12 Top Tips for Drivers This Autumn

The temperature is dropping, leaves are piling and the clocks are going back in less than a week; no doubt autumn is definitely upon us! And whilst most drivers anticipate car troubles in the winter, the autumn is often overlooked and underestimated. During this season, the weather is very temperamental and is quickly subject to change; it can be wet, dark, windy, frosty or bright, making it more hazardous than assumed by drivers. This is why we have listed our top tips for drivers this autumn from driving in the rain to how to deal with winds and frost. Read on for expert advice on how to best prepare for the unpredictable and stay safe this autumn!

Andrew Jervis, Co-Founder of ClickMechanic, said: “Many drivers forget what the autumnal elements can do to cars and the roads. Like the weather, the environment can be unpredictable in this season, so take your time when driving and try to anticipate any hazardous conditions. Above all, keep your car in check; there’s no reason you cannot hire a professional from ClickMechanic to confirm the condition of your vehicle.”

Driving In Heavy Rain / Wet Conditions

1. Watch for leaves and large puddles on the road when driving in rain and on wet streets – Once loose leaves are flattened and dampened onto the surface of the road, they become extremely slippery, making it tricky for even the tyres to grip. It’s also difficult to judge the depth of large puddles at times, which can become a hazard if driven at with speed. For this reason, you should try to avoid both if possible or drive slowly over them, taking extra care. You should be particularly aware of leaves if you travel on hilly roads.

2. Prepare your tyres – This goes hand-in-hand with the above tip. The roads will be harder to grip in the rain and so tyres should have at least 3mm of tread for effective traction. This grip will also be essential when it grows frosty over the coming weeks, so it’s best to get them serviced or replaced now. Also, check the pressure of your tyres regularly; under-inflation wears down the tread more quickly and over-inflation means they have less grip on the road!

3. Check the condition of your wiper blades – There’s often twice as much rain in the winter months compared to the summer months in the UK, so you should prepare your wiper blades for the worst. Clean them with a soft cloth and ensure they are in full working condition. If your sight is limited in any way during their use, replace them as soon as possible.

Dark Commutes

4. High beams on standby – Give your headlights and rear lights a clean with a wet cloth, removing all condensation and dirt, and make sure all are in working condition including the high beams. With the hour going back next week, commutes will be much darker and your lights will not only guide you but will make other drivers aware of you. Additionally, try to only use the high beams when you really need them and not when other drivers are approaching; they can easily blind them.

5. Take sunglasses – Not particularly useful in the dark, but with the shorter days comes a lower sun. As such, it can be awkwardly placed during your drive and even the sun visor can’t block it. Having a pair of sunglasses is always handy in the car, particularly in times such as these!

6. Stay alert – The darker mornings and evenings may leave you feeling drowsier behind the wheel than usual, especially if you leave the heating running. To avoid this, make sure you get enough sleep the night before, swap drivers if possible during long trips and drink caffeine if necessary. If you find yourself growing tired, pull over to rest and stretch your legs.

Frost

7. Give yourself extra time in the mornings – All drivers know the pain of trying to heat the windscreen from the inside of the car whilst frantically scraping at it from the outside. If the temperature drops to the frost level, give yourself extra time in the mornings to defrost the car before your commute – it is very dangerous to only scrape a small viewing hole in the windscreen and to rush to work in this state! To avoid the frost altogether, park your car in a garage or cover it overnight.

8. Check antifreeze levels – Antifreeze prevents the water in the engine’s cooling system from freezing. You can contact a professional mechanic to check this for you or buy an antifreeze tester for a small price.

9. Run the battery – In the colder climate, your car will need to run more energy from the battery to power itself, meaning the frost is a killer if your battery is on its last legs. It’s best to inspect it at this time of year to make sure it can survive the autumn and winter and have the battery replaced when necessary.

High Winds

10. Monitor your speed – when driving in high winds, the faster you drive, the more likely you are to be driven off course. Not to mention, high winds can also affect your car’s handling and braking. Therefore, always monitor your speed, take your time and keep your distance between yourself and other cars.

11. Anticipate debris – Prepare yourself for sporadic bits of debris in the road or even fallen trees. This is another reason for keeping your speed low in high winds.

12. Don’t travel unless necessary – Driving in high winds can make even the most confident drivers feel ill at ease. If the conditions on the road are hazardous or you feel uncomfortable driving in such weather, do not attempt to do so unless necessary.

ClickMechanic Launches its Mechanic in Residence Programme and Expands Career Options for Car Mechanics

Today, ClickMechanic has revealed its Mechanic in Residence programme. With this announcement comes a newfound, alternative career path for car mechanics. It means those that no longer want to, or are unable to, work in the field, can still remain in the industry.

By applying to the Mechanic in Residence programme, car mechanics can now work directly for ClickMechanic from home. In this position, the mechanic will offer free phone consultations to ClickMechanic’s customers, using their skill set and experience to diagnose any problems with the vehicle in question. This means the mechanic will still interact with customers and use their expertise in car repair despite not being based in a workshop. In addition, this position opens up a helpline to ClickMechanic’s customers, offering easy-to-reach and knowledgeable mechanics which are there to help and advise. By talking the driver through the issues they are experiencing, the majority of faults can be detected or at the very least narrowed down, however, on the rare occasion that a diagnosis over the phone is not possible, the mechanic can also book in a direct inspection from an alternative, local professional.

This is strictly a diagnosis and support-based role, and does not relate to sales. It’s also important to note that this position comes with no revenue targets, meaning there is no incentive to book unnecessary work on the car. It is simply an opportunity for car mechanics to cut out the hard labour, should they choose, and work from home while still offering their expertise. This also makes it an ideal career path for any mechanic who would benefit from telecommuting, such as those who live in less populated areas or particularly for those who struggle with the heavy labour involved in the day-to-day activity.

Nigel Bennett, Head of the Mechanic in Residence programme, said: “The main aim of the MiR programme is to assist car owners with understanding the issues with their vehicles and how they can be resolved. By putting technical explanations across in a way that is easier to understand, we give straightforward advice in a non-sales way. We are looking to grow the MiR team by bringing in other mechanics who have strong vehicle repair experience coupled with good customer empathy and an ability to translate issues in a way that the owners understand.”

Andrew Jervis, Co-Founder of ClickMechanic, said:
“We’re so pleased to bring this programme to fruition. It brings more career opportunity and options to the car repair sector and gives those who are restricted the chance to continue doing what they love. It’s a big step forward for us in our goal of supporting all mechanics.”

ClickMechanic aims to hire one mechanic for this programme every month and all mechanics are welcome to apply via the ClickMechanic Careers Homepage.

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

Only one week 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 the 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 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 travelling 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 quant 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 a 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.

The Top 5 Personalised Gifts for Car Lovers This Valentine’s Day!

Valentine’s Day is just over two weeks away, and if you’re a little fed up with the traditional flowers, chocolate and restaurant combination, why not try a more personal approach? Before you jump to conclusions, we’re talking about the perfect, personalised gifts to suit car lovers. Read on to see our top 5 gift ideas for motor-enthused loved ones this Valentine’s Day.

Andrew Jervis, Co-Founder of ClickMechanic, said: “Any motoring enthusiast would welcome these creative, personalised gifts. Whether you’re shopping on a budget or looking to splurge, there’s something for everyone!”

1. Hand Drawn Car Illustration

Want to add a bit of culture to this Valentine’s Day – why not request a hand-drawn illustration of your other half’s pride and joy? You can transform a favourite photo into ink and watercolour, giving the car a truly timeless presentation. You can even personalise it further by adding wording and selecting from an array of frames!

Should you be stuck between two photos or, indeed, two cars, there’s also the option to order two illustrations in a double mount.

Personalised Hand Drawn Car Illustrations are available from notonthehighstreet from £67.

2. Milk Chocolate Car

OK, so we said no chocolate, but when is chocolate unwelcome? Thorntons’ Milk Chocolate Car is a sweet and simple gift; the perfect choice for any car-loving chocoholic. To make it more special, you can add a personalised name or message on the car for free. This sweet ride won’t be around for long this Valentine’s Day!

The Milk Chocolate Car is available from Thorntons for £6.

3. Personalised Salt and Pepper Cars

Why not introduce your gift alongside dinner this year? These sleek looking salt and pepper cars come with removable satin-finished ‘drivers’ and can even be rolled across the table to your partner! This is an affordable, yet luxurious gift which is bound to impress any vintage racing fans.

Each can be personalised with your favourite racing numbers or with initials of your choice. No doubt, bringing these to the dinner table will give a whole new meaning to fast food!

The Personalised Salt and Pepper Racing Cars are available from Me and My Car from £30.

4. Personalised License Plate

If your partner has always been keen to personalise their license plate, but struggles to choose, perhaps you could make the decision for them? The options really are limitless and, of course, you have the dangerous responsibility of deciding what it will read!

Using the DVLA, you can register to auction, or buy outright, specific initials and can even see what the plate would look like on the car in question. The classic, rarer plates are obviously much more expensive and can arguably be seen as an investment. However, the simpler initials are more affordable – minimum bids in the auction start from under £100.

Personalised licence plates are available to buy from the DVLA.

5. Supercar Driving for Two

The Supercar Driving for Two experience is perfect for those who are interested in the core fundamentals of cars – namely the driving. What’s more, it’s an ideal gift for this romantic day as you can both take part and select one vehicle each from your favourite supercars. The impressive list of options includes: Ferrari 360, Lamborghini Gallardo, Aston Martin AMV8 and Audi R8.

Available to book in several locations across the UK, you will take to the track for 3 to 4 laps (depending on the location) and see what your chosen supercar can do!

The Supercar Driving for 2 package is available from Experience Days from £149.

50% of Used Cars Fail at Least One Category During a Pre-Purchase Inspection

We have tapped into our pre-purchase inspection data to reveal that 50% of used cars will score poorly in at least one category during a pre-purchase inspection.

Pre-purchase inspections tend to be broken down into several categories which will analyse the working condition of all aspects on a used car. ClickMechanic’s is broken down into twelve categories to include all necessary checks such as the electrics, brakes and the handling of the vehicle. By using our data from the last 2,000 inspections, we have determined which areas often cause the most trouble for motorists looking to buy.

In fact, looking at each category individually, the electricals/controls as well as the wheels and tyres are the most likely to cause an issue with 23% of used cars scoring poorly in these areas during inspection. This is followed by the body exterior with 18% along with the road test and engine compartment categories equally with 17%. After which, the suspension and brakes appear to cause the most problems; 12% of cars will score poorly on inspection of the front suspension, brakes and steering and 11% will do the same for the rear suspension and brakes.

The less likely areas to need addressing after an inspection include the underside condition of the car, with 8% of cars facing issues in this region, as well as the clutch and transmission with 5%. Mechanics will also find faults with the exhaust system in 3% of used cars during a pre-purchase inspection as well as problems with the brake hydraulics and fuel system in 2% of used vehicles.

Given this, pre-purchase inspections tend to reveal more wear and tear in the electrics and the physical state of the car, such as the wheels and exterior, than the actual handling of the car. This includes faults with the clutch, which, despite being one of the most common repairs for every motorist, is not a very common issue to face during a pre-purchase inspection. This suggests that the seller is more likely to repair any mechanical handling issues rather than any faulty electrical components such as the heating or lights, or the wheels themselves. However, it is worrying to see that 13% of cars will score poorly in at least one category involving the brakes.

Andrew Jervis, Co-Founder of ClickMechanic said: “Any motorist looking to buy a used car should take care to ensure that it is in full working order – no one wants a surprisingly expensive repair bill, not to mention the importance of safety! A pre-purchase inspection should always be conducted and you should remember to take the additional costs into account before buying the vehicle.”

2/3 of UK Drivers Have Never Attempted a Self-Repair on Their Car – Of Those Which Have, 1/3 Regret the Results!

Our latest research has revealed that two thirds of UK drivers have never attempted a self-repair on their car. In fact, 64% of motorists in total have not tried their hand at car repairs. Of those which have, 12% have regretted at least one experience, whereas 23% are happy with their handiwork. As such, just looking at those who have attempted a repair, one third of the work is regretted with the driver wishing they had hired a mechanic instead. This apparent lack of confidence in car repairs emphasises the increasing demand for mechanics, and the low success rate of those which attempt a repair stresses the need to hire a professional, should the motorist feel uncertain of the process.

Comparing genders, women are much more likely to avoid repairing the car themselves; 82% admit to never dealing with a fault, as opposed to 48% of men. However, while a smaller percentage of women have attempted a repair, they are slightly more likely to be pleased with the results as the 5% which regret their actions makes up for a lower proportion of those which have made repairs (28%) compared to the 18% (35%) of men.

In terms of age, the older generation are less likely to try their hand at car repairs; 70% of those aged over 55 have avoided the task, compared to 63% of those aged between 35-54 and 58% of those aged 18-34. That being said, younger drivers are more than twice as likely to regret a repair when compared to their elders. Looking only at those who attempted a repair, the 24% which are aged between 18-34 and regret the work is much higher proportionally speaking (57%), than the 8% of the alternative age groups (equates to 22% for 35-54-year-olds and 27% for those over 55).

Location-wise, Birmingham has the highest percentage of regretful mechanics as, with 20%, 1 in 5 drivers regret a self-repair and wish they had hired a professional instead. In contrast, Liverpool drivers appear to be the most competent when it comes to repairs as 41% of all motorists have attempted a repair with pleasing results. Looking at the capital, the survey results are fairly reflective of the overall total; only a third of drivers have tried their hand at repairs with 15% of all motorists (or 44% in terms of those which have only made repairs) regretting the outcome on at least one occasion.

Andrew Jervis, Co-Founder of ClickMechanic, said: “Due to the complexity of modern car design, more and more motorists are less confident when it comes to the mechanics. While one third of UK motorists have attempted a repair, a third of those admit to regretting the results, which emphasises the advanced skill set and knowledge now needed – even for everyday jobs. Car mechanics can still be learned, yet the engineering is not as simple as it used to be; if you feel unsure of a repair, use ClickMechanic to find a professional for you rather than facing a more expensive bill down the line.”

5 New Year’s Resolutions for Motorists in 2018

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

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

1. Slow Down

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

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

2. Put Down the Phone

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

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

3. Take Care of Your Car

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

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

4. Don’t Idle with Your Engine Running

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

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

5. Take a Break

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

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

ClickMechanic Introduces Machine Learning into Its Quote Engine to Offer Newfound Depth and Precision in Car Repair Costs

We’re pleased to announce the introduction of machine learning in ClickMechanic’s quote engine. This addition advances the capabilities of the booking system, making it the first of its kind in the industry. It allows it to generate a previously untapped depth of quotes with distinct accuracy.

ClickMechanic’s quote engine provides instant, industry-standard fixed price quotes for car repairs. It combines car repair times with industry standard labour prices and industry parts prices to produce an accurate figure of cost for any repair. Previously, deficiencies in the data sets, such as miscellaneous missing pieces of information, limited the engine from performing at its best in some instances. However, with the introduction of machine learning algorithms, ClickMechanic can now ensure that these gaps are filled with highly accurate estimates based on the existing data. This allows the booking system to produce quotes for a much wider variety of jobs with even greater accuracy, meaning mechanics no longer need to resort to guesswork if the data is unavailable to them.

This solution offers a newfound level of precision and capability in car repair costs and enables customers to get the utmost out of their car repairs. It is shaping how drivers find and book the best mechanic for the best price. Being acknowledged as a development which has the potential to transform the industry itself, ClickMechanic was awarded the highly competitive Open Competition grant from the UK’s innovation agency recently to support the project. The introduction of machine learning has also been a major influence in the 5 awards we received over the last quarter in 2017 including: Young Company of the Year at the Amazon Growing Business Awards, Product of the Year at the V3 Technology Awards and the Product Innovation Award at the Workshop Power Awards.

Andrew Jervis, Co-Founder of ClickMechanic, said: “Here at ClickMechanic, we pride ourselves on offering car owners the most reliable and best-value prices possible for car repairs. We are naturally very excited to implement machine learning algorithms, as it brings our product forward by leaps and bounds; reinforcing its position as a market leader. This advanced accuracy and precise quoting will support us immensely in our objective of bringing trust, transparency and convenience to the car repair marketplace.”

You Would Need to Drive 2,000 Miles or from London to Edinburgh Almost 5 TIMES to Burn off the Average Christmas Dinner!

Christmas is now just around the corner and countless Brits are already anticipating driving home, followed by guilt-free snacking! Although, not many realise just how far you would have to drive to earn that festive food. In fact, we’ve calculated that driving for roughly 35 hours, or from London to Edinburgh almost 5 times, would burn the equivalent number of calories to a full Christmas dinner for a man. Indeed, at just shy of 2,500 calories for the whole meal, a woman would have to drive even further, at almost 43 hours behind the wheel! Read on to find out how many miles you would have to cover to earn each part of your Christmas dinner!

Andrew Jervis, Co-Founder of ClickMechanic, said: “Over time, a driver can burn a fair amount of calories behind the wheel. So if you have a long drive home this Christmas, you shouldn’t be surprised if you’re straight into the nibbles on arrival. That being said, Christmas dinner is no ordinary meal and a motorist would have to accumulate some serious mileage to earn it!”

Meats – Drive from London to Dundee

Calories from Meats:

Turkey – 266 kcal, Pigs in Blankets (4x) – 160 kcal, Stuffing (x2) – 122 kcal

Total: 548 kcal

Whilst turkey is thought to be a healthy option, the calories soon mount up as we attempt to get our fair share. The combination of traditional pigs in blankets and stuffing also add a substantial number of calories, totalling up to more than the turkey itself from the above example!

Burning off an average of 70 calories per hour behind the wheel, it would take a man almost 8 hours, or driving from London to Dundee, to afford the Christmas dinner meats. Whereas women burn about 57 calories on the road every hour, meaning they would need over 9 and a half hours!

Vegetables – Drive from Manchester to Liverpool

Calories from Vegetables:

Carrots – 22 kcal, Parsnips – 26 kcal, Sprouts (x6) – 21 kcal

Total: 69 kcal

Unsurprisingly, the vegetables contribute very little to the total calorie count of the Christmas dinner. In fact, it only adds roughly 70 calories on top, and that’s if you can handle 6 sprouts! Of course, it’s a different story if you begin to smother the vegetables in butter, but as it is, steamed or boiled vegetables can be eaten in excess with little calories consequences.

For this reason, the average man would only need to drive for about an hour to burn this off; the equivalent of driving from Manchester to Liverpool. For women, 1 hour and 10 minutes of driving would be necessary. Some will easily accomplish this figure during the daily commute to work!

Sides – Drive from Cardiff to Leeds AND BACK

Calories from Sides:

Roast Potatoes (Cooked in Vegetable Oil) – 400 kcal, Yorkshire Puddings (x2) – 96 kcal, Gravy – 24 kcal, Cranberry Sauce – 46 kcal

Total: 566 kcal

The roast potatoes are arguably one of the most dangerous things on the plate during Christmas dinner. They are delicious, easy to eat and there always seems to be leftovers for seconds! However, they are also heavy in calories; even one small roast potato, cooked in vegetable oil, is 80 calories. So eating a large portion of them will easily shock in terms of calorie intake, especially if cooked in goose fat!

Toting up to slightly more than the meats, a man would need to drive a round trip from Cardiff to Leeds and back to deserve this part of the Christmas dinner. It would take just over 8 hours behind the wheel to burn off the calories, whereas a woman would need almost 10 hours in the driver’s seat – or driving from Norwich to Exeter and back.

Pudding/Sweets – Drive from Plymouth to Inverness

Calories from Pudding/Sweets:

Christmas Pudding – 285 kcal, Custard – 114 kcal, Selection of Cheese (Inc. Stilton, Cheddar and Camembert) – 181 kcal, Quality Street Chocolates (x3) – 132 kcal

Total: 712 kcal

And then there has to be room for dessert as well, which we all know won’t help the calorie situation! In fact, the traditional Christmas pudding with custard will roughly add another 400 calories on top of the meal. Not to mention the expected pecking at cheeses and chocolates will inevitably contribute!

To earn this dessert, the average man would actually need to drive from one end of the country to the other. It would take more than 10 hours on the road, or driving from Plymouth to Inverness, for a man to burn this energy off. For a woman, a shocking 12 and a half hours of driving would be needed to work through the 700 calories.

Drinks – Drive from Oxford to Middlesbrough AND BACK

Calories from Drinks:

White Wine (3x Glasses) – 393 kcal, Port – 156 kcal

Total: 549 kcal

Let’s not forget about what we Brits can drink during a Christmas dinner! Whilst the calories from alcohol will obviously vary depending on how much we decide to drink, just one 175ml glass of wine contains over 100 calories, so it soon adds up over the celebrations! Even toasting with a traditional glass or two of port will have consequences!

Based on drinking 3 glasses of wine, and 100ml of port, 549 calories will be drunk during the Christmas dinner. The average man will have to drive for almost 8 hours to equate to this number of calories; so any male motorists driving from Oxford to Middlesbrough and back this Christmas can excuse these drinks! Unfortunately, women have to drive further, needing 9 hours and 40 minutes on the road to burn through the calories.

The Top 5 Car Repairs to Expect This Christmas and How Likely You Are to Face Them!

Christmas is less than two weeks away and it’s already looking to be a snowy one! Yet, whilst many dream of a White Christmas filled with snowball fights and picturesque scenery, it is worth remembering that the freezing temperatures can be a killer for your car. Each winter, countless motorists face a variety of car issues and fear the potential cost to repair. This is why we have analysed our own data to find the most likely repairs which UK motorists will encounter over the winter. Read on to find out how you can prolong the most popular repairs and save money in the long-term.

Andrew Jervis, Co-Founder of ClickMechanic, said: “Many motorists forget to take care of their vehicle at this time of year. Cold conditions can cause an array of expensive problems for your car and, with a little TLC, potential repair bills can be reduced and the repairs themselves may last longer.”

1. Wing Mirror Glass Replacement

Increased odds of its breaking at Christmas: 4.3x

Signs it needs replacing:

– Glass is broken/scratched
– Casing is broken/scratched

Why is it breaking and how do I extend its lifespan:

On the icy roads, many motorists will struggle to control their vehicle at times and as such, they are far more likely to clip their wing mirrors or even slide into things. In fact, drivers are actually more than 4x as likely to damage their wing mirror glass in the winter compared to the rest of the year, so it’s a very common problem.

The only remedy for this would be to take more care on the road and reduce speed when necessary. Damaged wing mirror glass should be replaced as soon as possible, particularly if it restricts your vision.

2. Battery Replacement

Increased odds of its breaking at Christmas: 1.8x

Signs it needs replacing:

– The car’s engine will turn over slowly prior to starting or will not turn over at all
– None of the electrical equipment works
– The battery’s terminals and connectors show signs of erosion
– A pale blue or white powder has appeared on parts of the battery

Why is it breaking and how do I extend its lifespan:

Despite lasting longer in the colder climate, winter’s freezing temperatures actually causes the battery to lose power. The colder environment means the engine will require more power to start up and continue to run. This is why the winter will usually finish off an old (5 years plus) or struggling battery.

You can prolong your battery’s charge by switching off electrical items such as the heater blower, the headlights and the rear screen demisters for a few minutes prior to switching the engine off. Short journeys during winter will also place additional strain on the battery, so bear that in mind when popping down to the shops! If you’re unsure of its current condition, have the battery checked professionally.

3. Coil Spring Replacement

Increased odds of its breaking at Christmas: 1.7x

Signs it needs replacing:

– The car will bounce excessively after driving over a bump
– The car leans to one side or one corner is lower than the others
– You may feel a difference in the car’s handling
– You may hear odd noises, such as a banging or even a ‘twang’ when turning the steering

Why is it breaking and how do I extend its lifespan:

The coil springs act as support for the shock absorbers. They smooth out any bumps or irregularities you encounter on the road’s surface and, as such, they will eventually wear over time. They are also made of a ferrous metal, meaning they will suffer from corrosion. Most coil springs are coated in a plastic sleeve, however, this sleeve will suffer from nicks and scratches from road debris, which allows water to seep in and erode the metal.

During winter, the metal becomes brittle and will be more likely to break under shock, such as from speed bumps and pot holes. This can lead to expensive damage if a worn spring reaches this stage, so it should be seen to as soon as you notice any of the above symptoms. Regularly washing debris off of the springs with a hose can help to prolong them.

4. Alternator / Alternator Belt Replacement

Increased odds of its breaking at Christmas: 1.6x/1.3x

Signs it needs replacing:

– A battery warning light has appeared on the dashboard
– The dashboard/interior lights are not as bright as usual
– The battery does not charge or has run flat
– A squealing or screeching sound comes from the engine

Why is it breaking and how do I extend its lifespan:

The alternator charges the car’s battery, which in turn powers all electricals. As such, it too takes additional strain in the colder months when more power is needed to run the vehicle. The first and major indication that something is wrong will be the sight of a small red battery sign on your dashboard. This warning light should illuminate when you switch the ignition on and then go out when the engine is running. Should this light become slow to extinguish, that could be a sure sign that the alternator is on its way out.

In essence, there is little that the general car owner can do to prolong the lifespan of an alternator. However, it is important to give it the best chance of working efficiently by avoiding deep water and ensuring that the belt which drives it is in good condition. Should you start to hear a “squeal” on start-up or when driving, the belt may require adjusting or even replacing.

5. Starter Motor Replacement

Increased odds of its breaking at Christmas: 1.3x

Signs it needs replacing:

– The engine does not start or you have issues making it start
– The starter motor makes more noise than usual when you start the engine
– You can hear a clicking noise when you turn the key

Why is it breaking and how do I extend its lifespan:

As the name suggests, the starter motor starts the car – which is known to be a common issue during the wintertime. This is because in a colder climate, more energy is needed to turn the starter motor and power the engine, putting additional stress on both it and the battery.

The starter motor will, once again, wear with time, and as it is for all repairs in this list, it should be replaced as and when necessary in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommended schedule. Like the alternator, there is little you can do to generally prolong the life of a starter motor. However, if your vehicle is reluctant to start, avoid continually trying to run the starter motor without giving it chance to cool down. For guidance, you should only use the starter motor for 30 seconds and then let it cool for 30 seconds before re-trying it. You should also, once again, avoid deep water, ensure that your undertray is secure and check that your battery is in a good condition to give it the best possible power source to use.