Our Top Reasons to Have a Winter Service for Your Classic Car

It might sound like we’re stating the obvious but during the winter months the temperature drops. Unfortunately, this can have a big effect on your car, particularly if it’s a classic.

Even when the weather is slightly milder, you can suffer from battery problems and be more prone to rust damage because of the wetter conditions.

Most people have their car serviced at the same time they take their MOT, usually once a year. Unless you drive long distances, you might not think that having a pre-winter service is a great idea.

Here are just some of the things you’ll be up against during the period between November and the end of February and why a quick service can make a big difference.

Drops in Temperature

The drop in temperature can particularly affect your car when you try to start it up in the morning. The trouble is that cold weather helps deplete the battery and reduces its output by as much as 35%. If it’s very cold this can be a lot more, as much as 60% in some cases.

A lot will depend on the age of the battery too. Older ones will certainly tend to deplete quicker overnight. It’s important to check the manufacturer’s warranty on the battery you have and how often you should change it. If it’s near the end of its useful life and you’re having trouble starting in the mornings then it’s well worth changing.

If you want to make sure that your battery doesn’t die in your older car, starting the engine and running it for a while can help or make sure you go for a longish drive rather than leaving it parked up for days.

Cold weather can also affect things like engine oil. It becomes thicker and that can make your classic car harder to start especially during a cold snap. Another important thing to check is the coolant level. This is designed to prevent freezing and ensure that your engine operates at optimal efficiency. Be very wary if you have added normal water to the coolant to top it up as an emergency measure – make sure you change it as quickly as you can during cold weather as it might freeze and cause damage to your car.

Severe temperature drops can also cause ice on the road especially at night and in the early morning. It’s important to check your tyres regularly and to change them where the tread might be compromised. Keeping your tyres properly inflated is also important. At the same time, you might want to check that your brakes are working properly.

The cold winter months can cause a few other issues. Your windscreen wipers might get frozen up the rubber damaged making them less efficient, even to the point where they need replacing. Mud and dirt can reduce areas like headlamps and brake lights so you are less visible.

Having a service during the winter months can make sure that your car is in prime condition and should help you spot any issues that are likely to turn into major problems. You also get complete peace of mind that your vehicle is ready to cope with any road conditions the weather might throw at you.

Salt on the Roads

Another change that happens during the winter is that there is normally more salt on the roads. This comes from gritters that go out at night and spread salt to prevent the build-up of ice. The problem is that this can cause corrosion in cars, especially classics. Giving your vehicle a regular clean, including the underside is one way to reduce the risk of this. It’s important, however, to catch problems such as rust early on so a quick check during a service can definitely help.

If you live near the coast, the salty roads can be exacerbated by the salt from the sea. During poor weather, spray can be driven quite a distance inland which can get into metal and cause rusting.

Carry Out Regular Checks on Your Car in Winter

You can do many of these checks yourself during the winter months and it’s always worth taking a few minutes each week to give your classic car the once over. Doing so can help spot minor issues that may quickly grow into big problems.

The team at White’s Bodyworks have a reputation for providing amazing restoration and repair services for classic car owners. What people don’t often realise is that we also offer regular servicing that can help keep your vintage vehicle in the best condition, especially during the winter months.

A quick service can certainly prevent a lot of different problems when it comes to classic cars. Want to find out more? Contact our expert team today to see how we can help.

 

Tips for Buying Your First Classic Motorbike

While we see a lot of vintage cars at White’s Bodyworks, we’ve also had a few classic motorbikes over the years. There’s nothing that gets our mechanics purring than a bike like this 1969 Triumph Trophy that came in for repairs a few years back.

It’s what we live for and why we’re still one of the best garages for classic car and motorbike restorations and repairs in the UK today.

Classic motorbike owners tend to be a breed apart and are often very much wedded to a particular manufacturer and make of bike. If this is the first time you are considering buying a classic motorbike, joining one of the many groups in the UK should ensure you get some good advice.

Are Classic Bikes a Good Investment?

As with classic cars, this will depend a good deal on the make and model and how old it is. The good news is that, if you shop around, buying a classic motorbike should be a lot cheaper than a vintage four-wheel vehicle.

If you are buying your bike as an investment – perhaps you want to restore and sell it– then it’s worth doing your due diligence and checking what they go for online. It’s better to take your time and find the bike that you are looking for rather than settling for one that doesn’t quite meet all your needs.

How Much Work is There to Do?

You can either buy a classic motorbike that has been lovingly cared for and is in tip-top condition or you can go for a restoration or refurbishment job which is usually going to be cheaper, at least to buy.

If part of the reason you’re buying a classic is to get into restoration as a hobby, you need to be sure about the amount of work that you will be undertaking, how you are going to fund this and who is going to manage the more difficult jobs that are beyond your skill level. It’s important to be realistic about the time, effort and money you need to put into the restoration before you take it on.

Availability of Parts

The older your classic motorbike, the more difficult it might be to find replacement parts. That may not be a problem if you can find a suitable, more modern replacement and don’t mind.

But if you want to restore a bike to its original state then you may want to search online for any supplier or individual that can supply you with the right parts. For most classic car and bike restorations there is often a tradeoff between what’s available, how much it costs and what can realistically be achieved.

Creating a Restoration Plan

You’ll also need a plan for your restoration, including sorting out where you are going to carry out the work.

A decent-sized garage is desirable because it will keep your bike covered and protected from the elements. You’ll need the right equipment and may also want to seek out a specialist motorbike restoration garage that can handle the jobs you aren’t qualified for or don’t want to handle yourself.

Classic Bike Insurance

Classic bike insurance can be an option and doesn’t have to be expensive. In most cases, owners get a better deal because they have a reputation for looking after their bikes and not riding them everywhere, thereby reducing the risk.

One of the challenges of getting insurance for a classic motorbike, however, is settling on the value of the bike and what it’s worth should there be an accident. This can take a fair bit of negotiation and doesn’t always deliver the right result.

You also need to think about any changes you make while undertaking a renovation or restoration – if you’ve added ‘non-approved’ parts to the bike, it can affect your policy.

It’s worth shopping around for a specialist classic motorbike insurance company rather than going through the usual commercial options as you can often strike a much better deal and get the right coverage for your bike.

Where To Buy a Classic Motorbike

There are several different avenues to consider if you want to buy a classic motorbike. They are often sold at auctions or advertised online. The one thing you should make certain of, however, is that you inspect the bike in person before you part with your money. There are plenty of scams out there and you should never take anyone’s word and buy sight unseen.

Once you’ve bought your classic motorbike, it’s a good time to build a relationship with a local garage that has a reputation for working with older vehicles. At White’s Bodyworks in West Sussex, we have several decades of experience with vintage vehicles and can handle all repairs and restoration jobs.

If you’d like to find out more, check out our website today.

 

5 Best French Road Trips for Classic Car Owners 

One thing most classic car owners love is getting out on the open road. At White’s Bodyworks, we’ve covered some of the best routes for drivers in the UK, but what if you want to go further afield?

France is a popular destination for classic car drivers. It’s a much bigger country for a start. Whether it’s ambling your way through idyllic French villages or heading up winding mountain routes, there’s a lot to choose from.

Here we look at 6 of the best road trips for vintage vehicle enthusiasts.

1. Route Napoléon

If you love the Alps, this 325 km journey from Grenoble to Nice is a road trip packed with historic towns and villages and plenty of amazing views along the way.

It starts at the Golfe Juan and passes through the picturesque hamlet of Castellane, through the Gorges du Verdon, down to the medieval town of Sisteron and on to Nice. It’s a straight road along the A51 and should take about 6 hours to complete. There are plenty of locations to stop off, enjoy a stroll or even a hike in the mountains, a meal and a bunch of outdoor activities.

Find out more about Route Napoléon.

2. Paris to Loire Valley

Classic car owners tend to be romantics at heart and love their history. The road trip from Paris to the Loire Valley takes you west from the capital towards Rouen, one of the most iconic and historic cities in the country.

It’s a fairly short drive of 136 km along the A13 which should take about a couple of hours. That’s if you take the straight route, of course. The Loire Valley is an amazing area to explore with plenty of winding country roads that transport you back in time. There are some amazing chateaus and spectacular locations such as Valmer’s Gardens and small medieval towns like Chinon and Loches.

You can spend your whole vacation driving your classic car around this beautiful region and never get bored. Find out more here.

3. Troyes to St Etienne

This is one of the country’s most iconic champagne regions. On the road from Troyes to St Etienne, there are miles and miles of wonderful countryside to explore. The straight route covers around 435 km and takes about four and a half hours to complete all in one go.

Home to the mustard, Dijon is certainly one place you’ll want to stop off at and explore. It’s not just popular for the mustard, the city is the capital of the Burgundy region. If you love your wine there are several  vineyards to visit.

St Etienne is a town with a more industrial past and has plenty to do and see including the amazing cathedral and modern art museum. If you love driving, however, the Pilat National Park has some spectacular scenery and a few challenging, winding roads to keep you entertained.

4. Biarritz to Bordeaux

There’s nothing better for the dedicated classic car driver than taking a coastal route. The good news is that France has about 5,500 km to explore. One of the best routes runs from Biarritz in the far south of the country up to the iconic wine region of Bordeaux.

Again, the straight journey is about 195 km and takes just over 2 hours but you’ll want to explore along the way.

Biarritz is a popular holiday resort and if you love surfing it’s well worth a visit on its own. Head up the coast and you come to some other great tourist locations such as Arcachon where you’ll find the world’s largest sand dune. From quaint villages and towns to impressive cliff tops and astounding sea views there’s a lot to see before you reach Bordeaux with its wonderful architecture

Find out more about the Biarritz to Bordeaux route.

5. La Route des Grandes Alpes

One of the reasons for heading to France for a driving holiday is the routes through impressive mountains. Covering about 700 miles of winding roads through impressive scenery, La Route des Grandes Alpes should be top of your list.

Your journey begins on the shore of Lake Geneva and finishes in Menton on the French Riviera. Along the way, you drive through no less than 17 different passes with steep drops and the highest point is Iseran which rises to 2,770 metres. The road isn’t open all year round because of snow and the best time to visit is either in the Spring or late September.

Find out more about La Route des Grandes Alpes.

Get Ready with White’s Bodyworks

If you’re planning a road trip to France, you need to make sure your classic car is in tip-top condition. At White’s Bodyworks, we’ve got decades of experience in servicing vintage vehicles of all types.

Contact us today to find out more.

5 Classic Car Restoration Tips from the Team at White’s Bodyworks

We know only too well at White’s Bodyworks what it takes to restore a classic car. Over the years, we’ve helped hundreds of dedicated owners with everything from resprays to full body makeovers and mechanical and electrical repairs and replacements.

Here are our top 5 tips if you are thinking about pursuing a lifelong dream and restoring a classic car.

1. Honesty is the Best Policy

Before you even begin you need to think about your skill set and how viable your classic car restoration is from start to finish. Maybe you’ve come across a classic at an auction or been left a wreck in someone’s will. Perhaps it’s a lifelong dream and you have a particular make or model in mind that you would like to own and lovingly restore.

We know only too well at White’s Bodyworks that it takes a lot of work and a fair amount of financial resources for a full restoration. So, this is where you need to be completely honest.

  • First, think about your skillset and whether it matches the job at hand. Are there things you will need to learn? What jobs will have to be outsourced to a professional garage? Do you have the right equipment and know how to use it?
  • Second, and maybe more importantly, ask yourself why you are doing this. Classic car restorers are a breed apart and come from many different backgrounds. Your project can’t be just a pipedream. You need to be 100% committed to it. Everything else is just tinkering around the edges.

2. Time and Space

Another issue for classic car enthusiasts is time. For some, the journey is more important than the final, finished and restored vintage vehicle. They are prepared to take time and spread their renovation over several years. Others may want to complete the classic car restoration in months.

According to the Classic Car Journal, the average time spent on restoration is 600 man-hours. To put that into perspective, if you put 10 hours a week into your project, it’s going to take you more than a year from start to finish. That doesn’t take into account delays due to finding spare parts or the right garage to handle work for you.

The other important factor is space. Where are you going to carry out your renovation? Ideally, you need garage space where the car can be stored and kept safely rather than out on the road.

In most cases, you’ll need plenty of space. You’ll also want to make sure that you’re not disturbing or aggravating the neighbours while you’re carrying out work.

3. Plan Ahead, Be Ordered

Classic car enthusiasts and restorers tend to be methodical in their approach. It’s important to know what work needs to be done, in what order each part of the project needs to be implemented and what tools you are going to require.

Budget constraints may affect your schedule, of course. But the more you have your tools in place and have identified where to find support and spare parts, the better.

A disorganised workspace and lack of a plan mean that you’re likely to make mistakes, lose things and end up putting your restoration behind schedule. Make sure that, every time you step into your garage, you know what work you’re going to do.

4. Be a Learner

Unless you’re a highly qualified mechanic and bodywork expert, you’re going to have a skills deficit in some areas. This is part of the restoration process that many classic car enthusiasts love – you must have the right mindset and be prepared to learn new skills.

This is where reaching out and forming relationships with other classic car owners can also come in handy. Fortunately, around the UK there are hundreds of clubs and a whole host of valuable knowledge for you to draw on. Make use of it and reach out.

5. Make it Fun

Again, this comes down to why you want to restore a classic car in the first place. You may love a particular car and want the challenge of bringing a battered and rusted old vehicle back to life. Perhaps you’re planning your restoration as an investment – hoping to finally sell the car for a profit.

Whatever the reason, the restoration process is likely to be full of different challenges. You need to keep your enthusiasm going and you can’t do this if you don’t think what you are undertaking is fun.

Why Partner with White’s Bodyworks

Restoring a classic car can be hard work if you don’t have the right partners. There may well be some parts of the project where you have no option but to bring in a professional team.

At White’s Bodyworks in West Sussex, we’ve got a fully equipped garage and more than two decades of experience delivering quality work for classic car enthusiasts including fabrication, coachwork, welding and sheet metal replacement, paint and bodywork repair as well as design and assembly of missing parts.

Check out our portfolio here.

 

Most Popular Types of Van Hire in 2022

If you need to hire a van for the first time you may be surprised at all the different options there are out there. From short wheelbases and long wheelbases to large vans with a tail lift, picking the right vehicle for the job you need to do is essential.

Whether it’s a one-day hire or for a longer period, it pays to check out all the options if you want to get the best price.

Here the team at White’s Bodyworks take a look at the choices available.

Fridge and Freezer Vans

While most vans are designed to carry tools, products and things like furniture, fridge and freezer vans are aimed at businesses that carry perishable goods like food, drink and pharmaceuticals.

Most general van hire services don’t offer a wide selection of cooler vans, however, which is why it’s important to go through a specialist provider. Rugby-based FridgeXpress, for example, prides itself in being completely focused on fridge and freezer vans for hire and offers delivery across the UK. They also provide vehicles with tailored interiors such as different compartments and storage facilities.

Small Van Hire

If you’re a tradesman, home delivery service or florist, you may only want small storage space. With a maximum payload of around 850kg, these two-seater vans are ideal for use in town and are more like driving a normal car.

Most vehicle hire companies will have at least one or two vans of this type on their forecourt and it’s worth shopping around for the best price.

Medium Size Van

For bigger loads, a medium size van is probably the best all-around option if you’re not 100% sure about the capacity you need. It’s not so large that you need an HGV licence to drive it and can hold a payload of around 1000 kg. It’s a great option if your moving home and don’t have enough stuff to warrant hiring a removal company.

If you’re only driving it where you live, it’s often a better idea to check out smaller, local companies as they may be able to offer better prices.

Large Van Hire

Larger vans have slightly more payload allowance, up to around 1250 kg and this space is mostly achieved vertically with more headroom. This is the better choice if you only want to make one journey, for example, if you are moving house as the extra space gives you plenty more leeway.

Vans with Extra Seating

Medium and larger vans also come with additional seating. For example, if you’re taking a work team out to a site and you need storage for tools but also extra seats, these are a good choice. A crew van hire usually has a payload limit of about 800 kg but includes 6 seats so you need to balance the transportation needs of your equipment and your manpower.

Luton Box Van with Tail Lift

The 3.5-tonne Luton box van is probably the largest hire vehicle that you might want to hire. It’s often used for moving property or transporting heavy goods. It still only has a payload allowance of around 1,250 kg but comes with a tail lift which means it’s ideal for lifting weighty objects like fridges and cabinets. The downside is that you will need an HGV licence to drive it.

Van Hire and Wheelbase

When you hire a van for the first time, you may come across a choice between a long wheelbase and a short wheelbase. This basically applies to the distance between the front wheels and the back wheels.

A long wheelbase tends to offer more storage space and a smoother ride. Short wheelbase vans tend to have a more sporty feel and better handling but less space. In the end, it comes down to personal preference but it’s worth bearing in mind when you look at your choice of hire vehicle.

Check out this quick guide from Aspland Self Drive.

Electric Vans vs Diesel vs Petrol

You may find small vans that run on petrol but most, on the whole, are diesel-powered nowadays. This is likely to change over the next few years because diesel is being phased out.

We’re beginning to see more and more companies focusing on electric vehicles. These include Voltage Hire and Go Green Leasing, both of which operate UK-wide.

What Do I Need to Hire a Van?

If you are hiring a van under 3.5 tonnes, you can do so with a regular driving licence. Anything above that and you will need an HGV licence.

There may also be some restrictions relating to your age when hiring a van – for example, Hertz stipulates that you need to be over the age of 23 for smaller van hire and over 25 for larger. There can also be a surcharge because of age and experience.

 

Fighting the Cost-of-Living Crisis: A Guide to Saving Money with Your Car

There is a lot of pressure on people at the moment with ever-increasing rises in fuel bills. The cost of filling up the average car, according to the RAC, rose from £59.91 in the middle of 2020 to £105 in July of 2022.

While prices may have come down a little in recent months, with the war in Ukraine and volatile markets, we’re likely going to have to live with high petrol prices for the foreseeable future.

Of course, that’s not the only problem. Utility bills such as gas and electricity are soaring out of control and many people are finding it difficult to manage their money and make ends meet.

Here the team at White’s Bodyworks look at the different ways you make a dent in your car fuel consumption and hopefully help reduce your costs on the road.

Maintain Your Vehicle

Making sure your car or van is properly maintained, while at an extra cost, should improve fuel efficiency. It can be viewed as a cost-saving measure if you forgo that annual service but it could be a short-lived remedy.

If you do need to save money, it can help to start learning some maintenance skills, especially if you have an older car. It’s amazing what you can do yourself. Check out this quick guide from moneycrashers.com.

Drive Efficiently

If you want to be more fuel efficient, the way you drive can make a big difference. Here are our top tips:

  • Accelerate gently: If you find yourself pressing hard on the accelerator when the lights change at a junction, then it’s time to cultivate the better habit of speeding up gradually. The faster you try to accelerate, the more fuel you will use. Ease into it and don’t be in such a hurry.
  • Maintain a steady speed: If your speed goes up and down constantly, again you’re going to use more fuel. Try to maintain a steady speed and, if you’re on a straight road, employ the cruise control if you have it.
  • Anticipate: Quick stopping and starting can also drain your fuel. Become better at anticipating the road ahead and you will also save on your petrol, especially when driving in towns and cities.
  • Avoid speeding: Of course, the faster you go the more fuel you’re likely to use. Stick to the speed limit, use the appropriate gear for the speed you are going and don’t burn more fuel than you have to.
  • Don’t Rev: When you’re stationary, avoid the temptation to rev the engine. Take your foot off the pedal. Why? If you’re revving, it’s using more fuel.

In general, the key to saving money by driving more efficiently is to make everything as smooth as possible. It can also be useful to check what the optimum speed for the best fuel economy is for your vehicle.

Reduce Wind Resistance: Take the Roof Rack Off

This might seem like an odd one but anything that slows your car down is likely to use up petrol. Essentially, you have to use more power to move forward. The more aerodynamic you are the better. Unless you’re off on holiday, try taking the roof rack off – it may not make a big difference but it will save you a little money.

According to the Energy Trust, a simple roof rack can add nearly 20% more drag to your car from wind resistance while a box can push that up to nearly 40%

Keep an Empty Boot

How much your car weighs can also add something to your fuel consumption. Again, it’s simple physics. The heavier you are the harder the car has to work to move forward. This applies not just to getting rid of any excess weight in your car but to the number of people you carry.

Pump Up Those Tyres

This should probably go in the maintenance section above but it’s worth mentioning on its own. Tyre pressure can make your car have to work harder so it’s important to maintain this as optimally as possible. Take the time to check your tyre pressure for your make and model – a simple pump costs just a few pounds nowadays and can make a big difference.

According to some research, a 1% loss in tyre pressure can lead to a 0.3% reduction in fuel economy.

Turn Off the Air Conditioning

Air conditioning in many cars requires a power source and this in turn needs fuel to run. This largely comes from the compressor and, according to Kwik Fit, could account for a small but considerable percentage of your fuel usage over time.

In short, if you don’t need it, turn off the air conditioning in your car.

Warm Engines are More Efficient

Starting your engine from cold also uses more fuel. If you have a warm engine, it is likely to be more efficient which is why you might like to look at how you use your car. Rather than making several different journeys, making one big one where the engine doesn’t cool down could be more beneficial and save you on fuel consumption.

Walk Don’t Drive

Of course, one great way to save money is to not drive at all. It’s probably the number one thing people are considering nowadays with prices being so high. Do you really need to make that journey?

If it’s just a short jaunt to the shops, then walking is far cheaper than getting in the car. It’s also a lot better for your health.

At White’s Bodyworks, we understand that these are difficult times. If it’s not the cost of petrol, it’s the price of food on supermarket shelves or a big bump in heating your home. Even turning on a light can seem expensive nowadays. There’s no doubt that the winter is going to be challenging for many people.

We hope these simple tips will help you use the petrol in your car more efficiently and we also hope that things change for the better soon.

 

How to find an accident repair centre

If you’ve been involved in an accident, you might still be in shock. How to find an accident repair centre and ways to vet your new mechanic are probably consuming your thoughts. But in today’s 10-minute read, we’re going to help you look for a body shop, get a competitive quote and answer some of the core questions on bodywork that you might have following an accident.

1. What makes a good accident repair centre?

A good accident repair centre will have a high review rating – ideally by your friends and family. But if you’re not local to them, at least on Google or Tripadvisor. They will not ask for the full payment up front and they will let you pay in whatever method is convenient for you. If you want them, they’ll give you the old parts related to any accident repair. And they will provide you with a detailed quote upfront and in writing. If you have a dispute, a good accident repair centre will work with you to address your concerns. Lastly, they will guarantee their work to a reasonable extent and provide reliable quality.

2. How do I find a good accident repair centre?

Finding a good accident repair centre is easy. Start by asking your friends, family and co-workers for recommendations. If they can’t provide anyone they rely on, turn to online reviews. Google and Tripadvisor are great places to go to see what a shop is rated on its best and worst days. When you have a shortlist, get a few quotes. Never just go to the first place you contact. You need to get a range of quotes to make sure your accident repair is being priced fairly. Send in good-quality pictures to make sure you’re representing the damage correctly.

3. How do you know if an accident repair centre is fair?

A fair shop will provide you with a quote in advance based on pictures of the damage. You can compare this quote with 2 or 3 others to make sure you’re getting a good rate. Check Google too. Reviews of the shop can help you understand the experience of other customers who have used their services. Remember to ask about how long and under what conditions they will guarantee this repair. And you may even want to keep the parts they remove just as a precaution.

4. What happens with insurance after an accident?

If you get into an accident, stop. Exchange your contact and insurance details with anyone else involved and record their info. Take pictures and record any details from the location to help with your insurance claim. If the road is blocked, call the police. If anyone is hurt, call an ambulance. Do not apologise or admit guilt and don’t accuse others. When you get home, tell your insurance company. You won’t want them finding out from the other driver. This includes even when you don’t want to make a claim. If the other driver didn’t stop, report the hit and run to the police and your insurance. If you’ve hit a farm animal or dog, tell the police.

5. Do they have to give you the old parts?

If you request for the old parts to be returned to you when you make the appointment then they have to give them to you.  The Motor Ombudsman explains, “As the owner of the vehicle, you are entitled to keep any parts that are removed from your car during a service or repair, regardless of their condition. When booking in your car for work, it is important that you notify the garage at this stage not to dispose of any old parts that are taken off your vehicle.”

6. Do you pay for car repair beforehand?

It’s standard to pay after repairs are completed. A garage may take a deposit. According to the AA, “A garage that has repaired your car has what is known as a ‘lien’. This is the right to keep the car until they’ve been paid for all work done. If you take your car away without authorisation you risk both civil proceedings and criminal prosecution. Apart from legal proceedings or leaving your car while any dispute is sorted out, the only option is to pay the amount demanded, marking the invoice as ‘paid under protest’.” But if the shop is asking you to pay everything up front or in cash, this could be a sign of a dodgy accident repair centre.

7. What’s in a good repair quote?

Providing a quote in writing isn’t usually a legal requirement, but a good accident repair centre will be willing to do this anyway. Remember that an estimate is just that – their best guess at how much time it will take to do the job and what the parts will cost. It’s not a firm or binding price. So, it’s important to get quotes from several sources to make sure you’re getting a good deal. In general, a good repair quote will detail:

  • The make and model of your vehicle
  • Description of the problem
  • Recommended fix
  • Parts & labour
  • Working days to complete

If you’ve not had your car serviced in a while, you may choose to do this first as it will generate a quote for other works. The AA explains, “All services will involve visual checks to your car, like looking for damage to your car’s body or wheels. They’ll also include manual checks [on] things like your brakes and gearbox to make sure they’re working as they should. If you have an electric or hybrid car, the checks will include your charging port, cables and connections.” If you know you have body damage, this will already be one of the things the auto shop checks for in addition to any hidden issues you might not be aware of.

8. Summary

How to find an accident repair centre is often top-of-mind after a collision. Remember to check reviews, get multiple quotes and compare service records before committing to a shop. If you need a car service, this might help you identify the full range of fixes required without additional steps. And lastly, if you’re not happy with the repair, let the garage know so they can resolve it for you.

How to cut fuel costs

With the recent dramatic increases in the price of petrol and diesel fuel in the UK, it’s unsurprising you’re searching for how to cut fuel costs. After all, no matter how fuel-efficient your vehicle is, if the prices go up, every journey just costs more. But there are some things you can do to cut fuel costs and keep the sting of price rises from being felt so prominently. We’ve listed some below in this 7-minute read.

1. Why are fuel costs so high?

LBC explains, “Price increases began at the beginning of the Covid pandemic as the demand for energy rose, and since then the cost of oil has continued to rise significantly, with the biggest changes coming in recent months. And now, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the UK is seeing some of the highest prices in 14 years.” And all this translates to pain at the pump for millions of families across Britain. But there are some small steps you can take to save money on fuel.

2. How can I save money on fuel?

One of the easiest ways to save money on fuel is to pay with reward cards, loyalty cards or credit cards aligned with the petrol station. BP, Shell, Tesco, Sainburys and more all have reward programs. And according to Love Money, “Getting a NatWest/RBS Reward Credit Card will get you 0.25% cashback at supermarket petrol stations (and 1% on supermarket spend).” Just by participating in one of these schemes, you can nearly negate the recent price rise and gain other benefits in the process. But that’s not all you can do to get better mileage.

3. Does a full tank get better mileage?

Keep your gas tank full. You may think that less fuel in the car is more efficient but it means stopping more, risking running out of gas, forcing yourself to take worse deals on petrol prices and it’s bad for the car in the long run. Saving Advice explains, “Your gas tank is an empty space, and whatever space is not filled by gas is filled with air. Air contains water [vapour], which can condense on the sides of your fuel tank. This condensation can cause two problems. First, it can cause rust to develop on the sides of fuel tanks which are made of metal, which can cause problems in the future. The water [vapours] can also mix with the gas in the fuel tank, causing it to work less efficiently. This can be a problem for both plastic and metal fuel tanks.”

4. Why does regular servicing help to save petrol?

Regular servicing helps to save petrol. It does this primarily by catching problems that would cause your car to be more inefficient. This could be a number of things including rust developing in the fuel tank, engine problems, incorrect engine oil, clogged air elements, balding or unbalanced tyres, brake issues, gearbox issues and much more. Get your car looked at by a trusted body shop regularly to prevent issues which cost you at the fuel pump each week.

5. Why do aerodynamics matter?

Good car aerodynamics reduce drag. And drag causes you to fight against the car’s engine and make it work harder. When your car is more aerodynamic, it uses less fuel. Think about removing all the things that are creating a drag on your car when they are not needed. These could be roof storage boxes, bike or canoe racks, dollys or moving equipment and the like. Also, consider riding with your windows up to improve the aerodynamics of the vehicle.

6. Does cruise control save petrol?

Yes, cruise control will save petrol. That’s because a computer is better at maintaining a consistent speed (generally) than you are. Motortrend explains, “If you’re cruising along a mostly level highway, electronics generally are far better at avoiding the little speed-up/slow-down events that are inevitably caused by a weary accelerator ankle or an inattentive mind. It’s those changes in momentum that waste fuel because force equals mass times acceleration. Using cruise control is beneficial on mostly level ground, as well as on long, steady uphill or downhill grades. On highways traversing rolling hills, however, you’re better off targeting an average speed and then allowing the vehicle to slow down by 5 or 10 mph when climbing and then rise by a similar amount during the descent.” And that reduction in erratic driving, hard braking and rapid acceleration are what saves the fuel costs for you.

7. What are other ways to save fuel?

Another way to save fuel is to use the highest gear you can at all times. RAC explains, “Probably the biggest secret to achieving high mpg is driving in the highest possible gear for your vehicle while keeping within the speed limit. The best advice in urban areas is to change up through the gears as quickly as you can with the lowest revs possible, probably at around 2000rpm. Remember the faster an engine spins, the more fuel it uses.” Also, try to drive as smoothly as possible and avoid deceleration. You can only do that by watching the road and anticipating what other drivers will do. If you need to pass, do so in good time so you won’t have to speed up or slow down. Combine your journeys to do as much as you can with a warm engine and try not to use the AC or heat unless you really really need to. Both of these features use fuel.

8. Summary

In summary, you can save fuel by participating in reward programs and petrol credit card schemes. You should also run as close to a full tank as possible doing as many errands on a warm engine as you can. Also, take off anything creating drag, keep the windows up, the AC off and the cruise control on in the highest gear you can for the speed limit. Lastly, get regular servicing so something you don’t know about isn’t costing you at the pump.

What makes a body shop great car mechanics?   

If you need car repairs, you’re probably looking for a good mechanic. But what makes a body shop great car mechanics in general? What qualities should you look for? How should they interact with you? And what recourse do you have if something goes wrong? We’ll help you understand in this 7-minute read.

1. What qualities make a good mechanic?

Everyone will likely agree that a good mechanic knows how to fix nearly every car that rolls onto the lot, first and foremost. They’ll have access to a wide array of resources and knowledge to diagnose and repair any problem with your vehicle. And they will charge you a fair price to do so. They won’t try to confuse or confound you during the process. Lastly, they will get your informed consent at each stage before carrying out the work. And they then guarantee the quality of that work for a reasonable period of time.

2. How do I find a good car mechanic?

There are a lot of ways to find a good car mechanic. First, and most commonly, you could do a search for local mechanics in your area. Read the recent reviews (especially for similar car complaints) and see how other customers found the experience. But asking friends and family for recommendations shouldn’t be overlooked either. They may be able to make a personal referral and get you seen sooner than if you simply rang up. Remember to always check the garage has the right certifications & training to make whatever types of repairs your vehicle requires.

3. How do you know if your mechanic is scamming you?

Well, the easiest way to know if your mechanic is scamming you is to get a second quote. But that’s not always possible or easy if the car is totally broken down and in the possession of the garage. So, look for these subtle clues:

  1. The car is never ready when they say it will be. While issues do happen, if they are always late in fixing your vehicle it might be that they’re not as experienced with your make and model.
  2. If they won’t give you a quote or require full payment upfront. You should never pay more than half upfront for a repair with an honest shop.
  3. If they seem to be trying to scare you about how serious a problem is. Walk away if you’re being given the scare treatment, especially if it’s not for the issue you came in to repair.
  4. If they only take cash. If a problem does arise, cash is a very insecure form of payment.
  5. If they won’t show you the old parts once they replace them. Basically, if you can’t see what’s wrong, it’s possible nothing was wrong in the first place.
  6. When they won’t explain anything to you. Fixing a car is hard but it’s not rocket science. If the mechanic won’t tell you what is wrong and what they need to do to fix it in simple terms, they are probably just trying to run up the clock.
  7. If they have mostly bad reviews online. Don’t think you won’t join that trend.
  8. If they suggest a workaround, not a fix. This may mean they are trying to cut corners or don’t have the skills needed to do the job.
  9. If they don’t guarantee their work. Sure, they don’t have any control over how you drive, but only a scammer will provide no guarantees at all.

4. How do I know if my mechanic is honest?

You can tell you’re dealing with an honest mechanic if they give you a full quote in advance and explain in detail what, how and why you need this repair. A good mechanic will insist on good quality parts and won’t force you to pay in cash. They’ll show you the old parts so you can understand where they failed. Lastly, they will provide a guarantee of some sort regarding their work and provide you with the details of that on your receipt.

5. Do mechanics have to give you the old parts?

Yes, as long as you tell them that you want them, then the mechanic has to give you the old parts. According to the Motor Ombudsman, “As the owner of the vehicle, you are entitled to keep any parts that are removed from your car during a service or repair, regardless of their condition. When booking in your car for work, it is important that you notify the garage at this stage not to dispose of any old parts that are taken off your vehicle.”

6. Do you pay for car repair before or after?

Do not pay the entire cost of repair upfront under any circumstances. Wait until the repair is completed and the full actual cost is calculated, then pay for your repairs. If the body shop asks you to pay 50% in advance, this is reasonable if it’s an expensive repair with costly parts. Remember to put down in writing precisely what repairs you are authorising them to undertake and if further repairs require your direct sign-off. This can help prevent costly misunderstandings while the work is ongoing.

7. What can you do when a mechanic rips you off?

First, you should always try to seek a resolution with the garage first. You don’t need to pay while you’re disputing a bill and they can’t sell your car while the dispute is ongoing. Citizens Advice explains, “If you need the car back but aren’t happy with the amount you have to pay, you can pay ‘under protest’ then continue with your dispute. This means you are paying the full amount but letting the garage know that they can expect further action. Write the words “paying under protest” clearly on their copy of the repair order sheet and any copies of receipts that the garage [makes].” Then you can try to get your money back through the courts or via any motoring standard agencies the shop is a part of.

 

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6 Most Common Motorcycle Problems and What to Do About Them

There are more than a million motorcycles registered in the UK alone and they are certainly a popular way of getting around. Many people ride classic or older motorbikes and take loving care of them.

If you’re a new bike owner, here we look at some of the most common problems you are likely to find with older bikes.

1. Fuel Tank Rust

Rust as a general issue is common in older bikes and can occur practically anywhere. If you leave your bike for a long period with a half-full tank it can lead to problems over time. It’s more likely to happen if you are parked in an area where there is relatively high humidity.

It’s important to check your tank at regular intervals and, if there is a rust problem, get it sorted straight away. The best way to stop it from developing at all is to ensure that your tank is filled with gas most of the time, especially if you are leaving your bike parked up for a while.

2. Vacuum Leaks

Your carburettors produce an air/fuel mix for optimum running. A vacuum leak happens when extra air gets in, most often around the carburettor holder.

This has a rubber seal that can dry out and degrade over time so it’s important to check every so often. Leaks can often be misdiagnosed but if you have a problem with erratic idling or loss of power it’s worth checking out if this is the problem. It’s a good idea to take your bike to your local friendly mechanic to get a proper diagnosis and repair if you are not sure.

3. The Carburettor

These are complex bits of the engine and most older bikes suffer from problems at some point. The carburettor mixes the petrol and air to ensure the smooth running of the engine.

Like most mechanical parts they wear down over the years and that can lead to the carburettor having too much air to too much oil. If the parts are worn down or there’s something like a seal that needs replacing, it’s important to get this carried out by a garage that knows what it’s doing.

4. Fork Oil Leaks

The forks on your older bike are also quite complicated parts. They are filled with a viscous oil that helps handle the weight of the front end. The wrong oil or a leak can cause friction and damage your bike. You’ll know there is something wrong if you start feeling every bump in the road.

The forks are probably the most ignored part of the bike when it comes to riders and problems can often develop because of it. It’s important to have these checked out whenever you have a service. If you do start to feel every contour on the road and your ride becomes uncomfortable, you should check the oil levels or whether there is a leak. On some bikes, the fork assembly can be complicated so if you are not mechanically minded it’s important to consult an expert mechanic.

5. Old Tyres

Perhaps more than with cars, worn tyres are a pretty big danger when it comes to two-wheeled motorbikes. New tyres are a lot tougher than they used to be but it’s still important to check the tread regularly and replace wheels that look worn or have some damage on them.

6. Engine Oil Leaks

Another common problem you might encounter is an oil leak from the engine. This can be down to a faulty gasket on the crankcase, oil pan or cylinder head, for example. It’s critical to get this diagnosed properly, however, if you are unsure where the issue is located. An oil drain plug can be replaced in about 15 minutes but the cylinder head gasket can be more problematic because you have to take the engine apart.

If you want to maintain your motorcycle or have issues that you are unsure of, it’s a good idea to work with an experienced garage. At White’s Bodyworks, we have a fully equipped garage and can ensure we get your motorbike back in tip-top condition in next to no time. Contact us to find out more.


01273 933633 / repairs@whitesbodyworks.co.uk
Unit 23, Firsland Park Estate, Henfield Road, Albourne, Hassocks, West Sussex BN6 9JJ