Choosing a personalised number plate for a loved one

If you are struggling as to what to get for your loved one for their birthday or for Christmas, how about a personalised numberplate for their car or van. There are a huge number of number plates available to buy starting from around £150 upwards of hundreds of thousands of pounds.

There are some great websites that allow you to type in a number or combination of names and numbers and it will show you a range of number plates that may be suitable to you. It will often show some of the cheaper plates that may not be as close to what you wanted but then also some more expensive ones.

Many of the number plates companies will also offer a service where they will try and source a particular plate for you if that is what you want. They can also help recommend plates that my closely match what you want. When buying a plate you do have to also check what other charges you may have to plate. If you want to put the plate straight on to a vehicle then you will have to pay different fees as to if you are planning to put it on retention. Sometimes these charges are paid to the DVLA and sometimes they are paid to the company you are buying the plate from.

Is your air con working in your car?

If your car is supposed to have air conditioning, you may not realise that it isn’t working until the summer months. Often things like aircon are not covered by a warranty so you may have to fork out yourself if you want it fixed.

The air conditioning unit should not only blow out cool air but it should be really cold when on full. Sometimes it can take a little while for it to get down to temperature but if it is coming out cool or air temperature then something is not working correctly. It may be that the aircon unit simply needs to be filled up which usually costs around £60 or it may be that you have a leak somewhere. It is often hard to find a leak and usually you need to take it to a specialist garage for them to diagnose. Many garages off a free aircon check but all they do is check the pressure. IF the pressure is low then they know there is likely to be a leak somewhere but they will usually then charge a fee to find and fix the leak. They can add a UV dye to the air con system which will then allow then to use a black light and find where the dye is leaking from. It may be that a hose has split and needs to be replaced.

Replacing the brake pads on your car

Brake pads are an item that will often need replacing on your vehicle. Depending on how often you drive your car, your driving styles and the type of driving you do will all effect how often you need to replace your pads. For example, a car that is driven a lot of motorway miles that does not involve much breaking may not need to change their tyres as much as someone who has done the same mileage but round town driving.

You may not realise that your brake pads are very low until you take the car for an MOT as often we get used to how our cars drive and may not realise that it is taking longer to stop. You may also discover a squealing sound or grinding sound when you apply the brakes. This is because your pads have a noise warning on them which will make these sounds when the pad wears down to that level. At this level you need to change your pads as soon as possible. If you have been driving with worn pads for a while you may find that you also need to change your brake discs too.

BMW X3 used car review

If you are looking to buy a second hand 4 x 4 then the BMW X3 is a great choice. Whether you are looking for something that is only a few years old or over ten years old, the X3 has been a popular choice for some time. There are a number of different types of 4 x 4 vehicles or SUV’s on the market and it can be hard to know which one is right for you If you are serious about going off road or need something that can handle driving down tight dirt tracks then you may decide to go for a Land Rover or a pick up style truck. These vehicles can cope well with a number of different terrains and are usually quite hard wearing. They do tend to hold their value through so if money is tight, these may not be an option for you. Often older models do drop a bit in price but if you are paying anything less than about six thousand pounds you will usually be looking for something that has done in excess of 130,000 miles. If you are buying a vehicle that has done this many miles it is likely that it will need some money spending on it and many parts may need to be replaced in the near future.

The X3 has it all, it has the four wheel drive and off road handling you would expect but also offers comfort and great motorway driving experiences too. This SUV is not the best for going off road but can handle bumpy roads and terrains that a normal hatch back may struggle with. It has plenty of leg room for passengers and the boot space is perfect for those looking for something that will easily carry the weekly shop. They come is a range of engines such as the 2.0 litre diesel and 3.0 litre diesel which are surprisingly economical. The insurance may be a little higher on this than your standard family saloon but if you have no claims bonus and have been driving for a while, it shouldn’t break the bank.

Before buying any used car it is import to do your research, you need to find out if the vehicle has been looked after. Check if it has any service history and when the last one was carried out. You should also look at previous MOT’s to find out if there are any advisories that may need to be rectified this time round. Even with full service history and clean MOT’s there is no guarantees that something will not go wrong, which is why it is always a good idea to get the vehicle checked over by a mechanic or pay for an AA check before purchasing.

Taking your car to a gear box specialist

As your car gets older, gear box problems become more common.

If you notice that you are starting to have problems with your gear box then you may want to take your car to a gear box specialist. Most garages will be able to look at a gear box for you, but often you will get the work completed quicker if you take it to a specialist who knows exactly what to do. You may think that a specialist will charge a lot more than your usual garage but this isn’t always the case, In fact, sometimes they may even charge you less as they are more experienced in gear boxes and therefore don’t need to spend so much time investigating the issue or fixing it.

If you think you need a new gear box, you can be looking at spending in excess of a couple of thousand pounds. Some specialists will actually rebuild the gear box for you saving you potentially a lot of money. Be sure that if you are going to go for a reconditioned gear box, that you get a decent warranty with it as you do not want to be forking out for another one a few months down the line.