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Monday
Mar022015

Basic Car Maintenance: How to change your battery

If your car has run out of energy, the chances are that you’re in need of a new battery.  Fortunately, this is another task that you can take care of yourself if you’re happy doing a bit of work on your own car.  Here’s our guide to replacing your car’s battery:

  1. Ensure you’re parked on a flat, level surface with the hand brake on and the keys out of the ignition.  Make sure you’ve got goggles, gloves and protective clothes on: car batteries contain corrosive acid that you don’t want anywhere near your skin!
  2. Take note of all your pin codes for your radios, sat navs and other electronic equipment; some cars will reset when the battery is disconnected, and you’ll want to get everything back to normal afterwards.
  3. Open the bonnet and (if your car has one) use the stay to keep it held up.
  4. Locate the battery.  It will nearly always be found beneath the bonnet, but on some cars it will be in the boot.  The best way to check is to refer to your owner’s handbook.
  5. Remove any of the plastic trims or covers from the battery.
  6. Label the battery cables so that you don’t get them mixed up later on: it’s important to disconnect the negative connection before the positive- not doing so may cause damage to your vehicle’s electrical system.
  7. Loosen and then disconnect the negative cable clamp (which should be marked ‘-‘ [minus]) and move the clamp away from the battery post.
  8. Disconnect the positive cable clamp in the same way.
  9. Remove any screws, bars or clamps that continue to hold the battery in place, and then disconnect any vents that are attached.  You can then carefully lift the battery from the vehicle: be warned, they can be heavy!
  10. Fit the new battery by sliding it into place, ensuring that the negative and positive posts are on the right sides.
  11. Re-connect any screws, clamps or bars, and re-attach any vent pipes.
  12. Remove any covers from the new battery terminals.
  13. Reconnect and secure the positive cable clamp (keep it as far down the battery post as possible).
  14. Do the same for the negative cable clamp. Again, keep it as far down the battery post as possible.

You should now be ready to start the vehicle.

Remember, if you’re at all unsure about replacing car parts, consult an expert. 

If you’re looking for great value car parts, such as a spare battery, take a look at ASM Auto Recycling’s second hand parts store.

Thursday
Feb262015

Basic Car Maintenance: How to change your wiper blades

Windscreen wipers tend to need replacing once every couple of years or so. As a result, learning to make the changes yourself can be a real money saver.  Dirty, greasy smears left by older blades can actually impair visibility; not replacing them can potentially endanger yourself and other road users.

Here is our DIY guide to switching over your wiper blades:

What you’ll need

  • Replacement blades. Make sure you get the right model: not all wipers are the same!
  • Plastic adapter attachment.
  • Small flat head screwdriver.

The wiper blades should usually include the support structure and small plastic attachments for actually hooking it up to the arm.  Make sure you’ve got these before you take the old blades off.

  1. Park your car on a level surface away from traffic (your driveway should do nicely).
  2. Take hold of the wiper arm and pull it up away from the windscreen itself (not too hard) so that the arm is sticking out perpendicular to the window in a ‘T’ shape.
  3. There should be a securing tab pressed near the centre attachment, which will need to be loosened.  If it’s a bit tough initially, use a small screwdriver. 
  4. Once this tab has been released, pull the old blade downwards away from the arm, sliding the metal bars over the top of the arm.
  5. Remove the old attachment from the blade and fit the new one (again, it should click into place).  On some occasions, the fastening mechanisms of the blades may require you to fit the attachments first.
  6. Ensure that you’ve got the blades the right way round; they need to face the same direction as the old ones. (Check and double check this!).
  7. Install the new blade onto the wiper arm.  This is done by pulling the attachment into the hook at the end of the arm until it clicks.
  8. Lower the arms back into place.  Do this gently; otherwise you might end up with a crack in your windscreen.
  9. Test the wipers on their slowest setting.  If there’s no slipping and everything’s working right, you’re good to go.  If there are any problems, simply start the whole process again.

If you need replacement windscreen wiper blades, check out the ASM Auto Recycling parts store here.

Friday
Feb202015

How long will petrol costs continue to fall?

As a result of continuing drops in the price of crude oil, consumers in the UK have been benefitting from lower and lower prices at the petrol pumps.

Asda, Morrison’s, Sainsbury’s and Tesco have all reduced the price of both petrol and diesel by a further 2p recently.  At ASDA, this has led to prices as low as 103.7p per litre for petrol, and 110.7p on diesel.  One garage in Birmingham has started selling petrol at 99.7p per litre.

So just how long will the drops continue?

Why are the prices falling?

As noted above, the reduction in cost is due to the continual fall in the price of crude oil.  With supply outstripping demand around the globe, prices have fallen from $115 per barrel in June to what Goldman Sachs has estimated could be as low as $40 per barrel over this summer.  As a result, petrol retailers have been able to pass their savings onto consumers.

What has the impact been?

This continued fall has had a positive impact on consumer finances, with the Telegraph noting that it could act like a one per cent income tax cut for some families.  A study indicated that families in rural areas could end up as much as £770 better off each year.

Overall, total savings could out-strip the estimated £500m that consumers are set to save as a result of recent energy price cuts.

Will this last?

Goldman Sachs analysts have predicted that Brent crude will probably start to rebound out of the trough in the second quarter of 2015, but they have highlighted that it will probably take longer than that for demand and supply to balance out. 

“To keep all capital sidelined and curtail investment in shale until the market has rebalanced, we believe prices need to stay lower for longer.”

Simon Williams from the RAC motoring organisation, spoke to the BBC:

“With a barrel of oil now costing around $47, we are surely only weeks away from the milestone price of £1 a litre being a common sight at petrol stations up and down the country.

“This will doubtless have a very positive effect on the average price of both petrol and diesel for motorists everywhere.

“As the current oversupply of oil is believed to be part of a long-term Opec strategy to keep oil prices low, there is every reason to think that motorists may well enjoy low prices for some time to come. “

Region

Average miles driven per person

Savings per person

Total savings for region

North East

3,008

£76

£200m

North West

2,948

£75

£532

Yorkshire and The Humber

3,437

£87

£466

East Midlands

4,155

£106

£486

West Midlands

3,597

£91

£519

East of England

4,045

£103

£612

London

1,430

£36

£306

South East

3,735

£95

£835

South West

3,824

£97

£523

Wales

4,044

£103

£317

Scotland

3,603

£92

£488

Source: Hargreaves Lansdown; 2012-13 ONS travel data, 2011-12 for Wales and Scotland

Are taxes too high?

A major concern for consumers is that the fall in crude oil prices means a large amount of the money being paid is tax.  If a barrel of crude oil is $40 and the pump price is £1 per litre, the amount of tax being paid is 75 per cent.  Brian Madderson of the Petrol Retailers Association is planning to request the Treasury lower tax by two per cent.

Tuesday
Feb172015

Basic Car Maintenance: How to change a tyre

If there’s one really useful skill you should learn in terms of motor DIY, it’s changing a tyre.  The last thing anyone wants is to get stuck out in the middle of nowhere and have to wait for hours in the cold for a rescue team to appear!

Here’s our guide on how to change a tyre:

What you’ll need to have with you

  • A jack
  • A wrench
  • A spare tyre (obviously)
  • Some tarp or mat to kneel on (not essential, but more comfortable than kneeling on the concrete or in the mud!)

A step-by-step to changing a flat tyre

  1. Find a safe spot to pull over.  If you’re on a motorway or dual-carriageway, taking the next exit is usually the safest bet, even if your tyre’s blown.  If you can’t do this, then pull as far onto the shoulder as possible, and choose a flat spot – trying to jack up a car on a hill can be seriously tough.
  2. Turn on your hazard lights. Safety is definitely first here.  Get out your jack, wrench and spare tyre from the boot and bring them over to the flat tyre, along with anything else you might need.
  3. Use your wrench to loosen up the lug nuts (you may need to remove the hubcap to do this).  Don’t remove them immediately, just loosen them initially.  If they’re really tight, try placing your wrench on the nut and then stand on the wrench arm with your full weight.  Hitting the wrench arm with a rock can also be effective (if a bit crude).
  4. Use the jack to lift your vehicle off the ground.  Ensure you use the specified area for the jack (this will be in your owner’s manual).  Once it’s secure in the right spot, raise the car about six inches off the ground.
  5. Remove the lug nuts, and pull the tyre off the car, ensuring to keep the lug nuts in a safe pile so they don’t get scattered everywhere. Pull the tyre straight towards yourself so it’s properly removed from the wheel base.
  6. Place the spare wheel on the car, lining up the lug nut posts with the holes in the spare.  Then, push the spare all the way onto the wheel base until it won’t go any further.
  7. Re-seal the lugnuts.  Don’t put them on too tightly, but ensure they’re on enough for the spare to stay on the car for the next minute or so.
  8. Use the jack to bring your car back down to ground level, and then remove the jack.
  9. Tighten everything up.  Once the car’s back on the ground, it’s time to give the lug nuts a serious tighten.  Rather than doing one by one in order, tighten each one about 50 per cent, then move to the next one.  Once they’re all at 50 per cent, go back around and fully tighten them all properly.

Get back on the road!

Friday
Jan302015

UK car registrations reach new high

During 2014, almost 2.5 million cars were registered in the UK – the most in a calendar year since 2004.

52 per cent of the registrations came from fleet and business vehicles (equating to 1,296,936 units), the figure itself is an increase on the 1.2 million fleet vehicles registered in 2013.

Mike Hawes, chief executive for the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, said:

"UK new car registrations returned to pre-recession levels in 2014, as pent-up demand from the recession years combined with confidence in the economy saw consumer demand for the latest models grow consistently and strongly.”

Overall, 2014 was the fourth-largest year in history in terms of registrations, with only the boom period of between 2002 and 2004 beating it.

As a result of the positive performance, the UK remains the second largest car market in the European Union, behind Germany.  It also recorded the second largest increase of any country in the top five, with growth demonstrated in every single month throughout the year.

In the fleet and business markets, December recorded a 10.6 per cent rise over the same month last year, with 100,000 units registered.  Another notable increase was the plug-in car market, which saw volumes quadruple from 3,586 in 2013 to 14,498 in 2014.

Hawes continued:

"The year was particularly strong for alternatively-fuelled vehicles as increased choice, coupled with a growing desire for reduced costs and greater efficiency, resulted in a quadrupling of plug-in car registrations over 2013.

“With a variety of new plug-in models expected in 2015, this area of the market will continue to grow significantly. For the market as a whole, we expect a more stable 2015 as demand levels off."

The Ford Fiesta was the most commonly registered vehicle, with 131,254 units, and the Ford Focus was second with 85,140. Third was the Vauxhall Corsa with 81,783.

According to the latest data from Oxford Economics, the UK rental and leasing sector purchases a total of more than 1.5 million vehicles each year.

With more new cars on the road the likelihood of finding replacement car parts for your vehicle may well have increased. If you’re looking for used car parts to keep your vehicle running smoothly, then enter your registration into the ASM Auto Recycling parts tool, and we’ll be able to pick out compatible parts for your particular model.