5 essential tools to always keep in your vehicle

Driving can be one of life’s great joys, but it can also be a stressful experience if you find yourself stuck in a difficult situation on the road without the items you need to get yourself out of it.

 

You can reduce your risk of suffering motoring disasters by ensuring your car is always stocked with vital tools. The objects on this list might go unused a lot of the time, but you should always ensure you have them ready for an emergency.

1.    Spare tyre and jack

 

While these are clearly two separate items, they can be counted as one since neither is much use without the other.

 

Problems with the wheels and tyres are a common cause of vehicle breakdown, so you should always be prepared with the equipment you need to change a tyre, especially just after the winter when potholes are a big problem on many roads.

 

It’s wise to check your spare tyre regularly so you know it’s in usable condition should you need it.

2.    Jump leads

 

A flat battery is another common reason for cars to break down, and jump leads can be a lifesaver if you’re stranded on the side of the road and a helpful fellow motorist offers to help you out.

 

You can give yourself extra protection against your vehicle’s battery dying by keeping a portable battery pack in your car. This handy device allows you to get the battery running again without having to rely on another vehicle.

3.    Basic toolkit

 

You never know what situations you might find yourself in out on the road and what mechanical problems your car might encounter, so it’s a good idea to have a selection of basic tools with you at all times.

 

Having a toolkit in your vehicle means you’ll always have easy access to implements like screwdrivers, pliers and a hammer, which could come in handy if you have car problems of your own, or if you need to help someone else who has broken down.

4.    Tyre pressure gauge

 

Making sure your tyres are always inflated to the correct pressure level is vital for a number of reasons. It ensures you can brake and control the car properly at all times, and also has additional benefits like helping you get maximum mileage out of every tank of fuel.

 

Having a tyre pressure gauge accessible at all times makes it easy to check your tyres and to know when they need inflating.

5.    Empty fuel can

 

Running out of fuel is a common fear among all motorists, and it can be particularly problematic if you’re on an important journey or if you need to get somewhere in a hurry.

 

With an empty fuel can in your car, you can feel confident that running out of petrol or diesel won’t be an insurmountable problem as long as you’re within walking distance of a refilling station.

 

As well as having these items in your car, it’s wise to get your vehicle serviced regularly so it’s always in good condition and you’re aware of any mechanical problems.

 

You can save money on parts and labour, and also get useful benefits like calendar reminders, with MyService.Expert from Fuel Card Services.

Save on fuel by keeping your tyres in top condition

There are various costs involved in owning and running a car, some of which you have more control over than others.

 

When it comes to fuel expenses, the good news is that there are a number of measures you can take to reduce the amount you spend.

 

You can be vigilant and keep your eye out for particularly low prices at the garages near you, and you can stick to efficient driving practices and positive habits to get maximum mileage out of every tank.

 

Another step you can take is to ensure your tyres are always in the best condition, which can have a big impact on how much fuel the engine requires to get the vehicle moving.

How tyres affect fuel consumption

 

The RAC points out that regular servicing and maintenance contributes to the overall efficiency of your vehicle, helping you optimise your fuel consumption. Making sure your tyres are inflated to the correct pressure is one of the most important checks to make, since incorrectly inflated tyres will adversely affect fuel economy.

 

If your tyres are underinflated, the surface area of rubber in contact with the road increases, which results in more drag on the wheels. Consequently, the engine has to work harder to move the wheels and uses more fuel.

 

Past research has shown that if your tyres are just 10 PSI under the recommended pressure level, your fuel consumption could increase by 2.5 per cent.

 

It’s also important to remember that the level of pressure you need in your tyres is related to the load you’re carrying. If you’re about to embark on a long drive with four passengers and lots of luggage in the boot, for example, you’ll want to inflate the tyres to the maximum recommended pressure to get the best fuel economy.

Other fuel efficiency tips

 

Making sure your tyres are in good condition and inflated to the correct pressure isn’t the only thing you can do to boost your car’s fuel efficiency.

 

Other useful steps include:

 

  • Reducing excess weight by getting rid of things you don’t need, like a roof rack that hasn’t been used for years or unnecessary items in the boot.
  • Limiting drag on the car, which you can do by closing the windows when you’re driving at high speeds.
  • Planning trips in advance, so you know where you can fill up. This will help you pinpoint the garages with the lowest prices and also avoid refuelling at the last minute, which could cause you to panic and get more fuel than you actually need.
  • Ensuring all acceleration is gentle and driving in the highest gear possible within the speed limit. Excessive speed is the enemy of fuel economy.

 

It’s generally a good idea to make sure your car is well maintained and running efficiently to get maximum mileage out of every tank of fuel.

 

You can keep up to date with your maintenance and servicing easily with MyService.Expert from Fuel Card Services.

SEAT reveals the all-new, sportier Leon

SEAT’s fully-updated, fourth-generation Leon has hit the roads for the first time, with pictures from the company showing the vehicle in the mountains outside Barcelona.

 

Drivers in the UK will be able to get their hands on the popular car later this spring, but these images offer a good opportunity to check out just what features it boasts compared to its predecessors.

 

Curvier and more mature

 

SEAT claims the Leon exudes a “quiet maturity seen in few other vehicles”, which has been achieved through smoother, more flowing surfaces and “the perfect mix of curves and edges”.

 

Buyers are likely to appreciate the improved aerodynamics on the Leon, which boosts the drag coefficient by around eight per cent and therefore should be significantly better for fuel economy.

 

The bonnet is also slightly longer than before, which enhances visibility and gives the driver an improved, cockpit-style view on the outside world that’s more comparable to an SUV than a hatchback.

 

Another jazzed-up feature on the outside is the LED headlights, which are made up of 22 individual LED bulbs that illuminate to 900 lumens and are set back to provide deeper focus.

 

Inside, connectivity is also better than ever before, with a new infotainment system featuring natural speech recognition, real-time information, a top-of-the-range sat-nav and Car2X preparedness for the reception of hazard information.

 

Those interested in buying the Leon can choose from petrol (TSI), diesel (TDI), mild hybrid (eTSI) and plug-in hybrid (eHybrid) versions, depending on personal preference.

 

Alejandro Mesonero-Romanos, director of design at SEAT, said: “Although the all-new SEAT Leon is an evolution in our design language, it still presents itself as a bolder vehicle than the previous generation, keeping hold of the brand’s DNA and the representative attributes of a Leon.”

 

The Leon is SEAT’s best-selling model and has achieved more than 2.25 million sales since its launch in 1999.

 

Amy King, SEO and Social Manager at Drivers Club News, comments: “This is a great update for the hugely popular Leon and we’re sure it will prove to be just as much of a hit as the first three generations.”

 

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VW’s accident-prevention innovation praised by experts

Volkswagen has received a prestigious award for an innovative new safety feature, which it is bringing in on a range of models and is showcased in the all-new Golf.

 

Car2X technology is based on the Wi-Fi p wireless standard, which is specifically tailored to communicate between vehicles, rather than using the mobile phone network.

 

This means blanket coverage wherever possible, with cars up to 800 metres apart being able to directly exchange positioning data.

 

Warnings within fractions of a second

 

Each equipped vehicle will have the ability to warn others of danger within milliseconds, as well as connecting with traffic infrastructure.

 

In tests, safety body Euro NCAP put the system through eight hazardous situations that drivers could find themselves in but that they would not normally have time to react to.

 

In all eight scenarios, Car2X technology was able to successfully warn the driver of hazards, often up to 11 seconds before an impending accident.

 

Euro NCAP has called the new technology “a technical milestone” and gave special recognition to the traffic hazard alert function.

 

The new Golf will be the first European car to come equipped with Car2X as standard, but it is eventually to be rolled out to other brands and manufacturers.

 

Michiel van Ratingen from Euro NCAP said: “This is an exciting area of safety. Volkswagen are to be congratulated for making the technology standard in vehicles selling in high numbers like the Golf.”

 

At present, Car2X is only active at speeds over 80 kilometres per hour, but work is being done to refine it further so it can boost safety in city traffic situations. It will also become improved as more participants connect.

 

Jenny Smith, general manager for Tele-Gence, commented: “This is a great achievement for Volkswagen. It is exciting to think that a new system with the possibility to boost safety levels so much is already being rolled out. We’re looking forward to having a go!”

 

Your business can benefit from affordable telematics with no hidden start-up fees or long-term commitments. Find out how at www.tele-gence.com

 

How to avoid fuel problems

It’s an unfortunate fact of life for motorists that there are many things that can go wrong with your car, which is why it’s important to keep up with servicing and maintenance so your vehicle is always in good health.

 

A lot of the time, problems you encounter with your car will be out of your control and the best you can do is get them fixed.

 

However, there are plenty of issues – some of which are among the most common causes of breakdown – that can be easily avoided, such as running out of fuel, or putting the wrong fuel in your car. Here are some steps you can take to stop these things happening to you:

Running out of fuel

 

One of the best precautions you can take to reduce your risk of running out of fuel is not to place all your faith in your car’s display. Some modern cars give a reading of how much further you can drive before the tank is empty, but this isn’t always accurate.

 

Generally speaking, it’s better to be overly cautious and fill up before the red light illuminates on the fuel gauge or you get a warning message.

 

If you’re planning a long journey, do some advance preparation and fill up the day before so you don’t have to worry about it on the day.

Misfuelling

 

Misfuelling – putting petrol in a diesel vehicle or vice versa – is an easy mistake to make (especially if you’ve recently bought a new car that takes different fuel to your last one), and a common cause of breakdowns.

 

To avoid this problem, some people put a ‘petrol’ or ‘diesel’ label on their fuel cap as a reminder every time they fill up. It’s also worth remembering that diesel fuel nozzles are larger than petrol ones, so it’s harder to misfuel a petrol vehicle than a diesel.

 

If you do use the wrong fuel, don’t start the engine – try to push your car off the forecourt and get it seen by a mechanic, who should be able to flush the fuel out of the system. Starting the car and driving any distance after misfuelling can cause mechanical damage.

 

You can address any concerns you have about your car and check that it’s in good condition with MyService.Expert from Fuel Card Services, which offers benefits including typical savings of 30 per cent on parts and labour.