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Car Locksmith – Emergency Entry

Being locked out of your vehicle can be a terrifying event. It is also not an easy thing to deal with on your own and you could be in any number of places when you discover you cannot get into your vehicle.

If you do not have a spare key or your spare key is not available, you are probably looking at emergency vehicle entry from a trained professional. Any other alternative, such as trying to get in yourself may be dangerous and will likely cause unnecessary damage to your vehicle.

How can I gain access to my car if I am locked out?

emergency entry - car locksmith

There are a number of things you could do, however the most efficient and safest solution is to call a car locksmith. If you try to gain access yourself, you could damage a number of things including your central locking system and very likely the body or paintwork of your car. A trained engineer who specialises in emergency vehicle entry is the best option. This way you are assured to maintain the integrity of your vehicle and your locking system.

See www.affkeysolutions.co.uk  for more details.

Keys locked in the car

Being locked out of your car isn’t as simple as—I’ve lost my car key! Sometimes we do the thing we think we would never do—leave the keys in the car and when we finally remember, the vehicle has automatically locked itself! This can be especially true of newer vehicles, where the key no longer has to be placed into the ignition in order to start the car.

Unfortunately, these sorts of things can often happen when you are away from home. Or to make it even worse, this can happen when you really need to get something out of your car. In this scenario, an emergency vehicle entry locksmith is someone to contact. Check for the company’s location and whether they offer 24hr service. You may not require a typically ‘out of hours’ service, but it is worth checking what the company provides in terms of travel and opening hours.

This way you can gain access to your vehicle and retrieve your keys, no problem.

Broken keys

Broken keys will usually have to be fixed/replaced by the car manufacturer. Obviously these things can take some time and you may need to gain access to your vehicle before that is rectified. In this case, again, a car locksmith would be able to help you get in to your vehicle.

Flat key fob battery

Similar to broken keys, a flat battery will usually have to be replaced by the manufacturer. If this is the only way to gain access to your vehicle, then again a car locksmith would be able to help. Some key fobs also come with keys in order to gain access ‘manually’. In this case, having the fob ‘fixed’ is up to you as the owner. For prices etc. you are best to talk directly to your car manufacturer.

Mobile car locksmiths & emergency entry

Mobile car locksmiths have recently grown in numbers due to the demand for emergency vehicle entry in the UK. Mobile car locksmiths are trained professionals who are there to help you gain access to your vehicle and in most cases retrieve keys which have been locked in your car.

Over the last 5 years there has reportedly been almost a 50% rise in people needing emergency access to their vehicle. A lot of new cars have keys with are specifically programmed for that vehicle, therefore only a specialist car locksmith will be able to help you gain access to your vehicle.

For more information on prices and services see www.affkeysolutions.co.uk


New UK Speeding fines – All you need to know

The new UK speeding laws come into effect from 24th April 2017, motorists caught speeding from this date on-wards will find themselves facing tougher new laws and regulations. In this blog we tell you all you need to know about these tough new speeding fines.

Speeding Fine Bands

There will be 3 speeding bands which your speeding fine will fall into, depending on how much faster you were going over the actual speed limit. There will be Band A, Band B and Band C.

Band A

As illustrated in our diagram below, these are for the lowest speeds driven above the speed limits, for example Band A applies if you’re going between 31 – 40mph in a 30mph limit. If you’re caught speeding within this band, expect 3 points on your licence and a speeding fine relevant to 50% of your weekly income.

Band B

If yo care caught speeding in band B, for example going 41 – 50mph in a 30mph limit, you can expect to receive a fine relevant to 100% of your weekly income and either 4 – 6 points OR 7 – 28 days disqualification.

Band C

Being caught speeding in Band C will see the most severe fines. If for example you’re doing over 51mph in a 30mph, you can expect to see a fine equivalent to 150% of your weekly income and 6 points OR 7 – 56 days disqualification.

Speeding Fine Limits

There used to be a cap of £1,000 and £2,500 for motorways, there is now just a cap of £2,500 in place with more offenders receiving the higher level of fines.

How Many Speeding Offences Are There?

Speeding offences have increased by a staggering 44% over the past five years according to data gathered by Green Flag. The council in charge of sentencing have decided to increase the penalty depending on the seriousness of the offence to ensure there is a clear fine increase to match.

So How Much Could A Fine Be?

An average salary in the UK (April 2015 national statistics) was £27,600, which means the following speeding fine could be true if you’re caught speeding:

Band A – £132 – £398 (typically 50% of weekly income but can range 25 – 75%)

Band B £398 – £663 (typically 100% of weekly income, but can range 75% – 125%)

Band C £663 – £928 (typically 150% of income, but can range 125 – 175%)

However if you are a first time offender you could be offered the chance to take a speed awareness course to avoid penalty points.

Check out https://www.gov.uk/speeding-penalties for more information on UK speeding laws.

new speeding fines april 24th 2017

 


Frozen door locks – Top tips to defrost them

frozen car door locksSo You’ve gone to get into your car in the morning or when you’re leaving work to drive home and your car door locks are frozen! Don’t panic, here’s some handy tips to get you into your vehicle and on your way!

Unfreezing your car door lock

There are quite a few items which you will probably have handy which can defrost that car lock and gain you entry to your vehicle.

Your Hands

Yes this may be a method that might leave you with a cold finger or thumb for a little while, heating up your hands and placing a thumb or finger on the lock for a short while could defrost the lock enough to gain you entry to your vehicle.

Cigarette Lighter

For those of you who carry a cigarette lighter with them, use this to warm up your car key, being careful not to get it too hot so you can’t hold it or melt the plastic cover. Then slowly push the key into the lock to melt the ice, you may have to do this a few times to defrost the lock and gain entry.

Hand Sanitizer

Yes you may have some hand sanitizer on your person, this contains alcohol and by putting the sanitizer on the lock and key, and then gently wiggling the key into the lock, you can defrost your lock.

Hair Dryer

If you are at home and have an extension cable that will reach to your vehicle with an hair dryer, you can use this to defrost the lock and gain entry.

WD-40

This is in many a garage, and if you have some in yours, try spraying the lock with this, it should defrost the lock for you, though you may have to spray it a couple of times and wait a little while for it to melt the ice.

De-icer

Yes it’s an obvious one, but sometimes we can forget when we’re in a rush, your window de-icer, spray it on the lock and wait for it to melt the ice..

Preventing Locks From Freezing

If your vehicle is out in the open, look at investing in a good car cover, so the frost doesn’t get at the locks. You can also purchase graphite powder, which will work on all types of locks to help stop ice from forming when it’s cold, the only drawback is it can be a bit messy.

Remember – Don’t force the lock, this could end up in a broken key in the lock and a costly repair bill!


Using Road Signs to pinpoint your location

If you have put the wrong fuel in your vehicle, helping us to pinpoint your exact location will inevitably reduce the amount of time that you are stranded and reduce the amount of damage to your vehicle.

If you have put petrol in diesel or vice versa, and not realised before leaving the fuel station, knowing the location where you have broken down  will help us to find you as quickly and safely as possible.  This will havea huge impact on the length of inconvenience and discomfort for you.  Most importantly though, once the wrong fuel has started its journey around the engine, the quicker that it is removed, the less long term damage is likely to occur to the filters and seals, saving you money.

Driver location signs, now widely used across the motorway and A-road network pinpoint exactly where you are.  They are visible from the road on the near side verge  at every 500m.   This may be reduced in some locations where obstacles might seclude them.

Most of us are aware that the M number or A number on a driver location sign indicates the type of road and route number.   Below this, there should be either an A or a B . This tells us which direction you are travelling in:

roadside location marker

M27 location sign

On the M25, ‘A’ indicates clockwise on the main carriageway and ‘B’ anticlockwise.

On other Motorways ‘A’ is generally used to indicate northbound or ‘Away’ from London and ‘B’ southbound or ‘Back’ to London.

On motorway sliproads you will see J, K, L or M depending on direction and location.

Distances are accurate to within 20 metres and are generally quoted from the beginning of the motorway. On the M25 distances are measured clockwise from the Dartford crossing.

Being able to pinpoint your precise location from these road signs will greatly increase our chances of a favourable outcome from your wrong fuel mistake.  Petrol in diesel can potentially cause extra damage if not removed quickly and effectively.

Information obtained from
For any further information or advice on putting petrol in diesel or any oter questions regarding wrong fuel errors, please see……

Biofuels – Better than Petrol or Diesel?

Biofuels are liquid transport fuels blended with petrol or diesel. They are made from plants that absorb energy from the sun and store it chemically as sugars or similar materials.

Biodiesel can be used as a fuel for vehicles in its pure form, but it is usually added to diesel. Biodiesel is produced from oils or fats using transesterification and is the most common biofuel in Europe.

biofuelAdvanced Biofuels

Advanced biofuels offer several advantages compared with conventional biofuels. They are better for the environment and could be more sustainably available, reducing the cost of production.

Advanced biofuel conversion technology means that it is now possible to use agricultural waste and fast-growing, high-yielding energy grasses instead of the conventional crops. Some of these grasses can produce in excess of 3-4 times as many gallons of ethanol per acre comared to crops like corn .

Cellulosic ethanol was one of three advanced biofuels used in an experimental trial to power part of the Olympic fleet at the London 2012 games. (http://www.bp.com)

The next generation biofuel – biobutanol, has all the benefits of ethanol, and offers additional advantages . Its more compatible with fuel supply systems, gives more miles per gallon and reduces GHG emmissions.

Regular ethanol production plants can also be converted to produce biobutanol, utilizing existing assets and enabling faster build times to achieve material production capacity.

Biobutanol has already been road tested in vehicles covering more than 1.5 million miles – a distance equivalent to 3 journeys to the Moon and back.

Biofuels production continues to grow significantly worldwide. They currently make up around 3% of trasport fuels. To be successful in this highly competitive market, plant operators must ensure their production is as efficient, safe and economical as possible. BP estimates that by 2030, use of bio fuels will increase to 7%.

Are biofuels actually worse than fossil fuels?

Some environmentalists believe that the use of bio fuels made from crops contribute more greenhouse gases than fossil fuels and cause deforestation and hunger, costing the tax payer billions. The European council however have released legislation encouraging the use of bio fuels and investing in their increase.

You can find more information here.


Fuel Protect’ Misfuelling Insurance, £19.99

 

• There are 150,000 mis-fuelling incidents a year on UK roads
• Every four minutes, someone puts the wrong fuel in their car
• Costly recovery and repairs are a thing of the past

The UK’s largest independent roadside specialist recovery services, Auto Fuel Fix has just launched Fuel Protect, a £19.99-a-year insurance product which will address the risk of misfiling incidents and substantially minimise both costs and consequences.

“Our mission statement is to get motorists up and running as quickly and painlessly as possible,” says Auto Fuel Fix MD Bruce Compton. “We’ve been established since 2009 and official records show that mis-fuelling is consistently responsible for widely-spread inconvenience and costs. Our brand new product is designed to address the reality of thousands of breakdowns on UK roads by offering our services for £20 a year, per car. Our near-100% success rate in getting affected cars back on the road guarantees peace of mind.”

Mis-fuelling is more common than you thinkmis-fuelling

Every four minutes someone in the UK will put the wrong fuel in their car. Auto Fuel Fix’s specialists drain the contaminated fuel and ensure that the vehicle can be restarted to continue its journey with minimum inconvenience, waiting time, costs and further damage. In the extremely unlikely event that the vehicle may not be restarted, it is recovered to a repair garage at no charge*.

“The alternative, of course, is to pay for a costly recovery service, garage repair fees, having one’s car off the road for a few days, and a final bill for anything between £3,000 and £5,000,” adds Bruce. “…and for those who wonder, our records show that there is no real gender bias: men are just as likely to put the wrong kind of fuel in their car as ladies are.”

Fuel Protect, which covers up to two mis-fuelling incidents a year, can be purchased online here.

*within a 30-mile radius

 

“ Fuel Protect is a trading name of Andeva Underwriting Agency Limited who are registered in England and Wales No 07789327 at registered office St Pancras House, Jacobs Yard, Basingstoke, RG21 7PE. Andeva Underwriting Agency Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. “


UK Diesel & Petrol Prices

The petrol prices and diesel prices in the UK has seen record highs in recent years, but what percentage of the money goes to where? How much of the fuel price is duty, how much is for the actual product, delivery and VAT? This article explains why we have the highs and lows, who gets what & all other fuel price related questions.

Why do petrol prices fluctuate

The price of diesel and petrol can fluctuate depending on a number of varying factors:

  • Global Events – Wars, fuel shortages and security threats to oil supplies
  • World Markets – Supply & demand, taxes, cost of crude oil & inflation
  • New Technology – The increasing alternative fuel sources & new alternative fuel sources for vehicles

We’ve all noticed the fluctuation of petrol prices in recent years, what has also been noticable is the fairly steady increase in the price of fuel. In the space of only 5 years the average cost of unleaded petrol between January 2007 and January 2012 increased by 45.3 pence, that’s an increase of 50%. In recent years we have seen the price of petrol grow to 140 pence per litre, but now this has seen a dramatic fall back to late 2007 prices, with unleaded petrol prices at 99.9 pence a litre at some petrol stations in February 2015.

Cost breakdown for a litre of fuel

So how are petrol prices made up, who gets what, how much do the government, oil giants and retailer receive per litre. The following diagrams show the breakdown of a typical litre of petrol and diesel.

uk unleaded petrol prices breakdownuk diesel prices breakdown

Fuel Duty

The fuel duty in Britian is currently the second highest fuel duty in Europe, with 58 pence of every litre going to the treasurey. This, plus the VAT being charged on every litre of fuel purchased means that currently (as correct February 2015) over 60% of the price of fuel we pay at the forecourt goes to the government. This generates over £40 billion in revenue, with only a fraction of that going back into the road network.

Fuel (Product)

The cost of the actual fuel product is the second largest part of the price you pay at the forecourt. This goes to the companies who supply and refine the crude oil into petrol and diesel at our pumps. With the cost of refining the crude oil into diesel being higher than petrol, this is reflected in the marginally higher price you pay at the pumps for diesel per litre over petrol.

Retailer & Delivery

The profit margin for the retailer is the smallest percentage of the price you pay for fuel. With high competition, duty and high product prices the retailer has little room for profit on the petrol prices or diesel prices in their forecourts.

Handy fuel links

Further petrol price information

Calculating your annual petrol and diesel costs

Fuel price breakdown calculator

 

 


A customer who has misfuelled & driven 10 miles

One of our engineers was called out to a customer who had misfuelled their vehicle by putting petrol in their diesel tank. Below is the great customer feedback we received from another satisfied customer. Our engineer was able to save the customer hundreds, if not thousands on the advice given by his local garage.

Customer feedback:

I thought my vehicle was not repairable as I had travelled over 10 miles with petrol in my diesel tank when it ground to a halt. My garage back home told me it would be an engine strip down and would cost a lot of money. However your chap did an unbelievable job. He sucked out 99.9% of the contaminated fuel, filled up with 5 litres of diesel and bingo my car started again. Even better than that. As the petrol has basically cleaned the entire inside of my engine, I would say my car is now running better than ever. I can not thank your service enough. It has saved me a lot of money. Thank you!

If you’ve misfuelled contact an expert!misfuelled

The above situation shows that even if you have misfuelled your vehicles tank (in this case petrol in a diesel tank) and have driven you vehicle for a short distance, the situation may be able to be rectified without expensive repair bills.

We ALWAYS recommend seeking expert advice from a fuel technician if you have had an incident where you’ve misfuelled your vehicle. Your vehicles tank and fuel system may be able to be drained, flushed and have the correct fuel added with no further consequences or costs.

For further information on misfuelling with the wrong fuel, whether you’ve put petrol in a diesel car or diesel in a petrol car, check out our guides. The guides give you a full breakdown on different situations and what are the best course of actions to prevent any damage or possible further damage to your vehicles engine if you’ve misfuelled.


Misfuelling a Ford Focus – A satisfied customer

On the 5th of September Auto Fuel Fix were called out to a misfuelling incident where Marion R had put petrol in a diesel Ford Focus in Oxford.

We’re always proud of our excellent customer service and were glad to receive this thankyou email from Marion:misfeuelling a Ford Focus

“I couldn’t have asked for a more efficient, expert and reassuring service from the guys at Fuelfix, from the first phone call to the car being back on the road, and sounding as good as it did before my misfuelling event. We’d just spent a small fortune on 4 new fuel injectors two days previously and I had visions of having ruined the whole system!

So, thank you. I hope I don’t have to use your services again, but for those friends to whom I can admit my error, I’ll tell them about AutoFuelFix. When I filled up nearby at BP, I noticed its Ultimate diesel has a blue nozzle, as does the Esso Super Unleaded, -but still no excuse really….

My friend took a photo – see attached. Unfortunately it’s not of Steve in action, but you might like the files anyway.

Kind regards

Marion”

Auto Fuel Fix provide a 24hr misfuelling recovery service across the United Kingdom. We always deliver a professional service, with our expert engineers in roadside fuel drainage. We realise that doing the required job of rectifying the misfuelling event is only part of the job, our engineers reassure our clients and give any further advice if required to ensure there is no damage to their engine. Marion is just one of our many satisfied clients who we are called out to on a daily basis. To ensure you have your vehicles tank and fuel system drained correctly after misfuelling, Auto Fuel Fix recommend always seeking the advice and services of a reputable fuel drainage company.

For more information on misfuelling, check out our wrong fuel ultimate guide.


Car Tax Bands & Dirty Diesel Tax

Car tax bands (also referred to as road tax and formerly known as Vehcle Excise duty) are currently based on your vehicles carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Cars and light goods vehicles registered before March 2001 have their vehicle tax rates based on the size of the engine.car tax bands

Vehicle tax bands pre March 2001

  • Vehicles up to 1549cc – 6 months £79.75 / 12 months £145
  • Vehicles over 1549cc – 6 months £126.50 / 12 months £230

With the ever growing awareness of the enviromental impact of vehicle CO2 emissions on the environment, car tax bands were divided into thirteen categories based on the level of CO2 emissions from the vehicle. The vehicle tax bands have been differentiated by letter, with tax band A being the lowest emission vehicles with the lowest  yearly tax rate. Tax band M refers to the highest level of tax with a vehicles emissions over 255 g/km of CO2 emissions. So your choice of vehicle can make a big differnce to your yearly motoring costs depending on its car tax band.

New vehicle road tax rates

All new vehicles with a tax band of A to D will enjoy a zero tax rate for the first year the vehicle is on the road. Vehicles in the tax bands E to G will pay the same tax rate for their first year on the road as their standard annual road tax. For all vehicles which are purchased in tax band categories H to M, you will be paying more for your first years road tax than your standard yearly road tax which it will reduce back to for year 2 and subsequent years after that.

Electric, alternative fuelled cars, hybrids and LPG vehicles can also enjoy a £10 reduction on both the first years road tax and the standard yearly rate thereafter.

Vehicle tax bands since March 1st 2001

VED Band Vehicle CO2 Emissions Standard rate Petrol/Diesel First year rate Petrol/Diesel Standard rate Green car First year rate Green car
A Up to 11g/km £0 £0 £0 £0
B 101 – 110g/km £20 £0 £10 £0
C 111-120g/km £30 £0 £20 £0
D 121-130g/km £110 £0 £100 £0
E 131-140g/km £130 £130 £120 £120
F 141-150g/km £145 £145 £135 £135
G 151-165g/km £180 £180 £170 £170
H 166-175g/km £205 £290 £195 £280
I 176-185g/km £225 £345 £215 £335
J 186-200g/km £265 £485 £255 £475
K 201-225g/km £285 £635 £275 £625
L 226-255g/km £485 £860 £475 £850
M Over 255g/km £500 £1090 £490 £1080

Tax disc abolition

The law is changing in 2014 to reduce the administration costs associated with vehicle tax. From the 1st October 2014, the paper tax disc will no longer be issued or required to be displayed in the vehicle windscreen. The tax disc has been a familiar site on the UK’s roads with the first vehicle tax disc being issued on 1st January 1921.

With the advancements in technology including automatic number plate readers and with the readily available database to the police, the tax disc is no longer required to be displayed in vehicles’ windows. Motorists will also have the option to pay their road tax by direct debit annually, biannually or monthly. Monthly and biannually payments will see a surcharge of 5% which is half of the previous surcharge for biannual payments.

Dirty diesel tax for UK citiesdirty diesel city tax

With the ever growing popularity of diesel cars (a nearly four fold increase between 2000 to 2014 with 11 million on now on the road), introducing the proposed £10 charge for the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) would affect a large amount of UK drivers who wish to drive into London and other major cities if they follow suit.

What is this new proposed city diesel tax for the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), how does it work?

The plans are still in the early stages, but early signs are that from 2020 Boris Johnson would like to see all diesel and petrol cars registered before 2006 paying an extra £10 to drive into central London on top of the excisitng congestion charge. Only vehicles that meet Euro 6 emissions standard would be exempt from the charge. Check out the full list of the Euro rating standards on emissions. Boris Johnson is outlaying plans for an “air quality manifesto” to bring down London’s air polution levels to within two thirds of the way down towards the limits set by the EU.

Car tax bands – consider when purchasing

When purchasing a new vehicle that’s been registered after March 2001, considering the vehicles emissions can make a massive difference to your yearly running costs. A vehicle with emissions up to 100g/km CO2 will enjoy road tax free motoring, whilst if you purchase a vehicle at the other end of the emission scale with over 255g/km CO2, you can expect a £500 a year road tax bill, this equates to an additonal £41.67 per month on top of your monthly fuel bill, which can make a quite a difference to your monthly expenses! The full car tax bands table can be found below.

 


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