Car ownership

Expert advice: what cold weather does to your car

cold weather
Winter affects many parts of your car (Picture iStock/Hutchyb)

Winter is here and with the cold weather comes a whole lot of challenges, and not just for us drivers. Cars too will be suffering in the lower temperatures. Here are the different ways icy conditions affect your car and some handy suggestions for ways to reduce their impact.

Low temperatures thicken the oil

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The manual handbrake is history and it’s costing us dear

manual handbrake
Most new cars have an electronic parking brake (Picture iStock/Kenneth-Cheung)

If you bought a car that’s either new or just a couple of years old, you might have noticed something missing between the seats. Back in the day there used to be a lever that would operate the parking brake, more commonly known as the handbrake.

No longer. The reassuring old handbrake has been replaced by the much less substantial electronic version. And it could be costing us dear. Read on to find out why.

What is an electronic parking brake?

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Expert advice: 6 questions to ask when getting your car serviced

getting your car serviced
Ask our questions and you’ll get him rather than the dodgy place next door (Picture iStock/Minerva_Studio)

For most of us, getting a car serviced ranks somewhere close to going to the dentist. It’s expensive, it involves hassle and we can’t get away with not doing it. But there is another way.

Pick the right garage to start with and you can make the experience an altogether more positive one. Of course, it’s impossible to know what a garage is going to be like until you use it. But ask the following six questions and you’ve got a fighting chance of picking a decent one.

What trade body do you belong to?

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Driving licence backlog causing 10 week delay on new permits

driving licence backlog
Applying for a driving licence hasn’t been straightforward for some younger and older drivers (Picture iStock/stocknshares)

If you’ve applied for your driving licence and it still hasn’t turned up, you’re not alone. New figures have revealed that drivers are facing a 10-week wait if they’ve applied for a new driving permit.

The driving licence backlog is so bad that MPs are demanding action by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). We look at what’s causing the problem and what you can do about it.

How bad is the driving licence backlog?

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Our guide to carrying a Christmas tree safely by car

carrying a christmas tree
Both children and Christmas trees should be securely fastened if you’re planning on driving with them (Picture iStock/Romrodinka)

It’s that time of year when thoughts turn to buying and carrying a Christmas tree. The British Christmas Tree Growers Association claims there are around seven million ‘real’ Christmas trees sold in the UK every year.

It’s all very well deciding you want a tree that wouldn’t look small in London’s Trafalgar Square. But if you can’t get it home, it’s a waste of money. Follow our tips below on carrying a Christmas tree successfully and above all, safely.

Measure up for carrying a Christmas tree

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How to go about rejecting a faulty car

rejecting a car
You might end up deciding to reject a car if your dealer can’t fix it satisfactorily (Picture iStock/Skynesher)

Increasing numbers of owners are rejecting their cars. Law company Stormcatcher claims people seeking legal advice for rejecting a car has skyrocketed over recent months.

But what does rejecting a car mean and if you want to do it, how do you go about it? Read on for all the ins and outs.

How can you reject a car?

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Expert advice: cold-cheating winter kit to carry in your car

winter kit
Having a glove with your ice scraper will prevent frost-bitten fingers (Picture iStock/AlenaPaulus)

Around this time of year I always think about winter and what to carry in my car to make life simpler and safer. Compiling a winter kit of equipment to carry in the cold months is easy. It might help you out when temperatures plunge and it could be a life saver if you get stuck in snowy conditions.

Make de-icing a bit nicer

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EV charging points: how easy is getting one installed at home?

ev charging points
This is probably the home charging dream for most people. (Picture iStock/sl-f)

New electric car sales in the UK are currently booming and the number of charging points can’t keep up.

For the first 10 months of 2021, there has been an 88 per cent increase in electric vehicles (EVs) sold compared to the previous year. Now, one in 10 new cars sold is battery powered. In October this year, 16,155 new EVs left the showroom.

Throughout the UK, according to Zap-Map, over that same period there were around 900 new charging points. That’s one charging point for every 18 cars. It’s hardly surprising that many EV drivers are looking at having a charging point installed at home. But how easy is it?

Can’t you charge with a normal plug?

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More than half of car tyres are underinflated. Check yours today

underinflated tyre
Underinflated tyres can be dangerous and costly (Picture iStock/PattyC)

With winter approaching, tyres will play a critical role in how cars handle in colder conditions. New research by transport charity TyreSafe has found that 57 per cent of vehicles on UK roads have underinflated tyres.

Tyres determine how well a vehicle stops and steers. In slippery winter conditions, all the safety technology a modern car is fitted with will be pointless if it’s driving on underinflated tyres.

Here we look at why it’s so important for your tyres to have the correct amount of air in them.

Underinflated tyres wear more quickly

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Expert advice: what is a cabin filter and how easy is it to change one?

cabin filter
Replacing the cabin air filter is often an easy job (Picture iStock/MihajloMaricic)

If you get a funny smell whenever you turn the ventilation on in your car, you might need to replace the cabin filter. Here I’m going to look at what the cabin filter is and how it might be easier than you think to replace yourself.

What is a cabin filter?

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