Friday 25 June 2010

Good Garage Scheme reveals the hidden dangers of buying part worn tyres

One in ten drivers will be buying part worn tyres this year in an effort to save cash, but are used tyres a risk worth taking? A Trading Standards investigation recently revealed that 90 per cent of worn tyres sold are not legal and are putting unwitting drivers at risk.

The investigation carried out in Birmingham found that nine out of ten part worn tyres being sold failed to meet the minimum legal standards. It is expected that this is an example of a nationwide problem. A selection of 190 part worn tyres were examined, finding that 30 percent of tyres had structural failings including illegal tread depth, nails embedded in the casing, exposed cords and even one tyre that was 17 years old. Out of the 190 tyres, 90 per cent lacked the correct markings required which identify them as part worn.

Some of the tyres were X-rayed to identify further internal damage, finding signs of impact damage meaning the tyres are much more likely to suffer a blowout whilst driving. The defects found would not be visible under normal inspections that part worn tyres must undergo before going on sale.

The Good Garage Scheme strongly advises purchasing new tyres where possible to ensure your safety. However, if you will be buying part worn tyres there are some vital points you need to check before purchasing:

• Ensure the tyres are permanently marked as part worn and have date markings.

• The tyres must have at least 2mm of tread depth around the whole tyre. Although the legal minimum depth is 1.6mm, a tread depth below 3mm has significantly reduced grip.

• See if the original grooves are clearly visible in their entirety, and check there are no holes, cuts or other discrepancies.

• Any repairs to the tyre must have been carried out in accordance with British Standards BS AU 159.

• Make sure the tyres you have inspected are the ones fitted to your car.

Wednesday 23 June 2010

Good Garage Scheme strongly advises using windscreen wash to avoid risk of Legionnaire’s disease

Motorists who do not use screen wash for their windscreen wipers risk getting potentially deadly Legionnaires' disease, a study revealed last week.

The Health Protection Agency reported that contaminated water in car windscreen sprays could be behind 20 per cent of cases of Legionnaire’s disease in England and Wales. Stagnant warm water is said to be a perfect breeding ground for the bacteria, but by simply using screen wash you could drastically decrease the risk of infection.

During the study, traces of the Legionella Bacterium were found in one in five cars that did not use screen wash, but no traces were found in cars that did. Researchers have warned that professional drivers are five times more likely to be effected, including van drivers, anyone who travels through industrial areas and those who drive with the car window open.

The infection is spread through breathing in bacteria contaminated air, usually traced to water aerosol systems such as windscreen spray and air-con. When the water is sprayed over the windscreen it is likely some fine mist would be sucked into the passenger compartment. Unused air-con systems can become a breeding ground for harmful bacteria, pollen and fungi and release millions of microorganisms into the small space when turned on.

Whilst more research is needed into the link between windscreen water and legionnaire’s disease, we strongly advise using screen wash to stop the growth of bacteria and taking your car for a Holiday Check with your local Good Garage Scheme member to ensure your car is a safe environment to drive in.

Find your local garage:

Holiday Check Information:

Monday 21 June 2010

Good Garage Scheme launches free prize draw on Facebook

Ever wanted a Blu-Ray DVD player in your living room, an iPod nano in your pocket, or a TomTom in your car? Well this is your chance to win a prize of your choice with the Good Garage Scheme.

Today sees the launch of a six week free prize draw on Facebook, which fans of the Good Garage Scheme page are able to enter. Simply ‘like’ the Good Garage Scheme on Facebook, fill out the entry form, and keep up to date with our motoring tips, updates and advice for your chance to win.

Draw is open to all fans of the Good Garage Scheme and Good Garage Scheme member garages. Draw closes July 30th and Terms and Conditions apply.

Thursday 17 June 2010

Good Garage Scheme welcomes ruling that could see servicing costs drop by half

New legislation from the European Commission is set to tackle the abuse of warranties by manufacturers, ruling that mandatory links between manufacturers and dealerships are to be severed.

The new regulation, which was implemented earlier this month, means car manufacturers will no longer be able to make the warranty conditional on having the car serviced in networked dealerships or by using expensive branded parts during repair. As a result, consumers will have a wider choice of garages and parts to choose from, and could see servicing costs eventually drop by as much as half.

The move will see increased competition between dealerships and independent garages, as the new rules will make it much easier for non-franchised garages to obtain alternative parts and technical information for repairs. Changes are most likely to affect owners of new cars; however costs of servicing vehicles such as BMWs and Mercedes’ could be reduced as the data needed by specialist diagnostic machinery will be made more available.

It is expected that dealerships will compete for business with price-matching and changes in labour costs, resulting in a lower end cost for the consumer. However, with soaring overhead costs for large dealerships, small independent garages are still the best cost option for consumers.

To find your local independent Good Garage Scheme member, visit

Monday 14 June 2010

Report reveals that 150,000 drivers misfuel each year – the Good Garage Scheme suggests what to do if you’re one of them

According to the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA), every year 150,000 motorists put the wrong fuel in their car – that’s one every three minutes! The report also found that 95% of those who misfuel are diesel drivers.

And the scale of the problem has been getting bigger too, especially over the last five years with growth in diesel car sales – modern diesels are so quiet it's easy to forget you're driving one, particularly if it's a second family car or hire car.

So what should you do if you’ve put the wrong fuel in your car? First of all, don’t panic. Generally a small amount of incorrect fuel should not damage the engine as long as you have not started the car. It is crucial that you do not turn on the ignition or start the engine as this will circulate the contaminated fuel and increase the risk of damage. If your car is still under warranty you should check with the franchised dealer regarding their advice and remedial action – running with even a small amount of wrong fuel in the tank might invalidate the warranty. For other vehicles you should contact your local Good Garage Scheme member for advice, assistance and the correct remedial action.

Graeme Trudgill, BIBA Technical and Corporate Affairs Executive, said: “Nobody is immune to misfuelling, from TV celebrities like Philip Schofield to Wayne Rooney’s reported misfuelling mishap, it is easily done”.

To find your local Good Garage Scheme member, visit, and be sure to keep their contact details safe in your phone and vehicle in the event this does happen.

Wednesday 9 June 2010

Driving abroad this summer? Read the Good Garage Scheme’s essential information first

Holidaying in India, Brazil, Egypt or the United Arab Emirates? If you’re planning on driving abroad this summer you’ll need an International Driving Permit (IDP) for certain countries. The permit costs around £5 and lasts for up to a year.

If you’re holidaying within Europe, there are also some compulsory driving requirements different to those in the UK. First of all, you’ll need a GB Sticker on your vehicle when leaving the country. Make sure you have a warning triangle and reflective jacket in your boot, as in countries such as France, Austria, Spain and Belgium this is a legal requirement. Check the AA compulsory equipment document at the bottom of the page for a comprehensive list of requirements so your holiday goes off without a hitch.

Remember, if you do not adhere to a country’s laws you may find yourself with an on the spot fine of between €90 and €135.

Before your holiday:
  • Plan your route thoroughly and make sure your Sat Nav and maps are up to date.
  • Make sure you know the driving laws and speed limits before entering the country; they may be different to the UK.
  • Check any vehicle or license requirements at least two months in advance of your holiday.
  • Pack an emergency kit. This is only a requirement in Austria, but it’s good to have just in case.
  • Get your vehicle checked over by your local Good Garage Scheme garage to ensure it is ready and safe for a long distance journey.
  • Pack your vehicle registration document, your motor insurance certificate and your passport somewhere safe.

Full list of countries that require an IDP

IDP Application form from the RAC (PDF)

AA Compulsory Equipment (PDF)

Thursday 3 June 2010

Get your car ready for summer with the Good Garage Scheme Holiday Check

As the weather warms up and more people are expected to holiday in the UK this summer, it is essential that motorists make sure their cars are fit for the hot weather conditions and long distance driving with a simple Holiday Check for their vehicles.

This week, the Good Garage Scheme launches a national campaign to help motorist avoid problems as they gear up for the summer getaway. The 21-point summer Holiday Check is being carried out by workshops and garages throughout the country, with vital checks to ensure the efficiency and safety of your vehicle. The Holiday Check is recommended for all vehicles planning long distance journeys, but if you’re towing a caravan or a boot full of luggage, your car will require more attention to tyre pressures and fluid levels to make sure you are driving safely, so the Holiday Check is more than essential to ensure a hassle-free holiday.

So what are some of the things included in the 21-point Holiday Check?

- Lights and wipers check
- Air conditioning operation, including check of bad odours
- Engine oil check and top up
- Battery level check and lubrication of terminals
- Cooling system check for leaks and heat output
- Brake fluid condition check
- Tyre report, including pressure, tread and condition
- ABS operation and air bag warning lights check

View the full Holiday checklist used by the Good Garage Scheme members here, and find your local Good Garage Scheme member offering the Holiday Check by visiting Good Garage Scheme Holiday Check and type in your postcode.