Thursday 23 December 2010

Happy Christmas wishes from the Good Garage Scheme

The Good Garage Scheme wishes you all a very happy Christmas and new year.

Good Garage Scheme customers are encouraged by member garages and workshops to fill in feedback forms to help maintain high standards. Our latest free feedback prize draw competition was launched this winter and details of the winning entry will be posted in January. The lucky winner can choose one of the following: a Nintendo Wii, a digital camera, a Tom-Tom Sat Nav or an i-Pod Nano.

Nationally, the Good Garage Scheme receives around 12,000 customer feedbacks every month. Customer feedbacks play a pivotal role in the operation of the Good Garage Scheme which highlights the areas of best practice and areas for improvement identified by motorists using member garages for work.

A five-star rating system is produced for each member garage on the Good Garage Scheme website, based on the feedback forms, to help potential future customers find the best workshop in their area.

Tuesday 21 December 2010

Good Garage Scheme looks at a glimpse at the future of city motoring

Volkswagen has developed a new and original take on the famous Hackney Carriage aimed at handling some of the concerns of modern urban motoring. It combats emissions and space restrictions with its compact size of 3.73 metres and has a range of 186 miles between charges of its 45kW/h lithium-ion batteries. It has a top speed of up to 74 miles per hour.

It has a capacity of two passengers plus luggage (which is stored beside the driver) and has the City of London's coat of arms on its doors and a silver Union Jack emblazoned on the roof.  It is based upon the forthcoming city car titled “Up” but it is yet to fully meet the legal requirements that regulate Hackney Carriages. However, with EU regulations on emissions tightening all the time, the traditional taxi is on borrowed time and a lot of manufacturers are gearing up for a share of the future market.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson released proposals on how to combat emissions of the traditional taxis and improving London’s air quality on the same day as this new concept was launched in the capital.

At present, no launch date has yet been officially specified.  2013 has been mooted as a possible date for production but with green campaigns regularly in the news, it can only be a matter of time.

Thursday 16 December 2010

Good Garage Scheme reads drivers could lose their license faster than ever before

The annual campaigns to discourage drink driving over the festive period are underway and it is ever more evident that these messages need reinforcing in light of a recent survey by Iron Press.

The results indicated that one in three males admit to driving when over the legal alcohol limit, with nearly one in five saying they had done so several times.

It seems male camaraderie plays a significant part with figures showing that almost half of those surveyed either felt pressurised by friends into drinking alcohol or felt like a “wuss” if they ordered a soft drink and a third revealing they did not feel “manly” being seen with a soft drink instead of a pint in their hand.

Road safety minister Mike Penning MP said: "We need to win the argument again that drink-driving is not acceptable with a whole new generation of drivers.”

The Kent police force has introduced a fast-track method for getting offenders off the roads straightaway. Those arrested on suspicion of drink-driving and subsequently convicted could lose their license on the same day. The scheme links North Kent police station with Medway Magistrates' Court via a video link so they appear before a “virtual court”, which will hand out a sentence on the case within hours of the arrest.

Other forces could soon follow suit so the message is simple. if you want to keep your license, don’t drink and drive.

Tuesday 14 December 2010

A new method of car crime on the rise, The Good Garage Scheme warns

A gang of tech-savvy car burglars are reported to have found a way of stealing goods from inside cars without their owners being immediately aware of it.

Usually it is obvious when car burglary has occurred because of forced entry being visible, for example, if a window has been smashed in the process. But what if you came back to your car to find your car radio missing with no reasonable explanation?

These thieves are disguising their crime by high-tech means. They are able to jam car central locking systems to prevent doors from being locked properly and thus leaving windows intact. It works by motorists assuming their doors are all locked when they press the central locking mechanism on their key fob. They leave the vehicle unaware that it has been jammed by a thief nearby who is blocking the signal. The motorist then returns to their vehicle and assumes there is a fault with the car or that they didn’t lock it.

Unfortunately for unaware motorists, electronic devices are available on the Internet for around $100 US dollars, which is about £66. They work by blocking the frequency that is transmitted from the fob to the car.

Please be alert to anyone hanging around or acting suspiciously when you are locking your vehicle. Always double check your vehicle is actually locked when you walk away.

Thursday 9 December 2010

Poor road markings increasing number of lives at risk, Good Garage Scheme reads

The poor weather and potholes have regularly been cited as causes of declining road safety but poor road markings are also to blame. Substandard road markings are also feared to be putting many lives at risk.

A Road Safety Markings Association report highlighted some serious concerns. They used the latest Road Safety Foundation report (2006-8) to identify the ten most dangerous roads and then assessed the clarity of their markings. The results concluded that 80% of these roads have the most faded line markings, with half of these falling below the minimum standard required. Their national director, George Lee, said: 'This report flags up some serious concerns for the overall conditions of our road network. The failure to maintain road markings may be a contributory factor to the number of fatal and serious accidents on these roads.”

The association advised up to 125 deaths and serious injuries each year could be prevented by expenditure not exceeding £2.55 per metre on improving centre line markings.

AA president Edmund King concurred by saying "In this age of austerity we need to promote the most cost-effective road safety measures," he said. "Highway authorities have a duty of care to keep the roads safe but all too often we come across pot-holed, patched up roads lacking essential white lines at important junctions and crossings. A few thousand litres of white paint targeted in the right areas will make our roads safer."

Tuesday 7 December 2010

Good Garage Scheme in new drive to offer motorists an even better service

 The UK-wide Good Garage Scheme has launched a new national drive to improve the overall service offered by independent garages.

They will use a “mystery shopper” initiative to identify areas of training needed from the moment a motorist books their car in for a service, to the time when the driver collects the vehicle after the work is completed.

The operation will be run by an independent automotive industry-respected specialist and will seek to test all areas of a garage’s operations, including reception, customer care, telephone call handling and the workshop. 

Faults will be introduced to cars and after servicing vehicles will be inspected to check whether specific problems have been picked up – and rectified – by technicians and the overall standard of workmanship will be assessed. The interaction of other garage staff with the customer will also be monitored.

 The Good Garage Scheme works with the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI), Delphi and Skillnet UK Motor Automotive Academy to provide training for all levels of garage staff.

Thursday 2 December 2010

Good Garage Scheme asks - have you considered new “snow socks”?

Winter road safety is currently in the news and tyres are pivotal to maintaining control in these conditions. Winter tyres are seen as effective but expensive and for most the cost outweighs the benefits but a new, cheaper alternative is available – but is it a worthy alternative?
“Snow socks” have been developed. Made of a textile with an elasticised edge, the fibres are "arranged at right angles in the direction of travel", allowing more effective manoeuvring through snow. The benefits include:

•    lightweight and compact
•    reusable repeatedly
•    simple to attach
•    no need to remove tyres or wheels
•    prices start at just under £50

What are the disadvantages?

•    only intended for use on vital and emergency journeys
•    limited to speeds of 50mph
•    travelling at speed on bare tarmac will very quickly destroy them

This is intriguing considering they are attracting the attention of ambulance services as a way of improving speedy vehicle mobilisation.
John Dyer of the South Central Ambulance Service said: "We've looked at traction devices for ambulances and purchased a large amount of snow socks which can be put on tyres quickly for traction and removed when the conditions are better. We looked at snow tyres for the fleet but ambulances have to be taken off the road to get them fitted and again when they are removed."
They are available online and from most Vauxhall dealers.