomes weak, the actual power it has to turn the engine (known as cold crank performance (Amps) or CCA for short) drops down and that will manifest itself in the engine turning over slower than before when the start is initiated.
  • Rapid clicking sound on startup and the engine not turning
    This is a sure-fire sign of battery deterioration. The battery has enough power to fire the starter motor solenoid, but not enough to actually turn the engine.

BATTERY TESTING

Whilst a battery may show 12v+ if tested with a multimeter, it’s the actual power that is important. Battery power is measured in Ah, which is why the label will clearly state the Ah figure and in most cases another figure as just ###A. This is the figure of the CCA and indicates how the battery will perform in cold start conditions. A higher figure indicates the battery will turn the engine quicker and for longer until the engine starts.

A battery with dead cells or poor power capacity will often charge quickly, however that is because only a small percentage of the storage is actually being recharged. So it will show 12v as mentioned, but the actual power is diminished and the battery requires replacing.

battery top

For further information on batteries, please visit https://www.clickmechanic.com/help/articles/285/battery-replacement

If you’re not sure if your battery needs replacing or not, then our in-house mechanic team can help. Submit our technical assistance form with a brief description of the problem and your details.

We’re also offering priority bookings for key workers at this time.

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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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