Car Care FAQs

Keep your motor on the road for longer with these tips and tricks for maintaining every inch of your vehicle, from the air con to the exhaust pipe.

How long should headlights last?

Traditional halogen bulbs typically last between 500-1000hrs however Xenon and LED bulbs can be expected to last considerably longer.

Should you replace both headlights?

There is no legal requirement to change both bulbs however replacing in pairs gives extra peace of mind to drivers, avoiding potential failures.

Are LED or HID headlights better?

LED lights are widely considered to be the most efficient and long lasting of all headlight bulbs. However, LED bulbs are typically more expensive.

Can you drive a car with one headlight?

In the UK all vehicles (with the exceptions of motorcycles) is required to have two working headlights. It is a criminal offence to drive with defective headlights and drivers breaking these rules can expect to be pulled over by the authorities.

Can I put LED bulbs in my headlights?

If your car comes with LED lights as standard, then these can be replaced. If your car has halogen bulbs as standard, then it is not advised to replace them with LEDs.

What does wheel alignment mean?

Wheel alignment often referred to as “tracking” refers to the angle and direction at which your tyres are positioned. Specialist equipment is used to accurately position wheels as recommended by your vehicle's manufacturer.

High speed impacts with potholes and kerbs can cause wheel misalignment resulting in uneven or irregular tyre wear and poor handling characteristics.

Can a bad alignment cause shaking?

Yes, poor wheel alignment can cause vibration or ‘shaking’ as wheels work against each other.

Is alignment needed with new tyres?

An alignment is not ‘needed’ with new tyres however we always recommend having the tracking checked. This is a free service offered by many of our centres. Ensuring that your wheels are aligned correctly will help to prolong the tyre life by avoiding irregular or uneven wear.

Is tracking the same as wheel alignment?

In short, the answer is yes. ‘Tracking’ is a term used to describe the process of wheel alignment to adjust the angle and direction at which your tyres are positioned.

Do I need a 4 wheel alignment?

If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms it could be a sign that your wheels are misaligned, and we would recommend having this checked by one of our trained technicians:

  • Uneven or irregular tyre wear
  • Steering wheel angled when driving straight
  • Steering wheel pulling to the left or right
  • Vibrations and/or unusual noises when steering
How long does a 4 wheel alignment take?

A 4 wheel alignment often takes around one hour however, we always recommend allowing a little extra time.

What is included in a 4 wheel alignment?

4-wheel alignment refers to the process of adjusting all four wheels. This may include a front toe and caster adjustment for front-end alignment, while the rear wheels receive a toe and camber adjustment. Rear wheel misalignment is less noticeable but can have a major impact on your fuel economy and tyre wear.

What are the symptoms of needing an alignment?

You may notice one or more of these common wheel alignment symptoms:

  • Uneven or irregular tyre wear
  • Steering wheel angled when driving straight
  • Steering wheel pulling to the left or right
  • Vibrations and/or unusual noises when steering
How much does it cost for a wheel alignment?

Wheel alignment prices vary by centre depending on the type of wheel alignment specified. Many of our centres offer both 2-wheel and 4-wheel alignment. To explore the services offered or for an accurate price find your nearest centre.

How often should you get your wheels aligned?

We recommend having your alignment checked every 12,000 miles or once a year. Many of our centres offer a free alignment check so be sure to ask one of our trained technicians about this service.

What does carbon clean do?

An engine Carbon Clean system passes hydrogen and oxygen through the air intake of an engine and out through the exhaust system as a gas, helping to remove the excess carbon deposits that lead to impaired engine performance.

Does carbon cleaning clean injectors?

The carbon cleaning process can remove deposits from areas of the engine such as: combustion chambers, exhaust ports, fuel injectors and fuel pressure regulators.

What is car engine carbon cleaning?

Carbon cleaning removes sooty carbon deposits from your engine. Over time petrol and diesel engines produce by-products which cause a build-up of internal deposits, such as carbon, tars and gums. These harmful by-products are deposited on components inside the engine and exhaust system which can have a negative impact on engine performance and emissions.

How does carbon build up in your engine?

Over time, fuel directly injected into the engines cylinder can cause a build-up of carbon. Direct injection does not allow for the fuel and its additives to clean the valve and port.

Why do car batteries go flat?

The most common reason for batteries failing is due to old age. Just like a phone battery, over time its capacity to hold charge deteriorates. Other reasons include: the battery hasn’t had enough time to recharge properly which can be caused by frequent short journeys.

When to replace a car battery?

There aren’t always obvious signs that your cars battery might need replacing before its too late, but there are a few things you can keep an eye out for:

  • Dashboard warning light
  • Difficulty starting the car
  • Loss of power elsewhere
How to keep your car battery healthy?

Some factors causing poor battery health are out of our control, such as cold weather.

How much does a new battery cost?

A new battery typically lasts 3-5 years but this is very dependent on your driving habits.

Frequent short journeys cant out a strain on your battery as it may not have enough time to fully recharge itself so will reduce its life.

How can I test my car battery?

We would always recommend popping in centre and getting one of our professional mechanics to take a look.

How long does a new car battery last?

A new battery typically lasts 3-5 years but this is very dependent on your driving habits.

Frequent short journeys can put a strain on your battery as it may not have enough time to fully recharge itself so will reduce its life.

How do you know if your car needs a new battery?

There aren’t always obvious signs that your cars battery might need replacing before its too late, but there are a few things you can keep an eye out for:

  • Dashboard warning light
  • Difficulty starting the car
  • Loss of power elsewhere
When should you change your oil filter?

Manufacturers and car experts recommend that your oil is changed every 12 months, or a little earlier for higher mileage vehicles.

How many miles can an oil filter last?

We recommend replacing your oil filter every time your oil is changed, typically every 10,000 miles or twelve months. However, we advise that you check your manufacturers recommended service intervals and adhere to this in order to ensure that your car is kept in good working order.

How much does an oil & filter change cost?

Oil & filter change prices vary by vehicle type and centre. For more information visit our servicing section and enter your vehicle Reg and post code for a quote.

What happens if oil filter is not changed?

Over time the filter will eventually become clogged up and will no longer be effective in preventing damaging particles from entering into the system. This could lead to more costly repairs in the future.

What does the oil filter in a car do?

As well as cooling the metal parts of your engine, your oil cleverly carries away dirt and metal particles. These contaminants are removed from the oil by the oil filter, which over time can become clogged, so it's important that your filter is replaced regularly.

Do you need to change your filter every time you change your oil?

Yes, we recommend replacing your oil filter every time your oil is changed, typically every 12 months or 10,000 miles.

What is a diagnostic fee?

A diagnostic fee covers the cost of a technician’s time and the equipment required to diagnose underlying faults by scanning your vehicles onboard computer.

What is a diagnostic test?

A diagnostic test is designed to highlight any underlying issues by scanning your vehicle's onboard computer. Our trained technicians with document any diagnostic trouble codes and check for service notifications issued by your vehicle's manufacturer.

How much is check engine light diagnosis?

The price for engine fault diagnostics can vary between centres depending on the type of vehicle. For an accurate quote we recommend contacting your nearest centre.

What does a diagnostic test do for a car?

Diagnostic tests can highlight underlying issues within a car's engine, transmission and other major components, as well as performance issues. By highlighting faults early on you can minimise the risk of more costly repairs later down the line.

How long does a diagnostic take for a car?

An engine fault diagnostic test can take around 1 hour however, if any other repairs are requsted it can take much longer. Once the fault has been identified one of our trained technicians will be able to provide an accurate estimate for the repairs.

How much does it cost for a diagnostic test on a car?

The price for engine fault diagnostics can vary between centres depending on the type of vehicle. For an accurate quote we recommend contacting your nearest centre.

Why does brake fluid deteriorate?

Over time brake fluid absorbs moisture lowering the temperature at which it boils severely impacting on your cars braking performance. Many modern cars now have warning systems for when brake fluid levels are low.

When to replace your brakes?

If you are exerting more force under braking or if you find that your brakes feel less responsive when applying pressure then it is recommended that you have a trained technician inspect your brakes for wear and tear.

Why is brake fluid important?

Braking fluid is an integral part of the braking system transferring energy from the brake pedal to the wheel hub, creating friction and slowing the vehicle.

How long do brake pads last?

It is generally thought that brake pads should last between 30,000 and 50,000 miles however the lifetime for brake pads is subject to driving style and can vary between vehicles.

Do I need a brake inspection?

If your brakes feel less responsive when applying pressure or if you are exerting more force when braking then it is recommended that you have a trained technician inspect your brakes for wear and tear.

What happens if brake fluid is low?

Low brake fluid levels can have very serious consequences if not addressed early resulting in poor performance and in some cases total brake failure. If you notice the need to exert more force when braking this could be a tell-tale sign that you’re brake fluid levels are low.

How often do brake pads need replacing?

It is generally thought that brake pads should last between 30,000 and 50,000 miles however the lifetime for brake pads is subject to driving style and can vary between vehicles. Brake pads are checked during a service and our technicians will be able to advise of their condition.

What are brakes and how do they work?

Brakes are made up of pads that squeeze against the brake discs creating friction and slowing the car down.

How can I tell my brake pads need replacing?

If you find that your brakes feel less responsive when applying pressure or if you are exerting more force under braking then it is recommended that you have a trained technician inspect your brakes for wear and tear.

How much does it cost to replace brake pads?

The costs to replace brake pads can vary depending on the brand and fitment type however our technicians are on hand to provide an accurate quote upfront and often all you need to provide is your vehicle registration number.

What does the exhaust do?

Exhausts are complicated systems designed to reduce engine noise, redirect harmful gases, improve engine performance and increase fuel efficiency.

Does an exhaust make your car faster?

Aftermarket exhausts can improve the efficieny of gas expulsion allowing more clean air and fuel to mix increasing power output.

Can you drive with a hole in the exhaust?

Driving with a hole in your exhaust can be extremely hazardous to the both the driver and passengers with harmful fumes being redirected ineffectively. In addition, a hole in your exhaust is likely to cause major performance issues and is a common cause for a MOT failure.

How do I know if my exhaust needs replacing?

The most common signs of an exhaust issue are:

  • Increased engine noise often as the result of a leak
  • Reduced fuel efficiency
  • Increase in vibrations caused by loose fixtures
How serious is the check engine light?

The check engine light is a signal from the car's engine that something is not right. If your light begins flashing it means something is wrong.

What do lights on the dashboard mean?

Red: Stop the car as soon as possible and turn off the engine. Follow the instructions in the manual and call for assistance if needed.

Yellow: An action is required. Stop the car and turn off your engine. Follow the instructions in your instructions manual and drive to your nearest garage if you can.

Green: Used for information and requires no action on the part of the driver.

Is it safe to drive with the check engine light on?

The check engine light means there's a problem somewhere in your emissions system. You are safe to drive for now as long as the car is still performing normally, however you should take it to your nearest garage to be looked at.

Can I regas my aircon myself?

You can buy air-con regas kits if you’d like to attempt the job yourself, but we wouldn’t advise it.

They’re almost as expensive as paying a specialist to do the job and if anything goes wrong, you may be left with a very expensive repair bill.

Specialists will also have a better idea of how to check for leaks and other problems with the air-con system, and there are safety factors to be considered, too. If the refrigerant gas comes into contact with your skin or eyes, it could cause painful freeze burns.

Source: RAC

How do I maintain my air-con?

As well as getting the system re-gassed, the best way to keep your air-con in top form is to use it all year round.

Change the cabin filter regularly, and consider an anti-bacterial clean if you notice musty smells coming from the vents.

Source: RAC

How often should I service my car’s aircon?

We recommend you service your air conditioning system every two years to replenish the liquids used by the system, and to ensure all components are working correctly. Your owner's manual will give you the specific requirements for your car.


Source: Halfords

How often should I service my car’s air conditioning?

We recommend you service your air conditioning system every two years to replenish the liquids used by the system, and to ensure all components are working correctly. Your owner's manual will give you the specific requirements for your car.

Source: Halfords

What happens if I don’t regas my air-con system?

If you don’t regas the air-con system, it will gradually become less efficient, making the car uncomfortable in hot weather, and take longer to demist the windows in winter.

Not regassing your air-con system will be bad for it in the long run, too, with pipes likely to crack and parts likely to seize up if it isn’t used.

Source: RAC

How do you know when your air-con needs regassing?

The first sign that your air-con needs regassing is that the air being blown from the vents is not as cool as it used to be, or it doesn’t feel any different when the AC is switched off.

If you can’t remember the last time the system was regassed, it’s probably worth doing. Alternatively, many specialists are happy to perform a free check.

Source: RAC

How often should DPF be cleaned?

In order to keep your diesel vehicle in top condition, we suggest a DPF Maintenance Clean every six months. However this can vary depending upon your driving style and mileage.

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