How to Care for Your Alloy Wheels

alloy wheel with detailKeeping your vehicle in tip top condition is one thing the vast majority of car owners aim to do. As well as taking care of what’s under the hood, looking after the exterior of your vehicle is a must, particularly if you want to ensure its value on the second-hand market. Your vehicle’s alloys play a vital role in how your car looks from the outside, which makes taking care of them important. Replacing alloys after all isn’t cheap! By caring for your alloy wheels effectively you can safeguard your investment, keep your car looking great and enjoy their many benefits. Alloys are more stylish, stronger, lighter in weight, and provide improved acceleration and braking to name just a few advantages.

In addition to providing MOT, servicing, repair and replacement, we are passionate about improving cars. Every vehicle deserves a little TLC, as a result, we provide a number of great services, including Terraclean engine decarbonisation, quantum tuning and engine remapping, Duxback windscreen treatment and valeting. Your alloys need the right care too, that’s why we’re sharing our top tips for looking after your alloy wheels like a professional.

Alloy wheels: know the warning signs

Whilst we recommend preventing damage, rather than waiting for issues to strike, knowing the signs that tell you there’s something wrong with your alloy wheels is crucial. If your tyres keep deflating, you’re getting increased vibration from your steering wheel, or feel vibrations in your seat, your alloy wheels may need adjusting or repairing. These signs could point to a plethora of problems, including buckled wheels, poor tyre valves, lining cracks or splits in the alloy itself.

If you notice any of these alloy damage related symptoms, seeking advice from a professional is advisable.

Keep your alloy wheels clean!

Unbeknown to most, keeping your alloy wheels just as clean as the rest of your car requires extra care and attention. Unfortunately, shiny alloy wheels don’t stay that way for very long. Whilst you’ll never be able to keep them pristine all the time due to the condition of UK roads, cleaning with the right products and techniques can provide some protection.

Use a specialist alloy wheel cleaning product to do the job right. This will give the metal the extra protection it needs as well as rid your alloys of stubborn stains. Most specialist products spray on for simple application and provide a great finish by removing baked-on dirt after just one use. Many products can cause skin irritation so make sure you wear rubber or latex gloves during application. Teaming specialist product use with pressure washing will help to clear more difficult to remove debris. Your pressure washer will also be able to get into all the places you can’t reach by hand.

You don’t have to go for a specialist clean every time you wash the rest of your vehicle. Frequent washing with mild soapy water will keep them clean. Just make sure you wash off any loose grit first. You should also avoid using abrasive cleaning products, buffers or wire wool pads for obvious reasons! Many car owners find that letting their wheels cool before cleaning provides even better results.

Alloy wheel refurbishment

Alloy wheel refurbishment is possible, and can solve lots of common and often unsightly problems. Corrosion, chips, cracks and kerb damage can all happen but you don’t have to replace to achieve a polished look once again. Welding is just one of the methods that can be used to fill in chips and replace metal on alloy wheels. Smart repairs are another technique that can be used to remedy small scratches, providing superficial fixes for purely cosmetic purposes.

For car owners looking for the ultimate alloy wheel makeover, full refurbishment may provide the answer as well as the perfect finish.

Hiring a professional to take on your alloy wheel refurbishment should be a top priority. Luckily you’re in the right place! We provide a number of alloy wheel refurbishment options, catering to all types of wheel rims and spokes, including those with a diamond cut finish. Contact us today to find out more about our refurbishment services. Alternatively, please fill in the form at the bottom of this page to obtain a free, no-obligation quotation.

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Why Should You Service Your Car Regularly?

Regular Car ServiceWhether you’re considering a full or interim car service, each service type unlocks a variety of advantages for the average vehicle owner. The car service is unique to your vehicle make and model, and whilst not compulsory, covers checks and adjustments to a long list of components that aren’t even glanced at as part of your annual MOT test. To ensure your vehicle remains not only roadworthy and safe but in tip top condition, we recommend that you get it serviced every year. Here’s why:

Car servicing saves lives

The safety of you and your passengers is of course of the utmost importance. As a driver you want to rest assured that your vehicle gets you and those travelling with you from A to B in the safest way possible. Regular servicing gives you ultimate peace of mind that your vehicle is in the best condition.

Servicing doesn’t just check a long list of vehicle components, it analyses defects caused by wear and tear, deterioration that is often a case of ‘out of sight, out of mind’ for most drivers. With servicing, potential safety issues can be remedied before they become issues.

Car servicing saves you money

As a driver you’re faced with a number of expenses, so why would you want to add another cost to this long list? Despite being an added cost, servicing can save you much more money in the long and short term. Servicing ensures issues can be identified early, meaning you can save thousands on repair and replacement costs.

The checks and adjustments completed as part of vehicle servicing may not seem like much but they could prevent bigger, more expensive to rectify problems. The topping up of engine oil that’s standard as part of every car service for example works to lubricate and protect moving parts deep inside your engine. Without the right level of engine oil, your engine could seize up and stop working. We’d rather have the cost of regular servicing than the cost of a new engine any day!

In addition to saving money on vehicle repair, regular servicing guarantees better fuel efficiency. The price of fuel isn’t getting any cheaper. You can counter rising fuel costs with the oil changes and vehicle tune-ups that come as standard with servicing.

Car servicing helps your vehicle last longer

With the right care and attention, your vehicle can go the distance. Regular servicing has been proven to increase the lifespan of a vehicle, looking after all the small and large components that keep it working as it should do.

Looking to cash in on your vehicle at a later date? Servicing helps in this area too. The second hand car buying market is extremely competitive. If your car has a full, or even part, service history however, your vehicle will be more attractive to potential buyers and may even help you achieve a higher selling price.

Car servicing is good for the planet!

Servicing isn’t just great for you and your purse strings, it’s also beneficial for the environment. MOT tests focus on preventing excessive exhaust emissions but services go one step further. All vehicle services provide an engine oil top-up and air filter change, which means your vehicle can not only run more smoothly but prevent the release of harmful substances.

Regular servicing really does make a difference. Annual servicing is recommended for all vehicles, however your car’s mileage and age will also influence your service schedule. To find out more about how we can help you with vehicle servicing, please contact us today. You can also book your service online.

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What is the Difference Between an MOT and a Service?

MOT and Service differencesBeing the owner of a vehicle means you have a number of requirements to fulfil to ensure your car or van is safe and roadworthy. The MOT and service are two of the main checks that have to be conducted on a regular basis to ensure your vehicle is safe to drive, and that you, your passengers and other road users are safeguarded from preventable issues. Despite often being mentioned in the same breath, the MOT and the service are two very different tests. Here we look at each in detail so you can continue to be a responsible vehicle owner.

What is an MOT?

The Ministry of Transport or MOT test is an annual test that’s compulsory for every vehicle aged three years or older in the UK. The test is designed to confirm the safety and roadworthiness of a vehicle. Exhaust emissions are also recorded to ensure they are not excessive enough to harm the environment. Many important parts of your vehicle are checked during an MOT. The MOT test centre will be looking for confirmation that each meets the legal standards as set out by the latest legislation.

As part of your MOT test the following car parts will be tested:

  • Body / vehicle structure
  • Fuel system
  • Seats and seatbelts
  • Steering and suspensions
  • Windscreen, wipers and washers
  • Electrical wiring and battery
  • Lights and registration plates
  • Bonnet
  • Tyres and wheels
  • Brakes
  • Horn
  • Exhaust system and emissions
  • Mirrors
  • Doors
  • Boot / tailgate and towbar

The MOT test does not check the condition of your engine, clutch, gearbox or the vehicle’s general mechanical condition. If you would like these vital components checked, you should book in for a full vehicle service.

An MOT test generally takes between 45 minutes and 1 hour to complete. If your vehicle fails its test, the failed component(s) must be repaired and the vehicle retested until a pass result is obtained.

What is a car service?

A vehicle service may not be compulsory but it’s just as important as an MOT test. As well as helping you to uphold any warranty that you may have on your vehicle, a car service will help you to further ensure the safety of your vehicle and could even save you money. A full service takes care of your whole car, including areas of wear and tear, specific parts and fluids. Most services work through a 50 plus point checklist, which checks and adjusts specific vehicle components.

The exact service you receive will depend on your vehicle’s make and model. All vehicles however will receive checks and adjustments to the following as part of their service:

  • Engine oil and filter
  • Lights
  • Tyres
  • Exhaust
  • Brakes and steering
  • Hydraulic fluid and coolant
  • Cooling system
  • Suspension
  • Battery

Here at Collison Motoring Services, we use the comprehensive Bosch Car Service Schedule to offer quality servicing across three different levels. Whether choosing our bronze, silver or gold package, you can rest assured that your car is serviced to the highest standard.

Why MOT and car servicing are important

Your MOT test must be completed every year, and we recommend booking your car in for service annually too. Whilst your MOT test ensures that your vehicle and a set list of its components meet various legal requirements, your service will ensure your vehicle is in the best condition for the year ahead. A service gets into all the nooks and crannies that an MOT doesn’t, meaning everything from your engine to its coolant are covered.

Book in for an MOT test and service today by getting in touch with a member of our team.

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How to Pass Your MOT Test with Flying Colours!

Flying ColoursAs a vehicle owner, it is your responsibility to ensure your vehicle has an up-to-date MOT certificate. Ministry of Transport (MOT) tests aren’t just a legal requirement, they are there to ensure that your vehicle is safe and roadworthy. The MOT is also required to ensure the emissions your vehicle emits are at a manageable level and don’t become too excessive. Your annual MOT protects the environment as well as you, your passengers and other road users.

Taking your vehicle in for an MOT can be daunting, no matter how new your vehicle is or how confident you are of its condition. Passing first time is the desired outcome, but with news that almost 50% of all vehicles fail their MOTs due to simple faultsthat could be fixed at home, passing with flying colours isn’t always a given. In this blog post, we reveal the quick checks that could see you pass your MOT test first time, every time.

Handbrake and fluid levels

The handbrake is a vital component of any vehicle. It’s quick and easy to check that your handbrake works correctly. If your vehicle rolls when the handbrake is engaged or you have to pull your handbrake up a long way, it could require adjustment.

Going under the bonnet to check fluid levels is another task that takes no time at all. Your brake fluid levels are particularly important so make sure these are as they should be. The feel of your brakes could be a vital indicator of fluid levels and/or condition. If your brakes feel spongy when pressed, there could be air in the system which must be removed via bleeding. Your fuel and engine oil should also be at the required levels for testing.

Shock absorbers and screen

Windscreen cracks or chips are another thing that should be easily remedied before you take your vehicle in for its MOT. Damage of 40mm or more in size will result in a fail as the driver’s view could be impaired. As well as the windscreen, check that the washers and wiper blades are in good condition, topping up any screenwash where necessary.

Your vehicle’s shock absorbers should also be checked. To check your absorbers, bounce each corner of your car. If the vehicle doesn’t settle after two bounces they could need replacing.

Mirrors, lights and number plates

Cracked number plates could mean MOT failure so pay special attention to those. Whilst you can still legally drive with a broken passenger side mirror, a missing driver side mirror will result in a failed MOT test. Check all mirrors (including wing and rear view) for damage, replacing and repairing where required.

Your lights are another area that is checked rigorously during the MOT test. All lights should be in working order and headlight covers should be in good repair. Replacing a bulb is easy, whilst giving working, dirty external lights a good scrub will ensure the level of visibility needed to pass. Make sure the brake lights are working too. This is not only one of the most common areas of failure, it’s also illegal to drive with a broken brake light. If pulled over by the police for this fault, you will be given a vehicle defect rectification notice, which gives you 14 days to get the fault rectified.

Seats and seatbelts

Internally your vehicle must be fully equipped for safety. The driver’s seat should be able to be adjusted, so test its movement backwards and forwards. All seatbelts fitted in your vehicle should be free from damage. Again you should test the movement of the seatbelt, which should become restricted when tugged as if the vehicle has had to brake sharply.

Tyres and wheels

The treads on your tyres should have a depth of at least 1.6mm. Any less than this and your vehicle will fail its MOT. The 20p check is an easy way to ensure you have enough tread on your tyres. Simply insert the coin into the tread with the lowest depth, if you can’t see the outer rim around the edge of the coin your tyres are safe. If you can see this rim, they will require replacement.

For further information on the essential checks your vehicle needs to pass as part of its MOT test, please read our MOT test checklist. Is your vehicle due for its MOT? You can book in onlinefor many of our motoring services, including our MOT packages.

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Transmission Problems and How to Fix Them!

engine transmissionYour vehicle’s transmission has a vital role. When you change gear, your car’s transmission works to transfer the engine’s power to the wheels to move your vehicle along. Whilst this sounds like a relatively simple and straightforward process, transmission involves the use of countless components, all of which have to work together in perfect harmony to ensure your vehicle runs smoothly. With such an essential part to play, transmission problems and failures have the potential to literally stop a vehicle in its tracks, a fact that makes being aware of the warning signs and associated issues important for any car owner.

Here at Collison Motoring Services, we provide a long list of mechanical repair services to ensure your vehicle functions well from the inside out. As a result, we understand the transmission system more than most, and know the problems that can become apparent and the solutions that will help get your vehicle on the road once more. Read on to discover the most common transmission problems affecting vehicles today and, more importantly, how to fix them.

Low or contaminated transmission fluid

Both manual and automatic transmission vehicles need specialist fluid to keep the clutches and bands that are integral to the gear change process well lubricated. Transmission fluid however doesn’t last forever. Over time or as a result of leaking or contamination, transmission fluid can become low or dirty. Both issues prevent the gears from getting as lubricated as they need to be, causing problems like grinding, overheating and slipping. Continuing to operate your vehicle with low or contaminated transmission fluid can cause complete vehicle failure in time.

The solution? Apply the right amount of clean and debris-free transmission fluid to your vehicle, it’s as simple as that! Conducting regular fluid level checks will also mean low levels, contamination and leakages can be spotted early and successfully rectified. Checking your transmission fluid once a month is recommended. How often the transmission fluid is changed however can vary from vehicle to vehicle. Some cars and vans require their transmission fluid to be changed as little as every 30,000 miles, others need it changed every 100,000 miles. New vehicles with automatic gearboxes require no fluid changes at all, unless failure strikes, with the fluid sealed within meant to last the life of the vehicle.

A worn clutch or gear synchroniser

Manual transmission relies on several components, two of which are the clutch and the gear synchronisers. Failures in either of these components can cause significant transmission problems, including total transmission failure. Wear and tear of both components can happen over time, whilst mechanical errors can be caused by hydraulic fluid leaks and even human error, if your driver is frequently changing gear without releasing the clutch.

The solution? Depending on the level of wear, your clutch or gear synchroniser may need to be replaced to get your vehicle’s transmission working smoothly again. Correcting some of the underlying issues, i.e. fixing leaks and changing driving habits, is also recommended.

Needle bearing failure

Some transmission problems are only applicable to automatic transmission systems, the most common being needle roller bearing failures. These bearings may be small and light but they have essential roles to play in preventing the grinding of gears in automatic transmission systems. As well as resulting in grinding and brushing noises emitting from your transmission system, failed needle roller bearings can stop gears from moving efficiently.

The solution? As with any transmission problem, spotting the warning signs early and acting fast is important. Keep an ear out for grinding noises when your vehicle is in motion and don’t put off seeking professional help.

If the transmission fluid in your vehicle has changed colour or condition, fluid levels are low, you spot signs of a leak, your transmission is slipping or your transmission is overheating, it’s time to call our specialist team for help.

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How to Change a Car Lightbulb Easily

Car light bulbsWinter is well underway, which means less favourable weather conditions are now a reality for most parts of the country. Team this with the shorter days, and conditions become even more difficult to handle for the average person. With the dark nights and poor weather, now couldn’t be a better time for vehicle owners to think about their visibility, with your car’s lighting and wiping systems vital parts of the equation.

Whilst vehicle lighting concerns more than just your headlamps, making sure you’re lighting the way with some high quality, fully working car lightbulbs is crucial. Cue our guide to changing a car lightbulb easily! Read on to discover the essential steps you should take to see and be seen on the roads this winter.

Why is good car lighting important?

Just how well your vehicle’s headlights light up the road in front of you isn’t just a matter of aiding your visibility and alerting your fellow drivers and pedestrians of your presence. Great visibility courtesy of well-maintained headlights, significantly cuts the risk of being involved in a road traffic accident. According to RoSPA, 40% of road traffic accidents happen at night when vision is reduced and hazards are more difficult to spot.

Good vehicle lighting ensures you gain a clearer view of the road, whether you’re driving at night or during the day in poor winter weather conditions like rain, fog or snow.

How often do bulbs need changing?

Just as your car will age, so too will the bulbs in your headlamps. Lighting technology has progressed significantly in recent years, with the ultra-bright LEDs featured on the latest makes and models of vehicle providing optimum performance and visibility whatever the weather. With development, car lightbulbs are now lasting much longer but they’ll still need replacing. The average tungsten-halogen car headlight lasts between 500 and 1,000 hours. Xenon headlights last ten times longer, averaging around 10,000 hours. LED headlights provide the best performance with an average lifespan of 30,000 hours. The service life of your car’s lightbulbs however can be influenced by a number of factors.

The most obvious sign that replacement is required is of course a failed bulb. You should however keep an eye out for bad or failing headlight bulbs to ensure you don’t get caught out when you need great lighting the most. It is also an offence to drive without a fully functioning set of headlights. Offending drivers will be pulled over by the police, handed a vehicle defect rectification notice and given up to 14 days to sort the problem. After repair, proof in the form of a repaired vehicle or a receipt for the work must be presented to the police. Replacing bulbs that are on their way out is recommended. If your headlight bulbs are dim or flickering bulb replacement could be imminent.

Can I change my car lightbulbs myself?

The quick answer to this is – yes! Whilst gaining access to your headlight bulbs can be tricky, changing your car’s lightbulbs is something that you can do at home. The process takes as little as five minutes and all you need is the right replacement bulb to get the job done. You can follow our step-by-step guide below or consult your vehicle handbook for instructions on changing the bulb:

  1. Before you begin make sure your vehicle’s engine is switched off. Open your car bonnet to locate the back of the headlight housing.
  2. Remove the cover of the headlight housing to gain access to the blown bulb. You may need to twist the connector or release a lever to remove the cover.
  3. Remove the blown bulb by hand before replacing it with the new bulb. When doing so, make sure any oily residue from the old bulb doesn’t come into contact with your skin and/or transfer onto the glass of the new bulb. Once lit, any oil will heat up and damage the glass of the new bulb.
  4. Check that the new bulb is installed securely before applying the cover of the headlight housing and checking that the bulb works correctly.

Make sure you select the right replacement bulb. Most vehicle handbooks offer details on the type of replacement car lightbulb you require.

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