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Maintaining-Your-Car

05/12/2014

Zanna’s advice to running and maintaining your new car
Great news you’ve had your new lease car delivered, congratulations. Now as much as it is a new vehicle there will always be a few things that you need to be aware of to keep your car in tip top condition and therefore always have happy motoring.
Running your car image

Running and Maintaining Your Car


My first piece of advice to anyone with a new car is make friends with your local dealership Aftersales Team (service department) and also a chosen tyre outlet. The dealership will be your first port of call for any servicing, maintenance and warranty queries. If you create a good relationship with the aftersales team they are more likely to be a bit more malleable for you if you find yourself in a tight spot or just generally be happy to see you when the time comes for you to book any work in. You should be aware that most dealerships run a lead time of approximately 4 to 7 days for general service bookings and maybe a little longer if you want a courtesy vehicle. So you’re not going to endear yourself by going 200miles over your service due and then asking to drop the car off tomorrow, a little bit of planning saves a lot of stressing when it comes to maintaining your vehicle.
General Maintenance

General maintenance that you would be responsible for:

As with any new cars all your levels will have been taken care of at the PDI (Pre Delivery Inspection) stage of your car before it’s delivered to you. As time goes by you will need to monitor and top up as required the oil, screen wash and coolant levels. With most new cars these consumables aren’t required very often but it is always best to make sure you monitor them, and know where to top them up if required.
Always refer to your handbook and local dealership when topping up oil and coolant, don’t be afraid to ask questions as on modern engines it can actually be detrimental to over fill oil, so as with anything on new cars if you are not sure ask before carrying out anything important yourself. There are hundreds of different gradients of oil on the market and for example you might not think there is much of a difference between 0w30 and 10w30 but trust me when I say your engine will. Every year hundreds of people do untold damage to engines purely by putting the wrong oil in on what should be a harmless top up. Any damage you cause will not be covered by your warranty and your dealership can tell when oil is incorrect (BMW even have an agent in some of their specialist gradients used at dealerships that fluoresces under UV light). So if in doubt ask or buy your top up kit at the parts department of the dealership as the onus will then be on them to sell you the right product.
Let’s be honest we all have the odd bump now and then. It might be the curb that jumped out at you, the garden rubbish someone else left in the road or even that dirty great big pot hole on the way to work but you’ve just hit something. This can sometimes be the biggest unexpected cost when running a car as unevenly worn tyres can be a silent budget breaker. My advice is if you think you’ve bumped a wheel or tyre always get it checked out and possibly pay the small fee to get your tracking adjusted. Most people are unaware that that ‘little’ bump you had can throw out tracking very easily and suddenly you’ve got a tyre that is scrubbed out on the inner or outer edge and needs replacing earlier than you would expect. You may also have picked up a slow puncture during your incident and trust me you’d rather find out when you take round the corner to your friendly tyre centre (and getting it fixed quickly and painlessly) than when you’re half way to the relatives house for an important gathering on the motorway in the pouring rain.
Lots of new cars these days come with tyre repair kits instead of a space saver spare wheel. They save space and weight in your new car (you can still order a spare wheel with your new car as a cost option). Most kits consist of fluid in a can that converts into a foam when inserted into a punctured tyre using the given delivery method (different for every manufacturer). Be aware that once one of these kits has been used the fluid part of the kit will need to be replaced so you are not left in the lurch again. Most of these kits you would be advised to use in an emergency only as usually once a tyre has been repaired with a kit it cannot be repaired (as predominantly they work by sealing the inner tube with foam or fluid).
With regards to windscreens even a little chip can cause you problems if not looked after especially in winter. Most insurance companies will arrange for companies to come to your home or work place and fill the chip professionally for free (or a small fee) under your comprehensive insurance policy. If for any reason a crack were to develop you need to get the windscreen replaced as soon as possible, not only is it a legal requirement but also a safety issue. Most comprehensive insurance policies will have a small excess to have a windscreen replaced but again they usually arrange for the replacement to happen at a location of your choosing rather than you taking the vehicle in anywhere to have it done.
I’ve spoken about local dealerships and personally I would always use a manufacturer to service my vehicle when it was under warranty/new. These technicians and service advisors are highly trained and qualified in just your make of car, they know about any little servicing foibles of your vehicle and are held highly accountable for the service you receive. They are also experts in spotting possible manufacturing warranty issues that you may not have even been aware of and advising of the best course of action for any work required.
A manufacturer’s warranty will usually cover you for a minimum of 3 years (some are longer) and will cover you for any manufacturing defects of electrical or mechanical nature that may occur on a vehicle during that period. Wear and tear and also any issue caused by you that leads to a failure of an item be it electrical or mechanical will not be covered, i.e. using the wrong oil or a child inserting coins into CD player (more common than you would think) leading to the failure of the unit. Most new vehicles never have any issues but it’s always nice to know a warranty is there to cover you if needs be.

Winter tips:


In winter there are a couple things you should have in all cars to be safe. A snow or ice scraper, some spray de-icer, a winter coat, oil and screen wash top up kits and if you really worries about adverse winter weather a small shovel and some non-perishable food. Never ever put hot or boiling water on a windscreen to get rid of snow or ice, this is your fastest route to requiring a new windscreen as they are likely to crack when being forced from very cold to very hot. A warm/hot high blower on the windscreen (or if you have quick clear function or a heated windscreen pop that on) with a little bit of patience and maybe a bit of clearing/scrapping will have your journey started nice and quickly. Always clear you rear screen and all windows too before you start your journey. A little tip is to maybe carry an old dustpan brush as this extremely useful for clearing large amounts of snow from a car, it can be very dangerous for other drivers if you just make the assumption that that it will blow off as its likely to impair someone else’s vision when it hits their screen behind you.
One way we all cheat a little is to clear snow or ice from windows by just putting your electric windows down to clear them off, again this isn’t advisable as if the window is stuck even a little with ice and you keep pressing the button you can wear out the electric window motor. This is frequently seen during winter at dealerships up and down the country with many irate customers when they are told the cost of repair isn’t covered, this is because a manufacturing warranties won’t cover this kind of replacement work as you have caused the damage by repeatedly pressing the button.
Many people don’t know that air conditioning shouldn’t only be used for keeping you cool in the summer. Air conditioning takes the moisture out of the air and if you leave the heat settings high it won’t cool the air but will help if you ever get that annoying mist on the inside of your windscreen.
On a lease car you can always source a set of winter tyres yourself and have them swapped onto your vehicle in the given seasons. Few people know that standard tyres only work best in conditions down to 7 degrees and winter tyres can save adverse winter wear due to their hardened compound and most people are surprised at what a difference winter tyres can make to the grip of their vehicle (especially on a rear wheel drive). My advice is that winter tyres are best to be popped onto a vehicle in late October/early November and swapped off again for your summer set in March/April when the temperature has risen again to a constant 6 or 7 degrees. The advantages of winter tyres are numerous and most dealerships offer a storage and swap scheme that operate throughout the year by storing your spare set (for a small fee) and swapping over each set when required.

Maintained contracts:


Well you’ve got the easy life, all your serving requirements and tyres (at a fair wear and tear policy) are taken care of already in your monthly payments. You just need to book in with plenty of time with the local dealership and remind them when you’re making your booking that you’re a maintained lease customer, service advisors aren’t mind readers and if you don’t tell them at the booking stage that you are a fully maintained lease customer they are likely to present you with a bill when you collect rather than pass that onto your finance company.

Non-maintained contract:

If you are on a non-maintained contract you are responsible for paying for the serving and tyres as required and you can take your vehicle to be serviced at VAT registered garage of your choosing. Be aware that as much as their prices may be a little cheaper than your local dealership (Aftersales has become very competitive so do always check your dealerships prices) that sometimes the prices are cheaper for a reason (substandard or not approved parts for example). If you choose to have your vehicle serviced outside of the dealer network you must make sure that the vehicle is serviced to the exact manufacturer’s specification and also that all the correct manufacturers parts and oils are used. As long as these rules are followed there will be no issues with maintaining your vehicles warranty going forward should you have any warranty claims to make.
N.B With either type of contract always check when your service has been completed that the corresponding service book has been stamped correctly. The finance company will always check this on collection of your vehicle and if you cannot prove that the correct servicing has occurred they may levy a charge to you.
Ultimately your new car should be enjoyed but if you bear in mind these few little bits of advice then your motoring should be smooth and trouble free. Have (within the speed limit) fun.
Remember, if you have any questions, tweet us @Car4Leasing, visit http://www.car4leasing.co.uk/ or call 0844 414 8144 today!

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