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: