You never realise you’ve lost your car keys, until you need to use your car. And this is often the most inconvenient moment to realise this small, but essential bit of kit has either gone walkies or been stolen. Your partner may have a spare set, but this won’t resolve your peace of mind, if you think they’ve been taken by a nefarious third party – or you might have to get on the phone to a locksmith.
Worse still, if you’re out in the middle of nowhere, or about to embark on the return journey home, you may have less options available to resolve the issue. What should you do if you lose your car keys, and is there any way you could potentially make the moment less awful if it happens?
The winter is hard on all of us. Reduced energy. Less happiness. And of course you may find you’re using your car less frequently than in the warm months. If you’re considering putting it into storage, then you’ll need to do it properly to avoid issues with fuel, batteries and even paintwork, and this is especially true in winter when snow can damage the car.
So whether your ride is a convenient car or a collectable classic, use the following tips to keep it fresh over the colder months, when it’s not being used…
Over the years, sitting behind the wheel of your car, you become accustomed to the way it works and its capabilities. It’s no surprise therefore, that you’ll quickly notice when your vehicle lacks the same oomph as you usually experience. A loss of power is most apparent when you’re accelerating, and can be due to a number of reasons including air flow into the engine, fuel flow and even faults with the exhaust system. So, if your vehicle is consistently putting in a sub-par performance, these could be some of the reasons why…
We’ve all been there. You’re driving down the road and there’s something not quite right with your vehicle. What’s that sound? Rattling noises are not only annoying, but they could be a little early warning sign that something else is up with your car. What are the most common causes of the rattle, and what does each one mean?
The fuel filter is often a forgotten feature of your vehicle. Like all filtration systems, it will fail over time as it becomes increasingly clogged with all the particles it’s blocking. You might think of fuel as fairly clean, but even at the pump, fuel can contain many impurities such as dirt, rust from the storage tanks or even chips of paint.
The filter prevents contaminant from reaching the engine, which could impact its performance and shorten its lifespan. How can you ensure your filter is working properly at all times – and also tell when it’s on its way out?
Last year the number of catalytic convertor thefts almost doubled. And you don’t have to be the most imaginative person to picture how frustrating it must be to try to start your car in the morning – only to find that this vital piece of the emissions system has been ripped off.
Not only is it an inconvenience, but it could also increase your insurance premiums when you claim for a replacement catalytic convertor – or worse still if you have a very old car, it could put it beyond economic repair. So how can you avoid getting yourself in such a predicament?
It’s important to extend the lifespan of all your car’s parts. However, as your gearbox can often be in constant use on those shorter urban journeys, it needs a little bit more TLC than other parts in the engine. And it’s worth bearing in mind that transmission problems are also painful and expensive. The last thing you want is gearbox failure, when you’re out on a larger road.
Stop the potential hurt with a little bit of vigilance, good driving and simple mechanical checks and procedures, to get a long and healthy lifespan out of your transmission:
Combustion and friction generate a tremendous amount of heat in your car’s engine. To help all that thermal energy dissipate, you need to have a continuous flow of coolant, which is powered by the water pump. When the pump suffers from a fault or failure, this can lead to overheating, poor running of the vehicle, and even put a stop to your travels on the road. And because keeping the engine cool is so important – any issues that are left unchecked can lead to total engine failure.
When you’re out driving, a shaking steering wheel can be irritating. However, it can also be a great way to get an early heads up on problems with your car. Some of the most common causes are likely to be warped discs, causing shakes under breaking, or poorly balanced tyres resulting in shaking under high speed.
There are of course more serious issues with your car that can be revealed by shakes through the steering system. Which signs need a little attention, and how can you spot the serious red flags that mean you need a little hand investigating further?
Many people will tell you knocking sounds are indicative of the big end going. Other screeches and scrapes can tell you about the state of your brakes or the transmission. However, smells are often an underrated method of homing in on car problems that can allow you to suss out the fact your car has a problem, before it becomes a serious issue.
Interestingly enough the mind has no olfactory memory. We can recreate sounds, tastes and even visions in our brains. But not smells. This means that smell can be a powerful, unmissable indicator of problems, and there’s usually no arguing with a whiff in the air. Especially if other passengers can detect it too. So what are the odours you need to be aware of – and more importantly, what do they mean?