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What is Wear and Tear?

Wear and tear is defined as when regular day-to-day driving results in the gradual deterioration of a vehicle. In other words, it’s damage caused to the vehicle that isn’t a result of an accident, negligence, or an unexpected failure. It’s reasonable for all motorists owning a car of high mileage to expect issues associated with wear and tear at some point during their vehicles’ lifespan.

 

What Are the Common Signs of Wear and Tear?

Many parts of your vehicle will likely be susceptible to wear and tear. The most common are:

 

  • Tyres
  • Batteries 
  • Brakes
  • Steering

 

Let’s take a look at each in a little more detail.

 

Tyres

Over time, constant friction between your tyres and the road will result in the tread of you tyres wearing away. The tread ensures proper traction and is responsible for ensuring your car stays gripped to the road.

By law, it’s required that tyres are replaced when the depth of the tread reaches 1.6mm or lower. In reality, motorists should be replacing their tyres far before this legal requirement. To keep safe, exchange your tyres when the wear and tear results in the tread reaching around 3.6mm.

 

Batteries

Batteries are responsible for providing power to your whole vehicle. Without a working battery, a vehicle will not start. Batteries work by storing energy when the car is in motion, then expending that energy to start the engine after the car has been idle.

Unfortunately, car batteries (like any other battery) are susceptible to wear and tear, and will lose their ability to properly store energy. Signs of a deteriorating battery include dimmer lights or a warning sign on your dashboard.

 

Brakes

Brakes are perhaps the most vital safety feature of your vehicle, so it’s important that we recognise the signs of wear and tear on them. Squeaking brakes, longer stopping distances and a spongy pedal can all be signs that your brakes are on their way out.

Signs of faulty brakes should be immediately investigated by a mechanic. If you’re driving and you believe your brakes are no longer working as intended, pull over when it is safe to do so and contact your breakdown cover provider.

 

Steering

Many cars on the road these days make use of power steering. Power steering makes controlling a vehicle much easier, but can be subject to wear and tear. The fluid that aids power steering can leak into your steering system, resulting in unresponsive and janky steering.

 

Keep On Top of Wear and Tear with German Car Specialists

If you vehicle has any of the above symptoms, or you’re suspecting it may be showing the signs of wear and tear, we can help. Our experts will diagnose the issue and get it sorted with transparency and at a competitive price.

If you’d like to book in or find out more, give us a call on 0161 476 4422, or, alternatively, fill in a quick and easy contact form and we’ll be in touch very soon!

An image of the underside of a car, showing the exhaust.

How to Prevent Catalytic Converter Theft

You may have heard that there has been a recent spike in catalytic converter theft across the country. These particular components contain small amounts of valuable metals, particularly platinum, that fetch a pretty penny at scrap yards.

Thieves have been targeting older Honda Jazz models (pre 2008) because the catalytic converters are easier to get to. Hybrid cars are also a prime target because they have higher quantities of the valuable metals. While German vehicles are not on top of the list, reports of BMW, VW and Audi catalytic converter thefts have been reported.

We would hate for any of our readers to be victims of such an appalling crime, so we’ve put together a short list of actions you can take to reduce the chance of your catalytic converter being stolen.

Keep your vehicle in a locked garage overnight

When possible, ensure your vehicle is kept locked up during the night. It may seem obvious, but a lot of people use their garages for storage or another purpose. If you’re worried that your vehicle may be at risk, it might be time to clear some space and ensure your vehicle is kept safe.

Park facing a wall

Many catalytic converters are located at the front of your vehicle where the exhaust enters the engine. If you park with the bonnet against the wall, you’re making it much more difficult for thieves to access the part. Furthermore, try and park between cars whenever possible. By reducing space both at the front and at the side of your vehicle, you’re ensuring theft is as tricky as it can be.

Park partly on the curb

If bay parking isn’t an option, consider parking half on the curb (just make sure you aren’t blocking pedestrians). You may be able to park in such a way that your catalytic converter is close enough to the curb to make it very difficult to remove.

Purchase anti-theft products

There are several anti-theft products available on the market. Toyota, for example, have created a cage-like device that you can attach to your catalytic converter to make it much more difficult to steal.

You can invest in a tilt alarm that will alert pedestrians if a thief jacks up your car to steal the catalytic converter.

If you park on the street or a driveway, consider CCTV that points towards your vehicle.

Avoid public car parks

It’s not always easy, but avoiding public car parks will reduce the chance of you being a victim of theft. Many catalytic converter thieves are committing the crime in public car parks during broad daylight. If you have no other option, ensure you are parking in a busy, well-lit car park and are following the tips above.

German Specialists Ltd

We sincerely hope that none of our readers are victims of catalytic converter theft. If the worst does happen, German Specialists are here to help you get sorted. We also provide a wealth of other services, from MOTs to ECU Mapping. If you would like to know more or book a service, give us a call on 0161 476 4422 or fill in a contact form and we’ll be in touch promptly.

An image of a tyre track indented in the snow.

How Winter Tyres Make Your Car Safer

During the cold winter months, it is vital we take extra precautions to ensure we are safe on the road. In an ideal world, we wouldn’t drive when faced with the threat of ice and snow, but if you need to get to work or pick the kids up from school, you are left with little choice. If you fall into this category, it is essential for both your own and your family’s safety to equip your vehicle with winter tyres. Here’s how winter tyres help keep you safe in the cold months.

Softer Compound

Winter tyres are made with a higher rubber content than regular tyres, resulting in a softer material. This allows the tyres to better grip the road during frost, ice, snow, sludge, rain and mud. Additionally, the softer tyres do not harden as much as their regular counterparts during freezing conditions, ensuring they work effectively regardless of the temperature.

Even when there’s a downpour because it isn’t cold enough to snow, you will still reap the benefit of winter tyres; they’re designed to be effective in the wet as well as the cold.

Larger Grooves

The grooves on your tyres allow water to pass through them. They help to keep the rubber in contact with the road, and reduce the chance of skidding or aquaplaning. During winter, however, there’s a good chance that your tyres will have to contend with more than just water. Winter tyres have wider, deeper grooves that allow more water to pass through, and are better suited to handling snow and sludge.

Increased Tread Depth

Your tyre’s tread is the part that comes into direct contact with the road. It ensures proper traction, consistent acceleration and a safe stopping distance.

Having a low tread depth (beneath 1.6mm) is both unlawful and unsafe. In the winter, it is important that your tread depth is significantly higher than the minimum. Winter tyres have a tread depth of up to 9mm, giving your vehicle the ability to stay glued to the road.

Get Your Winter Tyres Today at German Specialists Ltd

You can’t put a price on safety. If you are spending a lot of time in your vehicle this winter, we recommend that you invest in some winter tyres.

German Specialists Ltd provide safe, reliable and affordable winter tyres. If you are based in or around Stockport, South Manchester or Cheshire, please give us a call on 01614764422 to see how we can help. Alternatively, you can fill in a contact form and we will be in touch.

Image of a red car covered in snow. The car has its lights on, and has been serviced so that it is prepared to survive the winter weather.

Car Servicing Tips: How Do I Prepare My Car For Winter?

There’s no time like the present to get your car in top shape. If you want your vehicle to stay out of trouble throughout the winter, read on for our checklist for vital car servicing checks this season.

Your Car Servicing Tips This Winter

Tyres

In winter, your vehicle’s tyre conditions are really important to help control steering and braking.

Check your tyres have

    Correct tread depth: It is recommended to have 3mm of tread depth in winter (as opposed to the legal minimum of 1.6mm) for maximum grip on the roads.

 

    Correct tyre pressure: This varies from car to car, but you can check your owners manual for the correct pressure recommendation, and a mechanic will check this at a servicing.

 

    It is best practise to regularly check your tyre tread and rotate them often.

 

    Consider changing over to winter tyres even if the weather is not expected to be extreme.

Battery

Your car battery is put under extra strain in the winter. If you are starting your car in the cold, make sure you check for signs of pressure so you aren’t faced with a flat battery.

    A car battery lasts around 5 years, if it’s getting close to this time, get yours checked or replaced.

 

    Your car battery would be checked during a servicing procedure. A mechanic would also check for signs of strain from increased use of demisters and lights.

Oil

    Keep your oil levels topped up and check them regularly against the minimum and maximum levels on your car’s dipstick.

 

    Booking in for a winter car servicing will ensure your oil levels are checked alongside your oil filter.

Brakes

    Braking can be more difficult and stopping distances can increase up to 10x in the winter. Get your brakes checked and serviced to ensure the system, fluids and pads are all in check.

Lights

    Check all lights are functioning correctly and are clean, as maximum visibility is required in the shorter days and poorer weather of winter.

Heater

Check before a long journey or when you will need your car early in the morning and late at night that its heating system is working properly.
Heated windows, demisters and air conditioning should be regularly tested to ensure a car can defrost properly and stay warm.

Fuel

    It is a good rule of thumb to keep at least half a tank of fuel in your vehicle at all times in the winter so that your car is not struggling and you are less likely to break down on the side of the road in the cold!

Fluids

    Antifreeze: Top this up during the winter so your engine does not freeze. You MUST check you have the correct antifreeze specification for your vehicle model (you can find this in the manufacturer’s guide for your vehicle).

 

    Brake Fluid: When you have your car serviced, the mechanic will check your brake fluid is sufficient for reliable braking in the winter.

 

    Windscreen Washer Fluid: Check your fluid levels to avoid freezing and ensure it is on hand to help clear your windscreen. Alongside this, check your front and rear wipers for cracks or signs of perishing so that they can work well to clear your windscreen of obstructions.

Windscreen

    Chips: repair chips and damage to your windscreen in good time so that they do not worsen or become cracks through freeze-thawing.

General Winter Driving Tips

Survival Pack: In the unfortunate event of a breakdown in winter, pack a ‘survival kit’ for emergencies. This may be as simple as food, drink, a torch and warm clothing while you wait for rescue, or you could ensure it contained jumper leads, a shovel and other essentials to see if you can get yourself running again.

Have a small piece of old carpet or a mat on hand when driving in the snow. If you get stuck, it may be as simple as placing this under the tyres to give them more traction and get you moving again.

Defrosting: Fully defrost your car before setting off. If there is snow on the roof of your car, safely remove it before driving so that it does not slip down and obstruct your view on your journey.

Time: Make sure you give yourself extra time at the start of your journey for de-icing and essential car checks before you set off. You may have to drive slower than expected or meet additional traffic, so bear this in mind too.

Phone: Keep a spare phone charger (preferably portable) on you so that you can contact your breakdown cover service or a trusted person in the event of an emergency.

Driving: General rule of thumb in the winter is to drive slower, brake sooner and not suddenly, and maintain controlled steering throughout your journey. Following this style of driving will help reduce the risk of skidding and make sure you have enough time to deal with any hazards you may encounter on your journey.

German Car Specialists Can Service Your Car This Winter

If you don’t want to worry about making sure you’ve successfully serviced your car and spotted any faults this winter, then German Specialists Ltd are on hand to do it all for you! We have successfully serviced cars for over 20 years and kept them going throughout the cold winter months. Our car servicing is always trustworthy and of the standard of a manufacturer’s servicing. We are based in Stockport and provide our services to the surrounding areas. If you would like to get in touch with us to enquire about a car service, please do call us on 0161 476 4422 or use our contact form to get in touch.

An image of a car steering wheel and dashboard, with picturesque views in the windscreen

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Trouble With Loose Steering?

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Keep Your Car’s Air Conditioning System Healthy This Winter

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Looking After Your Leather Car Seats

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