Tag Archives: car

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?

Is it MOT time?

The MOT Test Centre in Deptford - FOXY Lady Approved of course
The MOT Test Centre in Deptford – FOXY Lady Approved of course

September is a busy MOT month so here’s some timely information to help you prepare for it, if this affects you. Here are three useful tips for starters.

1/ Did you know that your motor insurance could be invalid if you make a claim whilst your car is without a valid MOT?

2/ Your MOT can be carried out up to a month before its expiry date – potentially making it valid for 13 months.

3/ Be wary of cheap MOTs (the full price is £54.85) at garages you don’t know. But do be prepared to negotiate with a garage you know and trust when you have a car service done at the same time. Most garages will agree to discount the MOT fee, hopefully reducing this to 50%.

MOT advice

If your car is older than 3 years then it needs an MOT. The MOT is your friend – it’s a safety snapshot of the car’s roadworthiness but only on the day. Areas that are likely to become a safety-related problem during the short term are flagged up as ‘advisories’ and need to be read and acted on.

A good garage will predict when safety-related areas like brake pads and tyres will likely need changing based on mileage. And don’t think you need to have everything done immediately. Best to stagger non brake or tyre-related work to fit in with your finances.

Needless to say, your tyres are THE most important road safety related component as they are the means of your car staying on the road and/or stopping quickly in an emergency. Tyre safety is a combination of checking the condition of your tyres, their pressure and their tread.

Here’s some advice re tyre safety to help you in this area through the year.

A worrying number of motorists assume that a new car doesn’t need maintenance or tyres checking during their first three years of ownership. That is clearly untrue so please make sure that any members of your family and friends aren’t of that mindset.

Don’t forget your MOT

The busiest months for MOT tests are March and September to reflect new car registration months when car sales are at their most buoyant.

A worrying number of motorists forget their MOT date and, speaking from personal experience, that nearly included me after we acquired a nearly new family car and forgot to add that MOT to our family calendar.

Useful MOT resources

Here’s where to find out the MOT status of your car and when yours is due.

This is what the MOT test includes and how to prepare your car for it.


You can choose a FOXY Lady Approved ie female friendly garage here.

How do I love thee…

My apologies to Elizabeth Barrett Browning for the title here…show-your-love

Like you, your car wants to look its best at all times and to feel loved. So seeing as February is the month of love and we women love our cars for the independence and safety they represent, how can we lavish seasonal attention on them in return to demonstrate that affection?

Let me count the ways…

Here are ten ways to show your motoring love for your car…

1 Your car likes to be clean! I am convinced it drives better afterwards. It was clean when you bought it. Give it an early Spring clean and polish to remind you why you fell in love.

2 It also used to be neat and tidy inside. Then life happened. But it’s still possible to restore order. Polish the windscreen, give things a thorough vacuum and encourage the children to take responsibility for their rubbish. Good luck on the last one Mums!

3 Given a choice, wouldn’t you prefer to smell nice rather than stale and oily? What not buy your car a Nia Car Fragrance as a Valentine’s gift? Or a Yankee Candle freshener… but not one from service stations please.

20p tyre check

4 Check your tyres NOW. It only costs 20p and it’s so easy to do, so what’s the problem? Imagine the shame of failing a police check or being involved in an accident simply because you couldn’t spare 20p.

5 Diarise your car’s birthday MOT in advance. Check the normal suspects like lights and windscreen wipers. Your car wants to pass remember. And there’s no need to hurry to the garage at the last moment. NB: You can have this done a month beforehand without affecting next year’s date.

6 Look at your car’s handbook and check when it was last serviced? When should it next be serviced? Let’s face it, if it hasn’t been serviced for a year you don’t sound as if you DO love your car and it knows this. Whereas a beloved car (if only treated to fresh oil and a change of filter on an annual basis) is likely to be a happier runner and will repay you in terms of longer life. It’s also less likely to let you down when you need it most.

7 Take your motoring pride and joy somewhere special so you can show it off. A venue like Goodwood or a hotel spa or afternoon cream tea perhaps? A long drive is good for a car, especially one that rarely gets the opportunity to show its mettle when used to local school runs or similar. But if champagne is on the menu, best to give your car a day off and either get a friend to drive or take taxis!

8 If your poor car has collected a range of reversing dings, trolley dents and alloy wheel scuffs no wonder it looks and feels miserable. So why not get them all fixed in one and give it a new lease of life? You need a good cosmetic repairer to do your car justice though and ideally a FOXY Lady Approved one. You’ll both feel proud afterwards and nobody will be able to cast aspersions on your driving ability!

9 The ultimate car gift in February would probably be a dash cam to show your cherished car that you care. Most insurers will rate you (and your car) more favourably because this will help prove accident liability. Which is unlikely to be down to you of course, but you just might want to prove this to insurance doubters…

10 However if your treasured car has had its day and reached the end of its affordable life, there’s no point in being too sentimental here. You’ll need another one pretty quick. Given a choice, we say go for the one with as many safety gizmos you can afford. In this way your car knows you intend to love and care for it as you would your family.

Finally you’ll need a name for your car if it hasn’t one already. Mine is called Romeo (based on the RMY of ‘his’ numberplate) so there can be no doubt about my genuine affection for my mobile home and office extension on wheels. And if I do feel the need to remonstrate at any stage, talking to Romeo by name always helps me calm down…

Happy Valentine Day to all car lovers!


What does the latest budget mean for drivers?

Budget2015George Osborne came along a couple of weeks ago and shook up everything we currently understand about car tax – or Vehicle Excise Duty (VED), if you’d rather.

So will you be paying more or less for car tax in future? And is there more we need to know?

At the moment, the amount we pay in car tax depends entirely on the emissions given off by our vehicles, so the higher the emissions, the more you pay.

VED rates as at 1st April 2015


As you can see, the VED rates paid in 2015 range from £0 to £1100.

This is a clear incentive to buy new cars based on lower emissions.

VED rates from 1st April 2017

From 1st April 2017 though, this will no longer be the case. The change in rules seems to have been sparked by the revelation that under the current VED rules, by April 2017 three quarters of new cars will be exempt from road tax.

George explained: “We will create a new roads fund from the end of this decade and every single penny raised in vehicle excise duty will go into that fund to pay for roads. The tax paid on people’s cars will be used on the roads they drive on. It’s a fairer tax system for motorists.”

What does this change mean?

ved chartWell, essentially, if you buy a car that’s registered after April 1st 2017, you’ll pay a flat-rate of £140 a year (after the first year), for your car tax, unless you buy an electric 0g/km emissions vehicle.

So if you buy a new car with low (but not no) emissions after 2017 you’ll pay more than you’re paying now.

This also changes if your car is worth more than £40,000 when you’ll pay an additional supplement of £310 a year for five years.

Expensive, right?

Can these changes be avoided?

Well, funny you should ask, there are a few ways you can avoid paying any road tax at all.

The first would be to buy a car before 2017 that sits in tax band A, like the Citroen C1, Toyota Aygo, some Fiesta models – there really are loads!

Buying a car now, or at least pre-2017, means that current tax band rules continue to apply.

The only problem with this way is that sooner or later you’ll get bored with your car and want to trade it in for a newer model, which is when the new VED rules will hit.

That’s where the second option comes in. If you choose to lease a car, whether on a personal or business lease, you won’t have to worry about car tax for the duration of your lease, and these rules will continue to apply, even when the new rules have been introduced.

So whether you lease a Ford or a Porsche, you can be safe in the knowledge that VED won’t be catching you out any time soon!

guestreviewThis is a guest blog written by All Car Leasing a company specialising in personal leases for individual motorists and business leases for employers and employees.

What does your car colour say about you?

coloursAccording to specialist minor paintwork repairer ChipsAway, some car colours are more likely to attract dents and dings than others.

So it isn’t you really – it was going to happen come what may??

That’s a bit unlikely we thought but all the same, here are the alleged odds of scratches and scrapes appearing on your car they say, in reverse colour order.

Thereby representing a driving challenge for those of us owning a car in one of these colours, to prove ChipsAway wrong in future perhaps?

5. Red

Not such a popular colour as in the 80’s and 90’s but apparently making a comeback. Red cars account for nearly 10% of all repairs in this driving challenge.

4. Grey

As boring as grey sounds, unless he’s a character in a book or callet ‘Gunshot metallic’ or similar, grey is the third most ‘popular’ car colour in the UK at the moment, with 14% of the total registrations in this colour.

And, running the risk of being equally boring, ChipsAway repair precisely the same number of grey cars .

3. Blue

While blue cars have decreased in popularity over recent years – with 13% of new car registrations in 2014, they still get into their fair share of bumps, and account for 18% of total repairs!

Oh dear. That’s me (as a driver not a dent statistic – I wonder if stone chips count?)

2. Black

In second position, it’s the ‘always in fashion’ black car bringing in 21% of total repairs. A few years ago, black cars were reportedly most likely to be involved in collisions because they merge with the gloom (and the grey ones), particularly during evening hours.

Well, according to ChipsAway they are pipped to the post by…

1. Silver

Written with a suitably discreet FOXY fanfare for all involved, silver coloured cars make it into the loving hands of ChipsAway repair specialists more than any other colour, earning them the top spot, with 24% of repairs.

Or you could think of it another way – perhaps the owners of silver coloured cars just care about them more and so want to keep them looking shiny and new!

Nice try ChipsAway.

And here’s a pat on the back for drivers of white cars that have yet to make it into this league.

Could it be that white is simply a safer colour choice, helping contribute to the fact that they are also the best colour cars for holding their value?

Perhaps. Unless it’s a white van driven by a man in my experience that is…