Tag Archive | "car repair"

Don’t Ask The Family


Running a car – any car – is an expensive business. These days they are fairly complex too, so the days of DIY car repairs have perhaps lost the appeal they once had and we have lost those basic automotive skills. Obviously, there are still some diehard auto enthusiasts who will tackle pretty much any job but most of us baulk at the prospect. Nevertheless, DIY saves money so maybe it is worth a shot – or you could ask the family; but is this a good idea?

Many of us will have a family member or friend who reckons that he or she knows a thing or two about cars. Often this is an overbearing avuncular who won’t take no for an answer. The danger is, no matter how well intentioned, their assistance could end up being a costly experience.

Figures reveal that motorists and householders pay out an estimated three hundred million pounds a year after being forced to enlist the services of a professional to put things right. It seems that one in six of us is left regretting ever accepting help.

The maintenance blunders, made by well-meaning amateurs, range from elementary mistakes involving car batteries, to more serious errors such as using the wrong oil or fiddling with the electrics or engine parts. As a result almost half of those who subsequently had to employ an expert were left with an additional bill of over one hundred pounds

“What’s the worst that could happen”? Well, here’s some true examples – One in twelve experienced problems starting their cars after a battery change because the leads had been connected wrongly and a further one in six had water added to their screen wash not realising that diluting it reduced its ability to clean effectively and increased the risk of it freezing in winter. Imagine using your screen wash whilst driving at speed and having it freeze on the windscreen! It doesn’t bear thinking about.

Finally, even if all goes well there’s another problem. Many of us will feel obliged to return the favour or at least feel indebted to the person who helped them. This means that we have to return that kindness. Who knows where that could lead? You could find yourself teetering on a high ladder in a gale fixing someone else’s guttering. No – best play safe. If you cannot do it yourself or feel that the job is beyond you then leave it to the professionals. It will cost more but what price do you put on peace of mind?

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The Swinging Barometer Of Unreliability


It wasn’t so long ago that motorists knew where they stood with a car. The purchase of certain makes and models would once have been considered daring at best and absolute madness at worst. Once, a patriot would only have considered buying a car made in Britain.

The Ford Motor Company made cars in this country but they were a dastardly arriviste upstart American outfit. Italian built cars could be purchased but only if you wanted to spend a lot of time at the side of the road and the rest of the time watching your car rust and fall apart before your very eyes. No: the patriotic Briton bought cars made in Longbridge by the Austin Rover Group which over time had several different names.

What all those names had in common was a blend of awfulness and unreliability that was second to none. Where there was accidental damage the holes were filled with left-over sandwich crusts and copies of the Daily Mirror and sprayed over with a vaguely similar colour. Cars in the middle to late 20th Century were, you will have surmised, not very good.

Unless you had some money because then you could afford to buy German automobiles. The car manufacturers in that country realised that what the world wanted was some class and absolute reliability. The cars they made where considered to be the best you could buy. ‘Scratch a German and he bleeds precision’ was a catchphrase that had some truth in it.UN2 The Swinging Barometer Of Unreliability

But that was then. History. Done and dusted. These prestigious vehicles including all the big names no longer have that reputation for bullet-proof build quality. New research based on warranty claims has shown that German cars are being labelled amongst the most unreliable. That’s a surprise.

The stats show that they are more likely to break down and when they do they create massive repair bills. Certainly we know that many of the cars we buy from Germany are laden with technology which, if you think about it, is just another word for things that can go wrong. Anyone who has had to fork out for parts on an expensive German car will know this as the average price for a repair is in excess of a grand. Unfortunately it is happening all too often.

It seems that drivers are beginning to believe that simple is better. The Ford Fiesta – still made by those American upstarts – is now officially Britain’s most reliable car. It is closely tracked by offerings from Vauxhall, Suzuki and others. It stands to reason that the more costly the car the more costly it will be to fix but for companies whose reputation is on the line it has got to be a bit of a worry when it comes to future sales. Wiil buyers think twice from now on?

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