What is classic car welding?

If you’re pricing up the repairs for your classic car restoration, you’ve probably gotten to some welding jobs. And, if you’re not sure, it can be a minefield of different welding types, approaches and expertise levels. Today, we’ll unpack these topics and define ‘what is classic car welding’ and how you can use it in your refurbishment or restoration project to the best effect.

1. What counts as a classic car?

You can define a classic car as whatever you want, really. It could be a pre-2000s boxy and rigid design aesthetic or the boat-length cruisers of the 40s and 50s. But there is an actual legal definition for a classic car that’s related to tax exemptions, however. And that’s a model that’s 40 years or older. According to the UK Government website, “You can apply to stop paying for vehicle tax from 1 April 2021 if your vehicle was built before 1 January 1981. You must tax your vehicle even if you do not have to pay. If you do not know when your vehicle was built, but it was first registered before 8 January 1981, you can still apply to stop paying vehicle tax.” So, they’ve put a pretty fine point on what’s legally considered a classic car. But most purists would consider a car a classic only if it’s very old – from 1915 to 1948. Anything newer is colloquially referred to as simply vintage. But for the purposes of classic car welding, we’re taking the legal definition.

2. And what is classic car welding?

Classic car welding is a speciality service offered by reputable bodywork shops. Welding is a process that secures two metal pieces together without a binder material. But with classic cars, you’ll want to consider how these welds were completed on the original piece, the materials you’re welding and their use. Using the wrong type of weld can yield disappointing and obvious repair results. So, you’ll want your classic car welding team to understand the different types of welds and how they will impact your finished rebuild or restoration.

3. Types and purposes of classic car welding:

There are different types of welds that a bodyworks shop might use on your classic car and unique reasons for undertaking a welding job.

Some of these include:

  • TIG and MIG welding – MIG is slightly preferred over TIG, but the correct weld for your car depends on the application. According to American Torch Tip, “The difference between the two is the way the arc is used. MIG (metal inert gas) welding uses a feed wire that constantly moves through the gun to create the spark, then melts to form the weld. TIG (tungsten inert gas) welding uses long rods to fuse two metals directly together.”
  • Spot welding – TWI Global explains, “Spot welding (also known as resistance spot welding) is a resistance welding process. This welding process is used primarily for welding two or more metal sheets together by applying pressure and heat from an electric current to the weld area.” It’s generally appropriate for low carbon steel fusing.
  • Adding new and replacement parts – If welds are required internally or externally, extra care must be taken to prevent spark and fire damage to existing hardware and upholstery. There are specialist techniques available for welding parts near electricals that you should discuss with your classic car welder.
  • Welding panel sections – In restoration, welding panel sections can be tricky to do without getting any warping. A good shop will tell you that you need to butt weld without overlapping the seams and never ever do a stitch weld. You’ll need to go to a shop for this because the tack welds you do place must be air nozzle cooled instead of water-cooled. And most home shops don’t have the right equipment for this work.
  • Cast iron, aluminium and steel repairs – Cast iron and aluminium are fairly difficult materials to work with. According to Building Conservation, “Cast iron can be repaired using a variety of processes according to the exact nature of the cast iron and the circumstances in which the repair must be performed. These processes include specialised welding techniques, cold metal stitching, and various types of reinforcement.” Similarly, an expert shop will know what classic car repair techniques to use for each of your aluminium or steel parts.

4. Average classic car welding costs in the UK

Most of the time, welds are priced per square inch or square millimetre patch. If you’re patching good metal and you’re not dressing the weld on a 4-inch by 4-inch patch, £80 GBP is reasonable. If you want it prepped and painted, that’s going to cost more. And if you need a job quoted by the hour, £11.79 is the median wage for a mid-career auto mechanic with welding skills and  5-9 years of experience. But that’s not including any margins for the shop on top, so expect to pay around £40 per hour as the average classic car welding costs in the UK.

5. Why do you need a classic car welding expert?

Improper welding techniques even plague original factory production line vehicles to this day. So, when you’re doing a classic car restoration, you might be dealing with welds that were never really fit for purpose, to begin with. You need a classic car welding expert to ensure that your restoration investment is safe and roadworthy. That’s a must. Beyond that, they have the skills and expertise to apply welds that fit in with the other joins and won’t look out of place. They can work near electricals safely and they practice the most up to date techniques to reduce the risk of spark damage. Lastly, they will update you at each stage of the process so you can keep your project within the timeline and budget.

 

There’s more to welding than getting a machine and putting fire to metal. Using the right type of weld for the job is critical to getting a high-quality classic car repair. If you have a welding job, let’s talk about how we can help.

Is it worth repairing a car after an accident?

If you’ve just been in a collision, you’re probably wondering if it’s worth repairing a car after an accident. And you’re not alone. That’s a question that tens of thousands of us in the UK ask every year. According to the most recent data, “In 2018, there were 122,635 reported road traffic accidents of all severities, a rate of 370 accidents per billion vehicle miles. […] Non-fatal (and particularly slight) casualties are sometimes not reported to the police, so reported road traffic accidents may underestimate the actual number of accidents.” So, if you’ve had an accident, here’s how to decide if it’s worth repairing your car after a collision.

1. Common vehicle accidents in the UK

Chances are you’ve had a rear-end collision. According to Business Motoring, “A rear-end collision was found to be the most common type of crash with a massive 38% of all collisions. Other common collision types were junction collisions, which accounted for just 13%, and after that, roundabout collisions which came in at 6%.” And remember that little bumps and scuffs almost never get reported, so every trolley or bollard that gets run into wouldn’t be in these results.

2. Who do you need to tell after an accident?

Before we get into the costs, it’s worth reminding everyone to contact their insurer if they’ve been in an accident. According to GoCompare, “Always tell your insurer about an accident straight away, even if you don’t want to make a claim. The other driver could make a claim against you so it’s best to let your insurer know your side of the story first. Your insurer should now handle the claim for you.” If the other person didn’t stop, the other driver is not around or you feel unsafe, it’s worth contacting the police as well. And if anyone is hurt, call for an ambulance before you do anything else.

3. Is it worth repairing your car after an accident?

Once you’ve let insurance and anyone else involved know about the accident, it’s time to think about repairs. Your car insurance company will assess the value of your car before the accident, the scope of the repairs needed and determine if it’s worth repairing. If the repairs cost less than your excess, you should do this repair on your own. If repairs are more than the value of your car, then your car is written off and you will get a settlement for it. And you can buy the car and repair it on your own after that if it’s not Cat A or B. However, if the insurance company is not willing to repair the car it is probably not worth repairing at all unless:

  • It has sentimental value to you
  • If the repairs are less than the cost of a new car and you need transport
  • You’re going to restore the car to its original glory and there’s a resale market for it
  • You’re going to refurbish or customise the car and there’s a resale market for it

4. Common vehicle accident repairs & average costs

According to This Is Money, “The ‘true monetary cost’ of being involved in a shunt on the road is £415, whether a driver pays the repair costs themselves or claims on their insurance policy, data from a comparison website shows. However, if motorists do the latter, the result is an average increase to their next premium of 9 per cent – the equivalent of another £69 a year.” Since rear-end collisions are the most common accident, the most common vehicle repairs are for bumpers, lights and paintwork. So, if you need to repair deep scratches, expect to pay between £180 and £240 and work can be completed the same day. If the bumper is just a little dented, this is a quick fix and costs less than a full replacement at £300 to £700. And big, deep dents are around £220 to £450 per panel. Lastly, if you’ve dinged an alloy wheel, expect to pay £90 for an average edge repair. If you need a new tyre, expect to add £40 or more to that figure. But if you’ve hit your headlamp and damaged it beyond repair, expect a hefty bill on some modern cars. The Express reports, “blown headlight bubbles can cost as much as £846 on some of the most popular cars in Britain.”

5. Choosing a good repair shop

If you’re not sure how to choose a good repair shop, Which suggests, “search online to create a shortlist of garages near you – if you need to leave your car at the garage, which is highly likely, you’ll be glad it’s not too far away. Then ask local social media groups, friends and family for recommendations and search online for reviews, bearing in mind reviews or testimonials on the garage’s own website are unlikely to give a balanced view.” Call ahead and get a general quote for the work based on your damage photos. And when you arrive, get one that includes parts, labour and VAT for factory-original or approved parts. When the work is done, ask them to show you in detail what they’ve done so you know what’s been worked on. And keep all the paperwork safe afterwards.

6. What to do after your car accident repair

Even if you are footing the bill for a car repair yourself, you’ll need to tell your insurance company. Not reporting a collision can invalidate your policy and then you won’t be covered if you have a major incident. After the repair is finished, get a written receipt from the repair shop that includes any warranties on the parts or work. If you’re not happy with the work that’s been completed, talk to the garage first. They’ll likely want to rectify the situation. If they don’t, document everything and talk to Citizen’s Advice for help.

 

Repairing a car after an accident is a largely personal decision. It might be based on the value of your car, your financial situation, what you want to do with it or if it means something to you overall. If you do decide to go ahead with a car accident repair, let’s talk about your needs.

How do you fully restore a motorcycle?

Unsure how you fully restore a motorcycle? There are a few established ways to repair, protect and upgrade classic motorcycles. We’ll cover the basics of restoration, the most common motorcycles to restore and the easiest motorcycles for beginners to restore. We’ll talk you through the steps in motorcycle restoration and when it might be best to bring in professional support like Whites Bodyworks. How do you fully restore a motorcycle? We’ll break it down.

1. What does restoration mean?

Many people conflate a restoration with a rebuild. Motorcycle restoration involves bringing your bike back to its original condition. It’s more expensive and time-consuming than rebuilding or refurbishing a motorcycle. That’s because you’ll need to source original parts. According to Heritage, “You’ll need to strip it down to its bare minimum and go piece-by-piece, often having to spend additional time sourcing exactly what is required at each stage of the restoration process. However, if you have the cash and you have the time, then it can still be a very rewarding undertaking.” You can also get the support of a professional body shop to help with your motorcycle restoration. If you’re doing it yourself, remember that this will be a long process that can take years. So, make sure you’re committed to seeing the project through before you take anything apart.

2. What are the most common motorcycles for restoration?

According to Motorcycle Habit, “The easiest motorcycles to restore are generally Japanese brand motorcycles made between the late [’60s to late ’80s].  They are easy to find, easy to work on, and cost very little compared to other motorcycles.” Popular restoration brands include Honda, Yamaha, Kawasaki, and Suzuki. And, according to Bennetts, they recommend purchasing these while they’re affordable before they increase in value:

  • 1996 Suzuki GSF1200 Bandit
  • 2005 Suzuki GSX-R1000K5
  • 1985 Yamaha V-Max
  • 1993 Ducati M900 Monster
  • 1994 BMW R 1100 GS

A restoration of one of these popular cycles could see you realise a significant upside on your investment after you put the time into them. Consider joining owners forums and talking to other owners about their refurbishment journey. They may even have tips on where to find great parts that can save you time and money.

3. What is the easiest motorcycle to restore?

Any bike can be easy to restore, provided you can get the parts. According to Carole Nash, “As a rule, motorcycle manufacturers make spare parts for their bikes available for around 15 years after production ends, after which you’ll be looking for new, old stock (NOS), second hand, reconditioned, remanufactured or pattern parts. If your bike is popular, and there are loads on the road, then the chances are you’ll be able to find spares relatively easily – either second hand or new parts made by a specialist.” So you’ll want to find a bike that’s fairly popular so you’ve got the support and parts you need. Consider a rolling refurbishment instead of a bike that’s in pieces. That means you buy a bike that works but needs some reconditioning or replacement parts to really make it shine. That’s opposed to a motorcycle that’s already someone else’s failed project. They suggest trying your hand at a Honda C90 Super Cub or similar for your first motorcycle restoration project. Above all, make it fun and try to get enjoyment out of the process. Don’t go into your first restoration trying to make a ton of money or refurbish a rare bike. It will only lead to disappointment.

4. How much does it cost to restore a motorcycle?

Expect to spend around £1000 to restore the average classic motorcycle in the UK – if you do all the work yourself. If you hire someone to help, expect to pay 2-3 times more. According to Planit, “At present, the apprentice rate, for those aged under 19 or aged 19 or over and in the first year of their apprenticeship, is £4.30 an hour (1 April 2021). Salaries for newly qualified motorcycle technicians tend to be around £16,000 a year, rising with experience from around £22,000 to over £30,000 a year.” Most experienced motorcycle restoration technicians charge around £30/hour. That means a week of expert work on your bike will be over £1000. This can double or triple your outlay. So be aware of what work your bike needs, how much your garage charges and how much you can tackle yourself in order to properly budget for your project.

5. What are the steps in motorcycle restoration?

The steps in a motorcycle restoration will vary based on the condition of your bike and if it is kept outdoors. But here are the basic steps in a motorcycle restoration:

  1. Create a dedicated workspace.
  2. Buy a bike lift.
  3. Buy the owner’s manual for your bike.
  4. Take a picture of everything before you take it apart.
  5. Strip all the parts to clean them, bag them and photograph them.
  6. Create a list of everything that’s not in working condition.
  7. Order parts in order of importance and note on the list what’s arriving when.
  8. Jobs should follow this order (generally): battery, carbs, fuel tank, rust, electrics, spark plugs, brakes, consumables and lastly any cosmetics.

Anything that you’ve replaced that’s still in good working order you can sell on eBay or Facebook to other eager motorcycle enthusiasts.

6. Why do I want professional help with motorcycle restoration?

If this looks like too much work and you just want a nice-looking classic bike to roll around on, then it’s best to talk to a professional. They can help you fit pieces that require expensive specialist tools or help source hard-to-get parts. There’s no need to have the entire contents of a Kwik Fit in your garage for a small job you’ll not need to do again. Maybe you had a difficult time sourcing a part and want to be 100% sure it’s fit correctly to prevent riding damage. Call us. We can help you with your classic motorcycle restoration and repairs no matter what type of classic bike you have. Talk to our helpful team of restorers today.

Why is petrol changing from E5 to E10?

If you’ve heard the buzz lately, you probably know that petrol is changing from E5 to E10. But you might not know what that means, how it affects you (and your classic car) and what you can do about it. We’ll share more information, resources to help you check your vehicles’ compatibility and explore the effect this change will have on older models.

1. What is E5 and E10 fuel?

According to GOV.UK, “E10 petrol contains up to 10% renewable ethanol, which will help to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions associated with petrol vehicles and tackle climate change. Petrol in the UK currently contains up to 5% renewable ethanol (known as E5). E10 petrol is already widely used around the world, including across Europe, the US and Australia. It has also been the reference fuel against which new cars are tested for emissions and performance since 2016.” So, the difference between the two is how much concentration of renewable ethanol it contains. If your car was made before 2002, it might not be compatible – which is an issue for classic cars. And if you have a diesel-powered vehicle, you won’t be impacted by this change at all.

2. Why is fuel changing to E10?

Climate change is a huge problem and the UK is trying to do everything it can to reduce emissions. And E10 fuel has less CO2 output. By making this change, it’s expected we can save 750,000 tonnes of emissions a year. In addition to climate change, it has some impacts on performance. According to E10 Info, “Ethanol has benefits for engine performance, including by boosting the octane rating when blended with petrol, allowing the development of more efficient engines. While drivers may notice a slight increase (1-2%) in fuel consumption with the use of E10, this is minor compared to other factors such as vehicle maintenance or driving style.” Plus, the ethanol made from ePURE members puts investment back into the pockets of European farmers, strengthening agriculture on the continent.

3. When and where will the E10 petrol change happen?

It’s already happened in most of the UK. According to GOV.UK, “E10 is becoming the standard petrol grade in Great Britain, meaning E10 petrol will be available at almost all petrol stations across England, Scotland and Wales. In Northern Ireland, we expect the introduction to happen in early 2022, subject to legislative approval.” If the petrol station has a range of petrol, you will see E10 (95 octane) and E5 (97+ octane) petrol. And rural stations may only have one or the other. Eventually, you will not be able to get E5 any longer. This change was supposed to be complete by summer 2021 and has simply been impacted by the pandemic.

4. How will this petrol change affect classic cars?

Classic cars were all made long before E10 came into the picture. And they’re not made for it. Ethanol can have a corrosive effect on metal, plastic and rubber parts in the fuel system. While modern cars are tested to withstand this added ethanol now, classic cars were not. Damage caused by E10 in a classic car engine could look like blocked fuel filters, damaged fuel pumps, degradation to flexible fuel hoses or corroded carburettors and fuel tanks. And since ethanol is hygroscopic, it tends to absorb water. So, there’s an increased risk of rust throughout the system. And any of these issues could cause your car to sputter, stutter and just not drive as well as it should. If you’re worried you’ve already put E10 in an old car that shouldn’t have it, just top it up with E5 when you can and try not to repeat the mistake.

5. What cars cannot run on E10 fuel?

According to Leader Live, “Twenty-four per cent of drivers were unaware that a new type of petrol had been introduced at forecourts from September 1. Research from breakdown group the RAC found many drivers did not know the fuel was coming, while 27 per cent have not looked into whether their vehicle is compatible.” And according to I News, “there are some vehicles which are not compatible with E10 fuel. These tend to be vehicles made in the early 2000s, as well as classic cars and some lower-powered mopeds. Estimates suggest between 600,000 and 700,000 older vehicles will not be able to use E10.” Most cars made before 2002 should not be run on E10 fuel. You can check your car here on the government website. And they state that if you’re still not sure, you should check the owner manual, talk to the manufacturer or your dealer or look inside your fuel filler cap for details.

6. Is there anything you can do about it?

If your car cannot run on E10, you can still get E5 (97+ octane) petrol at larger forecourts at a higher price than what you’re used to. Some rural, out of the way or small forecourts may have the old E5 fuel for another few years and you could seek it out that way. But the best advice is to talk to your dealer or a classic car repair shop about how this change is going to impact your car long term. They will likely suggest you renew any old parts that will be affected by this fuel type change with quality parts that are up to scratch.

Summary on E10 petrol

Before you panic and list your classic car up for sale, be assured that you can still get E5 fuel. It’s just going to be more expensive and you’ll need to plan ahead when heading into rural areas. If you do put the wrong fuel in, just put the right one in when the level allows and try not to do that too much. And if you’re really worried about the long-term effects of E10 on your classic car engine, you can swap out parts that are likely to bear the brunt of the impact. We are happy to advise you on how E10 will affect your specific make and model, so reach out to our helpful team today.

Common Causes of Car Breakdowns

There’s nothing worse than when your car breaks down. At White’s Bodyworks in West Sussex, we often see vehicles that have lurched to a halt for one reason or another. Fortunately, if you have some breakdown cover, it’s usually easy to get started again and get repairs carried out.

1. Flat Battery

According to the AA, this is the most common reason they get called out. Flat batteries are more likely in winter and can happen if you leave your lights on or don’t use your car for a long while. Our tip is to double-check you switch everything off when you leave the car and drive regularly to maintain the charge in your battery. That should prevent problems even in cold weather.

2. Lost Keys

Not exactly a breakdown but common nonetheless, people often lose their keys and can’t get into their car at all. There’s a simple solution to this – make sure you keep a spare set at home.

3. Damage to Tyres

The next most common reason that breakdown services are called out is for punctures and other tyre damage.

This can often happen after hitting a pothole or curbside so it’s important to check if you have a little bump like this. Changing a wheel is not that difficult but one thing that people struggle with is getting the nuts off in the first place – make sure you invest in a good jack to solve that problem.

4. Putting in the Wrong Fuel

This can be very frustrating but it happens more often than people think. You’re in a hurry and pick up the wrong nozzle at the petrol station, pouring diesel into your car instead of petrol. There’s no easy solution to this and your tank will need to be drained and flushed through.

The other big cause of a breakdown, of course, is people running out of petrol when they are far from a station. Keep an eye on your petrol gauge and make sure you fill up in time to avoid this.

5. Engine Faults

Other common causes of breakdown include problems with the alternator and the starter motor. Both these can bring you to a complete halt. The symptom of a growing alternator problem is if you are having battery trouble and your lights are dimming while idling.

Starter motor issues can be avoided if you have a regular service that is likely to spot any problems before they get worse.

Why You Should Call White’s Bodyworks

These are the most common reasons for a breakdown but others can be more serious such as faults with the engine. If you spot your engine warning light coming on, it’s critical not to ignore it. The quicker you can get to your local garage, the quicker it can be diagnosed and fixed – leaving things may just make everything worse.

At White’s Bodyworks in West Sussex, we have a whole team of experienced mechanics who can get you on the road again. If you have a problem with your car, contact us to find out how we can help.

5 Best Road Trips for Classic Car Owners

One of the joys of owning a classic car is getting out on the open road. Whether you own a 1960s Morris Minor or something racier like an MG, picking scenic routes to test yourself out on is all part and parcel of owning a vintage vehicle.

We asked some of our vintage car-owning customers which road trips they found most memorable. These are the five they loved the most.

1. The Lake District

Talk to any classic car driver and ask them where they like to take their car and the Lake District more often than not figures in their answer. Located in the North of England, this UNESCO World Heritage Site has many different roads and trails and you can spend a lifetime exploring them.

There are some beautiful villages like Nether Wasdale to explore and England’s biggest body of water, Windermere. While it can be fairly busy during the spring, summer and autumn, one of the best times to drive around the area is the winter. With stunning views and plenty of places to stay, it’s the kind of road trip holiday you’ll revisit again and again.

Check out these 7 scenic drives in the Lake District.

2. North Coast 500

For our next road trip classic, we’re heading further north to Scotland and the almost gothic North Coast. Again, this is another location to visit during the winter, weather permitting, because of the stunning landscape and the surrounding mountains. It’s called the 500 because that’s how many miles you have to cover to complete it all.

You’ll pass through iconic locations such as Loch Ness and Kyle of Lochalsh. There’s even a bridge over to the Isle of Skye. Driving a classic car around this region can truly transport you back in time to when your vehicle was first on the road and give you a real sense of history. Not only that, there are some excellent places to stay and a few good watering holes along the way.

Check out this North Coast 500 planning guide.

3. The Cotswolds

Like the Lake District, the Cotswolds is another favourite with classic car drivers from all around the UK. Best visited in the Spring or Autumn when it’s slightly less busy, this is a great place to stay for a weekend or longer. Travelling through small, rustic villages you again get the chance to be transported back through the ages and experience the world as it was meant to be for your classic car.

With thatched-roof pubs, beautiful scenery and a host of farm shops to visit along the way, there are several different routes to enjoy here. The five best places to have a pit stop during your journey around the hills are Burford, Bourton on the Water, Stow on the Wold, Chipping Camden and Winchcombe.

4. Snowdonia

If you love mountainous landscapes and amazing lakes, along with twisty roads that challenge your driving skills, Snowdonia in Wales has it all. The area is popular with classic car drivers and you’ll often find them meeting up in places like the promenade in Colwyn Bay, usually over the weekend.

Snowdon itself is a spectacular place to take a road trip and it’s sensational at any time of the year. If you don’t like the crowds, avoid the weekends. During weekdays the traffic is fairly manageable and there are plenty of backroads to test your driving skills. Places to visit include Snowdon itself, Beddgelert, Betws y Coed and Llanberis all of which have thriving tourist industries and great pubs and restaurants.

If you don’t mind the cold weather it’s an awesome place to drive when there is snow on the mountains and some of the lakes have frozen over.

5. Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way

Finally, you don’t have to stay in Great Britain for a brilliant road trip. Hop on the ferry and travel over to Ireland to explore the Wild Atlantic Way and you’ll find it a memorable experience. This takes about a week to explore properly and the best time is usually in spring when the flowers and hillsides are just starting to bloom with magnificent colour.

Visit the craggy cliffsides of Donegal and the beautiful towns of County Cork, there are plenty of winding roads that are perfect for sporty classic cars of all ages. You’ll get a warm welcome here and plenty of fresh Guinness when you’ve finished driving around for the day.

Book Your Classic Car into White’s Bodyworks

If you’re planning a road trip in your classic car, it’s always best to get a service and tune-up before you head out to your destination. At White’s Bodyworks in West Sussex, we have an expert team on hand who can quickly make sure that your classic car is in tip-top condition.

Contact us today on 01273 933633 to book in your car.

Car Suspension Problems: A Quick Guide

Most motorists have experienced suspension problems at least once during their driving lifetime. One minute you’re motoring along smoothly, enjoying the road, the next it feels like you’re riding a wagon in the old West.

Suspension issues are fairly common, particularly with older cars, and it’s important to put them right as soon as possible. The poor suspension will not only jar your teeth, it could damage other areas like the tyres. A worn suspension system also increases your stopping distance by as much as 20% so it’s essential to fix for purely safety reasons.

What to Look Out For

Not all suspension problems are easily identifiable. If you’ve hit a pothole on a country road and you find that your car is jarring a lot after that, chances are you’ve damaged something in the suspension.

Another sign, however, is your tyres wearing on one side more than another. Poor handling and loss of stability are other indicators that things are not quite right, either with the suspension or your wheel alignment. Paying a little more attention means that you are likely to spot issues sooner rather than later.

Common Suspension Issues

The suspension system in your car is a lot more complicated than you might think. Areas where breakdowns or issues might occur include:

  • Wheel alignment: If your wheels are not pointing in the right direction it can put stress on the suspension system and prevent this from working properly. Off-kilter wheel alignment is fairly common in many cars and having it checked out not only prevents damage but also improves fuel efficiency on the road.
  • Shock absorbers: These take the brunt of the road’s impact and the first time you’ll notice a difference is if your car ‘bounces’ a bit more after hitting a rough patch of road.
  • Struts: Some cars have struts rather than shock absorbers and these tend to make a knocking sound if something is wrong.
    Springs: These support the weight of the car so are very important. Springs can often get damaged and snap causing a clunking or rattling sound.
  • Ball joints: These are found where the suspension attaches to the wheels and can become worn down over time creating creaking and squeaking sounds.

If you experience any of these issues, it’s important to get your car down to your local garage as soon as possible. Leaving things often mean the damage gets worse which can then mean a bigger repair bill.

At White’s Bodyworks, we handle all kinds of repairs and restorations for vehicles both old and new. Our team of expert mechanics and our fully equipped garage ensures that we get you back on the road as quickly as possible with your car in good health.

If you have suspension issues, contact our team today to book an appointment.

A Quick Guide to Classic Car Clubs in the UK

At White’s Bodyworks in West Sussex, we see quite a few classic cars crossing our forecourt every year and it’s something our team of mechanics are very passionate about.

If you own a vintage vehicle of any type, joining a local or national classic car club is a great idea, not only for meeting likeminded people and attending organised events but getting advice and support and those all-important spare parts.

The good news is that the UK has lots of different clubs and organisations, both national and local, which are easy to join and have numerous benefits for members.

Here’s our quick guide to some of the most popular.

The MG Owners’ Club

Started way back in the early 70s, the MG Owners’ Club has several affiliates or chapters throughout the UK and organises a bunch of tours each year. This gives MG owners the chance to mix with other members and meet up regularly for drives and other events.

MGs are fantastic cars and the company was first created back in the early 1920s. The MGs we’ve all come to know and love began to shape following the Second World War and you’ll often see classics from the 60s and 70s on the road even today.

The MG Owners Club website offers all sorts of hints and tips for owners and includes a robust forum where MG enthusiasts can share information online. Find out more here.

Morris Minor Owners Club

The Morris Minor is probably one of the most popular vintage vehicles in the UK and there are many owners with cars that have been loved and well looked after since the late 1950s and 60s.

This is another long-standing organisation that has several different affiliates around the UK and there are plenty of local club events held throughout the year to take advantage of. Each branch has its website or Facebook page and there’s plenty of opportunities to engage with other members, get access to rare parts and join in at vintage shows. Find out more here.

American Auto Club UK

Many vintage car enthusiasts love American classics and these vehicles always cause a stir at local events. While small compared to other clubs, the American Auto Club runs three major car events during the year as well as those organised by their local affiliates around the country.

There you’ll find a mix of amazing cars from Thunderbirds and Dodges to the odd Corvette and Mustang. We must say, the team at White’s Bodyworks love nothing more than an American classic. Find out more here.

Storrington and District Classic and Sportscar Enthusiasts (SADCASE)

Based in Sussex, SADCASE started in the late noughties and has grown in membership since then. With regular local meets at local spots like the Pagham Beach Café, this is a small but busy club.

They take part in events such as Cranleigh Classic Car Show and are probably one of the leading clubs in the West Sussex area. Membership is free and there is no committee as there is with other clubs – it’s basically about enthusiasts getting together and having fun, often on the spur of the moment. Find out more here.

British Mini Club

Like the much loved Morris Minor, the Mini is another British classic that we often see on our roads. At White’s Bodyworks, we’ve helped restore and maintain a few amazing models over the years.

The British Mini Club was established in 1992 and now has thousands of members across the UK. It’s a more formal club than many others and doesn’t just include classic car owners but modern ones as well. You can benefit from things like discounted insurance and cut-price entry to four major events held throughout the year. Find out more here.

Classic Car Tours

This is less of a club and more of a way to get out and about with like-minded people or on your own. Most classic car owners simply want to travel on the road and these tours held over the year are the perfect way to get involved, meet other car owners and have some fun at the same time.

The Scottish Highland Tour, for example, has 4 nights of accommodation, with food included and some amazing drives through areas like Loch Ness and Inverness. Find out more here.

The Benefits of Joining a Local Classic Car Club

On top of these nationally focused classic car clubs, you’ll be able to find some local to you as well. A few of these may focus on a particular make or model, others are simply about vintage cars in general and getting together as a community. There are some benefits to joining clubs like these:

  • The first is the sharing of information and advice. The great thing about classic car owners is that they’re always there to help, whether it’s advising on how to best renovate a vehicle, where to find rare parts or what events to join in with.
  • Many clubs also offer members discounts on a variety of things such as insurance and cut-price entry to local and national gatherings.
  • If you’re looking to buy a vehicle, joining a classic car club is a great way to keep your pulse on the latest offerings. Many sites have retail sections with vehicles and parts on sale from members.

At White’s Bodyworks, we often pay a visit to local classic car events around West Sussex and the Home Counties. Many of our team have a passion for vintage vehicles and motorbikes and love nothing more than chewing the fat with other enthusiasts. It’s also a great opportunity to see some amazing vehicles up close.

If you need repair or restoration work carried out on your classic car or simply want a service and MOT, contact the team at White’s Bodyworks today. Our fully equipped garage and our high level of expertise mean that we can offer a one-stop-shop for all your needs.

What is an Insurance Write-Off?

If your car has been damaged in an accident and the insurance company has suddenly declared it a write-off, understanding why that decision was made can be a little confusing. In some cases, the car can still be driven but the company want to give you a cheque for it and not bother with repairs.

At White’s Bodyworks in West Sussex, we often handle the repairs for vehicles that have been involved in a collision of some sort. Here’s our quick guide to insurance write-offs and what you need to know. They’re not as complex as you might think.

What Does Writing Off a Vehicle Mean?

A vehicle that has sustained damage during an accident has to be assessed by the insurance company and whether repairs are viable. A decision to write the vehicle off is usually made for two reasons:

  • The damage is such that the vehicle will not be safe once repaired.
  • The cost of repairing the vehicle means the insurance company will be paying out more than the value of the car making it financially unviable.

For a lot of accidents, the economic reason is by far the most common – it’s simply not worth the insurance companies while to pay for expensive repairs.

Each insurance company has its way of assessing whether a car is a write-off or not but there are certain parameters they all follow. Working with a garage that can liaise directly with the insurance company can help. If they’re experienced at dealing with accident repairs and assessing damage, they can negotiate your side if you want to keep the vehicle rather than scrap it.

The truth is, even if your car doesn’t look too bad on the outside after the accident, it could be written off for a variety of reasons. This can get some car owners hot under the collar, especially if they want to keep their car and have it repaired rather than replaced. For that reason alone, it’s a good idea to have your mechanic onboard.

Write-Off Categories

There are four separate categories for a write-off. Once one has been declared, the insurance company will inform you which your car falls into:

  • Category A: Your car is either too old or too damaged to be repaired. It also means the individual car parts can’t be sold on for any purpose and the vehicle is to be sent for scrap.
  • Category B: The car again is too old or too damaged for repairs. In this case, however, some of the parts may be removed for resale and can be used in other vehicles. This needs to be done by an expert such as a breakers yard.
  • Category S: Here the car is deemed structurally repairable. This could mean there is, for example, damage to the chassis but the car can be repaired. It needs to be reregistered with the DVLA and can then be sold second hand. Basically, here the insurance company is writing-off for economic reasons.
  • Category N: The car has non-structural damage that is superficial but reparable. The car does not need to be re-registered once repaired but any new buyer does need to be notified that the vehicle was declared a write-off. Again, this is an economic decision.

Some people are surprised when their car is written off. It can, unfortunately, comes down to the age of the car or van and whether the cost of repairing is greater than the cost of the asset itself. In other words, damage to your car doesn’t necessarily have to prevent it from running for a write-off to be declared by the insurance company.

If you disagree with the write-off for your vehicle, you can go back to the insurance company and ask them to review their decision. The long and short of it is that the insurance assessors base their decision on the current value of your vehicle and not what you bought it for. That means older cars are more likely to be written off because their value has dropped so much.

Can I Buy My Car Back?

If your car is written-off in category S or N, you can buy it back but it’s important to let your insurance company know that you want to do this as soon as possible. Bear in mind, once the insurance company agrees on a settlement fee with you then they own the vehicle and not you.

If you are planning to buy back your car after a write-off, it’s also important to get a qualified mechanic to look at your vehicle first so they can assess the damage and how much it is going to cost to put right.
At White’s Bodyworks, we can handle all kinds of accident repairs, from small dings and scrapes to major collisions. We’ll also be able to liaise with your insurance company so that everything runs as smoothly as possible.

Contact our expert team in West Sussex today to find out how we can help with everything from repairs and renovations to MOTs and servicing.

A Guide to Removing Dents and Dings

There’s nothing worse for a car owner than finding a dent or ding that has appeared almost magically out of nowhere. At White’s Bodyworks in West Sussex, we see a lot of vehicles from classics to modern cars with some form of body damage.

Even if you’re the most careful driver in the world, dents can occur for a variety of reasons. We all have to accept that they’re simply a fact of life. The longer you have a car, the more likely you are going to get one at some point.

It’s important to do something about dents, however, especially if the paintwork is broken. Leaving the damage can mean damp gets under the surface causing the metal to rust. Bigger dents can be more of a problem, for example, stopping you opening and closing your door properly.

Common Causes of Dents and Dings

Did you know that you are more likely to damage your car in a car park than anywhere else?

With people moving in and out of spaces, objects like supermarket trolleys to collide with and the general bustle of the location, it’s not so much of a surprise that car damage is often caused. People have a small collision when reversing into a parking space or they don’t see a post or trolley when opening their door to get out.

Footballs, golf balls, even cricket balls: we’ve seen the damage caused by all of these when car owners come into our garage in West Sussex. The truth is that people can’t avoid this type of external action. We’ve lost count of the number of cars that have come to us where the door or side panel has been scratched by a passing supermarket trolley.

Then there are acts of nature, of course. One of the big issues is debris on the road itself. Stones that are spat up by the wheels of the vehicle in front, flying pieces of branches during high winds and even heavy hailstones can all cause minor but noticeable damage.

Types of Dents and Dings

We see all sorts of damage at White’s Bodyworks. The most common are:

  • Sharp or angular dents are easiest to notice and usually occur because of a significant impact. They can be difficult to repair using a home kit and generally require the expertise of a garage.
  • Creased dents can often follow the contour of a car and can be quite unsightly. They tend to be larger and longer than sharp dents and a little more problematic in repairing.
  • Round dents are more common and often caused by a direct impact. If the paint hasn’t been broken and you have a little know-how, these can often be massaged out.
  • Dings: These are generally caused by small objects such as stones and hail hitting the car or small bumps such as door collisions.

Repairing at Home

There are plenty of kits on the market for getting out dents and dings and they can be useful for small areas of damage. If you get the application wrong, however, it can cause more damage and a bigger garage bill.

For example, dent pullers work on fairly shallow damage that is on a flat surface. The area you need to pull, however, needs to be flexible to work with. If the surface is also creased or scratched, these DIY kits will only do part of the job.

Getting Professional Dent and Ding Removal

While it might cost a little more, getting professional dent removal through a reputable garage is always the best solution. They will have the right equipment and the necessary expertise to get it right the first time.

Once they have finished, you should barely be able to see where the dent was, if at all. If the paintwork is scratched, it’s also important to match the colour up perfectly, something which a garage should easily be able to do.

Contact White’s Bodyworks For Dent and Ding Removal

At White’s Bodyworks in West Sussex, we’ve got all the expertise and equipment you need to do a good job in removing any car body damage. We’re the local experts at returning your car to pristine conditions.

Whether you’ve had a prang in the car park, got caught out by a flying golf ball or discovered a mysterious dent on your door, contact us today to find out how we can help.


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