Wednesday, 19 February 2020

Common MOT Fail Reasons

5 Most Common Reasons Cars Fail Their MOT

As we settle into the new decade, many of us are already starting to consider what’s on the calendar for the upcoming year. For all motorists, it’s the usual MOT, yearly service or perhaps some essential maintenance work that we’ve been putting off for a month or two.

But if you have your MOT rapidly approaching, you might be starting to think about whether your car is going to pass its test or not. If your keen to see your car pass with flying colours, let's take a look at the 5 most common reasons why cars end up failing their MOT in the first place!

Signalling & Lights

Did you know that just under 20% of vehicles that go for their MOT test fail due to an issue with their lights?

Whether this is a blown headlight or registration bulb, or the indicators not functioning as they should, a simple check before heading to the test centre could help you avoid a disappointing fail certificate!


With the harsh Winter months taking their toll on the roads here in the UK, the frequent emerging potholes can cause a multitude of issues for your vehicle. From a leaky shock absorber to a snapped spring, over 13% of failed MOT’s are caused by issues relating to the suspension.


As a motorist, we understand the importance of having safe brakes that are in good working order. But did you know that an alarming 10% of MOTs fail every year due to having issues with the braking system?

Listening out for any grinding or loud squeaking noises may indicate that your brake pads are running low.


Despite all the nifty safety mod-cons, your car isn’t fully safe unless the tyres carrying you from A to B are in tip-top condition. Continuously driving on poor tyres that aren’t fit for purpose is a disaster waiting to happen.

Ensure your tread on your tyres are free from bulges, cuts and that your tread is at least 1.6mm.


Being able to see where you are driving is a pretty essential aspect of driving safely on the road. However, an alarming number of motorists fail their MOT every year due to impaired visibility issues.

From cracks and chips in the driver's eye line to air fresheners and sat-navs obstructing the line of view, more than 7% of motorists fail their MOT due to these reasons.

Wednesday, 8 January 2020

5 Tips To Help Keep You On The Road This Winter

Winter Driving Tips

5 Tips To Help Keep You On The Road This Winter

Let’s face it there is never a convenient time to break down on the roads, but during the cold Winter months breaking down is something many drivers are keen to avoid. So, you will be pleased to know that there are actually a few things that you can do during those colder months to help you avoid breaking down!

Check Your Fuel Level

This might sound obvious step to take, but it’s often the simplest of hurdles that often end up tripping us up in the long run. Before heading out ensure that you have enough fuel to get you to and from your destination if harsher weather was to hit.

Nobody wants to be stuck in the snow with no fuel!

Tyre Tread

Although the legal minimum requirement of the tread is 1.6mm, during those colder months of the year it is recommended that drivers have 3mm of tread on their tyres. This is to better aid traction and grip should you encounter ice or snow on the roads.

Having too little tread is not only illegal in the UK, but it will also impair your ability to drive safely in adverse weather conditions.

Oil Level

Checking your oil level is essential all year-round, simply checking the level regularly with the dipstick can help you to avoid breaking down when you least need it. Running your vehicle dangerously low on oil can have serious mechanical implications.

Keep Your Screenwash Topped Up

During the Winter months, there is a greater amount of dirt and grit on the roads, which naturally results in filthy windscreens. Ensuring that your screenwash is topped up with a quality pre-mix which is effective down to -15 is essential.

Avoid A Frozen Engine With Coolant

On those colder mornings, the last thing you want to encounter whilst rushing off to work is a frozen engine. If you keep your car serviced regularly, you shouldn’t need to top up the coolant, however, if you’re heading out on a long journey it’s always best practice to check first.

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

How To Drive Safely In The Snow

How To Drive Safely In The Snow

If you have been joyfully wishing for a white Christmas this year – you may just be in luck!

With the latest weather forecasts predicting up to 17 inches of snow in some places within the UK next week, now seem the perfect time to brush up on some motoring ‘do’s and don’ts’ before heading out in severe weather conditions!

So, join us as we guide you through how to stay safe on the roads in the event of an extra chilly Christmas.

During our normal weekly commute, we often take small things such as washer fluid and general driving essential for granted. After all, what’s the likely hood of needing a snow shovel in the height of Summer?

So before you set out like normal, remember that driving in the snow can be extremely hazardous and seriously affect conditions on the road – it’s best to be more prepared than underprepared!

So before setting off in the snow, here a few things that you need to take into consideration:

· Plan your journey and ensure you leave more time to reach your destination

· Clear you wipers before switching on your engine.

· Ensure all tyres have enough tread – poor tyres will not grip when driving on ice and snow.

· Pack for the worst-case scenario (de-ice, blankets, shovel, phone charger, jump leads, food and warm drink)

· Top up your washer fluid with good-quality screenwash that protects down to -35.

Tips for Driving In The Snow

If possible driving should be avoided, however, we understand that not everyone can wait around for the white stuff to thaw away. So here are a few tips on how to tackle driving in the snow:

· Move off in second gear or in Winter mode – this will help to reduce the wheels slipping.

· Accelerate gently and use low revs. Ensure you change up to a higher gear quickly.

· Leave 10 times the normal recommended stopping gap between you and the car in front

· Prepare for driving up a hill by leaving plenty of room in front so that you can maintain a constant speed without having to change gear.

· For downhill slopes, use a low gear and try to avoid braking unless necessary.

· Should you skid, steer gently into it and do not stamp on your brakes or let go of the steering wheel. (if the rear of your car slides left, gently steer to the left until you straighten up).

· Approaching a bend ensure you reduce your speed before you start to turn your wheel on the bend.

· If the road has not been gritted be wary of driving on the compacted wheel tracks as they are more likely to be icy than fresh snow.

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

The New Electric Corsa Everyone's Talking About

Corsa-e Available 2020

The Vauxhall Corsa has always been a popular small hatchback for drivers, and with each new model brought to the market, we have seen more refined designs, new technology and great features as standard. However, for 2020, Vauxhall is releasing a new Corsa that represents an enormous leap into the future for the familiar Corsa and the Vauxhall range. Available on the forecourt early 2020 Vauxhall is bringing to the market the first electric Corsa variant, namely the Corsa-e.

For the first time in Corsa's history, the new model will be offered with battery power alongside combustion-engined models, such as petrol and diesel.

The Corsa-E Up Close

This stylish, eco hatchback uses a 134bhp motor and a 50kWh lithium-ion battery that has been officially tested to range up to 205 miles. Although this range is competitive for smaller hatchbacks, Vauxhall has additionally claimed that their new electric Corsa’s range can be extended by as much as 40% when driven in the Eco Setting. The Eco Setting is said to restrict performance, but if you’re looking to get the mileage, it may just be worth it. When in Eco Mode the regenerative braking system will harvest energy from the driver simply lifting off the accelerator pedal and feed it straight back into the battery.

From a domestic household socket, the Corsa-e takes more than 20 hours to charge fully. However, this length is dramatically reduced to only 8 hours when charged from a dedicated 7.4kW home wall box.

Additionally, when you’re on the road, the new electric Corsa can be charged up to 80% in just 30 minutes via a 100kW rapid charger. These charging stations are found most commonly at motorway service stations.

Corsa-E Features At A Glance

· 205 Mile Range (WLTP)

· Rapid Charge To 80% In 30 Minutes

· On-board 11kW on-board charger as standard

· Active Lange Assist

· LED Headlamps

· Emergency Braking System

· Adjustable heated seats & steering wheel

· 7” Colour Touchscreen

· DAB Radio

· Apple CarPlay & Android Auto.

Monday, 9 September 2019

Smart Motorways - What You Need To Know

Although it may not feel that long ago, smart motorways have been popping up around the UK since they were first introduced on the M42 in 2006. In those 13 years, more than 400 miles of road have been converted to the new active traffic management system (ATM), but many motorists are yet to fully understand how they work, and what implications could occur if they aren’t used properly.

So, with that being said – what are smart motorways and how do they work?

Smart Motorways – How Do They Work?

Currently, there are three different types of smart motorways in the UK. All have been designed to manage traffic and increase capacity while reducing overall congestion at particularly busy areas or times in the day.

The three smart motorways include:

All Lane Running Schemes

As the name indicates, an all lane running scheme permanently converts the hard shoulder into a running traffic lane. On this smart motorway, lane one which was formerly a hard shoulder in only every closed off if an incident has occurred.

The extensive use of CCTV helps monitor what is occurring on, and in the event of an incident, a red X will appear above the lane on the gantry signalling lane closure to motorists.

All lane running schemes also display mandatory speed limits, which will automatically adjust depending on traffic conditions. If no speed limit is present on the gantry, the national speed limit is in place.

Designated emergency refuge areas (ERAs) are available should drivers break down or be involved in an incident on the side of the carriageway.

Controlled Motorway

Controlled motorways work similarly to the All Lane Running Scheme with the main difference being that the hard shoulder always remains as an emergency-only lane. The hard shoulder should only ever be used in a genuine emergency.

Variable speed limits are still signalled on the gantry to help aid congestion during busy times; however, when a speed limit is not present the national speed limit is enforced.

Dynamic Hard Shoulder Running Schemes

Dynamic hard shoulder running schemes are commonly seen all over the country. They work by only turning the hard shoulder into a running lane of traffic at busy periods to help ease congestion. On these stretches of the motorway, a solid white line differentiates that hard shoulder from the normal carriageway.

In the event of an emergency, a red X will appear above the lane on the gantry. It is critically important that motorists exit the lane safely as soon as possible. Ignoring the red X is extremely dangerous and could put both your life and others at risk.

Smart Motorway Fines

Just like all roads, there are rules and laws in place to keep motorists safe. However, there are a few things you need to bear in mind while travelling on a smart motorway.


Drivers often assume that the speed cameras on a smart motorway are only enforced when the variable speed limit is in place. However, the cameras on smart motorways are always active, monitoring traffic and speed. Therefore this means that any motorists travelling over the national speed limit have a much greater chance of being fined for speeding.

Red X Fines

As we touched upon previously, driving within a lane with a red x signalled above is extremely dangerous. Currently, manual enforcement is in place for drivers that are seen driving within a ‘Red X’ land. However, Highways England is looking to implement camera enforcement, which will lead to points on your licence and a fine.

Smart Motorways In A Nutshell

· Never drive in a lane closed by a red “X”.

· Keep to the speed limits shown on the gantries

· A solid white line indicates the hard shoulder – do not drive in this lane unless directed on the gantry.

· A broken white line indicates a normal running lane.

· Use the refuge areas for emergencies if a hard shoulder is not present.

Thursday, 1 August 2019

New Drivers Face Curfew Scheme Which Could Ban Night Driving

New Drivers

New Drivers Face Curfew Scheme Which 

Could Ban Night Driving 

It has been announced in a recent report from the Department for Transport that they are considering introducing a potential ban on newly-qualified motorists driving at night.

Although this new regulation may come as a surprise to many new motorists, the conversation follows recent collision figures of newly-qualified drivers. On average, one in five newly-qualified motorists are involved in an accident within their first twelve months on the road.

To combat this increasing number of collisions, the graduated driving licence scheme would mean that motorist would be not only faced with a curfew, but also additional restrictions.

Other Potential Restrictions Newly-Qualified Drivers Could Face

Newly-qualified drivers could also face the following restrictions under the graduated licenses:
  •  Prevent new drivers from taking passengers under a certain age.
  • Reduced alcohol limit.

How Would This Implicate Newly-Qualified Drivers

Although this new concept is designed to help keep new motorists and others safe on the road, experts have expressed their concern. Currently, two-thirds of newly-qualified motorist are young individuals.

Young Drivers

Source: DFT

In response to the announcement, Ian McIntosh, chief executive of Red Driving School, argued that the scheme would disadvantage young people, hampering their employment prospects and social mobility.

“It will also affect support networks built around friends and families – particularly in rural areas where public transport options are limited,” he said.

“At a time where young drivers are already penalised through higher insurance premiums, the government should avoid action that further limits the opportunities offered by learning to drive.”

Currently, there are similar schemes in place in other countries to help improve the road safety of younger drivers. Countries include many EU countries and parts of Australia and Canada.

When Will The Scheme Be Enforced?

As it stands, the scheme is still in conversation stages. There are currently no further details on how the proposed system would work in practice, including the duration drivers would be classified as ‘newly-qualified’.

Wednesday, 3 July 2019

7 Car Maintenance Checks That You Should Definitely Be Doing

7 Car Maintenance Checks That You Should Definitely de Doing

7 Car Maintenance Checks That You Should 

Definitely, Be Doing

Performing regular car maintenance checks both above and under the bonnet is an essential responsibility for any motorist. Whether you have a long journey ahead or just your yearly MOT, performing these simple checks regularly could save a lot of time and money as well as keeping you safe on the road.

To keep your car in good working order and on the right side of the law, here are seven simple checks that you can perform on your driveway. 



Although it may seem like an obvious check, it is estimated that approximately 800,000 individuals run out of fuel on the roads each year. When you run your fuel tank down to nothing, the engine will start to draw air. A build-up of air can prevent your car from starting again, even after you have filled up. 

If you are running your diesel vehicle on fumes, you are risking more severe damage, such as damaged seals and even fuel injectors. Save money and make sure you're topped up with enough fuel to get you to your destination. 



Having the right level of oil is essential for keeping your engine happy and healthy, but did you know that one in three vehicles recovered in an emergency has dangerously low oil levels? Low oil levels can cause not only a breakdown, but it can also lead to catastrophic damage to the engine.

Ensure that you have enough oil for your journey by checking that the level is between the minimum and maximum mark on your car's dipstick. If you’re unsure what type of oil your car needs, check your owners manual or speak to a local mechanic or dealer. 



If you want to avoid your car freezing or even overheating, then it’s good practice to check your coolant levels. Although this shouldn’t need topping up between journeys, you should always double check, especially during the colder and warmer months.

If you notice that your coolant levels have fallen below the minimum marked level, you should top it up immediately. Always check your owners manual for the correct coolant and ensure that the engine is cold before you top up the reservoir. 

Screen Wash

Screen Wash

Screen wash is regularly used throughout the year, so it’s essential to make sure that your levels are adequate for your journey. During the colder months, snow and grit can very quickly cause a dirty window, while during the Summer smears from pollen and insects can obstruct your view. 

Keep your windscreen clear by checking your levels regularly. 

Engine Air Filter

Engine Air Filter

Engine air filters protect your engine by preventing harmful debris, dirt and other contaminants from entering. A faulty or even clogged-up air filter can reduce your overall fuel efficiency and also lead to a reduction in engine power. Mechanics recommend replacing the filter once a year or 12,000 miles.

If you have noticed a drop in fuel efficiency, or feel that your car isn’t pulling as much power from the engine, it may mean that it’s time for a replacement. The fuel filter can be located under the bonnet, in a black box. Always consult your owners manual for full instructions. 


Car Rubber

When you think of rubber, you may only be thinking about your tyres. However, tyres and windscreen wipers are both necessities that shouldn’t be neglected. Tyres undergo pressure every journey, so checking the air levels and tread depth is vital. The minimum level of the tread is 1.6m. However, it is advised that during the Winter months your tyres should have 3mm to assist with traction and grip. 

Keeping the wheels that keep you on the road in a healthy condition is as important as being able to see where you are going. Wiper blades are used regularly and wear over time. If you’ve noticed the rubber splitting or that they are not clearing the screen as well as they used to, then it’s time for a new set! 



While we look at our cars as a means to get out on the road and to get going, it’s also imperative to be able to stop the momentum safely. The importance of functioning brakes can’t be stressed enough, so keeping them properly maintained is essential. 

To ensure your brakes are in good working order, first check the brake fluid and top up if necessary. The brake fluid can be located within your engine bay. If you have noticed that your brakes have started to score or make a loud noise while braking, it’s vital that you get a mechanic to look at your brake pads as soon as possible. 

Looking for a part for your Vauxhall? Get in touch with our team today, we have been around for many years, and it’s safe to say we know our stuff when it comes to all things Vauxhall.