Top tips for happy travel with your dog

Gareth Herincx

1 day ago
Auto Blog

MINI UK's dog travel tips

MINI UK and partner Dogs Trust, the UK’s largest dog welfare charity, are on a mission to help you and your Very Important Pooches (VIPs) travel safely and happily during the festive period.

One in three households in the UK now include a dog and online searches for ‘how to travel with a dog’ have risen by 97% ahead of the holiday season, so MINI and Dogs Trust have compiled five top tips for calmer car journeys.

It’s a good idea to introduce car travel gently and as early on as possible. Dogs having choice around a new or scary thing improves their confidence long-term.

You can start by simply acquainting your dog or puppy with the car itself. Encourage them to have a good sniff and get familiar with your vehicle’s scent. Open up the doors and boot, allowing them to hop in and out at their leisure. A tasty reward for their nose work will help build positive associations with the car.

Signs of distress can be shaking, panting and pulling away from the car. There are so many reasons a dog might feel anxious about car journeys – so introduce your dog to the car slowly and try to take some trips purely for fun to the beach or park. That way you’ll begin to build positive associations. Watch out for signs of over-stimulation and stress and take a break and a few steps back to the point your dog was comfortable.

Consider where your dog will travel and protect your pooch by securing them in place with a harness, guard or crate. That way they’ll be restrained if you have to make a sudden stop. It’ll also help to keep them out of the driver’s way, and avoid distractions while you’re on the move.

Can your dog do a ‘three-point turn’ in the back of the car? Your dog should be able to stand up, turn around comfortably and lie down in their space in the car.

Everyone enjoys an in-car treat, including your doggie pals. Bring your pooches’ favourite treats on trips to reward them for being a great travel companion. You could prepare them a long-lasting chew for the journey or a passenger could drop them a little reward every now and then.

For more information about the MINI and Dogs Trust partnership, visit the MINI Dogs Hub.

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Essential winter tyre care tips

Gareth Herincx

19 hours ago
Auto Blog

With extreme weather just around the corner it’s more important than ever to make sure your tyes are in tip-top condition.

We’ve teamed up with Goodyear to help you stay safe on the roads over the winter with these five tips…

1) Check your pressures regularly
It’s important to regularly check your tyre pressures throughout the winter. Lower temperatures can cause tyre pressures to drop, meaning the contact patch will be larger and making it more difficult to gain traction on snow and ice. Always run your tyres to the manufacturer’s recommended PSI or BAR.

2) Tread carefully
Having adequate tread depth is essential, whatever the weather. However, when your tyres are trying to grip wet and icy roads, it’s even more important that they have suitable tread. The legal limit for minimum tread depth is 1.6mm, across three-quarters of the tread and around the entire circumference of the tyre. As well as helping your tyres grip the road more effectively throughout the winter months, regular checks to keep your tread above the legal limit can help to avoid three penalty points and a hefty fine.

3) Consider fitting winter or all-season tyres
Most cars are fitted with summer tyres as standard, as opposed to winter or all-season tyres like Goodyear’s Vector 4Seasons Gen-3. However, the compound on summer tyres remains hard in cold temperatures, whereas a winter or all-season tyre retains its pliability and moulds to the shape of the road to retain grip. As a result, the sipes in the tread design of a winter or all season tyre will grip to snowy and icy roads much more effectively. Most manufacturers will recommend using winter tyres in temperatures below 7°C.

4) Know your braking distances
If you’re using summer tyres in winter conditions, you will need to re-evaluate your braking distances. Research from the British Tyre Manufacturers Association (BTMA) shows that when braking on icy roads at 20mph, a car fitted with winter tyres will come to a rest after 57m, while summer tyres will keep going for as far as 68m. Regardless of what kind of tyres they’re using, it’s vital that drivers keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front.

5) How does the tyre look?
While you should carry out proven checks on your tyre pressures and tread, it’s also important to simply look for cosmetic damage. Look for rips, tears or bulges before setting off and make sure to check your pressure, especially if your car hasn’t moved for a few days.

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Six ways to protect your car this winter


Winter is well and truly on its way, and the more the weather becomes unpredictable, the more challenging or even dangerous driving becomes.

In fact, the highest percentage of severe car accidents happen between November and January, with drivers 20% more likely to be in an accident over the winter months.

And that’s if you even make it off the driveway, as your car is 18% less likely to start during the winter months.

However, winter driving doesn’t always have to be hazardous if you make sure you are prepared.

To help you get ready for winter, car finance experts Zuto have pulled together all the best tips and tricks to help you prepare your car for the worst of weather.

Check your tyres
When working well, tyres help to prevent skidding and enable you to stop in an accident. As winter approaches, with both handling and stopping becoming more difficult, it is important to make sure your tyres are in good condition.

Although tyres only need a tread depth of 1.6mm, a 3mm depth is safer in winter. A quick and easy way to check this would be to use a 20p coin. When inserting it into the groove of your tyre, if you see the rim of the coin, you’ll need to get your tyres checked out at your local garage. Make sure to check this around the entire width of the tyre and at several points around the circumference.

It may also be worth investing in winter tyres if you live in an area particularly prone to ice or snow.

Refill your fluid
As temperatures drop, both coolant and washer fluid can freeze, so you’ll need to keep them topped up with anti-freeze. Engine coolant should be a 50/50 mix of water and antifreeze and you should make sure your winter washer fluid also contains antifreeze.

Check your battery
Winter can be hard on your battery as a drop in temperature can cause your car battery to fail if it’s at the end of its shelf life. This is because the cold weather reduces the output of a battery, so it has to work harder to keep running.

If your battery has been reluctant to start in the summer and autumn months, it’s best to get it checked out by your local garage before it completely refuses to start on a cold morning when you’re running late for work.

Check your windscreen
Windscreen chips often get worse in the winter months thanks to hail and ice. If your screen has any chips, it’s best to get them fixed or the windscreen replaced before they impair visibility. This is especially important with the upcoming frosty weather.

Get a winter service
Although nothing can guarantee that your car won’t break down in the winter, getting a winter service and maintenance check can help to prevent problems associated with the cold weather. This often includes a lights assessment, an oil level replenishment, and windscreen wiper check to make sure that your car is ready for the winter weather. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!

Pack your winter car kit
Having a winter survival kit can make all the difference if you happen to breakdown in the cold and dark months and you can never be too prepared. This should include key items such as jumper cables, mobile and battery pack, and a torch with fully charged batteries. As well as a blanket, a first aid kit and a supply of food with a bottle of water or flask.

“Many motorists dread the arrival of winter, and all the issues they may face with their vehicles,” says Lucy Sherliker, Head of Customer at Zuto.

“However, as long as you prepare your car properly now, take extra precautions in extreme weather conditions, and stock up on your anti-freeze, you’ll be able to take on the winter roads.”

More winter driving tips from Zuto.

Hyundai signs its biggest TV sponsorship deal

Home / Auto Blog / Hyundai signs its biggest TV sponsorship deal

Gareth Herincx

4 hours ago
Auto Blog

If you’re planning to watch a movie on Channel 4 over the next year, it’s more than likely that you’ll become familiar with the all-new Hyundai IONIQ 5.

Hyundai Motor UK is bringing to life its largest ever TV sponsorship deal with new creative that transforms everyday city scenes into mobile cinematic experiences, powered by IONIQ 5.

The first model in Hyundai’s EV-exclusive IONIQ sub brand, IONIQ 5, features in an 11-part series of idents, highlighting the innovative standard interior features of the all-electric car.

Each one includes a specifically commissioned soundtrack by award-winning composer and producer, Anna Meredith, 2020 shortlisted artist of the Hyundai Mercury Prize.


Using unique Vehicle-to-load (V2L) technology featuring on IONIQ 5 models, Hyundai plugged a portable projector into the car and pointed it out the passenger window to celebrate iconic cinematic genres.

From a cowboy cantering along the side of a road to a flying saucer landing down the side of a tower block, the projections were filmed for real and enhanced in post-production. Other than the projector, no modifications were made to the car when capturing the footage.

Hyundai Ioniq 5 Channel 4 sponsorship


Gareth is a versatile journalist, copywriter and digital editor who’s worked across the media in newspapers, magazines, TV, teletext, radio and online. After long stints at the BBC, GMTV and ITV, he now specialises in motoring.

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Worst habits picked up by learner drivers from their parents

Gareth Herincx

4 days ago
Auto Blog


Nine out of 10 driving instructors say learners picked up bad driving habits from their parents during the pandemic.

A survey of instructors by Young Driver, the UK’s largest pre-17 driving school, revealed the Top 10 worst habits picked up by learners from their parents:

  1. Not following ‘mirror, signal, manoeuvre’ as a matter of course
  2. Steering with one hand (palm) or crossing hands. Neither will fail you your test as a one off, but it isn’t best practice to do them regularly as you have less control.
  3. Not observing what is happening around them
  4. Coasting
  5. Speeding
  6. Coming down through individual gears instead of block changing
  7. Not creeping and peeping when exiting a junction
  8. Riding the clutch
  9. Impatience/aggression
  10. Believing myths or out of date driving styles (eg, you no longer need to hold the steering wheel in the 10-2 position, you don’t have to stop at all junctions and roundabouts and overuse of indicators can be frowned upon)

Others mentioned by instructors included eating and drinking in the car, being too heavy on the gas, not checking blind spots, getting too close to the vehicle in front and having no regard or understanding of the highway code.

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