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August 2015

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When was the last time you took a long, hard look at your tyres? They can tell you more about your car’s condition than you think. Your tyres are one of the most important aspects of your vehicle. The wear down quickly and many drivers don’t take the time to care for them. New drivers are particularly oblivious to their tyre condition. Did you know, for example, that there’s an optimum tyre pressure that you must stick to? Did you know there’s a legal limit when it comes to tyre wear and tread depth?



These are the things you should be looking out for on your vehicle. The tyres themselves also reveal some deeper secrets. They can help you diagnose problems in the steering alignment, and even the suspension. The state of your tyres indicates the first signs of trouble within the car. In this post, we’ll show you how to pay more attention.  We’ll teach you to understand exactly what your tyres are trying to tell you.




1. Heavy central wear

When the tyres are heavily worn down in the centre of the tyre, it means just one thing. Your tyres are overinflated. It means that only the central part of the tyre is coming into contact with the road. Overinflation is bad for a number of reasons. First of all, it gives you a distinct lack of control over the car. The less contact there is with the road, the less grip you have on the tarmac. Secondly, it can seriously impact the efficiency and performance of the vehicle. Always stick to the recommended inflation pressure.

2. Heavy outer wear

As you would expect, lots of wear on the outer parts of the tyre suggest the opposite problem. Your tyres are significantly under inflated. You’re running close to flat. All the strain of the car is being forced to the outer part of the tyres, causing excess wear. Running on flat tyres puts a lot of pressure on the engine. Just think about how hard you have to pedal when biking on a flat tyre. Your engine is under the same strain. This is a clear example of how the tyres can indicate a much bigger problem developing under the bonnet.

3. Cracks and bulges

Cracks along the outer wall of the tyre usually occur as a result of under inflation. When the tyres aren’t pumped up, the structure of the tyre collapses, causes cracks to appear at the edges. If there is also heavy outer wear, you’ve got a serious case of under inflation. This makes it much more likely that damage from road bumps, kerbs, and debris will occur. If there is serious impact damage, you’ll see a bump or bulge under the rubber. Unfortunately, there’s only one solution, and that’s a replacement! You can buy tyres from your local garage or online via a type shop such as tyre-shopper.co.uk


or visit a reputable dealer to carry out the change. Type specialists such as National Tyres are the UK’s No.1 fast fit retailer for car tyres so if you have any problems or questions then head to our nearest garage.


4. Feathering and cupping

Lastly, look out for uneven wear, as it spells trouble inside the system. Cupping is when there is ‘mountainous’, up-and-down wear. It means the suspension is in trouble. Feathering is when the edges of the tread are smooth, but the inside is raised. It means your alignment is drifting.

As you can see, your tyres tell you a lot about the condition of your car. Learn to read them, and take action.

Severe wear on just one side? You’ve got trouble! Image Source

Choosing your first car can be a lot of hassle. You don’t have the experience to ensure you get a good deal, and you probably don’t know much about engines. The advice on this page should help to make sure you spend your cash wisely. At the end of the day, there are lots of fantastic models out there. You just need to work out which is the most suitable for you. Make sure you follow each of the steps on this page to guarantee you don’t overlook anything important. You will struggle to get a refund if you purchase from the private market. So, you need to be certain you are making the right decision.


Research suitable models online


There are lots of car websites that provide reviews on the most popular models. You should check some of them out before moving on. You shouldn’t have to look far to find recommendations for new drivers. The insurance costs you have to pay are going to be high. So, it makes sense to go for something with a small engine. Anything larger than 1.4 litres is going to break the bank. It could cost you more than £2,000 to keep it on the roads each year. That is not an expense you should pay for your first car. When all’s said and done, you are 50% more likely to be involved in an accident during your first couple of years with a licence.


Visit lots of different dealers


The manager of CooperMini recently said that fewer drivers are making impulse purchases these days. In the modern world, people want to make sure they are getting the best deal. So, they always shop around when looking to buy a new car. You should follow suit. There is no reason to opt for the first vehicle you view. In fact, it makes sense to check out lots of cars before settling on your final choice.

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So long as you use that advice wisely, you should get a good outcome. The only other thing you need to think about relates to your negotiation skills. It’s a good idea to brush up and learn some savvy techniques before talking money with the seller. When all’s said and done, people who use the right strategies tend to save a significant amount of cash. That is money you should put towards paying for your insurance costs.


Take a trained mechanic


Presuming you know little about engines, you should employ the services of a local mechanic. Just call the garages in your area and ask if they can spare someone. You will usually have to pay a fee for their help. However, that is much less than the amount you might lose on a bad deal. If the mechanic tells you the car has issues, you should look elsewhere. They are the ones best placed to offer advice. Always let the professional sit behind the wheel during your test drive. Experts can tell a lot from the way a car feels to drive.


We all dream of parking a brand new luxury car on the driveway. We’d love to show off the new Mercedes badge or show up to the golf course in a new Jaguar. Unfortunately, these cars are usually well out reach for the average buyer. Their price tags race into the hundreds of thousands, and even the most generous finance plan won’t cover it. When this is the case, many buyers start to glance towards the used market. A brand new model may be out of your price range, but what about the second-hand version?

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For many buyers, this is the only way to get your hands on your dream car. We wholeheartedly recommend browsing the used market. We’ve picked up some fantastic bargains ourselves, including a stunning Mercedes at motorlinedirect.co.uk. However, it’s not all plain sailing on the used market. Buyers are easily overcome by the luxury badge, and forget to check the condition. It might have a low price tag, but luxury cars are seriously expensive to maintain and repair. By all means, buy a used luxury car, but avoid the following pitfalls at all costs.

Failing to research


Gathering knowledge is the single most important thing you can do when buying a car. We can’t stress this enough. It’s even more important when it comes to luxury cars. Why? Because, every year or era has a different value when it comes to luxury and classic motors. As a buyer, you need to know why a 1961 Jaguar E-Type is worth more than a 1974 Jaguar E-Type. When buying luxury cars, knowledge is power. Make sure you know how to spot a bargain, and understand what you’re paying for.


Buying for the badge


We often see luxury car owners blinded by the status symbol and badge associated with a car. Yes, the car of your dreams may have the coveted Mercedes badge. But, that doesn’t make it exempt from breakdown, repair, or faults. A super cheap Merc is not necessarily a bargain; it could simply mean it’s a death-trap! Don’t trust the badge. Use your instincts, and check the car thoroughly. We’ll show you a little more about that in the next section. Just remember, you’re looking for more than just a badge. There’s no point buying a Jaguar if it spends half the year in the mechanic’s shop.


Failing to test drive


As a member of multiple classic car clubs and organisations, we hear a lot of horror stories. The most common story on the grapevine involves blind-buying on the internet. Buyers find a bargain classic or luxury car online, and they make an impulse purchase. We’ve seen this happen at car auctions too. They’ve been searching for a specific car for years, and they finally find it at a bargain price. Of course, it arrives in a mess, costing the buyer a fortune to restore to road-legal status. Don’t make this mistake. Always test drive the prospective car before buying.

Follow this advice, and you’ll make a sensible investment. Follow your heart, but listen to your head too!

Ever since the Golf GTi first made its appearance back in the 1970s, car makers have spawned a lot of hot hatches. These days, VW’s hot hatch is now in its seventh generation. But, if you’re a fan of the “Blue Oval”, you might be wondering which Ford models are the best.



My first encounter with a hot hatch from Ford was the iconic mk2 Fiesta XR2. A friend of mine bought one and let me take it for a test drive. As you can imagine, this was some time ago but I can still remember thinking how brilliant that car was when I drove it! They are a rare sight these days, given that most of them are now scrapped or in a museum somewhere.


Today, one of the most popular hot hatches sold by the Ford Motor Company is the Fiesta ST. Here’s why I think you will fall in love with this car:


It has a powerful yet eco-friendly engine under the bonnet


Engine technology has come a long way since the days of the XR2. All modern engines feature fuel injection and get controlled by an ECU. In case you wondered, it’s a car’s electronic “brain.”
The Fiesta ST features a 1.6-litre engine, just like the old XR2. But the only similarity between the two engines is the displacement. That’s because the ST engine is a 16-valve turbocharged EcoBoost unit. As standard, it boasts 180 brake horsepower.


When you fit such an engine into a lightweight Fiesta shell, it gives you phenomenal power. From a standing start, you can reach 60 mph in just 6.8 seconds! You also have a top speed of 137 mph.


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The 1.6 EcoBoost isn’t just popular for its power. As you may have guessed, it sports green credentials too. Carbon emissions are just 138 g/km, and combined fuel economy is 47 mpg. The engine works in tandem with a six-speed manual transmission. Having test-drove a Fiesta ST from TC Harrison Ford, I can confirm the it feels positive and smooth to drive.


It’s agile


Some of you might be thinking that such a car might not handle well. After all; a lightweight body and a powerful engine can mean trouble, right? Well, in this case, you would be wrong!


The Fiesta ST offers excellent handling, even at high-speed driving. And if you happen to make a bad move, the car’s electronics will put things right again for you.


It’s a technology geek’s dream come true


The Ford Fiesta ST features all manner of modern equipment that you’ll need in today’s motoring. As standard, you get air conditioning, DAB digital radio and Bluetooth. The Ford SYNC technology is brilliant, and can handle most tasks via voice control.


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If you opt for the ST2 trim, you also get things like keyless entry and LED daytime running lights.
Conclusion


If you’re after a reliable hot hatch, and you don’t want a German car, stick with Ford and get yourself a Fiesta ST! The price point is also fair, making it in reach within most people’s budgets.