Speeding bad for car

Is speeding really that bad for my car?

Driving over the speed limit is a bad habit that many people – if they’re being completely honest – would admit to.

The primary reason that all motorists should stick to speed limits is to maintain safety on the roads. Driving too fast increases your risk of hitting other cars because of increased braking distance, and also raises the likelihood of collisions with pedestrians resulting in serious injury or death.

Aside from these indisputable reasons to keep to the speed limit, there is another powerful motivation: to maintain the health of your car.

Here are three ways driving too fast can result in damage to your vehicle:


Putting strain on the engine

Driving at a higher speed than you need to – or than you should be, according to the law – has the immediate effect of placing more strain on your engine than is necessary.

This can contribute to the general wear and tear of components in the engine and increase the likelihood of faults occurring, which can be dangerous as well as costly.

It’s particularly important to be cautious of driving too fast and overworking the engine shortly after you have started the car in cold weather. If the oil in the engine is cold, it will be less effective in doing its job of circulating around the components to provide lubrication, which raises the risk of damage.

You can help to protect the engine at these times by not revving it too hard or driving too fast.

Hitting potholes and speed bumps

Potholes can be a major hazard to cars, particularly during the winter months, when water seeps into cracks in the road, freezes and expands, creating larger holes.

Failing to spot a particularly nasty pothole and driving right through it can damage your tyres, suspension and other parts of your car, and the impact will be even more pronounced if you’re driving too fast. Keeping to a reasonable speed is always a wise and effective way to protect your vehicle.

The same goes for speed bumps, which are in place for a reason. Ignoring warning signs and hitting bumps while driving over the speed limit is likely to damage your car and can also cause you to lose control, increasing the risk of an accident.

Damaging the brakes

Driving over the speed limit means your reaction time will be reduced, which is likely to lead to late and sudden braking. This places a lot of strain on the braking system, wearing out your pads and discs, which will have to be replaced to keep the vehicle in a roadworthy condition.

The worst-case scenario that can result from driving too fast is that you simply don’t brake in time and collide with another car, a stationary object or a pedestrian. Sticking to the speed limit and giving yourself plenty of time to spot hazards is the best way to avoid these events.


If you want to get your car regularly checked and serviced so it’s always safe on the roads, MyService.Expert from Fuel Card Services can help by providing access to thousands of garages across the UK.

Highways England reveals worst day for breakdowns

Highways England reveals worst day for breakdowns

Highways England has issued a plea for all drivers to commit to checking their vehicles more regularly, after figures showed the most common day for breakdowns is a Friday.

The government-owned company pointed out that even the most basic checks can help motorists reduce the risk of their car breaking down.


Simple precautions

Highways England recorded nearly 36,000 breakdowns on Fridays throughout 2018, compared to just over 29,000 on Sundays. The total number of breakdowns throughout the year was more than 223,000.

The company, which is responsible for England’s motorways and major A-roads, launched a dedicated campaign to highlight the positive impact even simple checks can have on car reliability and road safety.

It recommended:

  • Checking tyres (especially before long journeys) to see that the pressure is suitable for the load and they are in good condition. Look out for cuts and make sure the tread depth is at least 1.6mm.
  • Using the engine dipstick to check oil regularly and top up when necessary. Take your car to a garage if you’re topping up more than usual.
  • Keeping windscreen washer fluid topped up to maintain a clean windscreen and good visibility.
  • Checking indicators, hazard lights, headlights, fog lamps, reverse lights and brake lights to be sure they’re working properly.
  • Look at your fuel level before setting off and make sure you have enough to reach your destination.

Richard Leonard, head of road safety at Highways England, said: “We want everyone to get to their destination safely and drivers can help themselves by carrying out simple checks before they set off. Breakdowns can often be prevented by carrying out basic checks.”

Simple steps and protective measures can reduce your risk of breaking down, but to keep your car in prime condition it’s best to take it to the professionals.


MyService.Expert from Fuel Card Services can help you save money on servicing and maintenance at thousands of garages across the UK.

Car maintenance calendar, how often do you need to run checks

Car maintenance calendar – how often do you need to run checks?

Every motorist should give some thought to vehicle maintenance, since a well looked-after car will be safer, more reliable and easier to drive.

If you want your car to serve you well for as long as possible, one of the wisest things you can do is come up with a maintenance calendar. This will help you to keep up with important checks, ensuring you don’t overlook problems or faults that will get worse over time.


Maintenance calendar

The RAC recommends using the following system:

  • Regular maintenance: Basic car maintenance is something you should do yourself on a regular basis – ideally once every couple of weeks, or before a long journey. Keep an eye on things like oil and water levels in the engine, tyre pressure and all your lights, including indicators, reverse lights, brake lights and fog lamps.
  • Interim service: Arranging an interim service every six months or 6,000 miles (whichever comes first) will help you keep your car in the best condition.
  • Full service: Manufacturers recommend that cars are fully serviced every 12,000 miles or 12 months – whichever comes first. Some vehicles feature diagnostic systems that will tell you when a service is due.

Don’t rely on the MOT

Your car will undergo essential checks as part of its annual MOT, but it’s important to remember that servicing and MOT inspections are very different things.

The point of the MOT is to complete a technical safety inspection of the vehicle to ensure it’s fit to be on the road.

A service, on the other hand, looks for general wear and tear and will replace parts and fluids if necessary, so you can feel confident your car is always in the best condition.

Other benefits of regular servicing

One of the best reasons to get your car serviced on a regular basis is to identify issues quickly. This reduces the risk of a minor fault or mechanical defect – which could be a straightforward fix if it’s spotted early – escalating into a more serious problem that will be costly and complicated to remedy.

Early detection also gives you the luxury of time in thinking about how to arrange and pay for any work required, rather than having to fork out for emergency repairs when something goes wrong.

If you use your car a lot, you’ll know that gradual deterioration of parts is a common problem in high-mileage vehicles. Servicing will help you keep your car healthy over the long term, ensuring that essential systems like the brakes and suspension don’t let you down when you need them most.

Finally, keeping on top of checks and maintenance will maintain the value of your car. If, at some point in the future, you decide to sell the vehicle, being able to provide a thorough service history will help you justify a higher price.


MyService.Expert from Fuel Card Services can help you realise the many benefits of consistent car maintenance with useful tools including calendar alerts for services and MOTs.

First MOT winners and losers revealed

First MOT ‘winners and losers’ revealed

New cars are required to have an MOT certificate on their third anniversary of hitting the road, so if you got yourself a brand new vehicle in 2017, it’s very first MOT will be coming up some time this year.

In preparation for this event, you might be interested to know the most common reason for cars to fail their first MOT, and which models are most likely to have issues in the test.


Winners and losers

According to research by car owner companion website and app KnowYourCar, nearly a fifth (19 per cent) of Isuzu D-Max, Dacia Sandero and Ford Fiesta models that were registered in 2016 failed their first MOTs last year.

The same issue caused the highest number of failures for all three of these models: ‘headlamp aim out of alignment’.

This was also the most likely reason for 2016 Honda Jazz models to get the thumbs down in their first MOT test. However, the Jazz performed better than the D-Max, Sandero and Fiesta on MOT performance overall, with a 96 per cent pass rate.

The MINI One and Skoda Octavia also fared well last year, with 94 per cent of 2016-registered versions of these cars sailing through their first MOT inspection.

Dan Owen of KnowYourCar said it was “worrying” to see that headlamp alignment is such a big issue for relatively new cars. It was a common reason for failure among the ten worst MOT performers last year, including the Vauxhall Corsa and the Volkswagen Golf.

“The fact that headlamps are such a problem for so many different models is startling,” Mr Owen added. “Misalignment can be caused by a number of issues, including minor collisions, faulty headlight motors and even assembly issues at the car factory. These MOT results certainly explain why so many cars’ headlights tend to dazzle at night.”

Regular maintenance and servicing can help you keep an eye on these sorts of issues and other common reasons for MOT failure.


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Drivers told to beware battery problems in cold weather

Drivers told to beware battery problems in cold weather

Much of the UK has been hit by wet and windy weather and low temperatures this month, leading to potentially hazardous driving conditions.

As well as raising the risk of accidents and disruption on the roads, cold weather can lead to various mechanical problems that all car owners should be aware of. One of the most common issues is a flat battery, as a road safety and breakdown organisation has warned.


Battery bother

GEM Motoring Assist has advised that being aware of potential battery issues at this time of year can help you avoid getting stranded at the roadside – a particularly unpleasant experience in the middle of winter.

The company pointed out that cold weather can cause a slowdown in the chemical reactions that take place inside car batteries.

When the temperature drops to 0 degrees C, a battery loses 35 per cent of its effectiveness.

GEM road safety officer Neil Worth said: “Cold weather also reduces the battery’s ability to hold its charge – meaning it’s potentially at its weakest when you’re likely to need it the most!”

If your engine fails to start but you can hear a slight noise from under the bonnet, a flat battery is the most likely cause.

Lack of any sound at all when you try to start the engine probably means a loose connection on the battery, or that it has no charge left at all.

If you have a good set of jump leads and another car owner willing to do you a favour, you can try to jump start the battery. However, it’s also possible that your car’s battery has reached the end of its lifespan and needs replacing.

“Batteries don’t last forever – in fact the average life of a battery is five years, so be ready to replace it when the time comes,” said Mr Worth.


If you want to get your car checked out for battery health and general reliability during the winter, MyService.Expert from Fuel Card Services can help by providing access to regular servicing and maintenance at thousands of garages nationwide.