Thursday 25 March 2010

Motorists hit by budget announcement – the Good Garage Scheme highlights how it’ll affect you.

Yesterday the 2010 Budget speech was delivered to the House of Commons, announcing that motorists will be hit by a rise in fuel duty. With pump prices soaring, Alistair Darling did offer a small measure of respite for motorists by staggering the 2.76p increase which is due to come into force next week.

  • one pence per litre on 1 April 2010
  • one pence per litre on 1 October 2010
  • 0.76 pence per litre on 1 January 2011

With this increase in mind, the cost of filling a car is set to hit a new high. According to the AA, drivers are set to pay an average of 121p per litre for unleaded this Easter, breaking the 119.7p record which was set in July 2008. By the end of next week filling the tank of a small family car will cost on average £2 more.

Despite the rise in fuel prices, you may find driving a slightly smoother experience. An investment of £285 million will be made to improve capacity in the road network, including allowing motorists to use the hard shoulder at busy times. The budget has also planned for £100 million to be distributed to local authorities to repair roads damaged by recent bad weather. A rise in potholes has caused countless problems for motorists. It is reported that 1.4 million road craters were filled over the past year – a rise of 40%. But with the cost of fixing a pothole averaging at £99, and reports of over two million potholes in the UK, the budget is not going far enough to help motorists.

To view the 2010 Budget, visit

Monday 22 March 2010

A new, exciting dawn is breaking for Britain’s car industry. Here the Good Garage Scheme brings you a rundown of the electric revolution.

Britain's car industry received a £2.65bn boost recently as plans to produce a new generation of eco-friendly engines were unveiled.

Nissan will be spending £420m on new production lines at its plant in Sunderland, after choosing Britain to manufacture the world's first mass-produced electric car for the European market. The production of the Nissan Leaf will begin in 2013 when around 50,000 vehicles a year will start rolling off the production line, making the UK the third country in the world to produce this revolutionary car.

The Leaf, a zero-emission, affordable family car offers the same space, practicality and performance of a similar car in its class – minus the emissions. The five-seater hatchback has a range of 160 km, can be rapid-charged to 80 percent of its battery capacity in 30 minutes, and travels at a top speed of more than 140 km/hr. The production will also safeguard an estimated 2,250 jobs in Sunderland and across Nissan’s UK supply chain.

Motorists will be offered subsidies of up to £5,000 to encourage them to buy electric or plug-in hybrid cars, part of the government’s £250m plan to promote low carbon transport over the next five years.

Currently there is a limited range of electric vehicles on the market, which range in price from about £8,000 to more than £80,000 for high-performance models. Sales have been held back by a number of factors, including a limited range of about 40 miles, long charge times, and only two seats. However, with the changes in store it is estimated that by 2020 about a quarter of all cars sold could be electric.

The Government has also launched a national 'Plugged in Places' scheme; a £30m initiative to install a charging network in up to 6 cities, however there has been debate as to whether this will be enough.

Find out why Sunderland ‘got the leaf’
Nissan Leaf Website

Thursday 18 March 2010

Good Garage Scheme recommends ways to cut your fuel spend by a third

Petrol and Diesel costs are at an all time high, but there are many ways that you can reduce your fuel spend by a third, and save yourself £100’s with the Good Garage Scheme's three step plan.

Step 1: Make Your Car More Efficient - you can save up to 15% in fuel costs by making minor tweaks to your vehicle.

Keep your tyres correctly inflated.
Lower tyre pressure increases the drag on a car, meaning you need more fuel.

Declutter your car.
The lighter your car is, the less effort it needs to make to accelerate. Therefore by decluttering you can make extra savings.

Take your roof rack off.
A roof rack, even unused, adds massive wind resistance to a car, increasing drag and making the engine work harder.

Turn off the air con.
Air conditioning uses an incredible amount of fuel. Keep it turned off unless you really need it. This could improve your fuel efficiency by 8%. However, if it's really hot, it's worth keeping the air con on, as having all the windows open causes extra drag.

Don't fill it up.
Fuel is heavy, so by filling the car up you're adding more weight. The less fuel your car has in it, the more efficiently it drives. Filling up slightly more often and putting less in will make the car run more efficiently.

Step 2: Drive More Efficiently - you can reduce your fuel costs by 60% by driving more efficiently. Drive more smoothly to boost your fuel efficiency.

Accelerate gradually without over-revving.
Speed up smoothly; when you press harder on the pedal more fuel flows, but you could get to the same speed using much less power.

Drive in the correct gear.
Always drive in the highest gear possible without labouring the engine.

Slow naturally.
Rather than brake all the time, let your car slow naturally and use its stored momentum.

Step 3: Find The Cheapest Fuel - a really easy way to reduce your fuel costs is to find the cheapest petrol or diesel in your area. Use the Petrol Prices website to find your cheapest fuel - it could save you a significant amount over a period of time.

For more money saving tips, visit

Monday 15 March 2010

Fed up of potholes? The Good Garage Scheme recommends reporting them before they become a hazard!

Potholes and road defects are more than just a nuisance; they’re a danger to all road users. In the UK, there’s an average of one pothole for every 110 metres of road.

CTC, the UK’s national cyclists’ organisation, put together the website so that road users can report road hazards such as potholes, road debris, raised/sunken manholes, and poorly restored surfaces. The website allows for precise description of where the hazard is, including an interactive map, so you can mark where the hazard is, and a place to describe the road hazard in depth.

Local councils have a duty to ensure all roads (including pavements and walkways) are maintained and repaired, but if they don’t know about a pothole, they can’t fill it in. So if you want to get it repaired, report it. The Good Garage Scheme thinks this is great, as CTC contact the right people for you to get the roads repaired.

To report a pothole or any other road defect, visit

Thursday 11 March 2010

Thinking of privately buying a new vehicle? Don’t become a victim of car crime!

When you buy a new vehicle, do you really check what it is that you are buying? There are many stolen vehicles that are ‘disguised’ to make you believe you are buying the correct make and model. Here are a few tips you can consider when buying your next vehicle.

Make sure the seller either owns the vehicle, or is able to offer it for sale. Be careful of sellers using mobile phone numbers, especially adverts giving a phone number and time to call – it may be a phone box. Arrange to see the vehicle at the seller’s home, and not in a public space. Have a good look at the car. Check that all the locks open with the same key, and look for any signs of forced entry. Satisfy yourself that the vehicle is in good order.

Check that the vehicle’s identity and documents match by making sure the vehicle identity number (VIN) and the details of the car match the vehicle registration certificate, and check the part VIN or registration number etched on the windows matches the ones on the registration certificate and number plates.

Check if the vehicle registration certificate is real by holding it up to the light to see the DVLA watermark. You can also phone DVLA on 0300 790 6104 to check the registration certificate is real before you buy.

It is worth checking the vehicle’s details by phoning the DVLA and making enquiries with private vehicle check companies to ensure there is no outstanding finance on the vehicle.

For more information on buying a used car visit

Friday 5 March 2010

Been driving on salted roads? Don’t get peppered with car trouble!

The snow and ice have gone and we can all get back to driving without the risk of skidding or getting stuck in perilous conditions. But for the thousands of motorists who have braved roads in the worst winter for 30 years, the salted roads could leave their cars peppered with problems.

Salt build up can be highly corrosive if left unattended and can cause major long-term damage to your vehicle’s underbody. In addition to this, one of the motorists’ worst enemies – the pothole – has been appearing more and more. Driving and hitting a pothole can ruin tyres and can damage wheels. Visibility is crucial so topping up your windscreen washer is essential. If you can see a pothole ahead and avoid the problem in the first place, the chances are you will avoid potentially costly repairs. Leaving salt build-up unattended can result in corroding bodywork.

The Good Garage Scheme recommends cleaning cars thoroughly with a high pressure washer (except on engine and electronics) to protect against salt corrosion.

Monday 1 March 2010

Good Garage Scheme finds - Brits own up to Bumps!

A quick bump in a quiet car park or slight scrape on a road side can leave a motorist with the temptation to quickly drive away before anyone notices. However the car review website,, was quietly impressed by the overall honesty of website visitors who responded to this poll.

The latest research by this website has revealed that 61 per cent would own up to damaging someone else's car, even if no one was around to witness the accident.

Although the majority were honest, more than one in three (39 per cent) said they would take the opportunity to sneak away. This kind of activity is a major headache for the unfortunate victims. It is not only heartbreaking, but it can leave the victim with an expensive repair bill on their hands.

Says the website's spokesperson, Faye Sunderland: "It was good to see that most motorists display honest characteristics and are likely to leave their details at the scene of the accident if they were ever involved in damaging some else's car.

There is still a minority of more devious sorts who would worry about the cost to themselves and the effect on their insurance rating; others would perhaps be overcome with embarrassment. I would hope they would think hard about what it is like for the other person before sneaking away, after all it can happen to any one of us. They might be the victim of the next 'scrape and run incident'," she concludes.