Every so often, you’ll see in the news that the police focus on a specific area of crime to check on compliance with the rules and show that they won’t tolerate offenders.
At the moment, you might see an increased number of traffic officers in lay-bys at the side of main roads (primarily A roads) in the north, carrying out vehicle checks at random with passing motorists.
It comes at a time that they’re warning drivers to check their tyres, as in the coming months the weather will deteriorate, meaning that poor tread depth goes from being dangerous to potentially lethal. It’s hard enough to stop in a properly maintained vehicle on icy roads, so with bald tyres, you’d have no chance of stopping quickly in an emergency.
If you weren’t already aware, driving an unroadworthy vehicle can result in you getting a sizeable fine as well as points on your licence. The size of fines is designed to be a deterrent to drivers, so not only will you need to pay that if you’re caught, but also get the work done to bring your vehicle within the legal guidelines too.
Worse still, if you’re involved in an accident, you could even end up in prison if it’s clear you recklessly drove an unroadworthy vehicle.
All it takes to check your tyres is to drop into your nearest mechanic – most will check your tyres for free. Companies like Kwik Fit will be able to check them for you and advise on both whether you need to have work done and if so what you need to do and what tyres to buy.
Economy tyres can be appealing, but it’s important to understand that they don’t have as good grip and even your fuel consumption can increase with poor quality. They’re perfectly safe to use, but you will normally need to replace them more frequently than premium alternatives – just make sure you understand the implications of your decision if you opt for budget prices.
When you purchase a new or used car, you should ask every question that comes to your mind. You have a right to know everything about the car or truck you are thinking of buying. When considering a high-end purchase like a vehicle, your questions may uncover flaws or hidden problems you may want to know about. This is especially important when buying a used car. The vehicle information you uncover may mean the difference between you making a purchase, or deciding to look for something else.
While you can often look at the condition of a prospective purchase and see how well it has been maintained, the value of a vehicle will not be apparent in other ways. Not all used car salespeople are as honest as you might expect, and on this page we’re going to review a few ways to keep yourself safe. Perhaps that is why there is such a horrible connotation to the phrase ‘used car salesman’. In reality, most dealers are reputable, and will give you any vehicle information you request, but there are some you need to avoid. If you are buying from a person through an ad, you have to be extra careful about inspecting your potential purchase.
One great way to get vehicle information is to request a report on MOT history and check stolen vehicle databases. These reports will tell you the entire history of that particular car or truck. Some dealers will offer this to you for free. When you have this information, you will know what kind of problems that vehicle may have had, and if it has been in any sort of accident. Many cars can be fixed after an accident, but sometimes there are fatal flaws in the chassis that no one can fix. This could mean trouble for you.
The VIN (vehicle information number) on the vehicle you are considering is the key to this type of information. This number is used to record the history of the car. Not only will it help you get the reports you need, it will give you a list of the past owners, and tell you a little more about where the car has been, and what it has been through.
On the flipside, the VIN can also be used to tell you if the car has been stolen. Stolen cars will sometimes not have a VIN at all, because the thieves have removed it. If you come upon a car or truck that does not have a marked number, pass on it and find something else. If you look at the number and it looks like it may have been altered in any way, you should also pass. Chances are, someone is trying to hide something, and you don’t want to be involved. There is just some vehicle information you don’t want to know.
Buying a used car is very different to buying one fresh from the manufacturer. You need to know that what you are buying will last, and that’s not something that’s as easy to do as it is to say.
Here’s a few things you can do, both as a check when buying as well as once you’re the proud new owner. Taking care here will help ensure you get years of problem free motoring.
Oil is essential to ensure that cars function accurately. A lack of oil will have an impact on the engine which ultimately could lead to failure. Additionally, oil leaks could also lead to a range of incidents including the risk of fire on the surface where it has been deposited. Ensuring that your car is taken to a garage to be checked and repaired if oil leaks are spotted is highly recommended.
Here’s a great example of why oil leaks must not be ignored:
Many cars come with owner manuals which will give information regarding the specific oil type required by your vehicle. If you do not have an owner manual, you could try looking for an online version or contacting a garage for advice.
Just like oil, coolant levels support the functioning of the engine. Checking coolant levels are within the recommended levels will maintain the performance of the car. If coolant levels are lower than suggested, there is a risk of your engine overheating and therefore leading to your car breaking down. The coolant reservoir in your car usually identifies the level required.
Keep tyres inflated to avoid breaking down
Taking the time and making the effort to check various
features of your car should help to avoid breakdowns. Depending on the time of year, there are
different challenges to need to deal with whilst driving. This means that knowing that your car is safe
to drive before setting off should ensure that you are feeling confident about
Several recommendations are made by various websites,
driving groups and breakdown response teams to encourage you to carry out a
range of checks to avoid breakdowns where possible. Some of the main checks referred to include
checking oil, coolant and fuel levels, checking tyres and making steps to be
prepared for the weather conditions that you may experience at a specific time
Tyre pressure and tread levels
Checking that your tyres are inflated to the pressure level recommended for your car makes driving at various speeds safe. You can check your tyre pressure at home using an air pump. You may have a manual or an electric air pump which can identify your current pressure level as well as be used to increase or decrease the suggested pressure measurement. If you don’t have a means of doing this at home, many petrol stations have them on site which can be used for a small fee. Just Look for the air sign. In addition to ensuring that your tyre pressure is reliable, checking the level of your tyre tread is also important. The minimum tread level depth in the UK is 1.6mm. Ensuring that you monitor the tread level on your car means you can identify when it would be ideal to replace your tyres to keep safe. As a side note, if your air pumps give inconsistent readings, that’s another sign you may need a new tyre, as they should always remain stable and inflated for short periods.
Preparing for weather conditions
The weather conditions associated with certain times of the
year influence the risks linked to driving.
Being aware of the weather forecast prior to journeys can help you to
feel more confident that you are prepared to maximise your own safety. One of the key weather conditions that we
know influences drivers is snow and ice.
Keeping items such as blankets, a battery powered torch, water to drink
and food items in your car could be helpful if you ended up stuck. It’s important however to avoid driving, when
possible, if the weather conditions are likely to put you at risk. You may also wish to explore the advice
provided by the insurance company providing support for your car.
There are many things that are suggested by car companies, breakdown services and insurance providers. One key reference in addition to the suggestions already made is ensuring that you simply check that your car contains enough fuel to keep functioning. There is broad advice, as recommended by dealerships, to get your car serviced annual to identify its strengths and weaknesses. Additionally, MOTs are required from the point at which a vehicle becomes 3 years of age. In years gone by, it was unusual to buy a used car that was under three years of age, but today the used car forecourts are littered with vehicles that haven’t even seen one birthday! Keeping on top of your car will mean that you are likely to maintain it well, ensuring your vehicles functioning is as great as possible.
When we go out there looking for a used car, typically, the best bargains are the really old cars that have been driven very little. If you could find, say, a ’95 Camry that’s only been through 25,000 miles for instance, you get a quality car cheap that has a lot of life left in it. So what do you do when you find such car – trip over your feet are running in to get a checkbook? Not likely. Not until you take a look at the car’s vehicle history report.
The thing is, great deals in used cars, while they certainly can happen, are not common. Life isn’t usually that helpful. You have to suspect all kinds of things when such a car comes to your attention. You want to know if there’s something wrong with the car that they’re hiding. You want to know who drove it before this, and if there is any serious chronic damage or other problem that isn’t apparent on the surface.
It hasn’t been for very long that the system has been able to keep track of eery car in the country. These days, thanks to computer record keeping, the vehicle identification number or VIN of every car is a matter of public record. A check with the car’s vehicle history report with its number is quite easy.
All you need to do is to go to one of dozens of online companies with names like Carfax, supply them with the number you’re interested in, and look something up. If the car you’re looking at is less than 30 years old, you’ll find it on Carfax. You can have as many Carfax Safety and Reliability Reports as you want for $40 a month.
There are other companies you can try, too. Consumer Guide has a very popular service. They give you your vehicle history report, and another report that tells you where to look for trouble spots in the car model.
There are a number of things you can gain some insight into with a vehicle history report. You’ll be able to check if the mileage shown on the odometer makes any sense. The report will show what the mileage was at different times during the car’s life. If anyone’s been rolling back the odometer, you’ll know.
Inconsistencies here don’t directly show that the seller is lying to you. Sometimes, he could have been lied to himself. It’s possible that at some point in the car’s life, it was part of a leasing agreement. And it’s possible that that owner, to make sure that he didn’t overrun the leasing mileage limit, did a little rollback. Whatever it is, if you discover an inconsistency here, you can knock something off the price.
Algorithms are everywhere. They’re analysing data wherever we go. When you go through the supermarket checkout, computers are matching up your purchases with your credit or debit card and appending those to previous shops to help the stores understand you better.
In the future, self driving cars will be collecting vast quantities of data in real time to react to the road ahead.
The way this data is used is by being processed by algorithms, and we’re increasing seeing algorithms building algorithms themselves – or in other words, a gradual shift towards artificial intelligence (also referred to as machine learning).
This improvement towards computers writing their own code is what we refer to as Iterative Algorithmic Development.