Friday 27 August 2010

Good Garage Scheme member Autopics sponsors Charity Classic & American Car Show

On Sunday, 5th September, Good Garage Scheme members Autopics will be busy at the Beachgreen Motormania event on the Littlehampton Seafront in West Sussex.

Beachgreen Motormania is a culmination of tremendous hard work and the local community pulling together to help create a great day of activities in aid of the charity Help 4 Heroes. The event is expected to attract 5,000 visitors flocking to see over 600 interesting cars and bikes, with a Rock and Roll band playing, a wide variety of dance groups, beer tent, Hog Roasts, face paintings, trade stalls with food, displays and other activities to appeal to all.

In addition to this a charity auction will be taking place, with all proceeds going to Help 4 Heroes.

Autopics will be promoting their specialism in Classic and American cars on their own gazebo stand throughout the day. They have also generously paid for Scouts to clean up after the event, donated a free Good Garage Scheme service and valet to the charity auction, and will be lending the event their Shogun for Marshalling duties.

The event runs from 10am to 5pm on Sunday 5th September, so come down and support this great south coast community event and enjoy an entertaining family day out.

Official Beachgreen Motormania website
Autopics Ltd Good Garage Scheme page

Wednesday 25 August 2010

How far can a litre take you? The Good Garage Scheme reveals Freddie Flintoff’s top driving tips

Shell’s FuelSave campaign, fronted by Ashes legend Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff, aims to save customers a litre of fuel per 50 litre fill-up with its new formulation pump fuel. But just how far can that litre take you?

Freddie Flintoff spent the day testing out how far you could drive with that extra litre of fuel.  At the beginning of the test, Freddie only managed four miles when driving in his usual manner, but improved to more than 13 miles when employing fuel-saving methods. Exact savings figures weren't available from Shell but the ambassador seemed convinced: "I had no idea that by using the right fuel and making a few simple changes to my driving habits, I could be so much more fuel efficient. I went 13 miles on a single litre of FuelSave Unleaded."

At the end of the day, this is something for nothing. The new fuel won’t be any more expensive than the one it replaced.  Families spend a lot on fuel and this gives them a chance to save a bit from their bills. With the economy as it is, that has to be a good thing. And with a few pointers on how to change their driving habits, they could save even more.”

So how can you be fuel efficient like Freddie?

Flintoff’s top 10 tips for saving fuel
1.    Drive smoothly
2.    Use higher gears
3.    Check your tyre pressures
4.    Avoid carrying excess weight
5.    Avoid over-revving
6.    Use cruise control
7.    Use air-con sparingly
8.    Conserve momentum
9.    Remove a roof rack, if fitted
10.    Avoid the rush hour

Thursday 19 August 2010

Study reveals 15m cars in the UK are dangerously low on oil – top up your car maintenance knowledge with the Good Garage Scheme

Love it or hate it, advanced technology in cars is here to stay. The only trouble is motorists are becoming overly reliant on engine sensors and warning lights on their dashboard which could lead to a host of potential highway horrors, especially when it comes to checking oil.

Why do I need oil?
Oil is vital to a car's health; without it you risk destroying you engine as the Engine oil is mainly used to lubricate the internal surfaces of an engine, reducing friction, heat and wear.  But one in three drivers are not carrying out basic maintenance tasks which could save a potential average bill of more than £1,400 according to Warranty Direct research.

Do I wait for the warning light to come on?
In a nutshell, no! Waiting for a warning light relating to a vehicle’s oil levels is not the way to look after your engine. Oil levels should be checked regularly and failing to check oil can cause major problems for your vehicle.

Further research revealed:

•    50 per cent of vehicles require regular oil top ups.
•    One in five vehicles are low on oil.
•    25 cars a day are ruined due to lack of oil.
•    Eight out of 10 cars checked recently needed oil top ups.
•    New cars are as much at risk as old ones.
•    No warranty covers repairs caused by lack of oil.

What can I do to help?
The Good Garage Scheme suggests checking your oil on a weekly basis to help prevent problems. When oil becomes too old and dirty, you're no longer getting the full benefit of the additives it contains. The oil becomes less effective at cooling and lubricating your engine. What's worse, the increased friction and chemical build-up in used oil can deteriorate your engine's moving parts. 

If you are unsure how to do so, use the Good Garage Schemes Check Your Oil Guide. If you run into problems it is a good idea to keep the contact details of your nearest Good Garage Scheme member in your car for emergencies.

Check Your Oil Guide (photos included)
Good Garage Scheme homepage

Tuesday 17 August 2010

Good Garage Scheme Service feedback pays for one lucky motorist

A customer of independent garage, HSC Auto Centre in Gloucester got more than they bargained for when they completed a customer feedback form after their car was serviced.

Sally Standing is the winner of a TomTom navigation system after 28,329 motorists were entered into a Good Garage Scheme prize draw by their local garage.

HSC Auto Centre has successfully maintained a five-star customer rating since joining the scheme in 2007.

Dave Cook from HSC Auto Centre was overjoyed that his garage had the winning customer: “When the news came out I was over the moon about it. Sally has been bringing her car into us for a regular servicing for over 10 years. It’s honest feedback from customers like Sally that helps us to maintain standards and to gain new customers. We are so very pleased for her.”

The next Feedback prize draw competition will be launched in October to lead up to Christmas.

A winner has also been drawn for the Facebook Prize Draw, which took place over June and July, and will be announced shortly.

Wednesday 11 August 2010

“Are we there yet?” - Before a long car trip with your little ones, prepare yourself with the Good Garage Scheme’s car tips for parents

Driving with children isn’t always easy and we don’t pretend otherwise. However, taking a few basic steps can make the whole driving experience more pleasant for everyone involved.

• Take plenty of water with you for your little one. It’s very easy for children to become dehydrated when travelling so take extra fluids.
Top Tip:
Freeze bottles of water the night before so the ice will slowly melt during the trip, keeping the water cool on hot days. Large bottles of water stay frozen for several hours, and make very good ice packs.

• Remember to stick sunshades to the window to help keep the sun out of your little one's eyes and off their skin.

• Pack toys, books, games and audio-books to keep your little one amused. Wax crayons can melt in a hot car so if it's colouring that keeps your child happy, go for pencils instead.
Top Tip:
Print off some free online colouring sheets or invest in an In Car DVD player.

• Plan stop-offs if you're travelling a long distance. If your child is old enough to run around, go for somewhere with plenty of space so they can stretch their legs and burn off any excess energy from being belted up in a car.
Top Tip:
Use the RAC Picnic spot finder to find a top rated roadside picnic spot ideal for your family.

• Take snacks that won't melt in a warm car or in hot sticky hands so you're prepared for when your little one gets hungry.
Top Tip:
Choose high energy, non-acidic foods to avoid travel sickness.

• Watch out for any signs of motion sickness. Mild cases can be ‘treated’ by giving the child some sweets to suck on. In other cases it could be necessary to get some medicine that will suppress the symptoms of motion sickness before you travel.

• Bring plenty of wet wipes and tissues – an essential in any car, not just when driving with children.

Roadside Picnic Hotspots

Free printable colouring pages

Monday 9 August 2010

With news breaking that petrol is set to rise to 125.9p per litre, the Good Garage Scheme finds motorists taking action against soaring fuel prices

A recent study looking into fuel consumption has revealed that motorists are more concerned with fuel prices today than a year ago, revealing that a staggering 85% of UK drivers are taking at least one course of action to reduce their fuel bills.

The statistics are far from shocking, with news earlier this month reporting that fuel prices could rise a further 8% by the beginning of 2011 as a result of currency movements and world oil price increases, bringing the nation’s average to 125.9p per litre.

The study, conducted by Nationwide Autocentres, showed that 62% of motorists are driving more slowly and efficiently, 55% are shopping around for fuel, and 50% are reducing the number of journeys taken. Seventeen per cent have gone as far as trading their car in for a more efficient model in the last year, while 3% have even tried alternative fuels such as chip fat.

The Good Garage Scheme recommends the following top five tips for cutting your fuel bills:

1. Reduce your speed, accelerate gently and change into a higher gear as soon as possible

2. Remove any unnecessary accessories, such as roof racks and boxes, and bike carriers to reduce weight

3. Inflate tyres to the correct pressure - an underinflated tyre will use around 3% more fuel!

4. Switch off your air conditioning and save around 10% of your fuel

5. Stick rigidly to service schedules, each service will help the car to perform more economically and efficiently

Thursday 5 August 2010

Good Garage Scheme reports EU law change means all tyres from 2012 must carry a grading system to help consumers choose best tyres

From the 1st of November 2012, the EU Tyre Labelling Regulation announced in May 2010  means that all new tyres sold must carry information that grades wet braking, rolling resistance and noise levels, using a picture similar to that already used when buying electrical equipment such as fridges.

Many consumers are currently unaware of the impact that different tyres can have on fuel bills as well as the environment, and it is expected that this change will enable consumers to be more aware of the why high quality tyres are important.

The change will enable consumers to make an educated decision on what to spend their money on and give confidence and independence in their purchases. All manufacturers will have to ensure information is supplied with every new tyre that leaves the factory, whilst all retailers must make sure the customer is shown the information before the sale.

The new grading system means higher standards, and this could mean many tyres currently on sale and at the bottom end of the market, particularly those from China, will become illegal overnight. Tyres which do not grade well on important issues such as wet grip, fuel efficiency and noise levels will be gradually phased out as the demand decreases.

With the new labelling system it is expected that the use of more fuel efficient rubber will increase considerably; this in itself will be a major contributory factor in reducing Co2 emissions while lowering fuel consumption costs.

Tuesday 3 August 2010

Good Garage Scheme regional manager Barrie Mahon to ride 237 miles coast to coast for charity

On the 6th August 2010, Barrie Mahon, North West regional manager for the Good Garage Scheme, will be attempting to ride his mountain bike across the Trans Pennine Trail in aid of the Stroke Association.

The Trans Pennine Trail stretches 237 miles across the North of England, beginning from Southport on the west coast to Hornsea on the East coast. The route passes through a wide range of urban and rural environments, alongside rivers, canals and other dramatic scenery with varied gradients and winding paths to keep Barrie working hard to achieve his goal.

Barrie’s mother died from a stroke in 2008 and would like to give a little back to the charity. You can donate to this cause on Barrie’s Just Giving page and follow his progress throughout his journey on Facebook.

Good luck Barrie!

Barrie Mahon's Just Giving Page
Coast to Coast for the Stroke Association Facebook Page