Tag Archives: car care

Taking care of your car keys

lost car keysIt’s February – the month to love our cars and all about them, we say.

It’s all too easy to lose your car keys so it can be a shock to discover that a replacement typically costs between £30 and £50 for a blank electronic remote with a blank transponder (the clicking gizmo) and a blank key blade from online suppliers.

You then need to allow around £20 – £30 to programme it and cut the blade.

The cost is likely to be higher from a main dealer, typically £70 – £150.

So it makes sense to take care of your car keys and have a secure place for them in the house, away from outside doors and prying eyes where they might be seen and/or stolen.

Please also bear in mind that your car key battery doesn’t not last forever either so here are some common sense tips to help you avoid getting locked out of your car.

Car Key Care Tips

1. Make sure you replace the key battery every two years, including the battery in the spare key if you have one.

2. If you don’t already have a spare key, make sure you get one and keep it safe – a failed or lost key will cost much more in vehicle recovery.

3. Each autumn on a dry day before the first frost use some lubricating spray on the keyhole, such as a 3-in-1 oil or GT85 Teflon spray. This will help keep the small parts in the lock dry and help those parts to move freely.

4. The lock can freeze in winter if there is water or condensation in it. Place a hot water bottle over the lock for a few minutes and then use WD40 or GT85 to disperse the water and reduce the risk of it freezing up again.

5. A frozen lock may also mean that the rubber seal is frozen on the door frame and if you pull too hard at it you may risk pulling the rubber apart. To prevent this, it’s suggested we apply some chalk dust on to the rubber. This is an important step to carry out when you’re oiling the locks each autumn.

6. Looking after your car keys and locks may seem trivial, but a ‘lock out’ is a severe irritation and you will have no other choice but to call for professional and costly help.

This is the sort of advice, information and support that FOXY Lady Drivers Club provides members with, in addition to VIP insurance, car buying and garage offers as well as a female friendly approved business network of garages, dealers and tyre centres across the UK. Why not join us today?

Are you an independent female motorist?

95737768-the-independent-300x236As you may have noticed from my blogs I usually go out of my way to compliment and encourage women drivers because I honestly believe that the majority of us are good and safe drivers who deserve feting not castigating!

But after reading survey after survey suggesting that women in general are less aware of car safety matters than men I am now wondering if cars driven by SOME women might be less safe than those driven by men?

Which would be seriously bad news for my gender…

In a nutshell I worry that not all women are taking motoring as seriously as they might when it comes to tyre safety and the reasons why they need to have their cars serviced annually and regularly maintained in between.

So I decided to check whether these research findings could be corroborated by FOXY Lady Approved garages based on their experience dealing with female customers. Their replies were revealing, consistent and not always complimentary about women drivers. It seems that there might be two separate groups of women drivers, based on their respective motoring attitude more than their wealth.

The Independents

The first group I call ‘The Independents.’ These women own their cars, rely on them in their daily lives and often have a fair understanding of how their cars work. They are naturally confident but can be over-assertive in garages (for fear of being ripped off perhaps) and will often try to negotiate a mean deal when it comes to buying cars or expensive garage services.

These women clearly don’t need a man to tell them what to do but they might come a cropper by buying cheap garage services, not realising that the garage industry isn’t regulated and this might be a come on for unscrupulous & expensive repairs or safety corners being cut.

The Dependents

The second group of women has a very different and less independent motoring outlook. I am calling them ‘The Dependents’ because they expect other people, not themselves, to make sure that the car they drive is safe.

These are often wealthy females who can afford to buy a new car and then sell it just before its MOT, carrying out little or no maintenance in between. They depend on the cars being reliable because they’re new, not realising that a high percentage of ‘new’ cars fail their first safety check ie MOT because they have been neglected. Some imagine that their employer or fleet operator will ‘organise’ their garage visits for them and that this is all that is required of them. A significant group (and I often meet these at networking events) explain that ‘my husband takes care of that for me.’ A more worrying comment, made as a joke I hope, are those female that claim to ‘only put petrol in it’ thinking that sounds funny, but actually telling the truth.

In short, these are undoubtedly busy women who think that the condition of their car is someone else’s responsibility, not theirs. They may be independent shoppers in other areas, earn their own money and run a large household budget but when it comes to their cars it isn’t something that they necessarily see as ‘women’s work’.

I suspect there are a lot of these Dependent ladies out there who rely on husbands and partners and who become extremely vulnerable at times of divorce or widowhood. My ambition is to get the message across to these women that if her car causes an accident as a result of its poor condition, SHE is responsible, not her partner, employer or a bad garage. She is responsible for making sure that they have done what is necessary to keep her car safe for family, other motorists and pedestrians alike.

How would she feel if she caused a serious road accident because her car was in a dangerous condition due to her neglect?

What can I do about this?

During 2015, with motoring safety to FOXY’s fore, I plan to concentrate on the following key messages…

1/ Poorly maintained cars can kill, even those under 3 years old
2/ Cheap motoring services could mean vital safety corners being cut
3/ There’s no excuse for not knowing how to care for your car and tyres
4/ Men are often as poorly informed about car maintenance as women
5/ Divorced and widowed female ‘Dependents’ are particularly vulnerable here

Motoring advice for women

If this blog reminds you of a female who might welcome a helping hand with her motoring in future, why not buy her a Club membership for Christmas and we’ll help empower her through knowledge?

My short term ambition is to help women become better informed to do with their motoring. To understand about tyre condition, the benefits of regular car maintenance and annual servicing. To benefit from the best value deals that come FOXY tried and tested. To rely on us for insider and informed advice, putting their personal needs first. To have FOXY Lady Approved garages, repairers and car dealers they can trust…

It’s only then that female Dependents will start to understand how important it is to take their motoring safety more seriously. I imagine that many husbands would be impressed, relieved and understand why this makes safety sense. Whether they’ll want to learn ironing or cooking in return is a different matter of course!! A consequence of this empowerment is often that women enjoy their driving and motoring more, knowing that they are not only demonstrating their independence but they are also confident that their car is as safe as it can be because THEY have checked this.

We are not talking rocket science here.


PS: I have no objection to women relying on local garage professionals to do the regular car maintenance jobs in between car servicing visits, providing this gets done regularly. Just know how to check afterwards that it has been done. I say this remembering the VW dealership in East Sussex (that went out of business in the recession) servicing my company car the day before I took it on the M25 in wet and filthy road conditions. The technician had forgotten to fill my empty washer bottle. The dirty water smeared across my windscreen and I could hardly see before limping off the motorway. I lived to tell the tale of course but always check this now. It could have been a different end to this story.

Car Care in a cold climate

Meteorologists are predicting a colder than average winter for Britain, following a wet summer, with temperatures expected to plunge as low as -10C in some areas. And whilst we all know to swap our clothes for warmer ones who of us has bothered to think about our car when the temperatures plummet?

According to Danielle Walton, Turtle Wax’ brand manager: “We’re looking at an extended cold period from mid-November to late January, with significant snow in the North of England and Scotland, so it’s important that car owners act sooner rather than later to prevent what can be the costly and hazardous effects of a seriously cold spell.”

So we asked Danielle what we should be doing, presumably during the milder weather and before the serious frosts and snow arrives. Here are her car care tips:

1 Use a proper car shampoo.

Wash vehicles with a car shampoo before winter sets in and as often as possible throughout the winter months to remove any surface salt and prevent any unnecessary corrosion. Always use a car shampoo as, unlike harsher cleaning products, it doesn’t strip wax protection from the bodywork. A generous application of durable wax or sealer not only provides a protective coat to car paintwork, warding off common winter rusting, it will also minimise the risk of damage caused by the ‘brine solution’ used by councils to grit and de-ice roads.

2 Use a simple glass cleaner.

Poor road visibility is another recurrent winter motoring problem for those facing grit and surface spray, which can cause a distracting glare when the sun is low. Impaired vision can be avoided with the use of a simple glass cleaner – it will remove engrained dirt, restore clarity and can be kept to hand inside a car door. Remember to clean interior glass and mirrors too, as using hands to clear condensation leaves grease marks and smears that can affect visibility.

3 Don’t neglect your alloys.

It’s important that wheel alloys aren’t neglected in winter. Clean any road salt and brake dust off the surface because both can cause alloys to become etched or blemished.

4 Don’t forget your tyres.

Tyres are arguably the most important part of any car and should be given as much pre-winter attention as possible. Check that they are in a good condition and roadworthy, meeting the legal minimum 1.6mm tread depth – remember to check pressure frequently because cold air causes it to drop. Use a tyre dressing to provide a barrier to the elements and stop the rubber deteriorating, as well as to keep them looking good.

5 Look after car trim and all external plastic.

Exterior plastic and trim are vulnerable to extreme temperatures and need to be protected to prevent fading, hardening or cracking

Summing all this up, Danielle reminds us that for the cost of the time it takes and the affordable products from Turtle Wax you can save hundreds of pounds in easily avoidable repair bills and of course you’ll be shoring up the value of your car when you come to sell it.

Sounds like foxy advice to me!