Category Archives: Motoring Tips & Advice

The Moose Test: Would Your Car Make The Grade?

The Moose Test: Would Your Car Make The Grade?

You’ve almost certainly never heard of it, but you’d almost certainly want your car to pass the so-called ‘Moose Test.’ Here’s what you need to know…

What Is It?

The first question you probably have is ‘what’s with the name?’ The test was first utilised in Sweden, a country in which striking a moose on the road is a very real concern. Should a Swedish motorist come across a moose whilst driving, they’d most likely attempt to swerve out of its way. After this, they’d most likely have to swerve back into position to avoid oncoming traffic. This provided the basis of the test. Although, it must be said, the test really concerns itself with the behaviour of vehicles and not the largest member of the deer family; they’re more likely to just get out of the way than a reversing vehicle or rogue child.

How Does It Work?

The test is always performed on a dry road surface. Traffic cones are placed along the road so that they form an ‘S’ shape; this is to simulate an obstacle. The vehicle will have a belted passenger in each of its seats and the boot will be fully loaded to realise maximum loading capacity. The driver of the vehicle will immediately swerve away from the cones once entering the road and then instantly swerve back into their original lane (as they’d need to avoid traffic). This is repeated continually at higher speeds until cones are disturbed or the car spins or flips. If this happens, it’s typically between 45 – 50 mph.

Who Uses It?

As you can probably imagine, the test is primarily employed in cooler countries where you might find…Moose. That means the likes of Sweden, Norway, Finland, Canada and Russia. That said, some international manufacturers like Volva and Saab also use the test for some of their models. So seriously is the test taken that the Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute uses a real moose dummy (replicating live moose weight and density) as a part of its testing. Australian testers have been known to use a ‘Kangaroo Test’ with the weight and density of the large, native marsupial.

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With over 16,000 approved garages, a 24/7 support service and a host of cost-saving offers, Autoserve can keep your car moving smoothly. Call one of our professional Service Advisers on 0121 521 3500 for more details.

Tesla's Autopilot Is "Especially Misleading", According To Safety Experts

In 2020, Should Range Anxiety Really Prevent Us From Driving EVs?

Range anxiety is probably the number one barrier to the mass-adoption of electric cars. But is it really a justified concern in 2020?

Range Anxiety Explained

The expression ‘range anxiety’ has been around since the 90s. It refers to the fear some drivers have that electric cars, mid-journey, run the risk of running out of charge. It can concern the overall capacity of EV batteries, the accessibility of charging infrastructure or both. Numerous surveys have revealed that the fear remains pervasive, holding people back from making a transition to zero-emission motoring. But, in 2020, is the fear really justified? In answering that question, we really need to consider how we use our cars in general.

The average British driver mostly undertakes journeys of 30 miles or less. This shouldn’t be surprising, given that most of us make fairly routine trips; whether it’s our commute to work and back, a trip to the supermarket or to see friends and family. The original Nissan Leaf, released back in 2010, had a range of around 70 – 80 miles. Straight away, then, it’s clear that the model was suitable for the majority of drivers from the get-go. Today, however, the Leaf has a range of 150 miles; meaning its performance, in terms of range, has more than doubled in a decade. We should also consider that, back in 2010, there were around 1,500 charge points for electric cars – today, there are just shy of 30,000 dotted across the country.

A Poor Excuse

The Nissan Leaf is the best-selling EV in the world. It’s relatively affordable and has a viable range, more than suitable for the majority of trips Brits take in their cars. It is, however, pretty low when compared to other EV alternatives. Most Teslas, for instance, have a range in excess of 300 miles. Recently, the company has claimed that it now has a model capable of 400 miles on a single charge. All in all, popular models being offered by legacy manufacturers, like BMW and Volkswagen, have ranges that exceed 200 miles on a single charge. For the vast majority of drivers, then, an EV is a perfectly viable motoring option.

By 2035, the government has pledged to ban the sale of new diesel, petrol and hybrid car models. This means that it regards EVs as the future of the automotive industry. It’s even considering bringing the date of the ban forward to 2032. To achieve this goal, it’s investing millions in the creation of fast, public charging points. As it stands, there’s also a grant that’ll cover 75% of the cost of installing a home charger.

The only people that may struggle with an EV, as of 2020, are business drivers covering a serious mileage annually; think tens of thousands of miles a year. But, given the latest Benefit in Kind (BiK) rates and the fact that motorways increasingly possess more and more charging infrastructure, this will undoubtedly change in the near future.

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With over 16,000 approved garages, a 24/7 support service and a host of cost-saving offers, Autoserve can keep your car moving smoothly. Call one of our professional Service Advisers on 0121 521 3500 for more details.

Fuel: Here's Why You Should Never Drive On A Near-Empty Tank

Fuel: Here’s Why You Should Never Drive On A Near-Empty Tank

During lockdown, millions of Brits have been avoiding otherwise routine trips to fuel stations. But with lockdown measures easing, it’s important they don’t drive on ‘fumes’…

Driving On A Near-Empty Tank

Car manufacturers nearly always advise keeping your fuel tank at least a quarter-full. This isn’t simply a marketing gimmick in aid of petrol and diesel companies. Obviously no one wants to find themselves without fuel whilst in the middle of nowhere or on a stretch of motorway. But keeping your tank at least somewhat full is a mechanical necessity; at least if you want your car to work properly and to avoid damaging it.

First of all, your catalytic converter, which is a fundamental part of your car’s exhaust system, will struggle as your tank begins to empty. Debris can also end up getting stuck in the fuel tank itself. Why? Tiny particles settle at the bottom of the tank and will find themselves travelling into your pump and fuel filer as the car tries to extract every last drop of fuel. In some cars, the fuel pump is also found in the tank itself. The fuel acts as a coolant and lubricant which means, when low, the pump can overheat; that means it’ll wear out at a much faster rate.

It’s worth remembering that most cars will present a fuel light when you’re running low on fuel. Most will appear in conventional vehicles when there are two to three gallons of fuel left; leaving you with sufficient time to visit the closest fuel station. Every motorist should get into the habit of filling there car up at regular intervals. If you’re taking regular and similar journeys as a matter of routine, it won’t take long to work out precisely when you’ll be at around a quarter of a tank of fuel.

Making It To The Fuel Station

If, for whatever reason, you have found yourself running on fumes there are a number of steps you should take to maximise your chances of reaching a fuel station.

1) Where’s Closest?

First of all, find somewhere to safely stop and work out where the closest petrol station is. This will at least mean you can head towards a guaranteed source of fuel rather than driving around aimlessly.

2) Alter Your Driving Style

You should then adapt your driving style to get the most out of what’s left in the tank. Check your speed and if possible reduce it. Don’t exceed speed limits and stay in the inside lane on motorways. It’s human nature to rush when we’re panicking or stressed, but racing to a petrol station will just burn through the little fuel you have left faster.

3) Cut The Gizmos

Make sure your air conditioning is switched off and that you’ve removed any accessories that might be draining power i.e. radios, phone chargers…Also make sure that your windows are rolled as this will reduce wind resistance.

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If you’ve been running on fumes, it may be time for a service. With over 16,000 approved garages, a 24/7 support service and a host of cost-saving offers, Autoserve can keep your car moving smoothly. Call one of our professional Service Advisers on 0121 521 3500 for more details.

Ten Simple Ways To Save Money On Your Next MOT

Ten Simple Ways To Save Money On Your Next MOT

MOTs can be stressful, so much so that millions of Brits are said to suffer from ‘MOT anxiety.’ But a few simple steps can save you money and maximise your car’s chances of passing…

Read The Driver’s Manual 

Have you ever read your car’s driver’s manual? Probably not. But you should make an effort to do so. Why? Because it’s full of precious nuggets of information, including the lifespan of individual components and parts; and when they’ll need to be replaced. Follow the advice given by the manual over anyone else; the manufacturer knows best.

Drive Smoothly And Gently 

The best way to achieve peace of mind before an MOT is to recall how smoothly you’ve been driving…You have been driving smoothly, haven’t you? Excessive acceleration and harsh / late braking will all contribute to premature wear and tear. That basically guarantees steeper servicing and maintenance bills later down the line. Keep your movements and manoeuvres steady and both your car and your wallet will thank you later.

Check Your Lights

Did you know that nearly 20% of MOT failures come from a light-related faults? That’s particularly amazing when you consider how simple, and affordable, swapping a light bulb is. In fact, it’s usually so simple for most models that you can do it yourself. Before driving to the garage, check all of your lights; front and back. You’ll need someone to help you do this.

Look After Your Tyres

Tyres can be expensive to replace, especially if more than one is past its prime. Driving smoothly will reduce the wear on your tyres tread depth and also reduce the risk of damage. Before your MOT, ensure that each tyre has the right pressure level; your driver’s manual will specify what’s correct. You can check that your tread depth is legal by using the so-called 20p test. Place a 20p coin in one of the grooves. If the lower edge is submerged, you’re good to go.

Compare Prices Online

Never accept a price at a garage at face value. You have every right to assess your options and to shop around. If you fail your MOT, the garage won’t be able to let you drive away as the vehicle isn’t road legal. However, you can still contact another garage and get it transported to them if they have a superior price. Taking the time to haggle and compare prices can save you a surprising amount of money. So why wouldn’t you?

Repairs, Not Replacements

Research has revealed that drivers can save up to £3,000 simply by opting to repair components rather than replacing them. A large amount of faults can be repaired and safely; always ask about this option when a problem emerges. If one garage says they won’t do it, another may. Some unscrupulous garages will charge for replacements they haven’t actually made. So if you do opt fora  replacement, ask them to leave old components in your car’s boot.

Get Extended Car Warranty 

It doesn’t matter how much you look after your car, it’ll deteriorate as it ages; all you can do is slow down the process. If you are driving an older car, it may make sense to purchase an extended car warranty policy. This will make it more affordable to tackle more frequent, and probably more expensive, faults and technical issues.

Use A Trustworthy Garage

Professional garages will only charge you what you owe for parts and labour; plain and simple. In addition, there’s less chance they’ll try to ‘up-sell’ needless repairs or checks simply in order to maximise their profits. When looking for a garage, do your research and look for any reviews they’ve received; also make sure they’re regulated.

Keep A Detailed Service History 

Not every mechanic or garage wants to take you for a ride. Believe it or not, many of them are passionate about what they do and want to treat their customers with respect. In this case, you should help them to do as good a job as possible. Keeping a detailed service history to hand means the garage will have a broader and more accurate understanding of your vehicle and the attention it might need; this helps deal with cheaper and smaller problems before they become more expensive and larger ones.

Stay In Financial Control 

There’s two things all good garages do. First of all, they’ll give you a quote at the start of the process before any work starts. This means you know how much you’re going to be paying for the repairs your car needs. In addition, should they discover other problems throughout the process, they won’t carry out work without your permission. That is to say, they’ll get in touch, explain the problem, readjust your initial quote and wait for your permission to continue. This means you’re in financial control throughout the process and avoid any surprise bills.

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With over 16,000 approved garages, a 24/7 support service and a host of cost-saving offers, Autoserve can keep your car moving smoothly. For any further questions please call Autoserve on 0121 521 3500.

Used Cars: Everything That Causes Them To Depreciate

Used Cars: Everything That Causes Them To Depreciate

There are all sorts of things that can cause your car to depreciate. If you want to protect its value, it’s important to understand what causes it…


Mileage has an enormous effect on the rate of depreciation. Why? Because it’s probably the best indicator of overall wear and tear. If a car has covered an extensive amount of miles, it’s likely been subjected to the elements, experienced wear to its components and otherwise been knocked around; a straightforward logic. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot you can do to get around this. Buying a car and not using it sort of defeats the point! That said, if you’re buying a used car, be aware of so-called ‘car-clocking’. This is the increasingly common practice of altering a car’s mileage to make it look ‘newer’ or less worn.

Fuel Type

As a general rule, cars with a better fuel-economy will depreciate more slowly. This means that electric vehicles and hybrids tend to retain their value longer than the more traditional power-trains. Circumstance can be a major influence, too. The ramifications of Dieselgate are still being felt and demand for diesel models has contracted considerably. Either way, if you want a sound investment opt for a vehicle for a good mph rating or for a ‘greener’ fuel-type.


Probably the best (and most obvious) way of reducing the impact of depreciation is to look after your car; both inside and out. Avoid dents and scratches, don’t rip the upholstery and try not to stain the fabric with the smell of nicotine. Conducting regular maintenance checks can also make a major difference. These include topping up your oil levels, keeping your car’s engine fan clear of debris and checking the battery for any leaks. Make sure not to neglect trips to the garage, either. Whilst no one enjoys a repair or servicing bill, it’s more economical in the long-term as it preserves the car’s value and prevents even more expensive problems from popping up.


Different models depreciate at different speeds. It’s simply a question of popularity. Some models can lose up to 60% of the value after just three years, others can keep 70% of it. Luxury and sports models tend to retain their value for longer periods of time. But that’s not to say more mainstream cars can’t ward off an impressive amount of depreciation. When buying a car, consider its popularity and its brand’s commitment to it. When buying a used car, try to verify overall demand; you can find all sorts of price guides online.


A simple and easy way to reduce the rate of a car’s depreciation is by keeping its documentation safe and orderly. This will detail its service history, MOT guide and registration. It’s the only way to demonstrate that the car’s fully legal and has been properly looked after over the course of its life. Used cars that lack any of these documents should be regarded with suspicion and are best avoided. If you’ve somehow lost some of your documents, bear in mind that it’s possible to purchase full history checks for as little as £6 from major motoring organisations.

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With over 16,000 approved garages, a 24/7 support service and a host of cost-saving offers, Autoserve can keep your car moving smoothly. For any further questions please call Autoserve on 0121 521 3500.

Five Ways To Significantly Reduce Vehicle Downtime

Five Ways To Significantly Reduce Vehicle Downtime

Reducing vehicle downtime should be a priority for all fleets, regardless of size. It means you’ll be able to reduce costs and be in a better position to meet deadlines. Here’s five ways to reduce it…

1) Driver Training

What causes vehicle downtime? Ultimately, it comes down to wear and tear or accidents. In both cases, drivers themselves can play a large role. The way they drive fleet vehicles is enormously important. Late braking, harsh acceleration and incorrect gear changes can all accelerate the rate at which the car deteriorates. In addition, these behaviours are inherently dangerous and increase the likelihood of an accident. Offer your drivers training and ensure they’re aware of your expectations.

2) Maintenance And Repair

Regular and maintenance and repairs can be expensive. But they’re almost never as expensive as vehicle downtime; which can cost an average-sized fleet around £700 a day, not including repair costs themselves. Develop and stick to a regular servicing schedule. Some checks can actually be carried out internally, such as those concerning tyre pressures, oil levels and light bulbs. The key is to identify small problems before they become big ones.

3) New Vehicles

This isn’t an option for all fleets, but it’s certainly a consideration and the ideal strategy. Newer vehicles are less likely to brake down or experience mechanical faults. That’s a simple fact. Whilst they’re naturally more expensive than used vehicles, they can help a fleet save money in the long-term. However, utilising data is crucial in determining viability and potential savings.

4) Telematics

Whilst training your drivers and ensuring they’re aware of expected driving standards is vital, it’s often not enough. You need to know how they’re behaving whilst behind the wheel. Telematics can be useful in seeing what they’re getting right and what they’re getting wrong. In addition, it’s capable of shedding light on a fleet’s overall fuel economy. The technology is getting cheaper and more advanced all of the time; it’s definitely worth investing in.

5) Vehicle Downtime Data

A fleet is only as good as its data. Whether it’s concerning driver behaviour, fuel costs or route management, it’s always vital. Vehicle downtime is no different. You need to understand how much it costs the fleet, which vehicles are most likely to fail (and why) and the most efficient methods of addressing it. Don’t treat each brake down or accident as an isolated event, look at them as a part of a single trend. How efficient are your chosen garages, which models are the least reliable, what are the causes of accidents? With a clearer picture, you’ll be able to devise a clearer strategy.

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With over 16,000 approved garages, a 24/7 support service and a host of cost-saving offers, Autoserve can keep your car moving smoothly. For any further questions please call Autoserve on 0121 521 3500.

Highways England Is Urging Motorists To Tow Safely This Summer

Highways England Is Urging Motorists To Tow Safely This Summer

Highways England is urging drivers to ensure they’re road legal when towing this summer. It means having the correct license and insurance, as well as properly securing loads.

There are over 4,000 accidents involving trailers each and every year. That’s the equivalent of 11 a day. As a result, Highways England is issuing advice to motorists as they tow over the summer. Accidents are usually caused by poorly prepared and overloaded  vehicles, travelling at excessive speeds and using an inappropriate vehicle. In addition, motorists can face fierce crosswinds as they tow and sometimes end up with insufficient noseweight; this can cause trailers to sway and lose control.

Highways England’s Strategic Road Safety Lead, Stuart Lovatt, stressed that whilst towing accidents were relatively rare, caution is a necessity. He said, “thankfully incidents are very rare but now is the time to remind motorists of the need to make sure you have carried out proper checks and have loaded the trailer or vehicle correctly.” He added, “we have all sorts travelling on our network including horse boxes, trailer tents and leisure vehicles such as boats and caravans. Our message is really simple, check it before towing it. So that everyone gets home, safe and well.”

What To Check Before You Tow

Drivers can reduce their risk of having an accident as they tow. It’s important to ensure that the vehicle is up to the job of transporting caravans and trailers. Consult your owner’s manual to determine what your car’s loading capacity is. Driving within towing speed limits is essential. Extra caution is advised whilst going downhill or overtaking.

If you’re caught besides a larger vehicle, maximise the difference between the trailer and the vehicle; this is achieved by using the length of the lane, assuming it’s safe to do so. Should you experience instability, do not apply the brakes. Remain as calm as possible and simply ease off of your accelerator. Allow the steering wheel to twitch and don’t steer against the motion of the car. It’s always worth inspecting the vehicle and it’s load after a scare. That way you can ensure nothing is wrong with the actual load itself.

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With over 16,000 approved garages, a 24/7 support service and a host of cost-saving offers, Autoserve can keep your car moving smoothly. For any further questions please call Autoserve on 0121 521 3500.

Car Clocking: What You Need To Know About This Enduring Menace

Car Clocking: What You Need To Know About This Enduring Menace

As long as there have been speedometers, there have been instances of car clocking. And whilst it might invoke images of a sleazier age, the phenomenon is actually on the rise. Here’s what you need to know…

What Is It?

In simple terms, car clocking is process of altering a car’s mileage so that it appears to have covered less ground than it actually has. The rationale behind this is simple. A car that’s been used less will have fewer faults and will be less likely to break down; meaning a higher price at the point of sale. Whilst you’d be forgiven for thinking digitisation would have killed it off, it’s actually at an all time high; smashing previous records.

According to vehicle history provider HPI, as many as one in every sixteen vehicles has a mileage discrepancy. This represents a 25% increase since 2014 alone. It believes some 40% of car dealers have purchased a second-hand car that’s fallen victim of car clocking. For perspective, the phenomenon is costing motorists a collective £800 million annually. For instance, a Ford Focus 1.0 EcoBoost will fetch £2,700 more at 50,000 miles than it will at 100,000 miles.

How To Avoid It

It’s actually easier to carry out car clocking today than it was a decade or so. Why? Because cars are basically computers on wheels nowadays. All you have to do is plug in a laptop and, with a little bit of technical know-how and the right software, the mileage can be altered. Believe it or not, altering the mileage itself isn’t illegal. But selling a car with an altered mileage and not informing the buyer is. There are a number of companies offering a perfectly legal service, usually for around £100, that will alter a car’s mileage for drivers professionally. As a spokesman for the RAC stated, “It’s absolutely ludicrous that shady operators are able to advertise their services, putting motorists at risk of buying a car with a tampered mileage, disguising its true history and likely level of wear and tear.”

Protecting yourself from car clocking can be tricky, but there are steps that can be taken. First of all, it’s important that a seller of a used car can produce a comprehensive service history; if they can’t, it should be an instant ‘no, thanks.’ Check it thoroughly for any gaps or inexplicable changes in the vehicle’s mileage. If it’s been averaging 15,000 miles a year only to suddenly fall to 5,000, questions should be raised. Should any of the garage stamps look suspect, you can contact the garages directly for verification. Also inspect the vehicle for physical signs of wear. A rarely used vehicle is unlikely to have chip marks at the front, for instance. It’s also worth test driving a number of examples of the model you want to buy; to see if any stand out as having poor performance.

Why Should You Care?

Ultimately, there are financial implications for car clocking. As previously mentioned, it can mean a huge loss in funds once the true mileage is revealed; potentially reaching thousands of pounds. But more importantly, there’s a safety issue. A car that’s travelled 100,000 miles is much more prone to faults than a car that’s travelled 50,000. If a driver believes his or her vehicle is in a better state than it really is, they can inadvertently put themselves and other road-users at risk. There’s also a risk that, should the vehicle be sold on without the true mileage being exposed, innocent motorists can take the blame.

Whenever you buy a second-hand car, make sure to thoroughly inspect its documentation and to inspect it inside and out. It’s a big purchase and you have every right to make sure it’s the right one for you. Don’t be a victim.

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With over 16,000 approved garages, a 24/7 support service and a host of cost-saving offers, Autoserve can keep your car moving smoothly. For any further questions please call Autoserve on 0121 521 3500.

Used Cars: Everything You Need To Know Before Buying One

Used Cars: Everything You Need To Know Before Buying One

Whilst the sales of new cars have come to an abrupt halt, used cars continue to attract a lot of interest. Given the enormous differences in pricing, it’s not hard to understand why. Here’s what you need to know before buying one for yourself…

Consider What You’re Looking For

As will all things, going into the used cars market blind is a bad idea. You’ll be left directionless and ripe for the picking by unscrupulous sellers and dealers. Figure out what you need from a car. Are you looking for ample space, fuel economy or creature comforts? Think about the journeys you take, their frequency and what you’re willing to compromise on. This will provide you with a sense of direction and will prevent impulse purchases.

Get Valuations For The Models That Interest You

Ideally, you’ll be able to reduce your interests to certain models and trim levels. In this instance, you’ll be able to use a host of websites to get a host of quotes for used cars. This means, even before you’ve started a conversation with a seller, you know what a reasonable price looks like. Never go in blind, work out an average price for a used car that interests you; a few quotes will help you gauge what’s fair.

Always Arrange A Vehicle Inspection 

Never commit yourself to a used car before inspecting it. Private sellers may distort what’s on offer and conceal damage and flaws. Photos might not always reflect what’s really on offer. Arrange an inspection in a place that you’re comfortable with. If in doubt, it might also be wise to take a friend or family member with you. You don’t know who the seller is, fundamentally speaking, so keep yourself save and don’t take needless risks. Once inspecting the vehicle, circle around it and look for scratches and dents. Also thoroughly go over the interior and keep your eyes open to stains and tears and your nose open to unpleasant odours. It’s very important that the seller produces a genuine service record and that it checks out, too.

Take The Car For A Test Drive

Even a car that looks pristine can conceal serious faults. Never purchase a used car without taking it for a test drive. If the seller is reluctant, it could be because they’re hiding something. It’s natural for them to want to accompany you whilst you test it and don’t be offended if they ask for your driving license and proof of third-party car insurance (you should have these ready). If you’re worried about driving with the seller, again, take a family member of friend. Get a feel for the braking system and the acceleration. Does the car handle well or does it pull to one side? Listen for any unusual noises and consider how comfortable the ride is.

Never Be Afraid To Negotiate

People selling used cars, generally speaking, want them off of their hands. They’re losing their value continually and, if it’s a private seller, they may want to move on to a new motor. Never just agree to the price on offer. Start from a lower price and gradually move forwards if required. If you want the car and you’ve made the journey to visit it, you have leverage over the seller. After all, if you don’t ask you don’t get. A little negotiation can save you a significant amount of money. Worst comes to worst, they can only say ‘no’ and stick to the advertised price.

Properly Complete The Transaction

Once you’re happy with a used car, it’s important that the transaction is completed professionally. The seller should ask their bank to produce two receipts, one for them and one for yourself; this can prevent disagreements later down the line. They’ll need to update the DVLA that the vehicle has swapped hands and you’ll need to notify them that the car is now in your hands. It goes without saying, but make sure that the person selling the car actually owns it! Request any spare keys and the car’s owners manual. With that, you’re all done and have avoided any unpleasantness. You hopefully now own a car you’ve bought for an affordable price that won’t breakdown at the first opportunity.

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With over 16,000 approved garages, a 24/7 support service and a host of cost-saving offers, Autoserve can keep your car moving smoothly. For any further questions please call Autoserve on 0121 521 3500.

Engine Remapping: What Is It And Is It Really Safe?

What would you say if someone said they could improve your car’s performance without making any physical changes? You’d probably scoff at them, but it is possible and lots of people are doing it. Here’s what you need to know about Engine Remapping…

Cars As Computers

What a lot of motorists don’t recognise is the fact that their cars are packed with computing technology. Modern vehicles use computers that have a range of responsibilities. These include keeping emissions low, reporting on the condition of specific components and displaying warning lights. These technologies are improving all of the time, especially as new autonomous driving features are being developed.

So-called engine remapping has become increasingly popular over the years, as altering software has become easier and easier. The process used to be called ‘chip tuning’, as it literally involved swapping a microchip in a car’s electronic control unit with an altered one. Nowadays, it’s as simple as downloading a file onto a normal computer. What this means, ultimately, is that engines can be ‘remapped’ with new software; altering certain aspects of a car’s performance.

But Why Bother? 

If the idea of playing with an engine’s software sounds risky to you, it’s probably because it is. Which is why a number of companies specialising in engine remapping have emerged. They use laptops or unique devices to overwrite default factory settings and set them to something more inline with your preferences. A full remap typically takes around twenty minutes and can leave you with increased power and torque.

Automakers often actually scale back the performance of their models during product planning stages and in order to meet efficiency targets. Software imposes them, rather than physical components. Remove the software, and you remove the imposed limitations. It’s that simple. It can even be used to improve a car’s mpg rating and therefore its fuel economy.

What Are The Risks?

Whether engine remapping is risky depends on who you ask. Some cottage industries have emerged, in which drivers tweak their own engines or those of their friend’s vehicles. We advise against this, as a mistake can pose serious implications for a car’s usability and basic functions.

There are, however, a number of established and reputable companies that offer engine remapping. One of them is Superchips. Its Managing Director Jamie Turvey explained the process to AutoExpress. He told them, “remapping does put extra strain on an engine, but not a dangerous amount. We check carefully that the temperatures and pressures our remaps put the engine through don’t exceed the acceptable parameters.”

Automakers often use the process themselves, as Turvey explained “you find manufacturers launch a car with a set power figure, but then over the life of the model they’ll introduce a few facelifts and performance versions. They don’t develop new engines for each new version: mostly they limit the performance of the earlier models and then offer a little more power with each new edition.” He did note, however, that drivers with engine mapped cars needed to update their insurers, but stressed that most either don’t mind or request only a nominal fee as a result.

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With over 16,000 approved garages, a 24/7 support service and a host of cost-saving offers, Autoserve can keep your car moving smoothly. For any further questions please call Autoserve on 0121 521 3500.