Monday, 2 November 2015

Fog Driving Tips

Driving In Fog

With the current weather potentially causing an increase in accidents here are our tips for safe driving in reduced visibility. 

  • Check your lights!
 It seems obvious but there are many vehicles on the road with lights not working. It's often a quick job to change a bulb and our staff can do this whilst you wait. 
  • Use your lights! 
The highway code states: "You MUST use headlights when visibility is seriously reduced, generally when you cannot see for more than 100 metres (328 feet)." In other words the length of a rugby pitch. It also states that "You may also use front or rear fog lights but you MUST switch them off when visibility improves"
    The front fog lights are used to spread a low, wide beam of light for illuminating the edges of the road. You will notice your full beam just lights up the fog and doesn't help you to see any further ahead. In these conditions it's best to use dip beam and fog lights.
    The use of the rear fog light really requires some common sense to be applied, if the vehicle in front disappears into the fog it's time to turn on, if you are in the middle of a traffic jam in town it's time to turn off! 

  • Give yourself time!
Leave a three second gap between you and the car in front. Reduce your speed and allow extra time to complete your journey. Expect the unexpected and drive a pace that gives you time to stop. Give other road users time too, remember to check the mirrors before slowing and avoid sudden braking when entering a patch of fog. These simple steps will give you the time and space you need to complete your journey safely. 
  • Don't follow the tail lights in front!
It's easy to follow the lights of the car travelling in front of you. You will instinctively close the gap between the vehicles. If the lead vehicle makes a mistake and leaves the road, chances are you will follow. 
  • Use your ears!
When at a T junction turn down the radio, wind down the windows and listen for the traffic. 

  •  Clear the windscreen!
Use your windscreen wipers and demisters to keep the screen clear. At this time of year you need to keep the washer bottle topped up as dirt from the wet roads can reduce your visibility through the windscreen. Remember your air conditioning system has a drier used to dehumidify the cabin and can clear condensation quicker than just the fans alone. 

Friday, 31 July 2015

The Paint Perfect 18 Point Alloy Wheel Refurbishment Process

The Paint Perfect Alloy Wheel Repair Process

Our 18 point full refurbishment service is the best way to restore your alloy wheels to factory finish and give a long lasting and durable finish. This method is also ideal for enhancing the appearance of your vehicle by changing the colour of the alloys.

  1. The vehicle is brought into one of our secure, alarmed workshops and put on axle stands. The wheels are then removed.
  2. The inflated tyres are checked for leaks and bulges in the sidewall.

  3. The centre caps and spigot rings are removed, inspected for damage and stored.
  4. The tyre is then removed and checked for wear, foreign objects and damage.
  5. The valve and weights are then removed.
  6. The wheels are checked for buckles and flat spots. These can be repaired on our hydraulic wheel straightening rig.
  7. The wheels are then immersed in a chemical bath to remove paint, powder coat, brake dust and corrosion. This process can vary in time depending on the coating on the wheels. In some cases this can take up to six hours. The chemical bath is the best way to get the wheels back to bare aluminium as media blasting can be too aggressive and leave a pitted surface. Blasters that are recycling their media and using the same equipment for aluminium and steel can also impregnate the wheel with tiny pieces of steel. This cross contamination can accelerate corrosion in the wheel.

  8. Once removed from the tank the wheels are then neutralised in a water bath and jet washed clean.
  9. Once dried the wheels are inspected for cracks and other damage that would require TIG welding.
  10. The wheels are then hand sanded to remove kerb damage and other imperfections in the surface.
  11. Etch primer is then applied inside and out followed by high build primer.
  12. After the primer has been cured on a bake cycle it is sanded down by hand ready for paint.
  13. Base coat is then applied inside and out followed by 2K high solids solvent clear coat and then cured on a bake cycle.

  14. Once fully dry new valves are fitted and then the tyres are put back on the rims and inflated to manufacturer's recommended pressure.
  15. Spigot rings are refitted where appropriate and each wheel is balanced.

  16. The wheels are refitted to the vehicle and torqued to manufacturers specification. We do not fit wheel bolts using an impact gun as this can over tighten and stress the bolts leading to failure. It also can cause damage to locking wheel nuts.
  17. We refit the centre caps and lower the car off the axle stands.
  18. The vehicle is then given a complementary wash & mini valet.

We have seen wheel “refurbishments” where the tyre is left on the wheel, in some cases the wheel is not even removed from the vehicle! This approach can lead to a number of problems including;
  • Poor adhesion – Without the tyre being removed the wheel cannot be keyed properly and the new paint starts to peel off from the edges.
  • Excessive film thickness – The more paint build up there is on the wheel the more prone it is to chipping.
  • Pressure loss – If the tyre is left fitted the inside of the wheel cannot be inspected and treated. Corrosion forming between the wheel and tyre bead is a common cause of pressure loss.
  • Reactions – We have seen paint finishes with reactions from over painting a previously refurbished wheel or silicone reactions from tyre dressing.

Saving a small amount of money in the short term will be a false economy in the long run.

Friday, 30 January 2015

Why you are committing insurance fraud to make your kid's insurance cheaper...

It's a fact that car insurance for young drivers is expensive but what some parents don't realise is that in their attempt to reduce the premium they may be committing insurance fraud. 

Known as "Fronting" it is a process where an older more experienced driver will insure their child's vehicle under their own name and add their child as a named driver. This reduces the premium but is a fraudulent activity because the policy holder should be the main user of the vehicle. In the event of a claim if the insurer believes you are fronting they can refuse to pay out. Research by Go Compare suggests that nearly 25% of young drivers are fronting. 

Further research suggests that a considerable number of young drivers are lying about certain information when applying for a policy such as annual mileage, their job title, where the vehicle is kept overnight and even previous claims and points on their licence. Giving false information will invalidate your insurance cover and having a policy cancelled by your insurer will inflate your premiums in the future. 

"So can my child be a named driver on my policy?"

Yes, as long as they are not the main user of the vehicle. The disadvantage of being a named driver is that they do not accrue any no claims bonus. You can see a reduction as having the young driver as the main user and the name on the policy but adding an experienced driver as a second name to the policy. It's perfect you want to occasionally borrow the car and bring the premium down at the same time. 

"So how can I reduce the premium for a young driver?"

There are a number of ways of reducing the premium for a young driver each with their own pros and cons. There is no definitive answer which is best, it's a case of picking what is right for you.  We will look at a few options:

Voluntary Excess

Every policy has a compulsory excess. This is the amount that in the event of a claim, made either by yourself or someone you have crashed into, that you have to pay. The voluntary excess is an extra amount that you agree with your insurer when taking out the policy that you will pay in the event of an accident. The "voluntary" part refers to your decision to agree the amount at the start of the policy. Once agreed and the cover is in place in the event of a claim you will have to pay the compulsory and voluntary excess. Raising the amount of the voluntary excess is an easy way to reduce a premium but you need to make sure the combined amount of excess is affordable to you and you will be able to pay it in the event of a claim. 


Commonly referred to as a black box it records data about the use of the vehicle including location, speed, time of day, distance and how aggressively the vehicle is accelerating, braking and cornering. The main stream insurers seem to be coming away from the use of data recorders but there are still specialist telematics insurers. Most of these policies aren't cheaper initially as the driver must prove themselves with good driving before reductions are made. 
There has also been questions raised about who owns the data and who has the right to access it. It has been suggested that the police can request the data and it can be used to prove a driver's innocence or guilt in the event of an incident. 

Crash Cameras

Crash witness cameras are gaining popularity and work by continuously recording on a loop. Most have a system where when they detect violent movement the recording is "locked" so it cannot be over written. Some models of camera also have a motion detector mode when the vehicle is parked which can record incidents of vandalism or the increasingly common car park hit and run. They can also be used to identify "crash for cash" schemes where people deliberately cause accidents to look like they are not to blame. They can also be used in conjunction with telematics to give a very accurate picture of how a driver is behaving. Currently not all insurers offer discounts but some have been quoted as giving as much as 10% discount which for a young driver could mean the camera pays for itself in the first year. 

Pass Plus

Extra driving qualifications can reduce the premium for a new driver with no NCB. You can see the difference having the qualification makes when using price comparison websites. The discount might make a saving after paying for the price of the course.


Young drivers can also see discounts by being included on a multicar policy. Ideal if you are looking to insure all the vehicles in your household. 
Other General Factors

We did a blog about how the insurance premiums are calculated here:

Friday, 17 October 2014

Steering Wheel Vibration

A shaking steering wheel is a common problem but can be caused by a range of issues ranging from the simple to the expensive. 

Here are some common causes;

Tyre Inflation
Incorrectly inflated tyres (most likely under inflated) can cause a vibration that can be sometimes felt through the steering wheel. This is an easy one to check and to rectify as a starting point that is often over looked. 

Unbalanced Wheels
When a tyre is fitted the wheel needs to be balanced. This means making the distribution of weight across the wheel even and is achieved by applying weights. There are two types of weight commonly used. Knock on weights clip to the edges of the wheel rim and are commonly found on steel wheels. Stick on weights are usually found on alloy wheels. It is possible for weights to fall off if incorrectly fitted, damaged or through age. An imbalanced wheel can produce a vibration and cause premature tyre wear. Our premises are equipped with a high quality wheel balancer and every wheel we refurbish is balanced prior to fitting to the vehicle. 

Buckled Wheels
A wheel with a buckle or flat spot can also show itself as a vibration felt through the steering. Similar to an unbalanced wheel the vibration may be more noticeable at certain speeds. We can straighten buckled alloy wheels at a fraction of the cost of replacement. We commonly see wheels with a large amount of weights applied which is a tell tale sign of a fitter trying to balance a buckled wheel that requires repair. Application of excessive weights can lead to weights falling off as mentioned above. 

Wheel Alignment
Wheel alignment, also known as tracking, can help to cure some vibration problems. If the tracking is out on a vehicle the tyres can wear unevenly and this can lead to a vibration. Wheels out of alignment can either be adjusted or may be the result of damage to the steering system. We can perform two or four wheel alignment and supply & fit tyres at competitive prices at our Clayton Road workshop.

Brake Discs
An over heated brake disc can warp and buckle. This means as the disc runs through the pads is it trying to move left and right and as a result produces a vibration when braking. This can be felt as a shake through the steering wheel and/or as a pulse through the brake pedal. This can be the result of fitting poor quality discs or an extended period of braking.

CV Joints
In very basic terms a constant velocity joint connects the drive shaft from the gearbox to the hub where the wheel attaches. The CV joint allows the transfer of drive from the gearbox whilst giving the wheel the ability to move with the steering and suspension systems. The CV joint has a protective rubber boot to keep dirt and moisture off the bearings inside. These boots can fail over time (you may have seen them as an item on an MOT test result) and bearings can get damaged. When the bearings start to wear you may notice a vibration through the steering wheel when accelerating or when turning on full lock. If they are really badly worn they can also produce an audible knocking. Immediate replacement is recommended as a CV failure will leave your car stranded. Although the engine will run and you can select gears no drive will be transferred to the wheels. 

This is by no means a definitive list but a good starting point to diagnose a problem. Our Clayton Road workshop is open Monday to Friday 8am til 5pm and Saturday mornings from 8am until mid day. Our staff are always on hand to give advice and answer your questions. You can call us on 01522 568 247 or e-mail 

Monday, 6 October 2014

Wet Weather Driving Tips

As we head into Autumn driving in wet weather will be a necessity. Here are our tips for safer driving in wet conditions;

Allow for bigger braking distances.
Water reduces the efficiency of your brakes and reduces the grip levels on the road surface. Rain also draws dirt, diesel & oil to the road surface further reducing grip. It is good practice to at least double the distance between you and the vehicle in front compared to dry conditions. 

Avoid Puddles.
Drivers caught deliberately driving through puddles to soak pedestrians or other road users can be prosecuted under the 1988 Road Traffic Act.
Driving though puddles also increases the risk of aquaplaning.  Aquaplaning (also known as hydroplaning) is where the tyre treads cannot disperse the water on the road surface and as a result the tyre "floats" on the surface water and loses contact with the road. This can result in a total loss of control of the vehicle. 

Puddles can hide potholes that can lead to a number of problems including punctures, buckled wheels and damage to the steering & suspension systems. The team at Paint Perfect can repair buckled alloy wheels as well as two & four wheel alignment (also known as tracking).
Driving through deep or standing water can also cause serious, sometimes permanent, damage to engines and electrical systems. 

Ensure Your Tyres Are In Good Condition.
A tyre's tread is designed to disperse water so the tyre stays in contact with the road surface and does not aquaplane (as described above) A worn tyre will not clear as much water and as a result the risk of aquaplaning is increased.
1.6mm is the legal minimum tread depth (although many people advise 3mm to be safe).

 Your tyres will probably have a wear marker on the central grooves. If the tread is level with the top of the wear markers then the tyres need replacing. 

You can also do the 20 pence test. The border around the edge of a 20 pence piece is 1.6mm and can be used to check tread depth. This photo shows the tyre is just below the limit and requires replacement.
It is advisable in all weather conditions to keep your tyres inflated to the vehicle manufacturer's specification.
We can supply & fit tyres at competitive prices from our Clayton Road workshop. We can supply most top brands such as Michelin, Pirelli & Continental as well as quality mid range brands such as Kumho & Avon. 

Check Your Wipers.
Often a neglected item, damaged or old wipers can result in a screen not clearing properly dangerously reducing visibility or causing damage to the windscreen. They are also an item on which your vehicle can be refused an MOT.  We can supply & fit wiper blades whilst you wait. Check your washer bottle is filled as other vehicles can cover the windscreen in mud and dirt. It is advisable to use screen wash rather than household soap in washer bottles as the salts in washing up liquid perish wiper blades.

DO: Check all your lights are working! We can supply & fit bulbs at competitive prices.
DO: Use your lights during heavy rain.
DON'T: Use your rear fog light in the rain. The fog light illuminating the spray from the back of your vehicle makes it harder for other drivers to see when your brake lights come on. 

Use Your Air Con.
It is a common misconception that air conditioning only works for blowing cold air. Setting the heaters to blow hot and turning the air conditioning on will demist the windows faster as it also acts as a dehumidifier. Remember to set your heaters before setting off even if the windows are misted up when you first get in.

Learn Your Vehicle
If things start to go wrong you need to know your vehicle. Is it front or rear wheel drive? This will more than likely determine the way it slides in low grip situations. Does it have ABS? In an ABS equipped car you can simply apply the brakes, a non ABS equipped vehicle may lock the wheels in low grip situations and you will need to use cadence braking technique. Consider taking some extra driving tuition. There are many companies that offer skid pan and car control sessions to teach drivers to cope in adverse conditions. A fun day out could provide you will some very valuable skills.

If the worst happens....
Click here for our guide on what to do in the event of an accident

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Car Washing - More Harm Than Good?

It can seem like a never ending task, but why should you keep your car clean?

Although I hate to say it at the start of September but it won't be long until Gritters will be a common sight on the roads again. Road salt can accelerate rust forming on your vehicle's bodywork and chassis. Applying an under body sealer can help to protect the underside of the car but this needs to be done in the summer time when you can ensure the vehicle is dry. This is a service we offer and highly recommend to driver's of older vehicles.

Brake dust on alloy wheels can also speed up corrosion on Alloy Wheels. This not only looks unsightly but you may notice your tyres deflate for no reason. We refurbish corroded alloy wheels by chemical stripping, hand sanding and painting inside and out to remove all corrosion and kerb damage which restores the wheels to showroom condition.

We covered industrial fallout and bird poo in our blog post "It Came From The Sky" Click Here to read it!

The maximum fine for incorrectly displaying or obscuring a number plate is £1000. A hefty fine for a dirty plate & i
n Belarus & Romania it is apparently illegal to drive a dirty car!  

Dirt covering lights can reduce their visibility and effectiveness which potentially could result in an accident. If you are involved in an accident call us and our experienced team can guide you through the process of making an insurance claim. Click here to read our blog about what to do in the event of an accident.

And finally remember that unfortunately people judge you on your car. A well looked after car is as important to the professional look of a salesman or business as a smart uniform or a quality business card.

Every vehicle that leaves our workshop is returned to the customer cleaned inside & out as part of our standard service. 

Ok, so that covers why, the question now is how?

There are four main options; An automatic car wash, a hand car wash, a valeter/detailer & DIY.

Automatic Car Washes
Quick, Cheap, & Convenient but with a history of horror stories. Notorious for causing swirl marks in paint by dragging dirty brushes across the bodywork and snapping aerials off the vehicles of forgetful motorists. Although fully insured proving where damage has been caused is a tricky process and takes time and effort. 

Hand Car Washes
Quick, Cheap & popping up all over the country. The quality of the work done seems to vary wildly and although there are some good companies hand washing cars there are some pretty terrible ones too. We see a few common problems. Scratches caused by dirty drying blades or ageing paint lifted by high power jet washes. Tyres & wiper blades perishing prematurely & plastic trims discoloured due to use of extremely strong chemicals. Alloy wheels pitted, marked & loss of gloss level due to use of strong acid cleaners. The other issue with hand car washes is lack of regulation with some operating with no vehicle insurance which would leave a customer footing the bill for any damage. We have even seen one vehicle at our Clayton road workshop that was crashed into the back of a valet bay by a worker causing extensive damage to the front end and requiring a replacement bonnet, bumper and head lights.  

Valeter / Detailer
Detailing is becoming more and more popular and the favoured choice of the discerning car owner. The most expensive way of getting your car cleaned but a good detailer will offer a wide range of services and go much more in depth than a car wash and the results will be much more impressive. Often they will offer a mobile service to your home or workplace. As with the hand car washes there has been a rapid rise in the number of companies providing this service so naturally there are some people jumping on the bandwagon rather than offering quality work however as they don't do as much volume as a hand car wash the substandard companies tend to fail. When looking for a detailer ask local car enthusiasts and clubs about their reputation. 

With the availability of cheap jet washes and a mind numbing range of products many people are choosing to clean their cars themselves. The key to this is choosing the right products and tools for the job and doing your homework. As a rule household products should not be used on the car and we have seen and heard about people using brillo pads to remove bird droppings (and severely scratching the paint!) and using Fairy Liquid instead of car shampoo. (It should be noted that Fairy Liquid perishes rubbers and should not be used on a car in any circumstances!) There are thousands of how to videos, product reviews, specialist websites and forums online all about car cleaning and with some research you will find a system that suits your needs. 

Monday, 25 August 2014

Tyre Safety: Protecting you, your family & your finances.

Tyres are an important but often overlooked safety item on your car and neglecting them can leave you counting the cost. 
A worn tyre is not only an MOT failure but it is also a traffic offence punishable by a fixed penalty notice issued on the spot or referred to a court with a possibly penalty of three points on your licence and a £2500 fine.
Tyres worn below the legal limit also prevent insurance claims from being paid out leaving the driver effectively uninsured & liable for all costs incurred as a result of the accident. When we have VDAs visiting our Lincoln body shop to assess vehicle damage the tyre tread depths are usually the first point of the inspection.
As well as the legal and insurance implications worn tyres can lead to accidents and injury. 

Here are some tyre deflects to check for:

Uneven Wear On One Side
This is caused by a camber or tracking issue and can often be hidden on the inside shoulder of the car. It's easy to check on the front by turning the steering wheel to full lock but often overlooked on the back. After replacing the tyres the car needs a four wheel alignment to rectify the problem. This is a service we offer at our Clayton Road workshop for £70.

Wear In the Middle Of The Tread 
This is caused by over inflation. Your car will have a manufacturer's recommended inflation pressure in the hand book and on a sticker or plate on the vehicle. These are usually located behind the fuel filler flap or in the front door shuts. When checking and setting pressures remember to check what units the pressures are given in and what your tyre gauge shows.

Wear On Both Corners Of The Tread
This is caused by under inflation. Running a tyre under inflated is extremely dangerous and causes the sidewall to rub together as can be seen below.
This weakening of the sidewalls can lead to a blowout which can be fatal at high speed. A blowout is a rapid failure of a sidewall which can cause the tyre to become detached from the rim as can be seen in this photo.
What needs to be addressed is the reason for the wheel losing pressure. It may have a slow puncture or it may be a problem with the wheel itself. Alloy wheels corrode where the tyre bead meets the wheel and the rough surface causes the tyre to leak pressure. At Paint Perfect we can cure this problem for as little as £60 and as quickly as one working day. Cracks in alloy wheels are also another cause of tyre deflation. We can TIG weld alloy wheels for as little as £70. Under inflation of tyres also increases rolling resistance and makes your vehicle less fuel efficient.
These are egg shaped lumps that appear in the tyre side wall and are usually an indication of impact damage usually with a pothole or a kerb. These weaken the sidewall and increase the risk of a blow out. 

If a wheel has taken an impact that causes a bleb there is usually a vibration that can be felt from the wheel. Sometimes it can only be felt at certain speeds, if it is a front wheel it can be felt as a shake through the steering wheel. This is a clear indication of a buckled alloy wheel. At Paint Perfect we can straighten buckled alloy wheels for as little as £70.
In extreme cases you may notice the steering wheel no longer is level when driving in a straight line which suggests the steering has been affected. As mentioned above we offer wheel tracking which can cure this problem.

Sidewall Damage

Cracks in side walls can be an indication of being driven on whilst under inflated. If the side wall has lots of small cracks it is an indication that the tyres are old and require replacement. See our blog post about choosing the correct tyre for more information on dating tyres. Harsh chemical cleaners, incorrect storage and having a vehicle stood on under inflated tyres can also accelerate the ageing process of the rubber.

At Paint Perfect we are alloy wheel repair specialists and offer a full range of services including chemical stripping and media blasting to durable paint and powder coat finishes.
We can weld cracked wheels and straighten buckles as well as souring, supplying and fitting tyres at competitive prices. 
We are located on Newark Road Industrial Estate just to the south of Lincoln High Street. Call in to our Clayton Road workshop for free estimates and advice, ring us on 01522 568247 or e-mail