01494 785000

Engine Fluids: What You Need And When To Replace Them

Contact us now to book in for a engine fluid check.

Cars need a lot of maintenance to keep them up and running. From windshield wiper blades to tyres, our cars require tons of TLC. One of the most vital aspects of our vehicle's engine is its fluids. Luckily it is quite simple to monitor these fluids. Most of the time, all you need to do is lift up the bonnet and have a look. Checking your vehicle's fluids on a regular basis is guaranteed to save you time and money down the road.

Which fluids should I check? Here are five of your engines' fluids you should make a habit of checking -

ENGINE OIL

TRANSMISSION FLUID

COOLANT

BRAKE FLUID

POWER STEERING FLUID

The team at Latimer Garage Services Ltd is always happy to answer any of your questions. We can also check your engines' fluid levels and replace any necessary fluids. A well-maintained car is synonymous with a safe car. To schedule an appointment for a check-up, repair, MOT Test, service, tyre replacement please call 01494 78500.

Get Ready For Winter Driving

Contact us now to book in for a free winter check.

wintercheck

According to the AA, you're much more likely to break down in winter. Their busiest ever days were Monday, 4 January and Monday, January 20 in 2010, when they were called out to more than 28,000 people each day.

The causes were a combination of weather-related issues and the fact that people were using their cars often after a period of inactivity over the holidays.

We've put together our hints and tips on how best to prepare so you can avoid being one of the hundreds of thousands of motorists who will break down this winter. Or, if you are unlucky enough to break down or get stuck in traffic during the cold weather, at least you'll be well prepared.

Check your car BEFORE the bad weather hits

The AA has a checklist that it advises you use to make sure your car stays roadworthy in winter.

We're really happy to do any of these checks for you at Latimer Garage Services. Just get in touch (link to contact us page) to find out how we can help.

AA Winter Car Checklist

Check your route before you travel

While some weather-based events (such as crashes and queues) will happen no matter how well prepared you are, you can help avoid problem areas by checking motoring websites before you travel. We've put a list of our favourites at the end of this blog.

Some GPS systems, and Google maps, also give route suggestions and timings based on live traffic information, so checking those before you set off, helps. They will also update during journeys, as new information comes in.

Look after you and your passengers

Just in case you do get stranded, or stuck in your vehicle for a long time, you should make up an emergency kit that you can keep in your boot or car at all times - not just during the winter. Hopefully you won't need it, but if you do, you'll be really pleased you made the effort!

The AA suggests you carry the following at all times in your car emergency kit:

Year-round essentials We'd also suggest:

Because the weather is different in winter, your emergency kit in winter should be topped up with the following items:

Winter emergency kit

Then, when particularly bad weather is forecast, we'd recommend you only travel if absolutely necessary. If it is, then also add:

Of course most of this is common sense. The hardest part is having the discipline to make time in our busy lives to make sure we keep the year-round essentials kit up to date, and that we add the other items BEFORE the bad weather hits.

We hope our tips help you stay safe this winter, and that you won't be one of the hundreds of thousands of motorists who breaks down in the UK over the winter period each year.

Contact us if you have any questions about winter vehicle checks, MOTs, services, repairs, or any other issue with your car or vehicle.

Contact us now to book in for a free winter check.

The Good Garage Scheme

Latimer Garage Services Ltd is a member of The Good Garage Scheme to give our customers additional peace of mind that we are a trustworthy local garage and conform to the GGS Code of Conduct.

Code of Conduct

This is what the Good Garage Scheme has to say about having your car serviced.

Car Service - what should you expect?

When organising a car service, it's important that you establish what the service includes. Some garages will change only your oil filter, others will carry out a full service. A good garage will follow a service checklist and give you a copy of that completed checklist as a confirmation of a job well done. Good Garage Scheme members carry out your service incorporating the Industry Standard Service Checklist.

Does your car need a service?

Most modern cars only need a service once a year, but older cars require a service once every six months. The manufacturer's service handbook will set what is best for your car. The type of service you need will also be affected by how you use your car. For example, lots of short journeys where the engine does not have a chance to warm up properly will probably mean more frequent oil and filter changes.

Running faults and repairs

Ask to speak to a mechanic or a technician about the problem. Explain the problem in as much detail as you can. If you can, include when the problem occurs, for example only when the engine is cold, or after the vehicle has been left standing.

Do I need to take my car to a main dealer for its service?

European Commission rules on car block exemption came into full effect in October 2003. This new ruling allows independent garages the same access to technical information on your car from the manufacturer, and more importantly, it means you do not need to go back to a franchise dealer to retain warranty cover.

Collecting your car

Ask to view the old replaced parts and check that:

Rather than replacing parts that are fully not worn out, a good garage will advise you when they will probably need replacing, based on the way you use your car.

The Good Garage Scheme - It's like having a friend in the know!

Getting ready for Spring

Check your air con and change your pollen filter

Over two thirds of all vehicles manufactured today come with air conditioning and climate control systems as standard. This means many drivers can enjoy the benefits of air-con in their vehicle on a hot day. However, most don't realise that, just like other parts of your car, the air con system also needs regular attention to ensure it works effectively.

Air conditioning loses some of its charge every year, as 10% of the gas permeates from the system on an annual basis. This makes it less efficient and makes your car warmer.

As a result, car manufacturers recommend that your air con system is recharged with gas every two years. This is not part of your routine annual service, so if your vehicle is more than two years old it's probably due an air con recharge.

Our air conditioning service keeps your air con working properly by checking and topping up the refrigerant levels. This cleanses the air circulation system to keep up the icy cold air output and also gets rid of any nasty odours - along with the bacteria that cause them.

We can offer you a FREE air con check - we check your refrigerant levels to see if they need to be topped up. We can then recharge your air con and clean your system for £48 total if needed. To book your vehicle in for a FREE check please call 01494 772691, and mention the website free offer.

While you are giving your air-con a spring clean, it's also a good time to check the pollen filter.

The pollen filter removes dust and pollen from the air before it enters the car, making sure the air you breathe is clean. A pollen filter isn't essential - in fact, not all cars have one. And while it won't cause your car to break down, it could make the air con system work harder against all that dirty air. In worst cases, this could lead to a burned out motor. It is advisable, if you do have one, to keep change it regularly, as at the very least it will add to your comfort whilst driving.

Latimer Garage Services Ltd will routinely check and replace your pollen filter during a full service but if you haven't had a full service for a while it may be worth having it checked. For a FREE check please call 01494 772691, and mention the website free offer.

MOT TESTS

All cars and motorcycles that are three years old or more must, by law, undergo an MOT test. Once your vehicle starts having an MOT, it must have the next one on or just before the anniversary of the last MOT to stay legal.

The MOT is designed to check whether your car is roadworthy, to protect you and other road users.

When you car passes its MOT you are issued with an MOT certificate. If it fails, you need to have the remedial work done, have it re-tested, and it must pass, to get a new MOT certificate.

If you drive a car over three years old without an MOT, you could be fined or prosecuted, and it's highly unlikely that your insurance would be valid.

According to the government, almost half of faults during the MOT could be avoided if owners kept up basic maintenance in between tests.

We've listed the top 5 reasons for failure below - just keeping on top of these things makes it far less likely that your car will fail.

Top five reasons for a car failing its MOT:

An MOT involves dozens of checks, including bodywork, and the fuel and exhaust systems. It doesn't cover the engine, clutch or gearbox, so you should keep these in good working order separately.

What's included in an MOT test?
You can see exactly what is covered in an MOT for cars and motorcycles on the Gov.uk website. What gets checked in an MOT doesn't vary from place to place - the list is a legal requirement so all test centres will cover everything on the list.

What to do if your car fails its MOT
If your car fails its MOT, we will let you know what it has failed on, and what it will cost to get it fixed, before we start any work. We will then offer you a retest for free if re-presented within 10 working days. We know being without your car is a major inconvenience, so we will try our best to get you back on the road as soon as possible.

My MOT is expired by my test is booked - can I drive?
You can't drive your car on the road if your MOT has expired. The only exception is driving it to a pre-booked appointment at the test centre. If you are stopped by police you will be asked to prove that you have an appointment, otherwise you could be fined or prosecuted.

Can I drive my car if it fails its test?
If you thought ahead and got your car tested before your old MOT certificate ran out, you can drive it until the certificate runs out. However, if it is un-roadworthy and you are stopped by police, you can still be fined or prosecuted, even with a valid MOT certificate. If it fails, you will need to get the failures fixed and have it retested before your certificate runs out.

When can I have an MOT?
Your car can take an MOT test anytime. If you have less than a month left on your existing certificate, and your car passes, your new certificated will run from the end date of your old one.

Is my vehicle exempt from an MOT?
Tractors, goods vehicles powered by electricity, any vehicle under 3 years old and cars and motorbikes made before 1960 don't need an MOT.

Contact us now to book an MOT