Blog Archives

Give Your Car a Spring Clean with Trust My Garage

With the sun starting to shine and spring finally in full force, it’s time to make your motor shine with some well-deserved TLC. Here at Trust My Garage, we have some top tips for giving your car its spring clean.

It’s bigger on the inside

Your car may look simple to clean internally and whilst a quick hoover and dusting will do a great deal, it will leave some areas in your car untouched. Ensure that you hoover everywhere in your car, including the hard-to-reach bits in between your seats and under your car mats.

When did you last clean your car mats? For rubber mats, you can simply shake them down, then douse them with a car shampoo or washing up liquid before grabbing a brush and scrubbing them clean. You can then rinse them off with a hose or high-powered jet wash to make them fully clean before leaving them out to dry.

Remember to think first about the cleaning solution you are using as it may make your car mats unsafe and slippery.

Obviously, jet washing your carpeted car mats is not an option, therefore some carpet cleaner and a brush goes a long way. Simply spray the carpet cleaner and brush out any stains or dirt before leaving the car mat out to dry, but always follow the instructions on whatever product you choose to use.

When removing your car mats from the car, you may notice wet patches underneath the carpet from the winter. This might be a sign of water penetration, which can lead to serious problems. In this case it’s always worth having your car looked at by professionals at a local Trust My Garage member, who will locate the source of water and rectify the problem for you.

Cleaning the outside of your car

Over the winter, your car may have collected mud, dirt and dust that has stuck to your car. Not only will dirty windows, mirrors and lights reduce your ability to see and be seen when driving, dirt can damage your paintwork and even lead to rust, so don’t put off cleaning your car any longer! 

All you need is a good car shampoo, bucket and sponge, alongside a hose or jet wash to wash it all down after, if you don’t have a hose or a jet wash you can always use a watering can!! Parts of your car that are typically missed during a car wash tend to be inside the alloys, and the door shuts and inside the petrol flap on your car – be sure not to miss these if you want your car to look pristine.

Of course, if you don’t have a driveway, cleaning your car can be a bit trickier. Arm yourself with some change and visit your local petrol station; chances are they have a hoover and a jet wash for you to use.

Wheels tend to be the dirtiest part of the car as they have contact with the road and kick up dirt. A simple bristly brush and some car soap, or some wheel cleaner, will make your car wheels and alloys shine. Whilst cleaning your car tyres you should check their pressure and tread, as your tyres may have been through a lot during the winter.

Waxing your car

While waxing your car isn’t essential, it provides protection by creating a barrier between your car paint and the outside world. Rainwater in particular can affect your car’s paint as it is full of pollutants that can stick to the paint causing damage; if you have wax on your car, rainwater runs off faster and therefore allows less time for pollutants to stick to the paint.

Refresh your senses

Once your car is clean, treat yourself to a new air freshener. There are plenty out there with a variety of scents to revitalise your senses – just make sure nothing is obstructing your view of the road.

According to Air Pro, some car air fresheners have an impact on your mood and help reduce stress whilst being stuck in traffic.

Carry out some essential checks

Whilst carrying out some essential checks on your car is not strictly speaking cleaning it, it is good practice to check that your car is well maintained and in roadworthy condition after the harsh winter weather.

Spring is the perfect time to replace your windscreen wipers as they’ll have been almost in constant use during the winter and therefore, more likely to be worn and damaged, chances are if they judder during in use, they will need replacing.

Brakes should also be checked. You should ensure that your brake fluid is at the correct level, as low brake fluid can be a sign of excessive brake wear or fluid leak, have the brake discs inspected and measured as well as checked for pad wear.

Batteries have to work much harder during periods of cold weather, so old or depleted batteries may need to be replaced. If your battery is over three years old, you should get it checked before any issues arise.

Have your car serviced at a local Trust My Garage member

These checks will play a vital part in your car’s overall wellbeing, and although you should get into the routine of carrying out these checks regularly, there’s no substitute for having your vehicle looked at by a professional.

A Trust My Garage member will ensure that your vehicle has not been badly damaged by winter weather conditions and is safe and fit for driving during the new season.

Visit the Trust My Garage website to find your nearest member.

The New Driving Laws – Are you ready?

As of March 25th 2022, new laws relating to using a mobile device whilst driving are coming into force with an aim to make our roads safer.

What are the rules now?

Since 2003, it has been an offence to use a hand-held mobile phone or a similar hand-held device whilst driving, making or answering phone calls or messages or accessing the internet. At present (before March 25th 2022), the offence carries a minimum penalty of a £200 fine and six penalty points, meaning the driver would lose their licence after two offences.

If you are a new driver that has held a licence for less than two years, using your phone behind the wheel would result in your licence being revoked.

Why is the law changing?

With the growth of technology, the reliance on mobile devices is becoming more and more prominent. People use their mobile devices to stream music in their cars, or to take a photo whilst driving. Simply taking a photo on your phone or scrolling through your playlist takes your eyes and focus from the road for some seconds, potentially proving fatal to yourself, your passengers and other road users. Mobile devices have developed significantly since 2003 and therefore the rules and laws must adapt too, to keep pace with these changes.

What are the new laws?

Here is a list of actions that will be deemed as an offence as of 25th March:

  • Checking the time on your phone
  • Checking any notifications on your phone
  • Make, receive, or reject a mobile or internet-based call
  • Send or read text messages
  • Send or view a photo or video
  • Unlock your mobile device
  • Illuminate the screen
  • Use the camera, video or sound recording on your phone
  • Access any data on your phone such as documents, books, audio files, photos, videos, films, playlists, or messages
  • Access any applications
  • Access the internet
  • Access emails

Even if your car is stationary in traffic, it will still be an offence to use your phone.

Hands-free calls will still be permitted, but if law enforcement agencies believe you to be driving dangerously as a result of using a device hands free, you could still be prosecuted.

Exemptions

The current exemption to the law will remain the same – you will only be allowed to make a phone call via your phone if there is an emergency where it is unsafe to stop and are making a call to the emergency services.

However, under the new laws, drivers who use their mobiles for contactless payments in exchange for instantly received goods, such as at a drive-through, where you receive food, will be allowed to do so, providing the vehicle is stationary.

You can also still use your mobile phone as a form of navigation so long as it remains in a phone holder (check that the accessory you are using does not obscure your view as this is illegal too).

Anyone caught breaking these new rules could face six points on their driving licence, along with a fixed penalty notice of £200, as using your phone whilst driving exposes you to a higher chance of being involved in or causing an accident.

Again, if you have been driving for less than two years, six points on your licence means your licence gets revoked. Gaining six points on your licence could also potentially mean higher car insurance quotes.

What is Trust My Garage?

Trust My Garage is a collection of Britain’s best local garages – each one different and each one dedicated to the highest standards of skill and personal service. All garages in Trust My Garage are members of the Independent Garage Association – which is part of the RMI, one of Britain’s oldest motor trade organisations. IGA members are true professionals who have to comply with a strict code of practice.

Whether you need help with car maintenance or require an MOT, service or repair, the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) approved code of conduct that our members follow, means that you and your motor both get the best possible service – no matter the problem!

For more information about Trust My Garage or to locate your nearest TMG member visit http://www.trustmygarage.co.uk.

Remember: Driving whilst on the phone is highly illegal and dangerous. You could potentially fatally injure yourself, your passengers and those around you. According to Brake, a road safety charity, using any phone behind the wheel makes you four times more likely to be involved in a crash.

Top Tips for Saving Fuel

As of March 2022, BBC News revealed the price of fuel across the UK has risen to £1.50 per litre as the cost of oil rises. With the increasing cost of filling up your tank, Trust My Garage has some top tips on how to drive economically and make your MPG go further – check them out below!

Check your tyres

Find out what pressure your tyre pressures need to be by either check in your owner’s manual or locating your tyre information label, like this one,

which could be located inside you fuel flap or inside your door aperture. Checking your tyres regularly and ensuring that they are at the correct pressures is a simple and effective way of reducing your fuel consumption. Under-inflated tyres cause your car to burn more fuel due to a greater amount of the tyre in contact with the road, which increases your vehicle’s drag and therefore your fuel consumption.

One of the best ways to improve your fuel consumption is to keep your car well maintained and serviced regularly. If you think your car could need a service, your local Trust My Garage member can advise you on the type of service your car may need. Pop your postcode into the TMG’s ‘Find a Garage’ service and we can tell you who is nearby!

Don’t be idle

If you’re waiting for someone, rather than leaving your car running, it may be worth switching the engine off. Whilst you are not moving, leaving the car engine running can still use a substantial amount of fuel, not to mention the emissions that can harm the environment.

All in one

Did you know that when you drive a car that has been parked for a few hours, the engine is cold and therefore uses more fuel to power the engine for the first five miles or so? Combining errands that you have throughout the day into one journey may be more beneficial, as your car engine will already be warm, helping you to save fuel.

Cruise control – Friend or foe?

Using cruise control can be both your friend and foe for saving fuel. As you know, driving at a constant speed helps to save fuel and cruise control can do this effectively when you are wanting to maintain a constant speed on a flat road such as a motorway. However, if you were to use cruise control on roads where you were to stop and start, or where you would be encountering a hill, cruise control could potentially use more fuel; the car cannot see a hill approaching and therefore it is slower to adjust the accelerator to the situation, which means your car will use more power and therefore more fuel.

Unload unnecessary weight

Your car uses more fuel the heavier it gets, which means you should not carry around items in your car that you do not need. This also applies to roof racks – if you do not use them regularly, consider taking them off to relieve your car of that extra weight. Roof racks, even empty, add drag to your car and this too increase fuel consumption.

Think ahead

If you know your route to work can sometimes get congested, it may be worth checking your route on your phone or satnav in the morning before you set off, to see if there is heavy traffic. This could potentially allow you to look for an alternative route or maybe leave a little earlier or later to help avoid the heaviest traffic, stop start traffic is a fuel burner and therefore costs you money.

AC and heat

In general, car heaters do not use up much fuel as they recycle the heat from the car’s engine. Air conditioning, however, is very different and does use fuel. Using air conditioning in your car is a good thing as it helps keep the cabin air fresh and can stop you feeling drowsy when driving. Air conditioning isn’t just for summer, air conditioning dries out the air in your car and helps prevent your car from steaming on those damp days.

Modern cars are designed to be streamlined for fuel efficiency, so even driving with the window open can have an adverse effect you’re your cars economy, especially at higher speeds!

What is Trust My Garage?

Trust My Garage is a collection of Britain’s best local garages – each one different and each one dedicated to the highest standards of skill and personal service. All garages in Trust My Garage are members of the Independent Garage Association – which is part of the RMI, one of Britain’s oldest motor trade organisations. IGA members are true professionals who have to comply with a strict code of practice.

Whether you need help with car maintenance to improve your vehicle’s fuel efficiency or require an MOT, service or repair, the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) approved code of conduct that our members follow, means that you and your motor both get the best possible service – no matter the problem!

For more information about Trust My Garage or to locate your nearest TMG member visit www.trustmygarage.co.uk.

Caring for your Car in the Winter

With the UK well into winter and frost prominent across the UK, are you taking steps to ensure that your car is well maintained and safe during the cold months? The Trust My Garage blog has some handy tips to help protect you and your car this season!

Do I need Antifreeze?

Antifreeze stops the water in your engine’s cooling system from freezing, and potentially causing significant damage. As well as preventing the water from freezing, antifreeze raises the boiling point of the engines coolant to prevent overheating. The fluid also protects your engine from internal corrosion, aids heat transfer, and prevents scale from building up internally, all of which could result in costly repair bills.

You can buy concentrated antifreeze or ready mixed with water. Always check the pack’s instructions for the right ratio to use, as well as your vehicle’s Owner’s Manual, to make sure you use the correct variety for your car, as recommended by the manufacturer.

Braking

We all know brakes are an essential part of any car and therefore should be regularly checked and well maintained.

It is particularly important to check that your brakes are working correctly at this time of the year, when wet and icy roads are common. When you’re driving in the rain, your stopping distance is double what it would be on a dry road. This increases even more if you are driving in icy conditions, rising up to 10 times the stopping distance needed in dry weather.

Listen out for warning signs such as your brakes grinding or squeaking, or your car pulling you to one side or the other when you apply the brakes, all of which could indicate your braking system needs attention.

Check your tyres

Wet and icy roads require a deeper tyre tread than dry roads, the legal requirement for tread depth is 1.6 mm but it is recommended that your tread depth be 3 mm for driving in the winter months.

To learn all you need to know about ensuring your vehicle’s tyres are ready for the road, regardless of the time of year, read our “What to do when… you need to check your vehicle’s tyres” post.

Winter tyres are designed to offer optimum traction and grip in cold, icy conditions. If you are unsure about driving in the icy weather, winter tyres are good to use as they outperform your standard ‘summer’ tyres for traction in lower temperatures, providing improved cornering grip and braking.

If you have a spare tyre in the boot of your car, don’t forget to check this too, both for condition and the tyre pressure to ensure it is usable should you need it. Having a spare tyre is useful in situations where you may find yourself with a damaged wheel or a sudden puncture, however it is important to know what the rules are when it comes to using them, as many spare tyres are different in size and structure compared to the standard tyre fitted to cars and may be restricted to lower driving speed and vehicle load. Check your vehicle handbook for the instructions specific to your vehicle.

Lights

Before setting off on a journey, it’s a good idea to check your vehicle’s lights, you can either walk around the vehicle to conduct a check, or ask a passenger to check them whilst you operate the switch, and don’t forget the brake and reverse lights too.

If any lights are dim or aren’t working, including fog lights and number plate lights, you should get them replaced as soon as possible.

The weather this time of year means that there is a lot of dirt and grit being thrown up from the road surface by other vehicles, and whilst it is not illegal to have a dirty car, you need to ensure that your number plates are clean and easy to read. Many cars these days have headlamp washers to keep your head lights clean, but it is also important that your rear lights are clean and visible. In the event of snow fall, make sure you clear ice and snow from your front and rear lights, to ensure you have good visibility and that other drivers can see you.

Keep windows clear

Before setting off on your journey, it is important that your car windows are clear of any potential obstruction, including ice and snow. This can be achieved by a simple ice scraper or a can of de-icer. It is worth mentioning that you may need to leave for work early, so that you have plenty of time to clear your car’s windows before you set off driving!

If it has snowed, using a snow brush is a good way to clear your car. A lot of people forget to clear their car roof of snow before setting off – it is important that you clear the snow from your roof, as not doing so could potentially cause the snow to hinder your vision when braking or could fly from your roof and land on someone’s windscreen behind you, impairing their vision and potentially resulting in a crash.

Window Wipers

The winter weather can affect your wipers and windscreen. Take a look at your wipers and make sure they are in good condition. Check the wiper rubbers for cuts and tears and if they are damaged, replace them to ensure they clear your windscreen effectively.

Before turning on your wipers in frosty conditions, ensure that your wipers are not frozen to the screen, as turning on the wipers whilst they are frozen to the window can tear the wiper blade rubbers or even blow a fuse.

You should also make sure that your car has plenty of screen wash, as driving in the winter can bring up a lot of dirt and mud, impairing your vision. It is handy to remember that you can purchase a winter screen wash that does not freeze in the cold weather.

Battery

Did you know that cold temperatures reduce the efficiency of a vehicle’s battery? If you feel that your battery is not operating effectively, it may need charging or even replacing. If you are unsure as to the condition of your battery, consider having a set of jump leads in your car just in case you need them.

There are some signs you can look out for to tell if your car battery is running low. You may find that your headlights dim when the car is ticking over, also when starting your car the starter motor may seem to turn the engine over much slower than normal.

If you are concerned about the condition of your battery, your local Trust My Garage member can advise you.

Winter Breakdown Essentials

If you do suffer the unfortunate experience of a breakdown, it’s important to keep some essentials in the car, so you can stay warm and safe when waiting for help in winter weather. Consider keeping the following items in your car in case of an emergency:

  • Warning triangle – lets other drivers know your situation
  • A high-vis jacket or vest– this helps you stand out and ensures you are visible to other road users
  • Cat litter or sand – to put under the wheel to help traction in slippery conditions
  • Snow shovel or spade
  • Ice scraper
  • Warm clothes and footwear
  • Snacks and water
  • Torch
  • Mobile phone and a portable charger
  • Blanket
  • Jump leads
  • First aid kit
  • Heat pad – If you are stranded in the snow and the exhaust pipe is covered, it can be dangerous to run the engine, so keeping some outdoor hand warmers in your car will help you stay warm.

Keep safe this winter with Trust My Garage

If you are unsure of your vehicle’s readiness for winter driving or if you experience any issues with your car, Trust My Garage members are here to help you.

Whether it’s for a check-up, service or repair, the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) approved code of conduct that our members follow means that you and your motor both get the best possible service – no matter what the weather!

For more information about Trust My Garage or to locate your nearest TMG member visit www.trustmygarage.co.uk.

Why Choose a Local Independent Garage?

Finding a garage you can trust and rely on can be a worry. MOT demand is currently at an all-time high due to the six-month MOT extension that occurred as a result of the pandemic in 2020. This raises the question, where is the best place to get my car MOT’d?

It’s not just when we need an MOT that we are faced with this question, it’s when that ‘check engine’ light flashes at us or when your vehicle needs servicing. Where do you go when your vehicle starts to fail?

Ultimately, you’re left with the choice of an independent garage business or a dealership – which one do you choose?

Supporting your local business

Your local independent garage is here to support your local community and keep your vehicle roadworthy, and you’re likely to have one around the corner as opposed to a dealership, which may be some distance away.

When you choose to take your vehicle to a local independent garage, it goes without saying that you’re supporting a local independent business and your local economy. According to the Independent, for everyone £1 you spend at your local independent, 56p goes back into the local economy. If the average MOT costs £40, when you attend your local independent, that’s approximately £22 put back into your local area.

Investing in your local independent garage also helps to sustain local careers and create careers for future generations. Who knows, one day your child or someone you know could be working there.

Excellent customer service

Choosing an independent garage for your automotive needs means you’re paying for a service where you get that added personal touch.

At a main dealer you are more likely to hand your keys to the receptionist, not the mechanic. Whilst there is nothing wrong with this, it leaves little room for you to discuss any of your concerns or questions.

When you drop your vehicle off at your local independent garage, you’ll more than likely speak directly to the technician who will fix your car, who has more time to chat with you and allows you to ask questions about your vehicle – there is no ‘middleman’ so to speak.

Local customers are the life blood of local independent garages and your custom is vital to their survival. They grow their businesses by relying on your word of mouth, to pass on their good company name. You can be assured that when you are visiting an independent garage, it will be important to them that you and your vehicle are looked after, and they will do everything they can to give you confidence in the services they provide.

Better value for money

Independent garages are generally greater value for money! The average hourly rate at an independent garage tends to be lower than that of a main dealer. A Labour Rate study from the Independent Garage Association conducted in 2020 found that the average labour rate charged by independent garages was £47.47 an hour. According to AMM Online, a nationwide survey of 6,000 garages found that franchised dealers were typically charging an average of £99 per hour, a massive difference of £51.33.

Despite the difference in price, independent garages have access to the same technical information, vehicle parts, and industry training as main dealers, so you can be confident that your local garage can carry out work at the same level as dealerships without invalidating your vehicle’s warranty.

In fact, all Trust My Garage members follow the TMG ‘Code of Practice for Service and Repair’, and commit to our Customer Charter, so giving you the peace of mind that  your nearest member will work to the highest standards and have up to date technical information, techniques and tools.

How do I find an independent garage I can rely on?

You can find an independent garage that you can trust in a few simple steps. Simply visit the Trust My Garage website here: https://www.trustmygarage.co.uk/find-a-garage and type in your postcode! With over 2,900 member garages nationwide, you’re never far away from a TMG member.

When you’ve found your nearest trusted garage, you can view their profile, give them a call, email them, access their website, or request an estimate.

Unlike comparison websites, you can contact garages directly through the Trust My Garage website. This means you get to build a relationship with your local garage and discuss your vehicle with them from the outset.

About Trust My Garage

Trust My Garage members are the best of Britain’s local garages – every member is dedicated to giving their customers the best service and working to the highest standards.

All the garages in the Trust My Garage network are members of the Independent Garage Association, which is part of the Retail Motor Industry Federation, one of Britain’s oldest motor trade organisations. If you want to find out more about Trust My Garage, visit our website, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

E10 Petrol – Is your vehicle ready?

E-10 fuel – you’ve heard all about it, but do you know what it is and how it could affect your vehicle?

What is E10?

E10 is a petroleum fuel that is now the standard grade fuel across the country. It is more renewable, greener and helps to cut down the CO2 emissions from your vehicle. It is also expected that E10 petrol will be cheaper than the current E5 petrol by around 0.2 pence per litre.

The government have issued a warning, however, that E10 preserves less energy than E5 and therefore it is likely that you will find yourself topping your vehicle up more regularly. The government have highlighted that driving with under-inflated tyres or with a roof rack fitted to your car, will have more of a significant impact on your fuel top ups than E10 will.

Until now E5 petrol in the UK has contained up to 5% bioethanol, which means 5% of the mix is produced from crops and wood waste – which are renewable sources. E10 means that 10% of the fuel is renewable, which makes it more environmentally friendly.     

There are some vehicles that cannot use E10 petrol, however.

Is E10 made for my vehicle?

Not every vehicle can use E10 fuel and in fact, it is incompatible with as many as 600,000 vehicles, including classic vehicles, specific models of vehicles from the early 2000’s and some mopeds under 50cc. The good news is that all cars manufactured after 2011 are compatible with E10 petrol.

It is recommended that you check whether your vehicle can use E10 fuel. Checking is quick and easy, and not checking whether your vehicle can have E10 fuel means risking putting the wrong fuel into your vehicle, and consequently shortening your vehicle’s engine life along with that of other components.

To check, simply head over to the GOV.UK E10 online checker here.

(Photo: Screen shot of the E10 checker on the government website)

If you are still unsure on whether your vehicle can use E10 petrol or not, there are some further simple checks you can do. You can:

  • Check your vehicle owner’s manual, as the instruction booklet is specific to your vehicle
  • Look inside the fuel filler cap (as shown below)
  • Contact your vehicle manufacturer

If you are still unsure, E5 will still be available at most filling stations.

It goes without saying, but E10 fuel is not compatible with diesel engines or electric vehicles.

What if I use E10 and I Shouldn’t Have?

If your vehicle cannot use E10 fuel, simply stick to E5. However, we all know that sometimes slip ups can happen and that people put the wrong fuel in more frequently than imagined – so will this mistake affect your vehicle? Can you use E10 fuel even if your vehicle is not on the approved E10 list?

In short, using E10 fuel in your vehicle that is not compatible with E10 is not the end of the world. There is no disastrous consequence like if you put diesel into a petrol vehicle, and you do not need to request an engine drain

So, if your vehicle is not compatible with E10, yet can run off E10, why can you not use it? The answer is simple: older vehicles have older fuel systems and using E10 fuel for prolonged periods of time will damage the vehicle significantly. Continuing to use E10 whilst it is advised that your car should not use it, could damage your seals, plastics, metals in the fuel system and could make it harder for your vehicle to start. You will also risk having condensation in your fuel tank, and the strong dose of ethanol could eat through the aged rubber pipes in your vehicles fuel lines.

If your vehicle cannot use E10, don’t use E10. E5 fuel will still be available.

Of course, if you use other petrol appliances such as a lawn mower, ring the manufacturer to see whether your appliance can use E10 or not. The same applies to boats and some aircrafts too.

If you use E10 petrol continuously to the point in which your car breaks down, the Mirror have investigated and found that 46% of car insurance policies will not pay out any repair costs caused by mis-fuelling your car.  

If you wish for you vehicle to run on E10 but it is not compatible and you do not want long term damage, you will have to change components in your car. You would have to get rid of your fibreglass petrol tank and replace it with an aluminium one. Furthermore, ethanol does not like solder, so if you run a solder float in your carburettor it is advised you carry a spare as it is easy to change. Of course, these are not the only changes you would have to make to your car as E10 will eat your rubber lining and damage your seals, so you would still risk water in the fuel tank.

When will E10 be available?

E10 is expected to roll out in the UK in September 2021. Northern Ireland can be expected to have E10 introduced in early 2022.

Be sure to check whether your vehicle is E10 compatible here.

More about Trust My Garage

Whether you need to ask a professional if the petrol you are using is right for your car or locate a trusted garage to upgrade your car to make it E10 compatible, finding out whether a garage is the best of the best is easier than you think. Trust My Garage is a collection of Britain’s trusted local garages – each one different and all dedicated to the highest standards of skill and personal service. Trust My Garage members are the best of Britain’s local garages – every member is dedicated to giving their customers the best of the best service. All the garages of Trust My Garage are members of the Independent Garage Association, which is part of the RMI, one of Britain’s oldest motor trade organisations. If you want to find out more about Trust My Garage, visit our website, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

It’s Time to Book Your MOT Early

As we are beginning to see the easing of lockdown and things getting back to a new sort of normal, it’s all too easy to forget the things that have changed. Back in April 2020 many vehicles were given a six-month MOT extension to ensure that those needing their vehicle to deliver key services, were able to do so, whilst feeling safe and staying mobile.

The knock-on effects of this six month extension to MOT’s is that these MOT’s are now due in October, November, and December, on top of the vehicles that are already due to have their MOT in the same period. This, as we saw last year, will again create long lead times and high demand for MOT’s in the last three months of the year. We are also seeing that many people no longer have their Tax, MOT and motor insurance all due at the same time, making it likely that the out of sync MOT may get missed at worst, or forgotten about until the last minute at best, causing frustration and potential long delay for MOT appointments, or even vehicles not being able to be driven if their MOT expires before an appointment can be arranged.

With Brexit and the effects of COVID-19 working hand in hand, garages have experienced a delay in parts coming through from the EU and have also experienced financial and staff losses due to COVID-19.

This caused a backlog, which has then consequently clustered and caused ‘peaks’ and ‘troughs’ in MOT demand throughout the year.

But how does this affect my next MOT?

It is expected that in September, the number of vehicles needing an MOT will rise by 16% and up to 29% in October. If your car has an MOT due in the coming months, it’s worth thinking about booking your MOT test early, so your garages can meet demand and guarantee your MOT spot. You can book your MOT up to a month early while keeping your renewal date the same.

If you leave it to the last minute, you risk not being able to have your car MOT’d in time for when it is required, which consequently means your car is undrivable. Driving without a valid MOT is illegal and you could face consequences such as a fine up to £2,500, three points on your licence and of course, the obvious danger, that your car may not be roadworthy which could you, your loved one and other road users at risk.

This ‘peak’ MOT testing time could potentially last years, meaning it may become the norm to book your MOT sooner than you are typically used to, you could also re-align your vehicles MOT to its original date, making it less likely you will forget it, if it aligns to your tax and insurance renewals

Help your garages help you and your motor by booking early.

Book your MOT with Trust My Garage

Are you looking for a garage you can trust for your MOT needs? Ensure that your car is MOT’d and safe to drive with Trust My Garage. Trust My Garage is a collection of Britain’s trusted local garages – each one different and all dedicated to the highest standards of skill and personal service.

Every garage in Trust My Garage are members of the Independent Garage Association, which is part of the RMI, one of Britain’s oldest motor trade organisations. IGA members are true professionals who must comply with a strict code of practice. Every customer of all Trust My Garage members can rely on using a nationally recognised brand to help you and your vehicle get the best value service for you and your vehicle. If you want to find out more about Trust My Garage, visit our website, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

Helping Your Teen onto The Road

Ready, Set, Go!

As we enter the post-pandemic world, things are beginning to open once again, and we find ourselves resuming some sort of normality. This includes driving tests and lessons. Your teen may have been waiting enthusiastically to take over the driver’s seat or they may have been dreading the day – no matter how they feel, we have some advice for you.

Not Everything Works:

Be patient with your child as not everything works out the first time around. Picking a driving instructor is something of a difficult feat and it may seem like they are procrastinating. Help them, sit with them, offer them any advice you can – talk about how your driving instructor was when you first learnt to drive and give them some guidance as to what they are looking for. Reassure them that everyone has different personalities and that if they do not bond well with their driving instructor, it is okay change. It’s a good idea for them to speak to friend or relatives that have recently learned to drive for recommendations when it comes to their chosen instructor, it’s also worth considering the type of vehicle used by the instructor as this may affect a new drivers confidence from the off.

Take a Breath:

Give your child realistic expectations and be honest with them. Driving can be a stressful affair and somewhat daunting for those who are learning to drive and sometimes, this can be made worse from the pressure or anticipation a parent sometimes inflicts on their child. Reassure them that they may not get it right the first time round and that they will develop and learn – they will not get into a car and instantly know what they are doing. Be ready for them if they have any questions or if they want to talk about their experience behind the wheel.

We’ve Got a Theory:

The theory test is something that young drivers speculate to be not as important as the driving test, but this is not true. It is important that young drivers understand the road and the rules on it so that they can be the safest drivers that they can be. Emphasise to your child that the theory test is important and try to help them understand why it is – you cannot drive to the best of your ability if you do not understand what the road signs are saying. It is not common sense – it is in depth learning and understanding which varies from road signs to observation on the roads. Inform your child that they simply need to revise; they cannot go in blind.

Help them with items they may need to purchase such as a Highway Code or perhaps the theory test app on their phone or other device. Teach them what you know and test them when you are driving by asking them what signs mean, as this will build their confidence up slowly and help road sign recognition become second nature. It is key that they pass their theory test as they cannot book the practical test without passing the theory test.

It’s the Big Day:

Congratulations! Your child is ready for their driving test and their instructor feels confident enough for them to take their test. Here’s some advice you should perhaps give your child:

  • Be Aware of Timings: When learning to drive, try to emphasise to your child that learning at a variety of different times of day and in different weathers is important. Wait times for a driving test can reach several weeks to months, with some people booking now and only getting appointments for December, which means they cannot afford to be picky with test times and dates. They may have learned to drive with lessons at a fixed time in the day and this being the pattern for their learning – try to encourage them to drive early in the morning and at rush hour too as they may end up getting these times for their tests.
  • Have a Refresher: If your child has a long gap between their last lesson and their driving test, try to book a few lessons in before their test so that they can ease back into driving instead of going straight into a stressful environment.
  • They May Not Pass First Time: As ideal as it would be to pass the driving test time, it does not always happen. Reassure your child that it does not matter if they do not pass their test first time – it is not all doom and gloom if they fail. Talk to them about why they failed and how they can move on from that and help them understand how to overcome it. According to the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency, the pass rate between April 2019 and March 2020 was 49%.

Congratulations! You have a Driver!

Easing your child into the next step can be emotional as a parental figure. Your child is ready to drive on their own and perhaps purchase their own car. It is something that is different for every child – some decide to buy their own cars and others decide to be added onto the insurance of someone else’s car. There are some things your child should consider and some advice you should offer them:

  • Rocky Beginnings: When your child goes for their first drive, offer to go with them. It will be their first time driving without a driving instructor and sometimes, they may need a confidence boost and some comfort.
  • Your Car: Help them research their chosen car and explain to them how road tax, car insurance and break down cover work if they do not already know.
  • Insurance Might Be High: The cost of insurance for new drivers can be disheartening and can often be more than the value of their chosen vehicle. Reassure them that paying monthly is an option if they cannot pay it off all in one go and talk to them about Black Boxes. Black Boxes can turn some people away, but they are quite beneficial. Black Boxes can track your car if it is lost or stolen and frequently, companies reward you for good driving.
  • Tax and MOT: It is a given, but you should talk to your newly qualified driver about tax and MOTs. Emphasis how important it is, as some drivers are tempted to drive without any of these. It is the law that your car has tax, MOT, and insurance.
  • Buy a Dashcam: Getting a dashcam can help your new driver better their driving, help lower car insurance prices and will support them if they have an accident that was not their fault.
  • Treating Yourself: Most importantly, if they have bought a car, make sure they make it theirs inside. Tell them to accessorize it, buy something nice for the inside of the car from something as simple as an air freshener to a phone holder or seat covers. Make your car yours (just make sure nothing is obstructing your view of the road).

Learning to drive is not something that comes with ease.  Is your child learning to drive? Let us know about their experiences!

More about Trust My Garage

Now that your new driver is hitting the road, ensure that their car is MOT’d and safe to drive with Trust My Garage. Trust My Garage is a collection of Britain’s trusted local garages – each one different and all dedicated to the highest standards of skill and personal service.

Every garage in Trust My Garage are members of the Independent Garage Association, which is part of the RMI, one of Britain’s oldest motor trade organisations. IGA members are true professionals who must comply with a strict code of practice. Every customer of all Trust My Garage members can rely on using a nationally recognised brand to help you and your vehicle get the best value service for you and your vehicle. If you want to find out more about Trust My Garage, visit our website, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

DVLA Services Online: Third Party or Not?

We all know that filling out an official form, especially online, can be something of a daunting and complicated task, but it is something we all may need to do from time to time. That is why it is important that when the need arises, we exercise caution. Below is some guidance for when you use a DVLA service online and how to make sure the site you are using is the correct one.

Did you know that since January 2020, the Driver & Vehicle Licence Agency (DVLA) has been contacted more than 1,200 times regarding customers who have paid more than they needed to for services due to using third-party websites? These websites are ones that are not linked to GOV.UK– the official UK government website.

By using the government website, you can ensure you are not paying for services that would normally be free of charge or low cost, and that your information is safe and secure.

What Does This Mean?

The DVLA has urged motorists to check which website they are logged into when using DVLA services, as using the GOV.UK website ensures they are dealing directly with the DVLA directly and are not paying more than necessary. Using websites not affiliated with the government website for certain services, such as changing your address on your driving licence or V5C certificate and renewing a driving licence from the age of 70, means being charged more for something that can done for free or at a lower cost.  

The GOV.UK website is cheaper, quicker and offers the easiest route to communicate with the DVLA. Motorists using the government website can also be assured that their application and information is safe and secure as opposed to using a third-party website.

Guy Anker, deputy editor at MoneySaving Expert noted that in the past, “we’ve spotted firms offering ‘checking services’ for driving licence renewals at a cost of £60, more than four times the £14 it costs to do it through GOV.UK” which shows how much people are being overcharged for services that cheaper on GOV.UK.

How Do You Know you are on a Third-Party Website

According to Guy Anker, there are some obvious signs that you are on a third-party website. The third-party websites are not illegal – but they do go out of their way to appear at the top of your search engine and make themselves noticeable.

  • You Know it is Free- But it is not: The first and obvious warning bell that you are not on the government website is that you are being charged for a service that you know is free. For example, if you know that changing your address on your vehicle logbook (V5C) is free but if a website is charging you to do this, then you are on a third-party website.
  • Your Web Address: Another clear and obvious sign that you are not on a government website is that the website URL will not include GOV.UK. If the website does not say this, chances are you are on a third-party website which may be about to charge you.

The above screen shot is taken from the GOV.UK website for the Driver & Vehicle Licencing Agency (DVLA). Highlighted at the top of the page is the GOV.UK. This is your web address and reassures you that you are on a government website.

“GOV.UK is the only site where our customers will find our official services, many of which are free” says Julie Lennard, DVLA Chief Executive. This highlights the fact that when you are using a third-party website, you may not be using official DVLA services, and you may be charged higher for using the ones that are not official. By using the government website, motorists are ensuring that there are not overpaying and that their information is safe and secure.

How Often Does This Happen?

You would not let a stranger into your home, so why let them into your personal information? It is not just DVLA services some people get wrong, there are several websites that are there to deceive you and sometimes, take more than just your money. By entering your details in websites that are not the official ones, you open yourself to the possibility of:

  • Fraudsters obtaining your Bank Details: entering your card details into an unofficial website could open your personal bank details to those running the website. According to UK Finance, an estimated £376.5 million of e-commerce fraud took place on cards in 2020 which accounts for 66% of all card fraud.

What Can You Do to Help Protect Yourself?

  • Delete suspicious emails without opening them.
  • Do not use the same password on every website.
  • If you are unsure about a text or email from your bank, make sure to call them. There are a lot of fraudulent bank detail requests.
  • Do not give out personal details to an unknown caller.

Have you ever paid for a DVLA service that you found online that was not on the government website? Have you had your card details stolen online? Comment below and tell us your story.

More about Trust My Garage

Much like the trusted website for DVLA services, there are trusted garages for your car. Trust My Garage is a collection of Britain’s trusted local garages – each one different and all dedicated to the highest standards of skill and personal service.

Every garage in Trust My Garage are members of the Independent Garage Association, which is part of the RMI, one of Britain’s oldest motor trade organisations. IGA members are true professionals who must comply with a strict code of practice. Every customer of all Trust My Garage members can rely on using a nationally recognised brand to help you and your vehicle get the best value service for you and your vehicle. If you want to find out more about Trust My Garage, visit our website, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

New Tyre Labelling – What does it mean for Motorists?

As of 1st May 2021, tyres now have a new labelling system to help motorists understand how well they perform in different conditions. Want to know more about how the system works and how it could affect drivers? The Trust My Garage blog is here to help!

What changes are being made?

According to TyreSafe.org, the changes to labelling are being made to help motorists understand the performance of different tyres in areas such as fuel efficiency, and grip in adverse weather conditions.

With the previous labelling system, concerns were raised that motorists were not fully aware of the differences between different tyre ratings displayed on the tyre label. As these labels were physically affixed to the tyres, a driver could have had a new tyre fitted by a garage without ever seeing the label to confirm the tyre’s rating, unless specifically queried.

From now on, tyre label ratings are available to retailers through their computers, and they must provide the rating details to their customers. This information is drawn from a European database holding the ratings of every tyre on sale, which will be made accessible to the public.

The rating scale for tyres has also changed, with a new, five-option rating system from “A” (best) to “E” (worst). If the tyre is classified as suitable for use on snow, it will have the Alpine peaks symbol. A symbol for tyres classified as suitable for ice (known as ‘Nordic tyres’) is also available. The ratings system and the snow/ice graphics are shown here:

© TyreSafe 2021

What details are the same as before?

There is some information which has not changed. A tyre’s fuel efficiency, braking performance in the wet and the amount of road noise it generates remain the core information of the label, and a rating is provided for each performance measure. Labels will look like this:

© TyreSafe 2021

How can I check my vehicle’s tyres?

If you think your vehicle may need new tyres, or you want to know if your tyres are over the legal tread depth limit of 1.6mm, you can test their depth yourself.

You may also want to confirm if your vehicle’s tyres are inflated to the correct pressure, or monitor key signs of wear and tear on the tyres.

Our “What to do when… you need to check your vehicle’s tyres” posts can help! From “the 20p test”, to how to use a tyre pressure gauge, we’ve put together the information you need to ensure you keep this vital part of your vehicle at its best.

What do I do when I need to change my vehicle’s tyres?

Many local independent garages offer tyre sales and fitting services, either as a standalone or as part of your MOT advisories. Often, you can ask for new tyres to be fitted while still at the garage to rectify an advisory issue. If you want to know which garages near you offer tyre services, you can pop your postcode into the handy “Find a Garage” tool on the Trust My Garage website! Give it a try here:

You can adjust the search radius depending on how far you want to travel, and check the reviews and ratings for each TMG member too! All members also have a profile page where you can read more information about the business and see what services they offer – including tyres!

All the garages in Trust My Garage are members of the Independent Garage Association, which is part of the RMI: one of Britain’s oldest motor trade organisations. IGA members are true professionals who must comply with a strict, Chartered Trading Standards Institute-approved Code of Practice.

Every customer of all Trust My Garage members can rely on using a nationally recognised brand to help you and your vehicle get the best value service for your money.

If you have any top tyre tips, be sure to leave them in the comments below!