Friday 29 June 2018

Is your car ready for summer driving?

woman driving, summer, convertibleWith the UK basking in a heatwave and summer holidays only just around the corner, research from the Good Garage Scheme has revealed that as a nation of motorists we are unprepared for long car journeys. A survey of 1000 drivers also found a lack of awareness of basic car maintenance needed to stay safe on the road.

Over four in ten (41%) drivers said they had no plans to get their car checked before their next long journey, while almost half (47%) admitted to not knowing their tyre tread depth and just 39% were found to have checked the condition of their spare tyre in the last year.  Furthermore, almost a third (31%) said they had never had their car’s oil system cleaned, while just over a fifth (21%) said they are prepared to deal with a tyre blow out if it happened to them.  A car health check before a long journey is essential to ensure you arrive safely and have a trouble-free and comfortable journey.

Good Garage Scheme workshops across the UK are offering a Holiday Check to give motorists peace of mind before the summer holidays.  The 21-point check provides an expert assessment of a vehicle’s health including the condition of the tyres, wiper blades, windscreen and lights, as well as the level of the coolant and engine oil.  The Holiday Check also includes checking operation of the air conditioning system and, if required, a sterilising and deodorising service, to ensure comfortable summer motoring.

Now widely accepted as a mark of quality for independent garages across the UK, Good Garage Scheme workshops are recognised as providing exceptional service to their customers based on a rigorously monitored mandatory code of practice and regular independent audits. 

Visit and enter your postcode to find a local Good Garage Scheme workshop offering the Holiday Check.  Smartphone users can also download a free iPhone or Android app to help them locate a nearby Good Garage Scheme member anywhere in the UK. This is great to have saved on your phone so that you can contact a garage when you need it, no matter where you are. Once you download it, you can search for a garage even if you don’t have WIFI.

The Good Garage Scheme – it’s like having a friend in the know.

Sunday 28 January 2018

And the Winner Is...

With the Oscar season upon us, it is with great pleasure that the Good Garage Scheme extends congratulations to the team at Fields Car Centre in Woking for recently winning Independent Garage of the Year (Southern England) in Workshop Magazine's 2017 Awards.
Fields Car Centre, Workshop Magazine Awards, Presentation
Photos courtesy of Fields Car Centre Ltd,
The evening, held at the Brewery in London's Barbican district, was hosted by Mike Brewer, star of TV's 'Wheeler Dealers' who presented the awards.

Mike and Richard Field were astonished when they were announced as winners as were the team, which included workshop managers, Chris Maple and Gary Churcher, who were also speechless. As you can see from the photos from the night, disbelief soon turned into happy celebrations.

Mike Field said, "... one of the most amazing experiences as we walked from the back of the room to the stage, some 100 feet away, past table after table of guests, all applauding Field's Car Centre from Woking! I cannot put into words the feeling of such a moment. You can't buy this type of experience; you can't prepare for it as you don't expect it."

For more information about Fields Car Centre, visit their page here.

Sunday 31 December 2017

Don't be a "Morning After" Drink Driver

New Year's Eve is a great time to get together with friends and family. 

glasses, champagne, poouring
The Morning After Campaign reminds drivers that they may still be over the limit the morning after a party even if they have been to sleep.

There are some great morning after calculators you can use to see if you’re still over the limit to give you peace of mind that you’re not drink driving.

Happy 2018 and Safe Driving from everyone at the Good Garage Scheme.

Wednesday 20 December 2017

Driving Home for Christmas?

Most of us will travel at some stage over next week. Sharing the road with what can feel like the entire population can be stressful.
image courtesy of IAM Roadsmart

This week’s tips from IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards, Richard Gladman, give advice on driving home for Christmas…

  • Try and avoid setting off at peak times which includes early afternoon on Christmas Eve as this is when many motorists will start their journey. With Christmas falling on a Monday this year, you might be able to travel on a different day. Don’t forget to check for weather or traffic-related updates so you can allow more time to travel.
  • If you’re travelling a long distance then take into consideration that the weather in one region may not be the same as another. So plan for the whole length of your journey and take note of what the weather is like closer to your destination.
  • Before you set off, make sure your friends and family know where you are going and your expected time of arrival. Try to be as realistic as possible so they are not worrying about you if you get a little late, and always ensure you have enough fuel as some garages can close early.
  • Packing the car can leave you fraught. Make a check list of everything you need and try to ensure there are no loose parcels that could turn into missiles in the event of having to brake in an emergency.
  • Family pets pick up on the excitement of Christmas; remember they need seatbelts or a method of restraint too. Keep them away from where you pack the chocolate and mince pies as both are really bad for dogs and you don’t want to start Christmas with a large vet bill.
  • Make sure you take regular rest breaks but avoid leaving valuable gifts on show by locking them away out of sight in the boot.
  • If you’re too tired to drive then delay your journey. And if you begin to feel tired on your journey, then take a rest break. A coffee and a 20 minute stop are the bare minimum to help you stay alert. In any case, your journey should be planned with breaks every 2 hours. 

Richard said: “Careful planning and preparation can ensure your Christmas drive home is a safe and smooth one. So long as you give yourself extra time at this busy time of year, your journey home doesn’t need to be as arduous.

“We all look forward to spending the festive season with loved ones so let’s all do our bit to make it a safe one for the road. From all here at IAM RoadSmart, here’s wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.”

Everyone at the Good Garage Scheme sends the same wishes and thanks IAM Roadsmart for this useful advice. Don't forget to download the GoodGarageScheme App before you set off on your Christmas journey so that you can always find a garage you can trust.

Monday 4 December 2017

New Driving Test Takes Effect Today

Britain’s biggest independent road safety charity IAM RoadSmart says the new look driving test, which it helped to design and evaluate, will deliver ‘big safety benefits and save lives by including more real life situations and introducing new drivers to the latest technology.
Driving instructor, driving test assessor with student in car during driving test
photo courtesy of IAMRoadSmart December 2017
The plans were announced by the Government on 30 December last year and will take effect from today (4 December). The new format was test driven by thousands of learners before its final implementation. Those who had taken the new test were more confident and crucially, for IAM RoadSmart, had undertaken slightly more driving on country roads and dual carriageways.

It is well known that learners who practice more in a wider range of traffic situations make safer drivers in the long run.

The changes include the following:
  • Independent driving part of the test will increase from 10 to 20 minutes
  • Following directions from a sat-nav
  • Reversing manoeuvres will be changed (reverse around a corner and the three point turn will no longer be tested), but drivers will be asked to do one of three possible reversing manoeuvres instead including parking in a bay
  • Demonstrating vehicle safety knowledge while  driving
Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research, said: “Experts from IAM RoadSmart have helped to design and evaluate the new elements of the test, and we are very excited about the road safety benefits it could deliver.

“Our key aim was to ensure the test reflects the real world as much as possible and also encourage learners to gain experience in as wide a range of traffic situations as possible. By doubling the independent driving element of the test and introducing a sat-nav for an unknown route, new drivers will have to practice more.

“A common criticism of the old test was that it always used the same well-known routes which Learner drivers could learn by rote! The new reversing manoeuvres replace the three-point turn, which no one ever used, and dealing with a bay is much more like everyday parking.

“Finally, asking questions whilst driving can help the learner to multi-task and deal with passengers. New drivers with relevant skills and more experience can only be good news for road safety.”

iAM RoadSmart organisation logo text

To find out more about IAM RoadSmart products and services visit the new website

The Good Garage Scheme supports the work of IAM RoadSmart and thanks them for contributing this week's blog.

Tuesday 28 November 2017

Motorist Wins £200 Good Garage Scheme Prize

Presentation photo with Good Garage Scheme regional manager and winner at Saunders Abbott
Good Garage Scheme winners find it hard to believe that they have won money back on a car service or repair for simply filling in a feedback card, but that's exactly what happened to Mr Fitzsimons recently at Saunders Abbott garage at Sidcup, Kent.

Mr Fitzsimons' feedback was chosen from over 9000 entries in the Good Garage Scheme's national prize draw.

He awarded the garage with five stars for the service received and commented:
"Your garage fixed a reoccurring fault on our previous Fabia. Other local Skoda agents where not even able to diagnose a problem and twice charge me £27.00 to report "no fault found". I will not use them again as they could not fix a problem I had described in detail. You fixed it easily first time!"

The Good Garage Scheme has awarded three lucky motorists with this prize so far this year with one more prize draw before Christmas.

The next time you need a service, repair or MOT,  visit and read the feedback from previous customers.

It's like having a friend in the know!

Monday 20 November 2017

Speed Down to Save Lives

Speed Down Save Lives, Brake, Road Safety Week 2017
Road Safety Week is the UK's biggest road safety event, coordinated annually by Brake, the road safety charity.

Dept of Transport infographi on road casualties, 2016, fatalities, Great BritainAccording to Brake, speeding is still a major problem in the UK causing needless crashes, untold suffering and life-changing accidents.

Breaking the speed limit or travelling too fast for conditions is recorded by police at crash scenes as a contributory factor in one in four (23%) fatal crashes in Great Britain and a recent survey by
Brake found that four in 10 (40%) UK drivers admitted they sometimes drive at 30mph in 20mph zones.

We all lead busy lives and are often in a rush, but taking extra care while driving and slowing down will lead to safer roads and fewer accidents.

The Good Garage Scheme joins with Brake once again to encourage all motorists to Speed Down Save Lives. Hopefully the good habits we put in practice this week will remind us to drive with care throughout the year.
red Brake charity logo
For more information about Brake, please visit their website.