Thursday 28 March 2013

Easter Holiday Driving Advice from the IAM

If you’re driving somewhere nice this Easter to indulge in a spot of egg rolling and family feuding over whose fault it was that the Easter eggs were left next to the heater, consider taking some time to prepare yourself and your vehicle for the trip.

At any time of year it is important that you check that all of your lights are working. You should also ensure that your tyre pressure is correct and that they have enough tread – particularly since you are likely to be facing some poor road surfaces after the wintry weather we have experienced in March.

What better time to give your car a spring clean? The grains of salt which have been spread on the roads over the winter period will inevitably have made their way on to your vehicle like tiny corrosive stowaways. Leaving a salt build-up can be damaging to your car, causing rust to appear.

When packing your vehicle for your journey, try to carry as little unnecessary weight as possible as this will increase your fuel consumption – do you really need those extra pairs of shoes? Pack your things as compactly as possible; making sure that nothing obstructs your view through the rear window.

Make sure your washer fluid is topped up before you leave, and give the windscreen and headlamps a quick clean when you stop for fuel.

If you’re taking the kids with you, it’s worth gathering up some tools to keep them occupied during the long periods spent on the road, in which you will need to concentrate, and they will need to be entertained. Portable DVD players and cordless games consoles are perfect, but don’t forget the headphones as the Super Mario Brothers tune may start to grate after an hour or two.

If you feel your eyelids getting heavy whilst driving, it’s likely that opening a window or turning the radio up will not cut it. Pull over somewhere suitable and safe, drink some strong coffee, and have a 20 minute nap while the caffeine takes effect. Sharing the driving is also a great option, if possible.

The Good Garage Scheme would like to thank the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) for their guest blog this week.  For more information about the IAM, visit

If you are unsure if your car is up to a long journey to see family and friends over the Easter holidays, why not visit a Good Garage Scheme member near you that can offer a Spring Check for peace of mind?

Monday 18 March 2013

Good Garage Scheme Members at Dakar Rally

A father and son team of mechanics from Good Garage Scheme member garage, The Old Forge Garage in Leadenham gave up their jobs for a month in January 2013 to be part of a race team involved in the legendary Dakar Rally.

Phil Bayliss, Nasser Al Attiyah and Chris Bayliss
Phillip Bayliss and his father Chris spent four weeks in South America with the Race2Recovery team, mainly made up of injured and limbless servicemen and women. Phil and Chris who run The Old Forge Garage in Leadenham, are Land Rover specialists and have grown up off-road racing their 4x4s around the country for 20 years. A friend recommended them when another mechanic dropped out and they enjoyed the exciting trip of a lifetime.

Phil said: “We watched the event on TV for years and it was our dream to race in it ourselves, but to help a team out there was brilliant.”

One of the vehicles that Phil and Chris serviced during the rally
Phil also said it was a privilege to be part of the team and admired the way the injured teammates just got on with things, despite suffering from sores where sand affected artificial limbs. The Race2Recovery team were the first disabled team to finish the rally and received a special message of congratulations from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge for their efforts.
The 15-day route, which took place in January of this year started in Lima, Peru, through Argentina to Santiago, Chile. It covered 9,000km over extreme mountain and desert terrain and the support teams needed to drive ahead to meet the competitors at the end of each stage, working through the night. Not only were they coping with lack of sleep, they also suffered the effects of altitude sickness as they drove up to heights of 4,800m over the Andes.

The Bowler Wildcats took a lot of punishment and one vehicle was written off when it hit a ditch at 60mph putting the occupants in hospital.

The team's efforts aim to support Tedworth House Personnel Recovery Centre.  For more information or to make a donation, please visit:

Monday 4 March 2013

Banish Winter Car Blues with a Spring Check

As winter slowly fades away the Good Garage Scheme is encouraging motorists to get their cars professionally checked to ensure they are safe and reliable in the months ahead.  Good Garage Scheme workshops across the UK are offering a Spring Check to give drivers peace of mind and ensure their cars are in good health after the winter.

Extreme weather conditions and salted roads can contribute to adverse effects on a car’s vital components including the steering, suspension, wheels and tyres.   

With the first day of spring just around the corner on 20th March, the Good Garage Scheme also recommends that motorists have their air conditioning systems checked.  Harmful bacteria and mould may have built up in the ducts of systems that have been switched off during the winter, posing a health risk to drivers as they switch them back on.

Phil Dugmore, the Good Garage Scheme’s Technical Manager, comments: “The harsh winter may well have taken its toll on vital car components.  The Good Garage Scheme’s Spring Check aims to help give motorists the confidence that their car is in top condition as the days get longer and the weather starts to improve.”

Visit and enter your postcode to find your local Good Garage Scheme workshop offering the Spring Check to ensure your car is in good health as the warm weather returns. 

Smartphone users can also download a free iPhone or Android app to help them locate a nearby Good Garage Scheme member anywhere in the UK.