Deciding on a family car

When it comes to choosing a new car, you may be limited on your options if you need it to have a certain amount of seats. As standard, most cars have 5 seats but if you have more than 3 children or 3 children that all need car seats then you will probably need to get a seven seater vehicle or a second car and be prepared to have to take two cars everywhere. This is not practical, will cost more in fuel and parking and will be an issue should one of the vehicles have to be off the road for a time.

Finding a family car can be tricky and you may worry that you will choose something that is not big enough or does not have enough safety features. If you have a limited budget then you may not be able to be too choosy of what type of vehicle you have. There are a lot less seven seater cars than five, so you may have to be prepared to make some sacrifices. You may decide that space is the most important thing as you need to be able to seat three children but also have room for the pushchair or your dog. Another factor that may be a deciding point for you is the safety. All cars are put through extremely safety tests before going on sale, but some cars perform better than others. If safety is a massive concern then you can look up the rating for the make and model of the vehicle you are looking to purchase.

When is the right time to get your MOT done?

All new cars that are over three years old require a valid MOT certificate. This MOT needs to be renewed each year if you wish to drive the car on the road. The MOT can be carried out up to one month prior to the expiry date whilst still honouring the anniversary, so for example if you have your MOT done one month prior to it expiring then you will actually have 13 months until it is required to be done again.

The best time to get an MOT done ideally is at least a few weeks prior to the expiry. This then allows you plenty of time to either get repairs done or to decide if you want to get rid of the car / scrap it before you go ahead with any repair work. If you leave it until the day or so before the expiry date then you are often rushed in to having to get the work done without being able to shop around for the best price. If the car still has a valid MOT then you can still drive it even if it fails (up until the expiry date) as long as the reason it failed is not considered serious.

Make sure that you check your car is ok to drive

Most of us go out and hop into our cars to drive off without really considering if everything is ok with the vehicle. It is extremely important to give the car a good once over every so often and do some basic checks before you set off on any journey. Simply just looking at the tyres every morning may be enough to avoid an accident happening or finding that you have a flat when you have left your home.

All cars over the age of three years have to undergo an MOT examination to check certain components on the vehicle but this is only done every 12 months and therefore issues could arise in between MOT’s. You should always carry out checks on your car yourself ideally on a daily or weekly basis to ensure that optimum safety is met.

Checking your fluid levels again is an easy check to do and may help look after your engine and ensure you have screen wash to clear the screen should you need to. This doesn’t need to be checked every journey but ideally every couple of weeks. Lights are another item to check. You may find it hard to check some lights on your own so you will either need to get someone to help you or reverse right up to a garage door for example so you can see in your mirrors if your brake lights and indicators are working.

Gear box problems

Although luckily not many of us have to experience gear box issues it is one of those repairs that we all dread. You may not realise that there is a problem with your gearbox until it is too late or you may of noticed that it struggles to get in to gear a little bit but put it down to the clutch instead. Gearbox problems can be hard to diagnose yourself so you may need to take it to a specialist garage for them to have a look for you. You should not really have to replace a gearbox on a vehicle unless it has done a large number of mile but like any component on a vehicle, things can go wrong well before their time. A gearbox needs oil to run and if there is a slow leak you may not even realise until its to late. If the gearbox runs out of oil it will often be damaged beyond repair and will either need to be refurbished or replaced for a new one.

If you are considering buying a second hand gear box you should try and get at least a 12 months warranty with it as you do not want to have to be forking out for the same thing again a few months down the line. Gearbox replacements or repairs often cost in excess of £1000 so you want to try and avoid it at all costs.