Thursday 28 October 2010

The Good Garage Scheme looks at measures being introduced to increase demand for low carbon vehicles

The Electric Car Guide has been published by The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) to help motorists wishing to buy an electric vehicle. It gives advice on Government incentives, on-the-road costs and safety plus providing information on vehicle performance and charging, batteries and on-the-road costs.

The chief executive of The SMMT, Paul Everitt, advised: “Over the past decade, the pace of technological developments in the automotive industry has picked up considerably as vehicle manufacturers focus on increasing the fuel efficiency of their vehicles and cutting CO2 emissions.

“Our responsibility is therefore greater than ever to guide motorists through the increasing range of choices they now face. It is important they understand the benefits they can experience, equipping them with the best information to make the right purchasing decision for their driving needs.”

Philip Hammond, Transport secretary, confirmed recently that the ‘Plug-In Car Grant’ will get the green light from January of next year. This is designed to help stimulate demand for low carbon vehicles.

As a result of this,  when buying a car that is either hydrogen fuel celled, electric or plug-in hybrid, users will be entitled to a grant for up to a quarter of the cost, though this will be capped at £5,000. This is providing it meets safety, reliability, performance and warranty standards set by the Office for Low Emissions Vehicles (OLEV) in consultation with the industry.

To get a copy download it here.

Tuesday 26 October 2010

Good Garage Scheme reads that billions lost due to poor road maintenance

Over £4 billion pounds is being lost by British businesses due to inadequate road maintenance each year, according to a new poll.

The Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA) has discovered around 55% are incurring average costs of £13,600 per annum because of this issue. Approximately one in seven small or medium-sized
enterprises have thought of moving their businesses to areas with better roads and this figure is even more pronounced in Wales and north and central England.

The poor state of the roads is affecting where people decide to live, where they shop and choice of excursions.

The survey also discovered that expenditure on repairs caused by bad road conditions averaged £340 with the lowest average being around £200 in the south west of England and the highest as much as £500 in central areas.

Thursday 21 October 2010

Chancellor's announcement - The Good Garage Scheme looks at how this affects motorists

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne has announced that funding for the UK's roads will be cut by up to 21% but that more than £10 billion committed to investment in road schemes will remain, including improving parts of the M1, M4, M5 and M62 as well as the widening of the M25 between ten key junctions.

Where the investment will be spent will be revealed in more detail by Transport Secretary Philip Hammond next week. There have been both concerns and approval.

Among those concerned include Edmund King, AA President, who said: “While we understand that transport must share its fair burden of expenditure cuts, we are making the case for road investment to reduce congestion, reduce CO2 and to reduce economic gloom”.

Neil Greig of the Institute of Advanced Motorists commented: "Budget cuts may be necessary but their cumulative effect on the emergency services and local highway authorities may make it more difficult to sustain past successes. It would be an awful legacy if budget cuts slowed or reversed the trend to less death and injury on the road."

Industry groups however viewed the cuts more positively with the investment in electric car grants and apprenticeship schemes potentially benefitting the UK in the long term.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) concurred.  Chief Executive Paul Everitt said: “Across industry, businesses have had to take difficult decisions on how to make best use of limited resources and we welcome government taking a similar approach to ensuring long term stability for the economy. While some measures will require even tighter budgetary control, industry is supportive of decisions that promote our products and the UK as an attractive place to do business.”

Tuesday 19 October 2010

Good Garage Scheme urges drivers to prepare for this weekend's predicted winter weather

With the possibility of snow predicted to be heading for the north of England and Scotland this weekend, drivers are being advised to prepare for driving in wintry conditions.

Last winter's cold snap brought much of the country to a standstill so here are some tips for coping with the weather or possible breakdowns.

Before the journey

•    Only decide to make the journey if it is absolutely necessary.
•    Get your tyres checked to ensure they are fit to cope with the icy conditions. The current legal minimum tyre tread in the UK is 1.6mm. Research has found tyres with less than 1mm of tread have one third the braking friction of one at the bare legal minimum of 1.6mm. It is also important to check they are correctly inflated, ideally when they are cold, and the recommended pressure is listed in the car’s handbook.
•    Clear any ice or snow off your car before setting off.
•    Keep your boot filled with emergency supplies. Include both warm and bright or fluorescent clothing including headwear and gloves, water, blankets, warning triangle, a spade, torch, and some cash.
•    Check the weather at your destination and give yourself plenty of time to get there.
•    Ensure you have your breakdown membership details and your mobile phone with you.

If a breakdown occurs

•    Consider you own safety first – if possible get your vehicle off the road and ensure all passengers are a safe distance away from it.
•    Do not stand between your vehicle and oncoming traffic. Wear the bright or fluorescent clothing packed in the boot. 
•    If you are on a motorway, get out of the car and wait for help to arrive. On smaller roads remain in the vehicle.
•    Switch on your hazard warning lights if you are causing an obstruction and put a warning triangle behind you but never use a triangle on a motorway.
•    Call for help using your mobile phone and give clear details of your location, number of passengers and cause of breakdown.

Friday 15 October 2010

Selling your car? The Good Garage Scheme recommends spending a small amount on your car – it can pay dividends at sale time

According to the experts, you have to treat the sale of your car exactly the same way you would your house, and that means making it as appealing as possible. So what can you do, and is it worth the expense?

One of the most important things is cleaning your car inside and out, which costs next to nothing but can make a big difference.  Karen Quinn, product manager at Halford said, “Spend up to £30 on a few car-cleaning essentials and, after an afternoons work, you easily add £200 to your car’s value”.

The maximum you should spend is £250 on an average car – otherwise you won’t see much of a return. Quinn added, “What any buyer wants to see is something that looks as though it’s been cared for, but he is not expecting perfection. Repairing scuffed or damaged bumpers is a must, but you might get away with a little wear and tear on the alloy wheels”.

So what are the top things you can do to add value to your car?

Large knocks from other car doors or parking scrapes should be fixed by a professional, as an amateur job can do more harm than good. Long scratches can be fixed cheaply with a product such as T-Cut. For small bodywork chips you can buy a DIY touch up kit which includes primer, colour-matched paint and lacquer for around £12.  Remove stains from bird droppings/trees by using a clay kit from around £25 to instantly add value.

If automatic car washes have left swirls or scratches on your car, use a colour polish (such as Turtle Wax Colour Magic) over affected panels or T-Cut Colour Restorer. The same products also remedy fading due to sun damage.

Ageing and accumulated wax on the bumper turns rubberised parts a whiteish-grey. You can easily put this right with the product Back to Black, for £4.99.

For around £30 you can remove wheel scratches with a special gel and elbow grease, then finishing with lacquer.

If you find you’ve got dents and scratches, simply snap on four new wheel covers for the price of £13 for four and instantly make your car look better.

Buyers love tyres that look new. Use a paint-on product such as Turtle Wax Wet and Black for £5 to achieve the new tyre look.

The inside of your car is often a very important factor in the amount you will sell your car for. A couple of hours with an upholstery cleaner and sponge will pay dividends.

If your glass has small chips or cracks be sure to get these fixed. Finish by cleaning the glass inside and out.

There is nothing worse than dirty interior carpets. Clean your carpet with an upholstery cleaner or Sticky Stuff Remover (£4.99). If that doesn’t work, buy a set of new mats for between £8 and £20.

If your dashboard is faded from prolonged exposure to direct sunlight, shine it up in minutes with a cheap product on a cloth to make your car look new.

Tuesday 12 October 2010

Good Garage Scheme members work together over 150 miles to help customer in distress

When John Dicker of Moor Park Garage in Devon received a call from a customer in distress, the UK-wide network of over 2,900 garages on the Good Garage Scheme became a key to helping out his customer.

The daughter of the customer had gone on a short break holiday, broken down, and was stuck in the middle of nowhere with no transport and at a loss on what to do. A recovery service had told her that the cam belt had snapped and severe engine damage had occurred.

Thankfully Sophie phoned her mum and dad, who then called Moor Park garage. John advised them that rather than scrapping the vehicle, that through the network of garages on the Good Garage Scheme John could find them a good garage in the area that would recover her car and repair it at a fair and honest price.

Johns customers were hesitant at first - how do you find a good garage you can trust over 150 miles away? But with the postcode of where Sophie had broken down, John logged on to the Good Garage Scheme website and found Trotting Mare Garage in Wrexham, who had fantastic feedback and offered recovery.

John said, “I called Daniel Barber and explained the situation. I asked Daniel if he could give me a price for the recovery, cam belt kit, water pump, Inlet and exhaust valves, head gasket set and anti freeze.

Daniel called me very quickly with the price, so I then called my customer and advised them of the estimated price, explaining what I had done and asked them if they would like me to ask Daniel to proceed. Daniel then contacted the daughter directly and recovered the vehicle, who was able to hire a car and safely make her way back to Exeter."

Without the network of good garages on the Good Garage Scheme Sophie’s breakdown could have taken a very different route. John explained, “This story highlights how Good Garage Scheme members are able to use the network for their customers advantage when these problems occur”.

If you would like to know more about the Good Garage Scheme and how they can help you, visit

Trotting Mare Garage
Moor Park Garage

Thursday 7 October 2010

The Good Garage Scheme advises to protect yourself from low sun dazzle this autumn

Whilst catching glimpses of the sunset on your way home from work each day can be a beautiful sight, it can also be one of the most dangerous times of the day for motorists.

As the nights draw in and we settle further into autumn, car accidents due to low sun increase three-fold at this time of year. Thankfully, there are several things you can do to protect yourself from low sun dazzle, one of the most important measures being keeping your windscreen clear.

Your heater is often on de-mist, blowing traffic fumes, suspended oil and smoke into the inside of the screen, which quickly builds to a film of grime which is a major cause of glare. Wet roads also mean more dirt on the other side of the screen, and low sun highlights scratches and grime making it even more of a problem.
The best solution is to clean your screen inside and out at least once a week.

What else can you do?
  • Ensure that you keep your windscreen clean inside and out.
  • If driving into the sun be aware that drivers behind may be dazzled and may not see you if you stop.
  • If the sun is low behind you, be aware that oncoming drivers may be dazzled.
  • Even though summer is over, keep those sunglasses out!
  • Get any cracks in your windscreen seen to – these can enhance the effect of dazzle.
  • Make it a habit to lower visors, to help block some of the reflected light.
  • Avoid using high-gloss vinyl cleansers on dashboards.
  • When possible, take an alternative route lined with trees or tall buildings.

Tuesday 5 October 2010

The Good Garage Scheme finds drivers scraping parked cars and fleeing costs British motorists £169m per year

Innocent motorists are being hit with huge repair costs because of fellow drivers who flee after crashing into parked cars, according to a report.

Nearly a fifth of motorists who crash into unoccupied vehicles flee without leaving their contact or car insurance details, a survey by Accident Exchange has found. The research suggests that there are an estimated 700,000 crashes involving parked cars, with a fifth of these occurring in car parks and the remaining on the streets.

In 56 per cent of these cases, the third party either found or contacted the owner directly, while in 20 per cent of cases a note was left at the scene. In a total of 18.5 per cent of cases, the guilty motorist drove off without offering insurance details or even leaving a note.

Even more worrying for motorists, police managed to track down less than five per cent of these cases, meaning a huge amount of parked car crash instigators are getting away with it.

Parked car prangs cost the insurance industry more than £1.2bn annually in repairs,” says Lee Woodley of Accident Exchange. “It’s therefore appalling to think that £169m of that figure has to be picked up by the innocent motorists’ own insurance policy.”

It is expected that with more than a third of all households owning two or more vehicles, combined with off-road parking within cities at a premium, the number of parked car incidents would continue to rise.

Friday 1 October 2010

Good Garage Scheme helps motorists avoid winter chill

October 1st marks the start of the Good Garage Scheme’s campaign to help motorists avoid hitting the skids this autumn and winter with the launch of the Winter Check.

The comprehensive 20-point Winter Check aims to ensure motorists’ vehicles are in the safest possible condition for winter driving, where the changes in weather and road conditions can put extra strain on your vehicle. When having the Winter Check carried out on your vehicle, your garage will use the Winter Checklist to ensure all essential areas are covered, such as:

•    The condition and levels of antifreeze.
•    Engine oil.
•    Brake fluid.
•    Windscreens.
•    Wipers and lights.

Phil Dugmore, Technical Manager for the Good Garage Scheme, said: “The comprehensive Winter Check enables motorists to get expert advice on the condition of their vehicle from member garages before winter sets in.”

In addition to the Winter Check, the Good Garage Scheme have been publishing autumn driving blogs with tips on how to manage your car and driving during the transition into winter.

Motorists can easily find their nearest Good Garage Scheme member offering a Winter Check by visiting the website – and ensure their vehicles are in the best possible condition ahead of the onset of cold weather.