It’s proving to be a stellar year for superminis – all-new kids on the block include the transformed Nissan Micra and latest version of the market-leading Ford Fiesta. Now it’s Seat’s turn with the fifth-generation of the popular Ibiza. Originally launched in 1984, it’s the Spanish brand’s best-selling model with more than 5.4 million sold. …
Want to ensure your vehicles pass their MOT? Worried about your business if your vehicles fail? Then read on to discover our hints and tips for making sure your vehicles pass their MOT.
Most important of all is to ensure you stay on top of vehicle maintenance. Don’t leave things to the last minute; keep an eye on your vehicles all year round. Here are a few things to look out for:
Checks to undertake
Look at the wheels and tyres of your vehicles and ensure they are of a suitable type and size. Also, examine the tyres to check that the treads are still deep enough to be legal. Depending on the size of your business vehicles the required depth may differ, but for cars and vans its usually 1.6mm. A quick rule of thumb is to slot a 20 pence piece into the tyre tread, if the outer rim is hidden from view, then the depth is sufficient. Just remember this has to be the case across the central three-quarters of the tyre and all the way around. There’s lots of advice about tyre safety available online if you need it.
Lights, wipers, action
Next, look to your lights, all of which need to be working correctly and don’t forget to check the indicators too. An un-obscured view of the road is, of course, crucial, so check that the windscreen wipers are working and that there is nothing masking your view through the windscreens. Check the condition of your windscreens too, as cracks or chips could result in a MOT fail.
Don’t forget that your registration plates must be clear to view and securely in place, so give them a wipe and a check. Moreover, to pass their MOT tests the structure of your vehicles must be in reasonable condition, with no obvious damage or corrosion, including the doors, which should open and close firmly. In addition, check all of the vehicles’ fluids are topped up, including windscreen washer, oil and brake fluid. If the mechanics conducting your MOT tests can’t undertake the required emissions tests, your vehicles will fail.
Speed, horn, seats
Inside your vehicles check that there are no warning lights operating (if there are, check them out and resolve any problems before your MOT). Also, confirm the speedometers are operating, that the horns can emit an appropriate sound and that all of the required mirrors are present and positioned correctly. In addition, check the seating is secure and that all seatbelts are in good repair and functioning correctly. This list is not exhaustive, but it’s a handy overview of elements to check before your vehicles head off for their MOT.
Services and maintenance
The most significant thing you can do to ensure your vehicles pass their MOTs is to keep their services up-to-date, don’t scrimp on them. If you’re concerned about the maintenance of your business vehicles, one option is to look into putting a maintenance contract in place, but for a small business, this is not likely to be financially viable. However, you do have another option.
Vehicle maintenance a worry?
Don’t want the burden of maintenance? Then consider leasing vehicles instead, and you’ll never have to worry about maintenance again. Having reliable vehicles is one important step towards securing the future of your business so that you can count on your vehicles, and your customers can count on you. Lease business vehicles and you’ll have the best chance of being where you need to be on time. Find a van leasing company so that you can get out on the road in a vehicle fit for your business.
Automotive technology is constantly improving and modern cars are often capable of clocking up more miles than could ever have been dreamt of in the past coupled with ever-increasing service intervals. It almost seems as though we can now simply forget about engine maintenance. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth and keeping an engine in perfect working order requires rather more than good luck! There are a few simple measures that go a long way towards keeping the engine running well, lasting longer and with reduced risk of breakdown.
Frequently Check Oil Levels – This may sound absurdly obvious but it is surprising how many drivers fail to carry out this most basic of all checks. Many cars offer electronic checks of oil levels but these are often wildly inaccurate and only give warning at a very low level. There is no substitute for regular checks on the dipstick.
Change Oil Frequently – The manufacturer’s recommended period between oil changes should be regarded as an absolute maximum figure. Any car subjected to many short journeys or extended periods of high-speed driving will benefit from more frequent changes.
Use Good Quality Oil – Car manufacturers invariably specify suitable grades of oil but even cars for which the lowlier grades are said to suffice will benefit from the use of synthetic or semi-synthetic oils which maintain their viscosity over a wide range of temperatures.
Check Coolant Levels – This is another check that is often overlooked until it is too late. Electronic monitoring of levels is unreliable and waiting until the system overheats often means that major damage has already been done. Obviously, antifreeze should be of the correct concentration and type. Under no circumstances should different types be mixed.
Check the Condition of Belts – Drive belts are an unavoidable feature of car engines powering auxiliary items such as alternators, power steering or air-con. A simple visual inspection and the renewal of any showing signs of wear can help to avoid a future breakdown. For those engines employing belt-driven camshafts, cam-belt failure can be catastrophic. Manufacturers usually specify cam-belt replacement intervals but many breakages still occur within these periods so the best recommendation is to change these belts much more frequently possibly at half of the quoted recommended mileage.
Change Filters Regularly – Oil and air filters lose inefficiency as they are used and so it is essential to change them regularly.
Use the Correct Grade of Fuel – Many cars are designed to run on standard grades of petrol and using a higher octane fuel offers no advantages. Other cars may require a high octane fuel and a lower grade can potentially cause problems such as pre-ignition and overheating. Many others are able to utilise different grades with no risk of damage in which case the higher octane fuels usually offer better performance and efficiency.
Do Not Disregard Engine Warnings – Almost all cars feature a system of on-board diagnostics and any fault usually results in the illumination of a dashboard display lamp. Many drivers regard these warnings as a nuisance and there can be a tendency to ignore them especially when they display intermittently. This is folly and any warning messages must be investigated.
Check for Fluid Leaks – A visual check of the engine compartment should be made for any signs of leaks. Any fluid leak is potentially very serious and should be remedied without delay. Any signs of coolant, lubricant, fuel or hydraulic fluid could all be warnings of impending disaster. Perhaps the only insignificant fluid leak is the dripping of condensation from an air-conditioning system.
Engine-Friendly Driving – Adopting a considerate driving style can reap benefits in terms of running costs and engine longevity. Engines should be treated carefully when cold and warmed up by driving gently rather than by idling for a long period.
There is a well-known adage of “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it!” but this should never form the basis of a maintenance schedule. You certainly would not want your favourite airline to adopt such a policy so why should any motorist? If you can maintain your car correctly then you have the option to browse used cars for sale as well as new ones, in safe knowledge you are able to keep it ticking over in a healty and well maintained way.
Right now it is difficult to see a better practical family car hitting the roads than the new Citroen C4 Picasso anytime soon. In addition to being a stylish and attractive car, this is also one which is surprisingly spacious, comfortable and efficient and has been very well received. Here is everything you need to know about this great vehicle:
This MPV is a mid-sized people carrier that has been given a fresh makeover, including a sleek headlamp unit and body-coloured bumper that gives it a modern very feel. It is immediately recognisable as a Citroen thanks to the trademark three-stage light signature. There are also two fantastic new colours to choose from – Lazuli Blue and Soft Sand.
The 2017 Citroen C4 Picasso
Despite being a compact 4.4metres by 1.8 metres, the new Picasso C4 is extremely spacious and comfortable inside which makes it a great choice for families. This is thanks to the clever design, luxurious materials and impressive features like the electric massage (yes you read that correctly!) and adjustable footrest in the front seats. The elongated wheelbase allows for passengers to stretch out with plenty of legroom. There is also a larger seven-seat Grand C4 Picasso available for larger families.
The new Picasso C4 features a refined BlueHDi engine that delivers CO2 emissions of just 99g/km and fuel consumption of 74.3mpg- the best in its class and ensuring that it is very cheap to run. In terms of driving, it is a comfortable experience with responsive handling, but it does not reach blistering speeds which makes it a good choice for city use.
It also features a host of impressive driver aids, including active blind-spot monitoring, active safety brake, speed limit recognition, adaptive cruise control with stop function and various others. Motorists will also enjoy the fantastic onboard equipment, which will make any journey easier, more comfortable and more enjoyable. This includes an intuitive 7-inch Touch Drive interface and new 3D navigation system which can be voice controlled.
In addition to very low running costs, you can find this vehicle for affordable prices brand new when you know where to look. Places like Robins & Day make it simple to find a range of models and trim levels, as well as different finance options.
The new Citroen C4 Picasso is a leader in its class thanks to its stylish design, spacious interior, impressive technology and superb efficiency. For those in the market for an MPV with excellent practical touches, you cannot go wrong with this vehicle.
The Subaru BRZ is one of the best kept secrets of the auotmotive world.
Developed alongisde the near-identical Toyota GT86, it’s an affordable back-to-basics front
engined, rear-wheel drive 2+2 sports coupe.
For 2017, Subaru has given the evergreen BRZ a mid-life facelift, equipment upgrade and distilled the trim options down to just one – SE Lux.
The exterior design tweaks are subtle, apart from the old school aerodynamic wing at the rear. Elsewhere, there’s a new front bumper, LED headlights and 10-spoke 17-inch alloys.
You can choose from five colours, though Subaru’s iconic WR (World Rally) Blue Pearl is surely the one to go for.
Inside, a 4.2-inch LCD colour display is added to the instrument display, featuring such sporting essentials as a G-Force meter and braking gauge.
The leather steering wheel is now smaller and boasts audio controls, while plastics generally have been upgraded or replaced by leather, giving the cabin a more upmarket feel.
The Alcantra and leather seats are more comfortable than ever (the driver’s seat has a six-way adjustment), while a 6.2-inch touchscreen has been added to the centre console, though sat nav is a £1,250 option.
The infotainment system is not as hi-tech as the best of them, but it does the job and, of course, offers full connectivity.
Traditionalists will be pleased to note that the cockpit is still adorned with plenty of retro-feel knobs and toggle switches.
The rear passenger seats are fitted with ISOFIX anchor points, but as with most 2+2s, they are
almost totally useless. Better news in the boot where there’s 243 litres of space available – 1,270 with the rear seats folded flat.
The 2017 Subaru BRZ is more driver focused than ever. Sadly, there’s no extra power for the 2.0-
litre 200PS ‘Boxer’ petrol engine, but it is more responsive, it still sounds suitably throaty and CO2 emissions are slightly lower.
Elsewhere, Subaru’s engineers have made various changes (to the steering, suspension, dampers and
brakes) to tweak the driving dynamics and make the BRZ even sharper than before.
Priced from £26,050, the BRZ is one of the most entertaining cars you’ll find for that money.
The chassis is better than ever and it’s enormous fun on flowing country roads. Agile and engaging, it’s helped by a slick six-speed short-throw manual gearbox and it feels totally
For the record, the BRZ is capable of 0-62mph in 7.6 seconds (but feels faster) and it tops out at 140mph. Fuel economy is a claimed 36.2mpg (and it not far off that in the real world), while CO2 emissions are a very average 180g/km.
But here’s the thing. The BRZ is also now available with automatic transmission – and it’s a bit of a revelation.
It may sounds like sacrilege in a sports car package like this, but the auto box slams through the gears pretty well – even producing the odd pop on down-changes, allowing you to concentrate on the driving. The engine even sounds more sporty.
Verdict: The new, improved Subaru BRZ is better than ever. With a mild makeover inside and out, plus enhanced driving dynamics, it has to be one of the best-value, most entertaining sports cars
on the market – and it still looks just as cool.