#tipthursday Fill up with good quality fuel

Not all fuel is created equal.

Where you fill up can have an effect on your car’s fuel consumption, performance and running costs. Branded fuel such as Shell and Esso are more expensive at the pump, however you essentially get what you pay for. These fuels come with additional additives to help your car run smother, increases its fuel economy and even help to reduce exhaust emissions. So, by using better quality fuel you should find you’re visiting the petrol station less often compared to filling up with unbranded fuel.

All fuel sold in the UK has to adhere to legal standards so where ever you chose to fill up, it won’t do any actual damage to your car.

As always, if you have any questions for us here at Maitland Motors, please leave a comment below.

Why its important to keep your screen wash topped up

This time of year with all the salt and muck on the road, you’ve probably already noticed your windscreen is getting dirtier quicker. Therefore it’s more important than normal to ensure your screen wash levels and dilution are at optimum levels for your make and model of car.

Ensuring this will allow you to clean your windscreen more regularly and with better effect, keeping a clear view of the road ahead. Screen wash and other levels are advised to be checked weekly, but at this time of year with more use, we advise checking/ topping up every couple of days. We also advise keeping a bottle of water in your car in case of emergencies. You’ll find the screen wash by popping your bonnet and looking for a cap with a symbol that looks like the image below. You can also double check in your owners manual which will show you exactly where it’s located.

An example of what to look for when topping up your screen wash.

Normal dilution of screen wash is approximately 50/50 between the screen wash soliton in the bottle and normal water, although with colder months ahead, we recommend a stronger mix of approximately 75/25 screen wash to water. This can help prevention of the screen wash freezing in the bottle, pipes and jets. We strongly discourage the use of boiling water on cold mornings when the windscreen is frozen as the extreme change in temperature can cause the glass to crack.

Here at Maitland Motors we’d recommend using a solution of 75/ 25 screen wash to water in the winter months.

If you have any questions or concerns about using screen wash or topping up your levels, then just leave a comment below or call us in the office.

#tipthursday Check your Advisories

This week’s tip from Maitland Motors, Check your MOT Advisories.

Your car has been in for a MOT and has passed, happy days! However, be sure to check if any advisory repairs have been noted by the MOT tester. These issues or repairs should be seen to in the near future to ensure the continued safe and sound running of your car. The ware and tear that cars are constantly under mean that just because your car has passed its MOT it may still need maintenance work done.

The good thing about knowing any advisories is that you can plan ahead, booking in for any works when its convenient time wise and financially.

Any MOTs carried out with us, we’ll let you know of any advisories when you pick your car up. We can also put a no-obligation, quote together to give you an idea of the costs involved. As we always say, prevention is better than cure, especially when it comes to cars. Nipping a repair inn the bud sooner rather than later will save you money in the long run and, more importantly, help keep your car safe on the road until your next MOT.

If you have any questions please leave a comment below, call the office or send us a message.

Getting the best from your Suspension

Your suspension system works to keep you on the road and ensure your car handles many different driving conditions and surfaces safely. The suspension includes many individual parts of your car, so nipping any potential issues in the bud and keeping up with maintenance will help prolong your suspension and save on very costly repairs.

Parts of your suspension system include – Shock Absorbers, Springs, Wishbones, Antiroll Bar, Mounts & Bushes.

Things to keep in mind to help prolong your suspension:

  • avoiding pot holes and bumping up curbs,
  • taking speedbumps slowly,
  • being aware of the condition of the road,
  • ensuring your tyres are at the correct pressure which will lessen the impact on your suspension,
  • fitting good quality parts helps massively. Outlasting cheaper ones and providing a better handling and a more comfortable drive,
  • ensuring your wheel alignment it set up properly,
  • following your make and model’s maintenance schedule and general care of your car (eg yearly service, pre-mot, getting any knocks or banging noises checked asap.)
Good quality parts will last longer so you’ll get more value for your money.

If your car’s suspension is not operating to its best then you’ll find your car may handle the road poorly, pull to one side, is sitting low, is making noises or your tyres are wearing unevenly. If you have any concerns we’d recommend booking in with a technician asap: ignoring minor repairs can soon turn into large costly ones where you could be without your car for some time, and more worryingly, driving an unsafe car. Issues with your suspension is also a MOT fail.

A very broken spring compared to a new one. Getting nocks & bangs checked will help prevent such damage from occurring.

If you have any concerns about your suspension then leave a comment below or call the office. We offer a Free Vehicle Health Check where we will check all areas of your suspension and give you a full report of the condition of your car.

#tipthursday Check your oil levels

#tipthursday from Maitland Motors this week is check your oil levels regularly. Your car runs smoothly and effectively thanks to serval different fluids which ensure correct lubrication of eternal parts, the most important being your oil. Oil levels being too low or over-filled can cause issues for your car, and in worst case scenarios, result in costly and timely repairs.

You can check your oil level by popping the botnet and looking for this sign. (It looks like a oil can.)

#tipthursday from Maitland Motors

If you’re still unsure, your owners manual will advise of where to look exactly, how much oil is optimal and the preferred oil. To use the dipstick, wipe it with an old cloth first then replace before checking it to see where your oil levels are sitting. You will see a minimum and maximum line; your levels should be near the maximum. If its low or below the minimum, top it up accordingly asap. A low reading could also indicate a leak or your car is burning oil. Keep an eye on this and if you find you are going through oil quickly, book your car in with a technician for a check.

The Dipstick can be seen with the orange handle. Just pull that out, wipe, replace and you’ll be able to see where your oil level is.

Other levels to ensure are correct are:

  • Coolant
  • Power Steering Fluid
  • Brake Fluid
  • Transmission Fluid

We check all levels as part of our Free Vehicle Health Check if you’re unsure how to do it yourself. Any questions or would like to book in with Maitland Motors, just leave a comment below and we’ll get back to asap.

Common Dashboard Warning Lights

Automotive technology has rapidly developed over the past few years, with more sensors and computerised elements used now in vehicles than ever before. Essentially, our cars are evolving into computers that we can drive. One way these sensors tell us something is wrong is by triggering a dashboard warning light. Here is a quick look at some of the most common warning lights we see here in the Maitland Motors workshop and what they mean for your car.

Engine Management Light
This light indicates there could be an issue with your engine. These issues could range from simple repairs such as replacing spark plugs to more serious problems which could result in a damaged engine. Ignition coils, Lambda sensors or DPF faults, to name a few, could also be the reason behind your EML being on. If this light is on at the time of an MOT, your car will fail straight away.

Engine Management Light Example

Service Light
This light is mainly designed as a reminder to check your car’s levels and annual maintenance. This could be as simple as an oil and filter change, or a more in-depth service depending on how you drive and how many miles you’ve driven since your last service. Your owners manual will detail age/mileage when certain repairs will be due to ensure your car performs to its best and up to spec. (We have a basic car maintenance secluded here to help keep you right; prevention is always better than cure.)

ABS
This light means there are issues with your Anti-Lock Braking System and its been disabled. The ABS is a safety feature to help stop your brakes from completely locking up if you have to brake suddenly or in an emergency. If this does happen without ABS then you won’t be able to steer your car which can be very dangerous especially when avoiding an accident. Repairs that may affect the ABS include a faulty wheel sensor, wiring issue or a faulty ABS-ring.

ABS warning light example

Tyre Pressure Monitoring
This light means there is an issue with the TPMS system or that at least one tyre has low pressure. To help with this, ensure all your tyres are at the correct pressure. (We have a previous #tipthursday here for more details.) If the light is still present even if your tyres are at the correct pressure, then further investigation is required by technician.

Tyre Pressure Monitoring light example.

Traction Control
Traction control is another safety feature which helps to reduce/ prevent wheel spin, meaning you stay in control of the car in an emergency or wet/slippery driving situations. When this light is on, your traction control won’t work and it’s much more likely you could lose control of your car. This is also an MOT failure, so not one to ignore.

Traction Control light example

Also be mindful of the warning light colour, which indicates the seriousness of the issues. Red lights mean you should not drive your car as there is a serious problem and it may be unsafe to drive. Amber means you need to check your car asap, and green is everything is as it should be.

Dashboard warning lights examples. There are loads more than what we’ve mentioned here.

We’d always recommend booking in with a garage to get any warning lights checked sooner rather than later. Most garages will have specialist equipment they can plug into the car which will tell the technician the fault code and where the issue lies. Sometimes further investigation is needed for more in-depth/ complicated repairs.

If you have any questions about dashboard warning light or would like to book in with Maitland Motors, then just leave a comment below or call our office.