Keeping Key Workers Moving During The Coronavirus Lockdown

As the Coronavirus has forced much of the nation into full lockdown, those keeping our key services running are faced with huge challenges to do so. Not least finding ways to get to and from work, and keeping their vehicles moving safely when many garages have closed across the UK.

For that reason, we’re committing to help keep key workers moving and are offering the following benefits to them:

  • Priority mechanic matching
    Our system and team will move quickly to ensure key and essential workers booking are assigned with priority.Just add a note on your booking stating you are a key or essential worker and who you work for. We offer same and next day bookings across the UK and work with hundreds of mechanics and garages that are still open.
  • Free & Priority phone diagnostics 
    Key and essential workers will be able to get quick and free phone diagnostics from our Mechanic in Residence team. Click here to book your call and just add a note on your request stating you are a key or essential worker and who you work for.
  • Contact-Free Servicing & Repairs
    We are offering a “contact-free” key exchange and service, to aid with the government recommended social distancing.
  • NHS and emergency service workers get 10% discount on bookings
    For NHS and emergency service workers a 10% discount on all bookings can be accessed via the Blue Light card scheme. Simply login via the Blue Light Card app or site here and claim the discount code.

Please forward this email to anyone that you know that is a key or essential worker that may need our services at this time.

From everyone at ClickMechanic, thank you for all that you do!

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.

Essentials Items To Keep In Your Car

Essential items to keep in your car

A few months ago, we asked our customers which items they do carry in their car at all times. And all participants made sensible choices when it comes to items, tools and safety equipment. We take a closer look at which essential items you should carry with you in your car.

Legally required items

If you are stopped by the police, this is the paperwork, they will ask you to show:

  • Driving license
  • MOT certificate
  • Insurance certificate.

You don’t need to have them with you but you will have to take them to your local police as proof within 7 days. If you fail to do this, there is a hefty fine waiting for you.

Safety equipment to keep in your car

There are a number of items, that are key for your safety, should your car break down. Even though they are no legal requirement for UK drivers, they are in some EU countries. Drivers should check which items are mandatory when planning a road trip on the continent. It is also worth checking rental cars for these.

High-visibility vest

They are not the most fashionable item to wear, but they can save lives. These bright and reflecting orange or yellow vests ensure you are seen early when you are waiting for a recovery vehicle. or while you are putting up your warning triangle.

Warning triangle

The purpose of the warning triangle is to alert other drivers of obstruction ahead. It is recommended to place it at least 147 feet or 45 metres away from your vehicle. This distance is about the way a car travels when it slows down from 50mph to a full stop.

Make sure you are wearing your high-visibility vest when you are placing or retrieving the warning device.

Never use them on motorways!

First Aid Kit

Having a first aid kit in your car can save lives. The key purpose of carrying a stocked first aid kit is not to help you but to provide fast assistance in any case of emergency. You might be the first responder to an accident and will need to provide emergency treatment until medical services arrive. Knowing that there is this small box with all things needed sitting in your glove box or boot, provides peace of mind for drivers.

Items that belong in a first aid kit:

  • Sterile cleansing wipes and/or saline solution for wound cleansing
  • Adherent dressing or sterile gauze
  • Burn dressing
  • Trauma dressing
  • Sterile dressing in various large sizes
  • Regular plasters
  • Disposable gloves
  • Adhesive tape
  • Triangular bandage
  • Bandages in several sizes
  • Tweezers and scissors
  • Resuscitation device
  • Foil blanket
  • Hand Sanitiser

Some items in your first aid kit have an expiry date, so it is worth checking it regularly and replace any items that are out of date.

Fire extinguisher

In 2018/19 over 10000 vehicle fires have been reported. Vehicle fires start small and are usually caused by faulty electricals. Therefore, a car fire extinguisher comes in handy to act fast, contain the fire or keep it away from the fuel tank, lowering the risk of explosions and more serious damage to your car.

Maintenance and repair essentials to keep in your car

Spare tyre

Spare tyres are designed to bring you home or the next garage. Some cars, however, are now sold without one, so check again before you go on a long drive.

Car or Tyre Jack

Keeping a spare tyre without a car jack does not make much sense. Best keep both items together in case you will need to change your tyre.

Spare bulbs

In some European countries, drivers are legally required to carry spare bulbs in their car to be able to replace a blown one straight away. Driving without a fully working set of lights is putting you and other drivers in danger.

Jump leads

Imagine you plan on going home from work and suddenly have to find out your battery is flat. Jump leads can help you get your car started with the help of another driver so you can at least get to back home or the nearest garage to the battery checked.

Basic tool kit (hammer, pliers, screwdrivers, various sockets, wrenches)

Keeping a basic toolkit allows you to do small repairs by yourself instead of waiting for a mechanic to arrive and to spend 2 minutes to fix your car

Empty fuel can

This is for the unlikely event that you’ll run out of fuel faster than the fuel gauge on your dashboard tells you. In these cases, grab your fuel can, get a lift to the next gas station and fill it up.

Duct tape

This is an unusual one, but duct tape allows for quick and temporary fixes like a broken side window, or a boot that won’t close. While this sounds easy, avoid driving around with these quick fixes, especially if you think your car is unsafe to drive and seek a mechanic as fast as possible. Driving around with a car kept together using tape will impact your insurance.

Other useful items to keep in your car

Torch

Think about breaking down in the dark, and having to find out what is going on under the bonnet. Of course, you will be in dire need of some source of lighting in this situation and keeping a torch (wind up is fine) in your car comes in extremely handy then.

Blanket and/or warm jacket

Being stranded in cold, wet or windy weather is not a nice thought. Keep a woolly blanket or thick jacket to throw over and keep you warm while you wait for your recovery vehicle to arrive.

Water and Snacks

No one likes being stuck in traffic, so plan ahead and keep some water and non-perishable snacks ready, for days when your journey takes longer than anticipated and you’ll need to hydrate and keep up those energy levels.

Save driving!

Book your car repair now

A Guide To Spring Cleaning Your Car

two bucket methodimg source:cargroom.co.nz

Why should I clean my car?

A lot happens when you park your car. Birds, trees and even the weather work against you. Even while driving, you are subject to other car exhaust particulates that give you a black soot dusting, not to mention all the muck they kick up as well. This dirt can strip away your wax, paint and then start to rust your car. Additionally, it isn’t that fashionable to have a tree stuck to your roof. This is a great reason to regularly clean your car as paint jobs alone can be extremely costly.

Does cleaning your car improve your MPG?

According to Mythbusters, there is a 10% saving on MPG if you have a clean car. They test a clean car, then muck it up for a second run, both over 65 miles. A dirty car does about 24 MPG while a clean car does 26.4 MPG, which looks like a pretty clean win. What does that 10% mean for you?

A saving of £120 per year (based on UK average mileage, mpg, the average cost of petrol). That’s about 50kg of yorkshire puddings, but who’s counting…

Here’s what Karl from UK Hypermiler had to say:

“These types of tests are very subjective – fuel efficiency figures can can vary wildly depending on all types of environment conditions including wind direction / speed, altitude and ambient temperature. They make great telly but are little use for the “average” motorists who will see guaranteed gains through changing their driving style rather than running a wet cloth over the car. The drag coefficient of the vehicle can be improved through modification but it’s the overall design of the body and under-pan that will have a great effect. This type of experiment is much more suited to a wind tunnel for greater consistency. Very questionable”

So should you clean your car? Yes. While the wins for MPG may be small or even negligible for most of us, it is also important to look good. Remembering your car is also a part of your personal brand; nobody looks good stepping out of a grime covered car.

When should I be cleaning my car?

Keeping off the daily grime is a challenge for the likes of Tim Westwood, not your average driver. There are plenty of reasons to put off a car wash, some people wait until a delightful finger painter has left their work on the car. To avoid that embarrassing display you have to regularly wash your car. The timing of the wash depends on your location and driving habits. A general rule of thumb is once a fortnight, which should keep it pristine. This will prolong the life of your paint job and make your car feel brand new even on its last legs.

How do I clean my car?

Put down the squirty bottle of Fairy Liquid™. Here is a guide right from getting equipment for cleaning your car, to how you dry your car.

The problem with sponge washing a car

People across the country use sponges, what’s so wrong with a cheap sponge? A sponge might be common practice but it isn’t recommended. It all comes down to the flat face of the sponge:

Washing gets rid of grime and grit, but some of this grit may be small and sharp, like stones or chips. Washing with a sponge, the grit becomes trapped between the paint and flat sponge. This embeds the sharp bits into your sponge. Now, wipe with the sponge and you will be creating tiny hairline scratches. These micro-scratches will add up and look horrible under the light but there is a solution.

Why should I use a Wash Mitt?

Wool or synthetic wash mitts are miles better than a typical sponge and will last longer. If you run your fingers through one of these mitts, you can feel the deep soft pile of fabric that is great for your car.

They are important as when heavily compressing the grit, it will not embed into the surface. The grit gets lost in the fabric layers so there is a lower chance to scratch. While not a perfect solution, these mitts will prevent a lot more costly work to your car.

Shampoo for your car got you scratching your head?

There are plenty of different shampoos out there, but only a few that will be good for you and your car. Here are the top two things to keep in mind when buying shampoo:

Lubricant washing solution – You might lose out on bubbles but you’ll get an easy clean. Lubricating the grit will allow it to slide right off. This means less leg work, and also less pressure on the sponge or mitt, so you’ll have fewer swirls too.
No harsh detergents – Using detergents will strip away polish and wax, leaving you a dull car. This is a particular problem with your paint. As anyone who does the dishes with bare hands will know, the soap can dry your skin, with similar effects on the paint. Dry paint will scratch off and leave unprotected metals, which can cause rust damage.

One bucket? Why not two? The two bucket method

As you may have guessed, this involves two buckets. Fill one bucket with your cleaning solution, a mix of shampoo and water, and the other with water.

  • Soak the mitt in the cleaning solution
  • Brush it along
  • Dunk it in the water bucket
  • Slosh it back into the cleaning solution

This will remove dirt off the sponge, so you aren’t wiping muddy water back onto your vehicle. The two bucket method is particularly useful when you are doing the wash with children.

How to wash your car

Start with the Wheels, Rims, Arches and Door Jabs.

Using a more disposable brush and water. These bits are usually clogged with dirt so will splash that muck around if done later. A serious build up of dirt in these areas may lead to faults later. You will want to beware of getting water into the electrical systems, such as the locks. Use some tape to come key components but otherwise, you can hack at it with your brush.

Pre-Rinsing your car

Like any bath or shower, you rinse before applying shampoo. Rinse your car by gently spraying directly at the car, to loosen up any dirt and wet the paint so things slide off. Blasting the vehicle with a hose may cause a lot of damage, or a lot of micro scratches across your cars. A watering can could suffice in place of a hose, provided you can keep the water warm.

Shampooing your car

Now the real work begins, this is the most important part of the wash. This will cleanse your car of any mess on paintwork such as dust, grit, mud, etc… I’d say use warm water, to keep your hands warm and kick off the muck.

Use two buckets and two mitts. One mitt for the top areas of the car, roof, bonnet, upper sides above the wheel arch line. The other mitt for the lower areas, below the wheel arch line, front and rear bumpers. This top down approach means cleaning solution will drip down, instead of dirt later. Remember not to wipe too fast or too hard as you can cause a lot of those dreaded scratches. Practice your karate, Daniel San.

Avoid letting the paint dry in the sun, as you will find there are water spots left by residue. This may mean rinsing your car again, or a light drizzle.

Rinsing your car

This rinse is to wash away all those bubbles from the shampoo, most will glide straight off. The best way to start is a light pressure, to let bubbles run, then increase the pressure as it clears. Make sure to rinse from the top, and leave the car beading water instead of hosting a new lake.

Drying your car off

Drying is a critical part of a wash that most forget. The best tool is usually a microfiber towel which can pick up a lot more water than you think. Proper care when drying will prevent water streaks, which are being stubborn to remove. Their streaks come from particulate residue in the water. All water has it, be it hard, soft, or straight from the heavens. The water evaporates, even if it isn’t too warm out, and leaves behind a residue trail of a droplet. The best way to dry, while intensive, is patting the vehicle dry, as this prevents any stray grit ruining your car.

Alternatively, you could just go to a car wash.

If you’ve got any car problems that a wash won’t fix then we can help.

Book your car repair now

Common Noises Your Car Can Make And What They Mean

Common Car Noises

One of the most common questions our expert team of in-house mechanics receives on a regular basis is:

“My car makes a strange noise, what does this mean?”

Here are some pointers as to the different sounds that could be coming from your car, and what they could mean.

Squealing from the engine while driving

High pitched squealing noises usually point to an issue with a belt or pulley, indicating a required replacement or re-adjust.

Hissing from the engine

A signal that the engine could be overheating, which can cause serious trouble further down the line. It also could point to a fluid leak under the bonnet, a leaking turbocharger pipe or a damaged intercooler.

Squealing sound while braking

This is a tell-tale sign of worn brake pads. If the noise becomes the sound of grinding metal, you’re seriously damaging your brakes. Have it checked as soon as you can.

Grinding sound from your gearbox

This noise is indicative of a potential problem with the clutch or transmission.

Rattling sound from the engine

This is a very confusing noise as it could be a number of different problems – including issues with the oil, a faulty clutch fan or a stretched timing chain. Nevertheless, these all require urgent inspection.

Rattling noise from underneath your car

This noise could, amongst others, be a sign of a loose part of your exhaust system.

Clicking while turning

Faulty CV joints are usually the reason for this noise and should be checked by a mechanic right away.

Clicking sound from the engine

Usually, a sign that your engine is running low on oil. If it persists after an oil top-up, have your engine checked thoroughly by a professional.

A loud knocking from the engine

This could be indicative of a lack of lubrication, or something has broken within the engine set-up – or is about to break. Either way, seek the services of a professional mechanic to get the issue seen to.

Humming or growling noise from your tyres

The first thing to do when you hear a noise from your tyres is to check the pressure. If the pressure is correct, have your wheel alignment and balance checked and possibly adjusted.

If any of these noises are coming from your car, the next mechanic is only a click away.
If you are unsure what’s wrong with your car, book a free phone consultation with one of our experienced mechanics in residence.

Book your car repair now

Happy driving!

Damages potholes can do to a car

Damages Potholes can do to a car

Like plants, potholes grow with the rain. During the winter, rainwater puddles on the surface, but gets into the cracks between the tarmac. Underneath the tarmac, it freezes pushing the tarmac out as it expands into ice. This combined with the constant pressure of vehicles driving overtop causes potholes to quickly form.

The most recent RAC pothole index shows that drivers are 1.7 times more likely to break down with pothole-related damage than they were in 2006 when the RAC began tracking.

These holes in the road aren’t just a simple bump, they are a serious issue for car owners. They can grow metres wide, or have drivers swerve to avoid them. Potholes increase the likelihood of a crash, and can cause expensive damage to your vehicle.

You might hit a pothole dead on, or just clip it with the side of a wheel. Two things will typically affect the extent of the damage caused:

  1. The speed at which you hit the pothole
  2. The depth of the pothole

We’ll take a closer look at the damages potholes can do to your car.

Increase tyre wear and tear

Tyres are designed for contact with the road, not to be bounced around or scraped against a hole. This means potholes can cause some serious damage like sidewall bulges, tread separation, or even punctures. Tyres dip into potholes, and under the car’s weight, compresses into shape. The hard tarmac can then cut into the rubber, damaging the wall or snapping structural belts within the tyre. Inflating your tyres to the recommended levels can help resist against pothole damage.

Damages wheels through potholes

Large potholes can cause scratches on your rims or even damage to the wheels. The harsh drop of some deep potholes impacts your wheels in a way they aren’t designed to handle. Cars aren’t regularly ‘dropped’ so have little resistance against wheel damage in these situations. Potholes can chip, crack, or bend a wheel. Chips and cracks are usually difficult to notice, as the tyre may cover up any damage. Bent wheels will not roll smoothly, and can impact on the performance of the tyres too. Significant chips, cracks or bends need to be replaced immediately, as it compromises the safety of the vehicle.

Driving through potholes affects your vehicle’s suspension

The suspension is designed to support the vehicle’s weight, absorb rough road driving, and ensure the tyre stays in contact with the road. A ‘drop’ into a pothole can cause suspension problems such as damaged shock absorbers, and broken ball joints. A damaged shock absorber or broken ball joints will cause a vibrating noise, wandering steering. A qualified mechanic will need to inspect the suspension system before individual parts are completely replaced.

The exhaust system can be damaged by potholes

Exhausts run along the length of the vehicle, and mufflers especially hang quite low. A deep pothole can potentially cause the exhaust system to scrape along the ground. Even some speed bumps can damage the exhaust system. The tarmac can cause scratches, dents, or even rip holes into the exhaust pipes, muffler, or catalytic converter. In extreme cases, you may lose power but over time you will usually experience a fall in fuel mileage as exhaust leaks cause the engine to use more fuel. You will want to check for damage, after particularly harsh scrapes. This may mean you have to get a mechanic round to hoist up the car and have a look underneath the car.

The vehicle body can be dented or scratched

Deep potholes can obviously scratch paint, especially around wheel rims and bumpers. They will also kick up dirt and tarmac, which means more cleaning.

Driving through potholes can cause alignment issues

Alignment issues can be quite noticeable when turning, as your steering wheel is off-center, the car pulls back in one direction, or the handling feels loose. Misalignment also causes tyres to wear down faster since one side is overused.

The final verdict on potholes

Don’t ignore a loud scrape or knock from a pothole! You can even claim back on potholes, and get the hole filled. Come to ClickMechanic to get a full quote and receipt for the job, which you can easily use as evidence for a pothole letter to the council.

Happy Driving

Photo by Marc-Olivier Jodoin on Unsplash

The UK’s Top 5 Romantic Road Trips to Drive this Valentine’s Day!

Only a few days to go until Valentine’s Day! And if you’re looking to plan the perfect date, why not really impress this year and take your other half on a romantic road trip? For inspiration, we’ve done the research for you to find the UK’s top 5 romantic routes. Read on and see which you would want to visit for a Valentine’s treat!

Andrew Jervis, Co-Founder of ClickMechanic, said: “A scenic road trip is a perfect way to spend Valentine’s Day. It’s a chance to explore some amazing new places together from the comfort of your car, which is particularly a bonus given the weather! Just remember to share the choice of music…”

1. The North Coast 500, Scotland

For a truly breath-taking and adventurous drive, Scotland’s North Coast 500 is your ideal choice for this Valentine’s Day. Beginning and ending in the northern city of Inverness, this route skirts around the Scottish coast, covering over 500 miles of unparalleled scenery.

Along the ride, you can visit a number of impressive structures including the famed 1000-year-old ruins of Urquhart Castle on the Loch Ness banks. You can also discover some of the concealed and untouched beaches on the route; be sure to visit Moray Firth, home to around 130 bottlenose dolphins! Finally, it goes without saying that the road will also take you through some stunning views of the highlands, which alone are worth the trip! Be sure to save some time for this journey however, 5-7 days of traveling are recommended to take in all of the sights.

2. The New Forest

Offering both beautiful and relaxed surroundings, driving through the New Forest is a brilliant option for couples who are looking to take it easy and soak up the sun (hopefully!). Being less than one minute’s drive from the M27, it is easily accessible with countless activities and sights available for visitors.

Picturesque villages are scattered throughout the area, not to mention thousands of wild ponies and donkeys also roam-free, so take care on the road! For keen animal lovers, the New Forest Wildlife Park at Ashurst offers the chance to get up close and personal with some of the local wildlife. And for those that appreciate cars, The National Motor Museum in Beaulieu features over 250 vehicles and recounts the history of motoring. So there really is something for everyone! If you’re unsure of which route to take, the New Forest Tour offers an open-top safari-style tour of the area and covers three key routes to see all of the best sights.

3. The Dark Hedges, Ballymore, Northern Ireland

Any Game of Thrones fan will recognise this road; it is also known as King’s Road during Season two of the famous fantasy series, where Arya Stark travels north. While it is simply an avenue of beech trees folding into one another, the overall effect creates a true sense of fairy-tale wonder as you pass through it.

This inspiring formation, or the Dark Hedges as it is actually known, was planted two centuries ago to decorate the entrance of Gracehill House, a Georgian mansion. Today, it has become a renowned spot for photographs in Northern Ireland and attracts visitors from far and wide. Sadly, due to recent damage, it can no longer be driven directly down by motorists; however, there is parking nearby at the Hedges Estate Hotel and it is more than worth the walk for this enchanting experience. It is indeed a beautiful road to visit this Valentine’s Day.

4. The Cotswolds

The Cotswolds is renowned for its scenic, picture-postcard villages and for the natural beauty of its countryside; just two reasons for being a perfect drive on February 14th!

But if you’re wondering which route to take to get the best views, why not follow the aptly named Romantic road? Cotswolds.info has mapped out its own circular route from Broadway which passes through Stow on the Wold and Bourton on the Water, taking the driver through a number of impressive sights. You will have the chance to explore the famed beauty of the Cotswold hill villages as well as the quaint river valleys and the charmingly idyllic country pubs. Covering 45 miles in total, it’s also more than suitable for a day trip!

5. The Lake District

As England’s largest National Park, the Lake District is filled with breath-taking scenery and raw, natural beauty. With an incredible mountainous landscape combined with vast lakes and, of course, countless activities available, each valley will not fail to please!

While the sheer size of this National Park means the possible driving routes are essentially endless, if you’re looking for guidance, Lake District Drives lists 15 possible routes to choose from. However, for a truly romantic experience, the Keswick to Borrowdale to Buttermere drive is a great pick. It features some of the most stunning sights of the mountain passes and allows you to stop and explore places such as Lodore Falls waterfall and Honister Slate Mine. The route covers 38 miles in total.

Could Brexit Make Your Car Repair More Expensive?

On 31st January, the UK will leave the European Union and enters the next stage to finalise Brexit. With 11 crucial months of trade talks ahead, we take a look at what Brexit means for UK drivers and the impact on the cost of repairing, maintaining and running a car.

The impact of Brexit on the cost of car repair

UK motorists could see a 10% rise in their annual repair and service bill once the UK leaves the EU single market. The collective car repair bill could rise by more than £2billion due to new tariffs.

This according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), assumes the UK will fall back into the World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules in a hard Brexit situation. The new research falls in line with many other industries predicting sharp inflation, due to higher import/export costs.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “Our car maintenance sector is one of Europe’s most competitive, and motorists enjoy a great choice over where they have their cars serviced. However, if we don’t secure a new trading relationship with the EU that is free of tariffs and customs checks, British consumers could face significant increases to their annual car repair bill due to new tariffs and other trade barriers…If we don’t secure a new trading relationship with the EU that is free of tariffs and customs checks, British consumers could face significant increases to their annual car repair bill due to new tariffs and other trade barriers…The government must now prioritise an interim arrangement that maintains a single market and customs union membership until the right trade deal with the EU is implemented.”

In 2016, the UK automotive aftermarket sector grew by 2.4% in terms of turnover to £21.6 billion, creating an extra 1,400 jobs. The market now employs almost 350,000 people, more than the population of Coventry.

The amount and age of vehicles in the UK will only increase, as cars last longer than before. The UK automotive aftermarket sector is on track to grow to £28 billion, with 400,000 employees by 2022.

The SMMT’s report suggests that WTO tariffs will add between 2.5-4.5% onto car parts, adding an average of £21 to replacement parts. Quotas, subsidies, customs delays, and regulatory barriers could add an extra £49 for all these handling issues.

The UK government has signaled there will be a hard Brexit, with Prime Minister Theresa May suggesting “no deal is better than a bad deal” and “free movement will end in March 2019” which is a tenant to single market access. This presents the picture that the UK could fall back on the WTO rules, outside of the single market.

The SMMT stress the magnitude of the tariff problems with “80% of replacement car parts fitted to British cars are imported, with almost three-quarters of these coming from EU-based suppliers. However, the manufacture of components in the UK is growing, making the risk of tariffs on British products sold in Europe and other key global markets another major concern.”

The report finally suggested that WTO tariffs on parts exported from the UK could cost the industry £3 billion in lost revenue, “with a potential impact on future investment and jobs”.

The impact of Brexit on buying a used car

If as a result of failed negotiations on trade tariffs we will see new car prices going up (up to 10% on WTO terms), it is likely that used car prices will follow suit. The change in prices could mean that more people are putting off buying a new car, hang on to their car for longer or are opting to purchase a used car instead of a new one leading to more demand on the used car market.

The impact of Brexit on insuring a car

A rather overlooked issue, but currently drivers are covered by a ruling by the European Court of Justice which requests insurers to offer equal premiums for male and female drivers. Upon leaving the EU, this directive could be reviewed or abandoned by the UK government, meaning that insurers could charge different costs by gender with premiums for male drivers potentially going up. Another privilege that could be affected is the EU wider coverage for motorists. At the moment, the UK driver’s insurance covers them for driving across the EU. If this directive is abandoned as well, you might have to look into purchasing additional insurance should you plan to go on a road trip across the continent.

The impact of Brexit on running a car

A rather overlooked issue, but currently drivers are covered by a ruling by the European Court of Justice which requests insurers to offer equal premiums for male and female drivers. Upon leaving the EU, this directive could be reviewed or abandoned by the UK government, meaning that insurers could charge different costs by gender with premiums for male drivers potentially going up. Another privilege that could be affected is the EU wider coverage for motorists. At the moment, the UK driver’s insurance covers them for driving across the EU. If this directive is abandoned as well, you might have to look into purchasing additional insurance should you plan to go on a road trip across the continent.

ClickMechanic scores £1m airtime-for-equity deal from UKTV

UKTV Ventures has invested £1 million of airtime into ClickMechanic in exchange for equity in the online marketplace.

Online car repair marketplace ClickMechanic.com has received investment from UKTV using its multi-million pound investment fund, UKTV Ventures. The online start-up has secured £1m worth of commercial airtime across the broadcaster’s network of channels.

UKTV reaches over 33 million viewers every month* and ClickMechanic’s debut TV campaign will run exclusively on UKTV channels Dave, Gold, W, Drama, Alibi, Eden and Yesterday from today, and for several months throughout 2020. Recent research commissioned by Thinkbox and carried out by Data 2 Decisions, the econometric arm of Dentsu Aegis, found that on average, for a brand with less than £50m brand value, a £1m TV campaign can drive overall sales by circa 20%.

Launched in 2012 ClickMechanic is transforming the car repair space with its innovative technology. The product enables customers to get a fixed price industry standard quote in a matter of seconds and book in with a vetted mechanic who comes to the consumer. Going live on TV with its first commercial is a huge milestone and is set to see the company dramatically increase its growth and reach millions of more customers in 2020.

Launched in 2018, the UKTV Ventures fund offers high-growth start-ups an opportunity to advertise on TV for the first time and therefore accelerate their business growth. The fund has already made investments into award-winning preschool learning and entertainment platform Hopster, and pet tech start-up, PitPat.

Sheena Amin, director of UKTV Ventures said: “ClickMechanic is the perfect start-up to benefit from our innovative fund and we’re excited to launch its first ever TV ad. This online marketplace is solving a real customer pain point when it comes to finding and booking a car mechanic and there is a compelling and substantial growth opportunity to go after in taking this market online. With all the engaging motoring programmes that Dave has to offer, we see a strong fit with ClickMechanic’s target customer base and expect to drive considerable growth and new customer acquisition for the business via the impressive power of TV.”

Founded in 2012 by Andrew Jervis and Felix Kenton, ClickMechanic makes car care easy for everyone, everywhere. The online marketplace allows drivers to get quick online quotes and book pre-vetted mechanics. Its real-time, online quoting engine is the first of its kind in Europe and empowers users to get the best deal possible and ensure they pay a fair price.

Andrew Jervis, CEO of ClickMechanic said: “We’re excited for this fantastic opportunity to reach millions of new consumers. To be partnering with and having one of the UK’s biggest multi-channel broadcasters as an investor will enable us to ramp up our growth efforts and bring our service to a mass market. We’ve already had success building a product that customers and mechanics love and we hope they enjoy our new ad too.”

ClickMechanic’s debut ad has been designed and created by Happy Hour. It showcases the convenience of ClickMechanic’s services and how their mobile mechanics can get you back on the road quickly and efficiently.

Nicola Tyler, Managing Partner at Happy Hour said: “As a first-time TV advertiser, we knew the creative for ClickMechanic needed to work hard to educate the audience, whilst balance brand memorability & cut-through with response tactics. With this in mind, our approach was to cement in viewers’ minds both visually and audibly exactly what ClickMechanic provides; so hopefully the next time you need a mechanic your immediate thought will be to simply ‘ClickMechanic’”

Driving Home For Christmas – Tips For A Save And Festive Journey

It is the most wonderful time of the year – but for everyone who is driving home for Christmas first comes the most dreaded time of the year: sharing the road with thousands of other drivers how also want to get home to spend the festive season with loved ones.

The team at the ClickMechanic HQ thought long and hard about ways to make your Christmas journey more pleasant, save and most of all: festive.

Preparing for the drive home

As with all long-distance drives, we recommend checking your car before you set off. The key things to tick off the list are:

  • Engine oil levels incl. top up if needed
  • Tyre pressure
  • Wiper blades
  • Coolant levels
  • Lights

Recommended song to feel festive: Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree

While you are stuck in the annual Christmas traffic

We have all been there – sat in a long queue of cars on the motorway on weekends and Bank Holidays, or stuck in slow-moving, rush-hour traffic. To get through it smoothly, here are 4 Do’s and Don’ts for heavy traffic jams:

  • Put your car in neutral: When you are stuck in slow-moving, stop-and-go traffic, it’s tempting to keep the car in gear and the clutch engaged, in case you start moving again. This puts unnecessary strain on your clutch, decreasing its longevity.
  • Switch your engine off: Research shows that even idling for short time burns more fuel and emits more nasty emissions than restarting your car, so switching your engine off in idle traffic would offset this.
  • Drive smoothly in slow-moving traffic: It can be tempting to slam the accelerator down when a gap opens up in traffic. However, if all this means is that you will brake again within a short distance, you will wear out your brakes quicker than if you drive in a slow and steady fashion.
  • Don’t tailgate: As we can all agree, tailgating is one of the worst things you can do whilst driving. Not only will you put yourself and other drivers in a dangerous situation, but your brakes will also wear out faster if you constantly need to hit them hard when traffic slows down.

Recommended song to remind you of the merry season: It’s the most wonderful time of the year

When the road clears after a traffic jam

Finally, you are really driving home for Christmas. The free road ahead brings you closer to your final destination. While it is tempting to put the foot down a bit further to speed up to make up for some time lost, remember to stick to speed limits. Take extra care in wintery and adverse weather conditions which make driving more tricky with slippery road surfaces, rain, and darkening skies.

Recommended song to cheerily celebrate: Candy Cane Lane

When it starts snowing

While snow is rare in the UK and the predictions for a white Christmas are low, there still can be a Christmas wonder. Seeing the first snow is something special and wonderful. On the other side, it makes your journey more challenging. We have written a post about driving on wintery roads so you can get safely to your destination.

The obvious song to mark this moment: Sleigh Ride

When you tuck into your Christmas sandwich

As a prepared driver, you brought a sandwich for the trip. It is recommended to pack snacks and drinks when you embark on a long journey – especially when you can expect it to take longer than usual due to heavy traffic. And as it is Christmas, it should be a festive snack or sandwich.

Recommended song while you are munching through our treat: All I Want For Christmas Is You

When you wish for a new car for Christmas

Spending a long time in your car might make you realise it’s small niggles and aches even more. Even more so, you might come to the conclusion that you will be looking for a new car next year. We have just the right tips on what to look out for when buying a new car.

But in the meantime, listen to this song instead: Santa Baby

When you finally reach your Christmas destination

Give a cheer for you are here. Your mood lightens after a long Christmas journey. Welcome home!

Recommended song to share the joy: Santa Claus Is Coming To Town

Happy driving home for Christmas and a wonderful festive season!

Book your car repair now

Photo by Jamie Davies on Unsplash