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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!


UK Fuel Prices Brexit & Bremain Predictions

The European Referendum

In the run up to the European Referendum on 23rd June, we will all be asking ourselves what factors will be making us vote either  IN or OUT.  Fuel prices may well not be something that you have considered.

This article covers what has been predicted by both the Brexit and Bremain campaigners regarding how a stay or go vote will affect UK fuel prices.

Bremain – Predictions for Fuel prices following an IN vote

Bremain Fuel Prices

It seems that a large proportion of the motor industry has declared themselves to be in favour of a vote to remain within the EU with the SMMT (Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders) divulging that three quarters of it’s members had stated that they were looking for an ‘IN’ outcome.

There has been numerous claims and predictions threatening a soar in petrol prices should we pull out of the EU, with the AA predicting an increase of up to 19 pence per litre.  These figures are based on a prediction that leaving the EU will inevitably cause a 20% weaker £ alongside OPEC (Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) already looking to freeze oil output increasing oil prices.

With this in mind, the AA have predicted a cost to the average 2 car UK family of an extra £494 per year, an 18.7% rise in the cost of fuel.

Brexit – Predictions for Fuel prices following an OUT vote

fuel duty budget 2016

The Brexit campaign backed by former Mayor of London Boris Johnson would argue that most of the grim predictions made regarding fuel prices by the Bremain campaign are scare mongering.

All of those three quarters of the SMMT who have indicated that they would urge for an ‘IN’ vote are large companies…none of the smaller ones indicated the same.  They say that prices could stay low.

The uncertainty regarding whether we will stay in or out f the EU has already had a dramatic effect on the value of the £.  The £ having fallen to it’s lowest value against the $ since March 2009.

Fuel prices are generally related to the value of oil and oil is traded most often in dollars, therefore sterling value against the euro is less of an issue than it’s value against the dollar.  The bulk of our fuel prices are taxes and fuel duty – making up 70% of the cost of a litre and this will ot change following a Brexit.

Howard Cox ( Founder of Fair Fuel UK) who are foremost n campaigning for lower tax on fuel prices stated that the AA are engaging in ‘ill-informed exaggerations to scare drivers about Brexit’.  He added ‘ Despite the UK already having the most punative fuel duty levels in the EU, any thought that pump prices would rise further if Brexit became a reality is a red herring’.  ‘If the ound does not crash, contrary to the pro-EU doom merchants predicting, and oil remains low due to over production, then it will still be down tp George Osborne how we pay at the pumps’.

The Brexit campaign predicts that the AA’s prediction of an increase of 19p per litre is a worst case scenario and that actual increases could be as low as between 2p and 4p per litre according to an alternative AA and RAC statement.  If the pound were to strengthen then we could even be paying 2p less.

IN or OUT?

It seems that there is a broad argument that fuel prices will increase but that most of the speculations and predictions are based on assumptions that the £ will crash…..If it does crash, it may well only be for a period while it recovers.  It may not crash at all.  Both Brexit and Bremain have compelling arguments.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Contaminated Fuel – How much is too much?

Contaminated Fuel

Contaminated fuel from misfuelling can be a distressing mistake.  It is far more common than you would think and is equally common for both sexes.  Not only can mis-fuelling be embarassing but it causes you both time and money.contaminated fuel

The quantity of time and money, the extent of damage caused to your vehicle and the necessary action required depends on the volume of wrong fuel and the type of fuel which you have mistakenly put in.

Diesel in Petrol

It is much harder to put diesel in petrol than petrol in diesel because the fuel nozel for diesel tends to be much larger than it’s counterpart meaning that it often does not fit.  Therefore, this scenario is far less common.

If a diesel in petrol mistake has been made however, starting the car can cause the spark plugs and fuel system to clog up causing misfire and smoking.  Depending on the quantity of diesel in petrol, the vehicle could stop running.

How much Diesel in Petrol is too much?

If you have put 2 litres or less of diesel in petrol ( less than 5% of a completely full tank of fuel) when you realise you have contaminated fuel in your tank, then carry on fuelling with the correct fuel until the tank is full and you should be able to be on your way without calling for assistance and with no damage to your vehicle.

In the unfortunate circumstance that you have more than 5% of a full tank of contaminated fuel, then you should not turn the engine on ( or turn off immediately you realise your mistake) and call a misfuelling recovery service such as Auto Fuel Fix for assistance.  Auto Fuel Fix will completely drain your vehicle, usually on site and give you any advice before getting you on your way again.  They are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Petrol in Diesel

Mis-fuelling with petrol in diesel is far easier than the other way around and with an increasing number of diesel cars now on the market, it is a growing mistake.

Petrol in diesel can cause slightly more problems than diesel in petrol depending on how long the car is run for, what type of diesel engine you have and how much wrong fuel you have put in.  Should you start the engine, damage can be caused to the fuel system seals and pumps as it travels along the fuel system.

If you have put petrol in diesel then you should notice smoking when it’s running, if it will start at all and a noisy rattling sound.  If you notice any of these signs then switch off your engine impediately you realise the wrong fuel mistake.

How much petrol in diesel is too much?

Providing that you have put less than 10% of a full tank of petrol in diesel, equating to 5 litres or less, you should be able to get away with filling the tank full with the diesel and your vehicle should be able to burn off any contaminated fuel without the need to call for assistance.

If you have put more than 10% wrong fuel petrol in diesel then unfortunately, starting your engine or carrying on driving could cause much more damage.   You will need to call a mis-fuelling company to drain the wrong fuel from your vehicle and get you on your way.  It is possible that you will need to change fuel filters at a sooner date than usual as they could be affected by your contaminated fuel mistake.    If you have not started your engine, then there should be no damage to your vehicle once the contaminated fuel has been removed as it will not have circulated the fuel system.

 

 

 

 


Premium Fuels – Worth the extra money?

Most of us have probably looked at the premium fuels nozzle at the fuel pump while filling up and wondered whether we would see any benefit from paying the extra for super fuel…….sometimes up to 30p per litre more.

premium fuels

So what exactly is Premium Fuel?

Premium fuel has a higher octane rating (RON) than their standard fuel counterparts and this increased rating is claimed to make your engine run more efficiently, wasting less energy and with improved performance, lower fuel consumption and protecting your engine too…..

Premium fuels are availabe in both petrol and diesel formats.   The octane rating for standard unleaded fuel is 95, whereas most premium unleaded fuels are 98.

The octane rating is the fuels ability to resist engine knocking….the higher the number, the lower the knock.

Premium diesel is a higher quality of diesel which may have additives claiming to improve performance.

The cost of premium fuels at the pump.

The average price of standard unleaded fuel is currently 108.27p per litre in contrast to the average price of super unleaded being 117.98p per litre.  That is over 9p per litre more.

Diesel drivers will find that the average cost of a litre of standard diesel is 108p and premium diesel 120.76p per litre on average.  That’s a fairly hefty 12.76p per litre more.

Premium Fuel Claims.

  • Improve mileage
  • Improved performance
  • Reduced engine wear & tear
  • Saving money longterm

Improve Mileage?

Premium fuel should burn more efficiently than it’s standard counterpart meaning that less fuel is burned to deliver equal power.  These claims however could be effected by the type of car which you drive and factors such as driving style.

Many users of premium fuels claim that they only notice a small amount of increased fuel efficiency.  Drivers of performace cars will see the most benefit.

Improved Performance?

As a rule, drivers of high performance cars who often drive regularily on long drives and open roads will see the most marked improvement in engine performance.  Drivers with small engines and those who make many short city journeys will see little benefit.

The engines of high performance vehicles operate with higher temperatures and pressures and therefore the premium fuel can increase the amount of horsepower which in turn will show a marked improvement in performance.  These factors are not indicative of regular engines though and hence, these drivers will see much less improvement.

Factors such as driving style will play a larger part than fuel type in engine performance for most drivers.

Reduced Engine Wear & Tear?

Drivers of high performance vehicles again are the ones which will see a marked difference here too.  This is because the claim to reduced engine wear and tear refers to the higher octane fuels reducing engine knock which is most prevalent in performance cars due to their superchargers and turbos.

Engine knock is the term used for unburned fuel igniting in the engine.

Premium fuel can however also contain additives which help in maintaining your engine, keeping it cleaner and working more efficiently for longer.

Saving money longterm?

In essence those drivers of performance cars could well benefit longterm from using premium fuel by increased performance and improved miles per litre.  This of course will show in their pockets.   Drivers of regular cars, small cars and those who do little driving in a week will probably notice hardly any difference at all, especially those who drive older vehicles.

So is it worth buying premium fuel?

The only way to really tell if you will see any improvements in your vehicle or pocket by using premium fuels is to try it out a few times and see.  If you are a driver of a performance vehicle, then you may see a more marked improvement than drivers of regular vehicles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Fuel Tax Frozen For 6th Year – Update

Tax on Fuel Frozen Again

After all of the pre budget speculation and predictions that the chancellor’s Budget statement 2016 would include an increase in fuel duty, it seems that Mr Osbourne has chosen to give the British motorist another year of frozen fuel duty.  This is the 6th consective year that fuel duty has been frozen in the UK.

Fuel Tax

Mr Osborne’s Budget Statement on Fuel Tax

George Osbornes Budget Statement 2016 on Fuel Tax was that tax on petrol and diesel will remain at 57.95 pence per litre.  The decision comes as a great surprise to both motorists and the financial sector who predicted a rise in fuel tax following the chancellors autumn statement which indicated that a rise would be likely in line with inflation.

“Families paid the cost when oil prices rocketed; they shouldn’t be penalised when oil prices fall.” was one remark from Mr Osborne.  “I know fuel costs still make up a significant part of household budgets and weigh heavily on small firms.”

What is Fuel Tax or Fuel Duty?

As the name suggests, fuel tax or fuel duty is the tax which is put on all hydrocarbon fuels.  Petrol, Diesel, Biodiesel, LPG.  These are all fuels used by motorists.

Why was Fuel Duty Frozen Originally?

Fuel duty was last increased in Jan 2011, rising to 58.95 pence.  At that particular time, petrol and diesel was being sold at a much higher price than it is now £1.25.2 for petrol and £1.29.3 for diesel on average. Todays prices are approx £1.03 on average.   This difference was due to oil prices being approximately twice what it is today.

In the 2011 Budget Statement, the chancellor said that he wanted to “put fuel into the tank of the British Economy” and reduced fuel tax by 1 pence per litre to 57.95 pence and he has frozen it at the level since that date.  Keeping Brits on the road.

Fuel tax was due to raise in line with inflaion thereafter but it has never been implemented.

How much is fuel duty?

Fuel duty accounts for 75% of the cost of fuel.  With oil prices at an all time low, the proportion of tax paid is markedly higher.

Fuel tax is estimated to produce £27 billion for the British Economy in this following year.

What does a continuing fuel tax freeze mean for the motorist?

It is predicted that fuel prices will not remain at the low they are now indefinitely.  It is predicted that oil prices will eventually rise once more and that the cost of this will of course be passed on to the motorist.

The freeze in fuel tax will nonetheless mean a saving for the motorist.  The cost of fuel and motoring continues to be one of the biggest household bills and freezing tax will inevitably keep fuel prices lower than if the fuel tax had risen.

 

 

 


Fuel Duty hike expected UK Budget 2016

Fuel Duty …  2016 budget

fuel duty budget 2016

With the 2016 Budget coming up next week, motorists are speculating as to whether Chancellor George Osborne will be increasing fuel duty in line with inflation…and it is looking likely.

The Facts

  • In Britain, we already pay more fuel duty than any other EU country.
  • Fuel duty amounts to just under 58p per litre of fuel…around 73.4% of the price.
  • Fuel Duty in the UK has been ‘frozen’ for 4, nearly 5 years.

What is being forecast?

George Osborne is being predicted to increase fuel duty in line with inflation within Westminster and the financial sector.  With his pledge to balance Britains budget deficit by 2019 growing closer, and the UK’s recovery slowing down, speculation in Westminster is that “the simplest way to raise cash is to put 2p on petrol. Prices are so low at the moment that people will hardly notice the difference.”

Fuel Prices have been steadily falling for 8 months with petrol and diesel prices both dropping to below £1 per litre last month for the first time since 2009.

In a recent interview with the BBC, Mr Osborne declined to rule out a rise in fuel duty and his aides when questioned decline to comment.  The foundations were already laid in last years Autumn statement by the chancellor.

What this means to the motorist

The cost of motoring it is fair to say, is the largest household expense and a huge cost for businesses alike.  The current trend for lower petrol prices have been a welcome reprieve for everyone.

Quite simply, an increase in fuel duty will mean an increase in fuel prices.  With car insurance costing more each year, which can be attributed in some way to rises in insurance tax last year, and the likelihood that low oil prices and fuel prices will not continue inevitably….. This could all have a huge impact on the motorists pocket and small businesses.  Haulage companies especially, will find any fuel increases a blow.

150 MPs expected to back a bid not to increase fuel duty

There is talk that up to 150 MPs , including some ministers, are backing a campaign to pressure the chancellor not to increase fuel duty in his budget on 16 March 2016.

The campaign by the All-Party Parlimentary Group for Fair Fuel for Motorists, for which MP Jason McCartney is chair is also being backed by the AA who have written to chancellor George Osborne about their concerns.

We can all join the Fair Fuel Campaign and show our support.

2016 Budget

The 2016 Budget will be announced by Chancellor George Osborne on 16 March 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Car Tyres – a comprehensive guide

Good car tyres are crucial for safe and economical driving.  Maintaining and changing your tyres properly and regularily will increase their life span.

This guide covers the following topics:

When to replace tyres

In the UK, for a car to be legal and have a valid MOT, car tyres must have a tread depth of at least 1.6mm across three quarters of the tread width, around the full circumference.

New car tyres have a tread depth of approx 8mm. Tyres should be changed if the tread depth is close to or falls below 1.6mm, if there are cracks, worn patches or a puncture. In wet conditions, tyres wear faster and it is adviseable to change tyres earlier.  Around 2 mm would be a good point of reference.

Tyre tread is also a good guage of tyre health. Car tyres which have a low depth have a higher risk of failure, aquaplaning in wet weather or skidding in winter weather due to less grip.

The Law

  • All tyres must be compatible and in good condition
  • Keep tyres inflated at the recommended level (check with vehicle paperwork/manual/car door jut)
  • Tread depth must be above 1.6mm

How to check tyre depth

An easy to read depth guage can be purchased fr0m motoring shop.  Don’t rely on guessing.

First, check the depth of the main tread grooves all around the tyre using the guage.  There should be tread wear indicators at the base of the main grooves indicating when the tyre is at it’s legal limit.  If the wear is nearly at these indicators or has surpassed these, then the car tyre needs replacing.

 

Which tyres to replace

In an ideal world, all 4 car tyres should be replaced at the same time.  However, this can be costly and so not always viable.

Car tyres also tend to wear at different rates front and rear, generally with the front wearing faster as these are the drive wheels and do the majority of the work on modern vehicles.  When replacing tyres, you put your best tyres at the rear.  If only two are worn and they are at the front, you would move the part worn tyres from the rear to the front and put the new tyres on the rear.  In bad weather or when braking, this helps to control the vehicle and reduce loss of stability.

It is adviseable to swap car tyres front to rear periodically as a rule, regardless of whether you need to buy new ones, to balance wear.

Balancing/tracking

It is important to get your wheels ‘balanced’ when you replace tyres.  (Getting the tracking done).  This is often included in the price of the fitting at most reputable tyre bays.

An unbalanced wheel will cause your car tyres to wear unevenly, generally more so on the inner or outer shoulders of the tyre. This could be because of a misalignment in the suspension.  Another indicator of this would be a feeling of vibration thirough the steering wheel.

Appropriate car tyres

Tyre size and specification for your vehicle should be listed in its handbook.

Most UK cars are fitted with summer tyres or all season tyres as standard.

Summer tyres provide the best performance during summer conditions.  All-season tyres are a generic all season tyre which can be left on the car all year round neither providing the best summer performance, or the best winter performance, but ideal for average fluctuating temperatures without the need to change in spring and autumn.

Some people who drive a considerable amount during the winter months or who live in more rural areas may benefit from fitting winter tyres to their car. Winter tyres are distinguishable by a snowflake or a mountain symbol and are specifically designed to give additional grip on snow and ice and in temperatures below 7C.

Winter tyres

The sidewall size and rating markings will be the same, but they have a deeper tread pattern and slits calls sips.  These combined,  help grip the road on snow due to snow sticking to snow.

During temperatures above 7C however, winter car tyres have significantly less grip on the road than its summer counterparts.

In some parts of Europe where extreme weather is expected for prolonged periods, each and every winter, winter tyres are compulsary, however, in the UK, winter tyres are fitted by choice only.

Ideally, you will need a second set of rims for your winter tyres. Opt for steel, which corrode less after exposure to winter grit and fit them before the bad weather strikes.  Waiting until it is already here, will probably mean that you will be unable to fit them.   Buy 5 as there is still a possibilty of a puncture and it is dangerous, and illegal to mix different types of tyres on the same axel.

Tyre markings

You will find markings on the sidewalls of your car tyres which will help you choose the right replacements for your car.  They will also be written in your car handbook.

The letters and numbers relate to the tyre size (tyre width in mm, height of tyre side and diameter of the wheel rim in inches), composition (all tyres are radial now, but some older car tyres used to be cross-ply) and capabilities ( load index and speed rating).

Example:            205/55 R16 91V

      205 – Tyre width mm
      55 – Tyre height, expressed as a percentage of its width
      R – Radial (composition)16 – Diameter of the wheel rim, in inches
      91 – Load index
      V – Speed rating (must match or exceed max speed of your car..in this case 149mph)

 

      When buying a new set of tyres, you should stick to the same spec as those already fitted.

Car tyre speed ratings

S 112mph
T 118mph
U 125mph
H 130mph
V 149mph
W(ZR) 168mph
Y(ZR) 186mph
ZR Above 149mph

Energy Label

Since Nov 2012, it has been compusary for all car tyres to have a tyre energy label.  This tells the buyer which tyres are the most economical to buy.

Every label must display:

  • Fuel efficiency:  A measure of rolling resistance.  The lower the rolling resistace, the better the fuel economy.
  • Wet grip: Based on wet braking. Assuming all 4 tyres have the sae rating, the earlier in the alphabet the number, the shorter the stopping distance.
  • Noise: Measured in decibels (dB) and measured in comparison with the new 72dB European max noise level, which will be inroduced in 2016.

One black sound wave = Very Quiet – 3dB less than European limit

Two black sound waves = Fairly Quiet –  already compliant with the limit

Three black sound waves = Compliant now – compliant only with the current European limit, but not the new one

Run-flat car tyres

Run – flat tyres are increasingly popular with new car manufacturers.  A run-fat tyre will support the vehicles weight following a puncture for up to 50 miles allowing you to get to a garage to change your tyre rather tan needing to do it roadside.
Run -flat tyres should only be driven at a maximum speed of 50mph and should not be mixed on a car with traditional tyres….this could affect handling.  It is also not adviseable not to use run-flats when towing or on cars which dont have a pressure-monitoring syste which would tell you if you havd a puncture.
Markings that could indicate your tyre is a run-flat tyre:   DSST, RFT, ROF and RunFL.

 

Part worn car tyres

Part worn or used car tyres are legal providing that they are properly marked and deemed safe by the garage selling them.

Part worn tyres

The Motor Vehicle Tyres (Safety) Regulations 1994:

Part-worn car tyres must not have:

  • Any cuts longer than 25mm which are deep enough to reach the ply or cord
  • Any bulges or tears caused by separation or failure of the tyre’s structure
  • Any puncture damage which isn’t repaired.
  • Any ply exposed (internal or external)

Part worn car tyres must have:

  • Original markings
  • Must state ‘part worn’ in capital letters at least 4mm high
  • If sold on the rim, be thoroughly inspected internally

If part worn tyres are sold privately or by a garage which does not meet these standards then they could have suffered damage and could be dangerous.  Always be particularily careful when buying part worn tyres and buy them from a reputable tyre dealer.

Tyre composition

    • Tread : Rubber compound which makes contact with the road and grips.
    • Steel belt : Rubber – wrapped bundles of steel wire which hold the tread flat to the road and give stability and rigidity.
    • Sidewalls : The side of the tyre – Lower sidewalls help tyre retain shape when cornering.  Higher sidewalls lend themselves to a more comfortable drive.  Sidewalls carry the load.
    • Bead wires : Hold the tyre to the rim.  Ultra strong steel.

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Tyre maintenance

Driving safely and responsibly will increase the lifespan of your tyres.  Harsh braking, rapid cornering and acceleration all put extra wear on tyres and make them work harder.

Check your car tyres regularly for wear.

      • Is the tread wearing evenly?  Uneven tread could be a sign that the wheels are unballanced.
      • Are there any cracks or bulges. This could be an indication that the tyre is damaged.
      • Remove stones or other debris which could damage the tyre.
      • Is the rim scuffed?  If you have hit a pothole or scuffed the curb, this could cause a rough edge which could damage the tyre and cause a blow out.
      • Check your tyre pressure regularily – A tyre which is going flat will cause uneven wear, not just on that tyre but on the others which will compensate.  It will affect the cars hadling ad also the fuel economy as it causes drag.

Tyre pressures

Your vehicles handbook or the inside of your car door will advise of the correct tyre pressures for your car.  This can fluctuate depending on load.  If you have a heavily laden car, you will need slightly higher pressures.

Low pressures mean you will cause drag when driving and therfore use more fuel.   This can also cause the tyres to wear excessively on the edges near the side wall, causing bukges and makes them more likely to fail.  Car tyre pressure which are too high can affect handling and increase the wear along the centre tread.  Over-inflated tyres are more likely to blow-out if you hit a pothole or kerb.

Check car tyre pressure when the vehicle is cold as driving heats the air and slightly increases the pressure.  Inflating your tyres after a long drive will lead to under -inflation.

tyre pressures

Changing a car tyre

With the right tools, it is easy to change a car tyre.
      • Pull over in a safe place as soon as you realise that your tyre is flat or damaged.  Not on an inclined road.
      • Turn your hazard lights on and a warning triangle out.
      • Make sure that any occupants are out of the car and that the handbrake is on.
      • Locate the brace and jack to your vehicle ( usually stowed with your spare wheel).
      • Use the brace to loosen the wheel nuts first (Some cars will have locking wheel nuts – you will need the locking nut).

wheel brace

      • Place the jack under the jacking point for your car (this should be advised in your handbook) and make sure that it is straight with the ground.
      • Jack the car up so that there is room to remove and replace the tyre.

jack

      • Remove the wheel nuts and the damaged tyre.
      • Place the new tyre on and do up the wheel nuts.
      • Lower the jack so that the new tyre is on the road and then tighten all wheel nuts using the brace.
      • Don’t at any point put your head under the car.
If you encounter any difficulties, please consult a qualified mechanic or breakdown service.

Fuel Economy, Causes of poor MPG

If you have noticed that your vehicle is running less economically than it used to, there could be an underlying mechanical problem. This guide covers the likely issues which could be attributing to you using more fuel.

fuel economy

Driving Style and Circumstances

One of the most common causes of poor fuel economy is the way you drive and the trips that you make. Cars use the most fuel during initial acceleration, so if your car journey is short or involves a lot of stops then you will inevitably use more fuel that longer journeys where your speed and acceleration are constant.  In addition, agressive driving where you accelerate hard and brake late causes you to flood the engine with extra fuel and therfore use more.  To obtain the best mpg, keep your vehicle moving as much as possible.  Combine short journeys and try to keep the acceleration an speed constant.   For a more indepth look at eco driving, please take a look at aff vehicle services eco motoring guide.

Bad Oxygen Sensors

Oxygen sensors guage and help maintain a vehicles fuel/air mix.  As they  become older, they can become less responsive.  Having faulty oxygen sensors can reduce mpg by up to 20% because the sensors are telling the car that it needs more fuel when it doesn’t.

Faulty Thermostat

The engine’s thermostat controls the operating temperature of the engine,  helping the engine warm up quickly after a cold start.  Thee thermostat’s purpose is to close when the engine is cold to block the flow of coolant.  A faulty thermostat does not close properly, allowing the coolant to continue circulating while the engine is warming up.  This could mean that the car never reaches a desired operating temperature.  A cold car uses more fuel.

Faulty Fuel Injectors

Fuel injectors are responsible for putting fuel into the engine.  Fuel varnish deposits can build up inside fuel injectors, preventing them from delivering the correct mix of fuel.  This mean that less fuel makes it to the engine and the mix is lean causing backfiring and poor fuel economy.

Engine Misfire

Engine misfire could be the result of many issues, defective fuel injectors, faulty spark plugs, bad plug wires, fuel injectors, low fuel pressure, to name but a few.   Engine misfire will waste a large amount of fuel.

Faulty Spark Plugs

Your spark plugs are responsible for sparking combustion in your engine. Old and worn or faulty spark plugs will cause engine misfire, waste fuel and in turn give you less mpg.  A car which is using too uch oil or making short trips and journeys which involve a lot of stopping and starting all cause the spark plugs to foul up prematurely.

Clogged Air Filter

If your air filter is really dirty, it interferes with normal engine performance causing poor fuel economy.

Wrong Oil Viscosity

Most modern day vehicles use a low viscosity motor oil.  During cold weather, when oils tend to thicken, this can greaty improve fuel economy.  Using a motor oil with a higher viscosity than you need can cause poor fuel economy.  Check your vehicle manual or dealership for the correct oil grade required for your engine.

EGR Valve Leak

The EGR  Valve (Exhaust Gas Recirculation Valve) is a device which has the purpose of controlling emissions.  If the EGR valve does not close at idle or when the engine is cold, it can allow exhaust gases to leak back into the intake manifold causing misfires and in turn less mpg and poor fuel economy.

Tyre Pressure and Type

Check car tyre pressures

Check car tyre pressures

The type and pressure of your tyres has a large and direct impact on your fuel economy.  This is to do with rolling resistence.   If your tyre pressures are low, your vehicle will have to work harder to get itself down the road. The harder your vehicle works, the more fuel it will use. Likewise, better qualty tyres often have less rolling resistence and therefore are more economical in the long run.

A Full Boot

If you have a lot of unnecessary weight in the boot of your vehicle, it will take extra power to haul it.  Extra power equals extra fuel.

Air Con Over Use

It takes extra power to use your air con in the car and therefore more fuel.  If you have it on all of the time then this will greatly affect your mpg.

 

 

These are some of the main and most common causes of poor fuel economy.  To check what your vehicles fuel economy should be, take a look at your car data statistics on the gov.uk website. 

 

 

 

 


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