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Blog

Winter Check

Posted on September 25, 2013 at 5:07 AM Comments comments (4)
Have you had your vehicle checked over for the winter to try and avoid unwanted breakdowns? Winter is one of the most popular times of year to breakdown due to poor maintenance or vehicle neglect. The most common being battery failures, closely followed by low antifreeze content in coolant system which can lead to engine freezing solid, along with other items that could all be checked before the cold weather finally arrives for good.
 
GVS 24Hr Recovery can offer you a comprehensive vehicle winter check to eliminate most problems that would cause you to breakdown this winter. All carried out by fully qualified and trained vehicle technicians. This can all be done at your home or work and will give you piece of mind that you will not breakdown due to something that is easily checked before hand.
 
With batteries being the number one reason for breakdown in winter this is one of the items we can fully check along with the starting and charging system and give you a full print out on condition of all the key items in these systems.
 
For more in formation on everything that is checked or to talk to a technician before booking your vehicle in for a winter check then simply give us a call,  we are ready and waiting to help you.

Does your timing belt need replacing?

Posted on May 22, 2013 at 5:50 AM Comments comments (7)
Does your Timing belt need replacing?

Over the last few days we have had a high number of breakdown call outs due to timing belt failure. The Timing belt or Cam belt as it is also know is a rubber belt that does not last for ever. It is a service item that should be changed periodically, this is usually tied in with one of the manufactures scheduled main services. It will be mileage or time related ie. Needs changing at 50,000 miles or 5 Years. This recommendation does vary from vehicle to vehicle depending on engine and model etc. and needs to be done on or before this recommended limit.

The cost of changing your timing belt does vary from car to car but on average you are looking between £100 and £200 for a full timing belt kit replacement. This I know many of you are now thinking how deal this sounds  to have a rubber belt changed when you car is running fine. Well please read on, should you be driving along and your vehicle suddenly cuts out and will not start back up no doubt you will call for recovery. If this turns out to be your timing belt that has failed not only do you have the cost of the recovery from wherever you have broken, down but also the cost of the damaged that has just happened to your engine.

Before you can know the full extent of the damage to your engine it will need to be stripped down for investigation, mainly have the cylinder head removed to physically see any damage before you can start with repairing it. Most garages will give you a rough estimate for repair but until the full damage can be seen you  will not get an accurate price. The final cost of repair can vary from £250 to anything around £1000 upwards depending on your vehicle. On Average I would say you are going to be paying at least £500 for a normal family car.

Now going back to the cost of changing a timing belt at between £100 and £200 for a normal family car it is starting to look very cheap and economical and something we all like is to save money in the long run. Prevention is always better than the cure so get your vehicle booked in to at least have your belt checked  to see  when it will need replacing before its too late.

Ways to save on motoring

Posted on May 14, 2013 at 4:51 AM Comments comments (60)
Ways to save on motoring

  • Which? explains 10 ways you could cut your motoring costs
  • Advice on everything from finding cheaper car insurance and hunting down low-cost petrol to getting your MOT done for less
  • Discover how much you could save, and where to go to find the cheapest prices on driving essentials

Follow our 10 tips to help you drive down your car costs by hundreds of pounds.

1. Find the cheapest petrol in your area
Cut your motoring costs by paying less at the pumps. The internet is a great tool for finding the cheapest fuel in your area, with no website more exhaustive than PetrolPrices. Just tap in your postcode to bring up prices for over 11,000 stations across the UK and you could make substantial savings on the running costs of your motor.

2. Cut the cost of your MOT
There's a maximum test fee of £54.85 set by the government for car MOTs, but you can currently get it done half-price through Auto Trader and Halfords Auto centre until 30 September 2011.Some garages try to attract customers by offering reduced prices. To avoid the cowboys, choose a garage through a personal recommendation – use Which? Local to find reputable garages recommended by Which?members.

3. Save money on your sat nav 
Shop around for the best sat nav deal. You don't have to pay over the odds to get a great sat nav system. Our cheapest Which? Best Buy - the Garmin Nuvi 205W - can be picked up online for around £65.Check out the Which? sat nav reviews for the pros and cons of differently priced systems to ensure the one you choose offers good value for money.

4. Pay less for vehicle checks
Whether you're buying a vehicle privately or from a dealer, checking the car’s history is essential. Ways to save on motoring compared vehicle check services and found that Experian AutoCheck and HPI are worth the £19.99 you pay for cover. If you buy a used car worth up to £10,000 on eBay, the auction site's own RAC powered HPI check is good value at £6.99.

5. Buy your car insurance online
Shop around online for the best deals on car insurance. If you're looking to save money on car cover, it makes sense to buy online. Our last survey showed that it's generally much cheaper than buying over the phone. Also, be sure to review your insurance costs each year and switch to a Which? Recommended Provider for the best cover and service – see the Which? car insurance reviews for more information.

6. Get better value breakdown cover 
Join a breakdown service to help you cut costs if your car packs up. The AA and Britannia's breakdown services performed well in latest Which? survey, with assistance from both firms arriving at the scene of breakdowns within 35 minutes.  

7. Make money from your parking space 
Websites such as ParkatmyHouse and ParkonmyDrive enable property owners to rent out their empty driveways and garages to motorists needing a place to park. You normally pay a one-off registration fee to have your space advertised - the cost of renting a space is up to the space owner.

8. Join a car-sharing scheme
Joining a car-sharing scheme could halve your fuels costs - according to CarShare, sharing a daily commute can save you more than £1,000 a year.Check sites such as Liftshare and Carshare for more information on these schemes.

9. Grab a green car
Green cars like the Toyota Prius could save you money. The new car tax rates mean that cars with the lowest CO2 emissions will be exempt from charges, while the worst gas guzzlers could incur annual fees of up to £460. Our guide to green car technologies has lots more top advice on going green.

10. Find cut-price car parts If you're in need of any discount car parts, try AutoTrader's used car parts finderYou can search a database of over 450,000 quality used car parts from nationally recognised salvage experts.

For more useful information reviews and saving money why not visit http://www.which.co.uk/ their site is full of useful information.

Breakdown Recovery Policies

Posted on May 7, 2013 at 5:04 AM Comments comments (7)
Are you trying to save some money? If you are fed up with the high prices of AA, RAC or Green Flag breakdown recovery policies then there is an alternative and for often less than half your price you can get the same cover if not better. Quite often to get the best cover with the popular recovery clubs you are paying over £100 when you could get the same cover for less than £50 depending on your vehicle. There are numerous companies out there offering excellent breakdown cover at unbelievable prices. Probably one of the easiest ways to find better cover or better priced cover is to visit comparison web sites like Comparethemarket.com, Moneysupermarket.com, Confused.com and more the list goes on. When you start to compare your cover with other policies you will soon begin to find better alternatives. You can also get cover directly through your car insurance provider most of the time and these too are often better deals. Once you get in to it you will find policies from Autonational Rescue, Gem Motoring Assist, Equity Redstar, First Call GB, Call Assist, Start Rescue the list goes on and on. Why not start looking today, you are guaranteed to find a better deal and do not be put of by these alternative options as they are all national services and often include travel into Europe free. So if you do travel a lot you know you are covered anywhere you may be should you have the unfortunate problem of a breakdown.

Basic car checks

Posted on January 26, 2013 at 10:47 AM Comments comments (73)
Here’s a simple way to remember what to check.

F L O W E R

Rain or shine, it pays to give the car a good check over every couple of weeks – you could prevent a breakdown and perhaps a large, unwelcome bill.

FuelTop up when you pass a filling station rather than delay looking for one until the fuel light comes on – particularly if you’re driving in an unfamiliar area.

Lights Clean all exterior lights regularly and check for blown bulbs and cracks in the lens.

Oil Cars can consume as much as a litre of oil every 1,000 miles. Check the oil level regularly (your handbook will show you how). Don’t wait for the red oil pressure warning light to come on - engine damage may already have occurred by then.

Water Overheating is a common cause of breakdowns, especially in hotter weather. Check the coolant level regularly (the handbook will show you how) and if the level always seems low, check for leakages. Top up the windscreen washer fluid too.

Electrics Battery problems are the number one cause of breakdowns at any time of year. Renew an old, tired battery before it lets you down. Also make sure that your electric radiator cooling fan starts running when the engine gets hot – you can check this by running the engine with the car stationary.

Rubber Incorrectly inflated tyres are not only unsafe, they wear out faster and can increase fuel consumption by around 5%. If you’re driving with extra passengers or luggage, remember to increase your tyre pressure accordingly (see your handbook).

General breakdown procedures 2

Posted on January 25, 2013 at 6:01 AM Comments comments (15)
Calling for help
• If possible, use the nearest emergency phone
• On motorways, blue and white marker posts show the direction of the nearest phone 
• The phones connect directly to the police control centre and are numbered so that you 
  can be easily located
• If using your mobile phone, refer to the new blue rectangular Driver Location Signs, 
  which detail the road number (e.g. M1), direction of travel and precise location

Motorway breakdown procedures
If your vehicle develops a problem on the motorway:
• Leave at the next exit if possible and stop at the next service area
• If you must stop immediately, pull onto the hard shoulder and stop with wheels 
  turned to the left, away from traffic
• Park as close to the left as possible and try to stop near an emergency phone
• Put on your hazard lights and turn on side lights in poor visibility
• DO NOT use your warning triangle on the hard shoulder
• NEVER attempt repairs yourselfWaiting for help
If you must stop on the hard shoulder:
• ALWAYS get out of the vehicle 
• Make sure you and all passengers exit the vehicle on the left-hand side 
• Walk off the road – up the embankment if there is one, or climb over the crash barrier 
  into a field if possible
• NEVER try to cross lanes to the other side of a motorway

Be prepared
• Carry a charged mobile phone (switched off and out of reach while driving)
• Carry an emergency kit, including warm and high visibility clothing, a torch, water 
  and a reflective triangle
• Ask your employer to confirm what, if anything, is provided by them

Fuel Efficient Driving

Posted on January 25, 2013 at 5:57 AM Comments comments (11)
Why Should we Save Fuel?Fuel efficiency is one of the most important factors in modern road transport. So, as part of your working life at Driver Hire,we feel it is essential that you know everything there is to know about being a fuel efficient driver.

Whether you’re a vehicle manufacturer, a transport or fleet manager or a driver, everyone can play a part in saving fuel. But as a driver, yours is the most important.You have the potential to reduce fuel usage by up to 20%.That’s right – 20%.As part of Driver Hire's Fuel Efficient Driving initiative, all Driver Hire drivers are now given training in techniques that have been shown to help you become a more economical driver. Even if you haven't yet had the benefit of this training, here are a few top tips that will help you do your bit for the environment.

1. Check your Vehicle
Checking your vehicle before driving it will help you save fuel.This is what to look out for:

• Bodywork - protruding panels, torn or insecure curtains & any loose bodywork.
• Tyres - damage, incorrect tyre pressures, missing valve caps.
• Fuel tank - fuel leaks from & around the tank, security of fuel cap.
• Load security & positioning - ensure load does not protrude beyond width/height of your vehicle and is sheeted if applicable.
• Aerodynamics - correctly set for the vehicle & trailer (if applicable)
• Start up - any unusual mechanical noise, excessive black or white smoke.
• Moving off - dragging brakes, steering pulling, obvious tracking issues.

2. Maintain a Good Attitude
A positive attitude and driving defensively are the hallmarks of a fuel efficient driver. Defensive driving makes you more aware of what is going on around you. It enables you to anticipate road situations and drive with control and planning - making you safer and more fuel efficient.

3. Make Sure You’re Fit to Drive
As well as being potentially dangerous, anything that reduces your ability to drive and affects alertness also reduces your ability to drive in a fuel efficient manner. A tired or stressed driver is neither safe nor fuel efficient. Fatigue is very dangerous - it causes more fatal accidents than drink driving! Telltale signs include; memory lapses, micro sleeps, yawning & muscle ache.

Stress can also affect the way you drive, causing lapses in concentration.You may be irritated by the actions of other drivers, thinking about other problems rather than concentrating on road conditions, your speed or how close you are to the driver in front.

4.Always Maintain Awareness
Be aware of all that’s going on around you, in any traffic situation. Use awareness, anticipation, control and planning so you are prepared for any hazard you’re likely to come across.This includes other road users, road conditions and your own actions. Being aware of potential dangers on the road allows you to plan ahead - staying safe and saving fuel.

5. Be aware of your speed
High speed has a drastic effect on fuel consumption. On average, by driving an LGV at 50mph instead of 56mph, you can reduce its fuel consumption by up to 22%. In addition, breaking the speed limit is illegal and a serious safety issue. So always be aware of your speed.

6. Use Momentum Effectively
Getting a large, heavy vehicle moving requires huge amounts of fuel. So if you can keep a vehicle moving, you’ll use less fuel. Slow down gradually when approaching traffic lights, as you may not need to stop. And, where it is safe to do so, you can use the momentum of the vehicle when going down hill rather than using the accelerator.

7.Avoid Unnecessary Braking
You should always avoid unnecessary braking. Whenever you brake, your vehicle loses road speed, which has to be regained using the accelerator. If you have one, use your exhaust brake whenever possible.

8. Utilise Cruise Control
If you have cruise control, use it - but don’t abuse it. Cruise control helps maintain a steady speed with minimal need for acceleration and braking. To ensure maximum fuel efficiency benefits from cruise control, always plan ahead on the road and be aware of what’s behind you so you can change lanes safely.

9. Use Gears & Clutch Properly
Every time you change up a gear your fuel consumption improves between 10-30%! You should never double de-clutch on a modern vehicle as it wastes energy unnecessarily and uses fuel.You should use “block changes or “skip changes” whenever possible.

10. Plan Your Routes
You may not always be able to choose the route you take. But wherever possible you should think about fuel efficiency when planning your route. For instance, using
motorways and A roads is much more fuel efficient than rural B roads and urban roads.

11. Idling
When ticking over, an average large goods vehicle will consume fuel at a rate of 2 litres per hour. So never let your engine idle unnecessarily as it serves no purpose
and only wastes fuel.

12. Be Aware of Aerodynamics.
Any protrusions will cause drag which will use extra fuel. Some vehicles have built in aerodynamic attachments which you should ensure are correctly adjusted. When such aids are correctly used they can save up to 15% on fuel consumption.

13. Load Your Vehicle Properly
It is illegal to overload a vehicle. You need to be aware that both overloading and the poor positioning of a load can have a detrimental effect on fuel consumption.

14. Be Fuel Efficient Back at Base
When you return to your base you should park up so your vehicle will not require manoeuvring the next morning when the engine is cold. This way the vehicle is ready to drive off, saving fuel. You should also fill up at the end of each day rather than at the beginning. It avoids queuing at the pumps with a cold idling engine the next day! Simply ensuring your fuel cap is tightened can save fuel. Loose fitting fuel caps are the cause of up to 30 gallons of lost fuel per vehicle per year! Accurate measurement of fuel use is essential to monitor any improvements and should be recorded.

Finally: reporting vehicle faults is extremely important. A vehicle that’s mechanically efficient means it’s fuel efficient too.

General breakdown procedures

Posted on January 25, 2013 at 5:29 AM Comments comments (12)
 It’s vital that you know what to do in the event of a breakdown.

• Most breakdowns are due to poor vehicle maintenance and could have been avoided
• Work with your employer to ensure your vehicle is regularly serviced and checked, including wipers, tyres and fluid levels
• Report faults immediately
• Ensure you understand your vehicle warning lights

General breakdown procedures

• If possible, avoid stopping in dangerous places such as roundabouts and corners
• Switch on your hazard lights
• If it is safe to do so, drop your speed, continue driving and try to pull off the road completely, 
  or onto a straight section of road
• If you have to stop on a road, display your emergency triangle at least 45 metres behind 
  your vehicle (don’t do this on a motorway)
• Do not attempt to fix your vehicle yourself by the roadside. Call your employer’s
  designated breakdown service
• Switch off your engine and wait in a safe place, away from traffic

General Winter Driving Advice

Posted on January 23, 2013 at 7:49 AM Comments comments (8)
Winter motoring requires special care and a little preparation if you're to avoid a breakdown or accident.

Battery/electrics
  • Lights, heaters and windscreen wipers put high demands on the car battery. If the car is driven mainly in dark rush-hour trips, the battery will give out eventually.
  • Batteries rarely last longer than five years, so replacing them near the end of their life can save a lot of time and inconvenience at the side of the road when they finally fizzle out.
  • Avoid running car electrics any longer than necessary - turn the heater fan down and switch the heated rear window off once windows are clear.
  • If the car stands idle most of the weekend a regular overnight trickle charge is a good idea to give the battery a chance to revive.
  • When you're starting up the car ensure that non-essentials like lights, rear screen heater and wipers are turned off.
  • Use the starter in short five-second bursts if the engine doesn't start quickly, leaving thirty seconds between attempts to allow the battery to recover.
 
Antifreeze
  • Antifreeze costs only a few pounds, but a cracked engine block will cost hundreds of pounds to repair.
  • The majority of modern cars use long-life antifreeze, and it is absolutely essential that you don't mix these with other types as this can cause a sludge to form in the engine. If you're not sure what type of antifreeze is in your car, take it to a dealer.
  • Traditional glycol-based antifreeze should be changed at least every two years.
  • A 50-50 mix of antifreeze and water in the cooling system is needed in winter. This gives maximum protection down to -34° centigrade, and without it, severe engine damage costing hundreds of pounds can occur.
  • If the fan belt squeals continually as soon as the engine is started, that is a sign the water pump is frozen. The cylinder block could be frozen too. Stop the engine immediately and allow it to thaw out. This may take several days unless you can get the car moved to a heated garage.
  • Most commonly, it is just the radiator that freezes. The car will begin to overheat within a few miles of home, as the coolant is unable to circulate. Stop the car immediately and allow the radiator to thaw.
 
Vision
  • Through the winter months dazzle from the low sun can be a particular problem.
  • Improve vision significantly by making sure that the windscreen is clean - inside and out. Scratches, abrasion and chips on the outside can also worsen the dazzling effect of the sun.
  • Use air conditioning for faster demisting and to reduce condensation on cold windows.
  • Keep the windscreen and other windows clear - if your vision is obscured through dirt, snow or even sticker-infested car windows you could face a hefty fine.
  • Check windscreen wipers and replace if necessary.
  • Make sure that wipers are switched off in the park position when leaving the car, when there's risk of freezing. If you don't and the blades freeze to the screen, you could damage the blades or wiper motor when you turn the ignition on.
  • Windscreen washer fluid should be topped up and treated with a proprietary additive to reduce the chance of freezing in frosty weather. Don't use ordinary engine antifreeze as it will damage paintwork.
  • Clear snow from the roof as well as from windows. Snow piled up on the roof can fall onto the windscreen obscuring your view and can also be a hazard to other road users.
 
Visibility
  • Check that all bulbs are working and that headlights are clean and aimed correctly.
  • You must use headlights when visibility is seriously reduced. You may also use front or rear fog lights but these must be switched off when visibility improves as they can dazzle other road users and obscure your brake lights.
  • Keep the number plates clean too, as you can be fined if they are dirty and illegible.

 Tyres
  • Check all tyres for condition, pressure and tread depth. At least 3 mm of tread is recommended for winter motoring, and certainly no less than 2 mm.
  • Don't reduce tyre pressures to get more grip - it doesn't work, and reduces stability.
  • Check you have a working jack and wheel brace, and that you know how to change a wheel if necessary.
  • It's rare to need snow chains unless you live in an isolated area hit with heavy snow, and where the roads are not cleared. They must be removed to drive on a metalled road without a reasonable covering of snow.
  • Buy snow chains from a specialist supplier to ensure that they're right for your vehicle, and practice fitting them in good dry conditions.
  • Consider changing to winter or all season tyres - these have a higher silicone content in the tread which prevents it hardening at lower temperatures, and therefore gives better grip in cold wet conditions.

Driving in snow and ice
  • Stopping distances are 10 times longer in ice and snow.
  • Gentle manoeuvres are the key to safe driving.
  • Wear comfortable, dry shoes: cumbersome, snow-covered boots will slip on the pedals.
  • Select second gear when pulling away, easing your foot off the clutch gently to avoid wheel-spin.
  • Try to maintain a constant speed, choosing the most suitable gear in advance to avoid having to change down while climbing a hill.
  • When driving downhill, choose third or fourth gear to prevent skidding.
  • Always apply brakes gently. Release them and de-clutch if the car skids.
  • If you have an automatic, then under normal driving conditions (motorways, etc) it's best to select 'Drive' and let the gearbox do the work throughout the full gear range. In slippery, snowy conditions you can make driving much safer by selecting '2', which limits the gear changes and also makes you less reliant on the brakes. Many modern autos have a 'Winter' mode which locks out first gear to reduce the risk of wheel spin. Check the handbook if you're not sure.
  • If you do get stuck, straighten the steering and clear the snow from the wheels. Put a sack or old rug in front of the driving wheels to give the tyres some grip. Once on the move again, try not to stop until you reach firmer ground.

Happy New Year 2013

Posted on December 31, 2012 at 5:13 AM Comments comments (1)
Happy New Year to all our customers both old and new. We hope 2013 will bring everything you hope for and be a year to remember. Here at GVS 24Hr Recovery we know how hard the last year has been for some people, so to help start 2013 on a positive note we have frozen our prices and are keeping them all at the 2012 rate. Have a Great New Year 2013!