Everything a girl needs to know about cars
Which Fuel Type Is Right For Me?
May 26, 2018
Fuel types

What fuel car should I buy?
Does the ban on cars with conventional combustion engines by 2040, confirmed in July 2017 and the new diesel car tax rates which came into force in April 2018 (which mean diesel cars are taxed more heavily), mean that we should rule out buying diesel and petrol cars now?

The Benefits of Diesel cars.

• The main benefit of diesel cars has been better fuel economy compared to petrol equivalents. Of course, the same can be said for hybrids too, however diesel cars still tend to be better on the motorway, whilst hybrids can be more economical around town.
• When pulling away from a stop, diesel engines don’t need to be revved high to get the best acceleration. This can give the feeling of more power in the engine than there actually is.
• Diesel cars are much better if you are towing something. This is why all engines that are used in bigger trucks and lorries use diesel fuel.
• Engine lasts longer and can do more miles than petrol equivalent.

The Disadvantages of a Diesel car.
• Diesel fuel cost more than unleaded, so be prepared to pay more to fill up your tank.
• Diesel cars tend to be slower than their petrol counterparts.
• Diesel cars typically cost more than their petrol equivalent.
• The first year’s tax on a diesel car could be significantly higher than on a petrol vehicle
• With the new rules on tax and some cites like London reviewing a levy on diesel vehicle within the congestion zone, the resell price, which was typically higher than a petrol car is now lowering.
• Despite CO2 emissions decreasing in new diesel cars, there are still tiny particles that are produced which could lead to breathing problems for some individuals.
• Insurance costs could be higher.
• Fuel is a finite resource.

The Benefits of a Petrol Car.
• Petrol cars tend to be slightly cheaper to buy and to service.
• The cost of petrol is cheaper than diesel.
• Petrol engines have historically been less noisy, however diesel engines have improved a lot over the last 10 years.
• Petrol cars tend to accelerate quicker than their diesel counterparts, however they do require the driver to change gear more to get the best out of the engine.
• There is not an increased tax on the first year of driving a petrol car.

The Disadvantages of a petrol car.
• Less mileage and fuel economy per tank.
• Resale value is still lower than a diesel car.
• Maintenance frequency could be higher in a petrol vehicle as it may require more tune ups.
• Difficult to tow with a petrol engine car.
• Contain benzene, which when burned can cause dangerous green house gases.
• Oil is a finite resource.
• Petrol is dangerous to store.

The Benefits of a Hybrid Car.
• Much cleaner and more fuel efficient especially in towns and cities.
• Resale value is very high.
• Low tax bills and congestion charge bills
• Although there are range limits, these are significantly larger than an Electric vehicle.

The Disadvantage of a Hybrid car.
• Much more expensive to buy
• Batteries are expensive to replace.
• More difficult to locate a specialist garage to maintain the vehicle.
• Hybrids produce more emissions than an electric vehicle
• Plug in hybrids need to be charged and the infrastructure in place is not there yet. Plus they take hours to charge.
• Engines tend to be small so not suitable for large loads.

The Benefits of an Electric car.
• Zero emissions and environmentally friendly.
• Very little noise pollution and a very quiet car to drive.
• Xero road tax charge and congestion charge.
• Good resale value.
• Quick acceleration.

This Disadvantage of an Electric car.
• The vehicles are expensive to buy.
• There is a very limited range to these cars before they need to be recharged.
• These cars take multiple hours to recharge.
• The infrastructure of recharging points is not widely available.
• Potential danger to pedestrians as the cars make no sound when they approach.
Overall there are positives and negatives to all car types right now. Moving forward as the infrastructure for hybrid and electric vehicles becomes more widespread and technology around express battery charging, and range catch up, prices will eventually start coming down, making these vehicles more accessible for all. Greg Clark the business secretary also recently said that diesel cars would continue to make sense for some customers and that new diesel engines could be beneficial for the environment.

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New MOT Rules 2018
May 16, 2018
MOT changes 2018

As of 20th May 2018, the way MOT tests work will change, what will this affect and what do you need to know?
What are the things you need to know?
1. The defects found during an MOT will be categorised differently from May 20th. The defects will now be:
• Dangerous- this is an immediate fail as there is a serious immediate safety risk or an immediate risk to the environment. You will not be able to drive a vehicle that receives a dangerous rating until the car has been fixed.
• Major- this to would be a fail and require immediate repair. This type of defect may be a safety risk or an environmental risk.
• Minor- there is no immediate risk with a minor fault, and the vehicle will still pass, however the defect will need to be repaired as soon as possible.
• Advisories. This could become more problematic in the future and should be monitored with a view to review. A vehicle would pass the MOT even if it had several advisories.
• Pass. This meets the required legal standards, and nothing further is required.

2. New rules for diesel car emissions
The Rules for diesel cars will become a lot stricter in particular:
• If smoke is coming from the exhaust this would be a major fault.
• The diesel particulate filter captures soot to reduce emissions and if there is any evidence that this has been tampered with, the vehicle would receive a major fault.

3. There will be a number of new items that will be tested from May 21st, 2018:
• Tyres being underinflated.
• Brake fluid contamination
• Environment risks from fluid leaks
• Break pad warning lights
• Headlight washers if the vehicle is fitted with them.

4. Vehicles over 40 years old may not need an MOT.
• If your vehicle is over 40 years old and has not been significantly change, you may not need an MOT.
If you want to keep up to date with more car news, check out our website at www.cars4girls.com

MOT Changes

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Driving Back the Years
May 15, 2018
Driving over 70s

The UK population is, on average, getting older. Naturally this means there are more older drivers on Britain’s roads. In fact, in the UK there are 1.2 million full licence holders in their eighties, 100,000 in their nineties and around 250 centenarians. All in all there are over four million driving licence holders over the age of 70 in the UK.

The feeling of freedom that comes with getting behind the wheel of your first car never really goes away. Whatever your age, it brings with it a sense of independence. Reaching different milestones in life shouldn’t be a reason to hang up the car keys, but there are a few things you should think about.

What age should you stop driving?
As there are no laws set in place as to when you have to stop driving, it really depends on your health and ability to drive. Together with your GP, you should have regular check-ups to see if you’re still up for the demands of the road.

Once you do hit the age of 70, you’ll need to renew your driving licence, and every 3 years after that. There’s no driving licence renewal fee and the DVLA will send you a renewal form 3 months before your birthday. You won’t have to retake your test, but you will have to declare any medical conditions you have and confirm that you meet the eyesight standards.

If you’re concerned about how age may affect your driving, you can book a driver assessment test with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA). It won’t be a pass or fail-style test but they will feed back on any issues they pick up during the session, as well as suggesting ways for you to improve.

Are older drivers more dangerous on the road?
Drivers under 20 are more likely to be involved in fatal accidents than those over 70. This is partly because older drivers limit when and how far they drive – avoiding busy or complex junctions. It’s also because, as shown in our animation, they’re also more likely to visit familiar locations like local shops and relatives at quiet periods while also avoiding night time driving and rush hour traffic.

The numbers behind drivers over 70
Owning and driving a vehicle is important to many people and for many reasons. A car isn’t just a practical way of getting around, it can also become part of who you are. And you’re not alone in thinking that way. According to healthcare charity Independent Age:

73% of drivers aged 70 and over would feel reluctant to ask friends or family for lifts if they were no longer able to drive
One in 20 (5%) say they don’t have any friends or family they could ask for a lift
44% of drivers aged 70 and over say they would feel like they’d lost part of their identity if they were not able to drive
How to stay safe as an older driver
According to data gathered by the Older Drivers Task Force, “drivers over the age of 70 are less likely to be involved in crashes involving speed, loss of control or alcohol”. Despite these encouraging signs, there are extra steps you could take to further extend and enjoy your driving life, such as:

Making modifications to your car to assist any visual or physical ailments
If you have difficulty while walking you may qualify for a Blue Badge which gives you access to accessible parking
Having regular medical and driving assessments
Telling the DVLA about any medical conditions that may affect your ability to drive
We’ve been on the road for over a hundred years and we’re still here to lend a helping hand. Get breakdown cover today and keep your car moving in the right direction. For even more advice on age and driving, check out our safety for older drivers page.

Cars4Girls were granted permission to publish this article from The AA: https://www.theaa.com/breakdown-cover/advice/older-driver

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Calculating Car Insurance
Featured Insurance News
April 23, 2018
Making Car Insurance Clear

Every driver must have insurance to legally drive, but do they always know what goes into
calculating the final cost? Most have a vague idea, but can’t give a definitive answer. Insurers factor
in a number of variables – from driving habits and location to where the insurance is bought from.
The AA have created an animated video about it that you can see by clicking here, and we go into further
detail underneath.

Your car
Obviously, the type of your car you drive is going to be a major factor in an insurers pricing. The age
and value of the car are important, as well as the insurance group that it’s in. Insurance groups are
worked out by a cars price when new, their performance, repair costs and the cost of replacement
parts; meaning higher performance car models are usually in higher insurance groups as they will
cost insurers the most in claims. Security features, such as locks and alarms, also factor into an
insurance grouping.
Car modifications like tinted windows or custom exhausts can also increase insurance cost whereas
additional safety features like a collision warning system could lower it. Although still in
development, autonomous or driverless cars could also attract a much lower premium due to being
considered safer.
Your driving
The other big factor that goes into insurance calculations is how you drive. Your expected annual
mileage will indicate to an insurer how much deterioration may occur to your car. Having penalty
points, suspensions or convictions on your license, as well as previous insurance claims, will also be
important in how your premium is assessed.
The area you live in will also be considered as it may have higher crime and crash rates meaning
more claims. Although it doesn’t reflect your own driving, insurers have to account for this as the
risk of theft or accident increases.
Additional factors
Besides the above considerations, there are additional factors that go into insurance calculations.
One, is your no claims discount – the number of years that have gone by without you making a claim
on your car insurance. The more years, the better the discount.
The other is your level of voluntary excess – the amount you pay towards an insurance claim. There is
voluntary and compulsory excess; you set the voluntary amount of excess whereas your insurer sets
the compulsory amount. By choosing a lower voluntary excess, it can raise your premium.
Other policy add-ons to your insurance such as a replacement car, legal assistance cover, windscreen
cover will also affect your insurance cost.
Cheaper car insurance
There are a few ways that you can get cheaper car insurance. If you buy from a third-party website,
such as a comparison site, you may only see basic packages rather than a customisable package that
you may need or prefer. In this case, it might buy straight from an insurer as you may get a greater
level of cover or additional benefits such as a courtesy car.
Technology such as a car black box that tracks your driving can also lower premiums with many
insurers. For new drivers, doing a Pass Plus driving course to improve their driving ability can also
lower their insurance premium with some insurers. It’s wise to check first, to see if they do.

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Road Trip Essentials, Travelling With Kids.
March 30, 2018

We have all been there, we are in the midst of a mammoth road trip and we have forgotten charge the iPad, pack spare nappies, or you are stuck in traffic with a baby who is screaming for a feed.

Car aside there plenty of things you need prepare for ahead of travelling with children. Taking time to plan ahead, can ensure you arrive relaxed and stress free.

Car Seats.

Safety is the primary consideration when travelling with Children. Always double check your car seats are fitted properly and that you have followed the manufactures advise on how to fit them correctly. If you have recently changed cars make sure that the car seats are still suitable.


You can never have too many wipes, useful for sticky hands, runny noses and spilt drinks.

Snacks and Drinks.

Packing a bag full of treats is the perfect way to keep kids entertained during a long journey. Services stations are notoriously over priced and packing a mixture of healthy and treat type snacks will save you money and guilt over giving the kids too much sugar.

Plan your route.

If you are travelling one hour or 8 hours make sure you have planned your route and planned appropriate stops. Babies under 18 months should not spend more than two hours at a time in their car seats so ensure to plan stops to stretch you legs, change and feed the baby. Advice suggests that taking regular breaks helps avoid tiredness related accidents too.

Traveling times.

Review what time you are travelling. Rush hour can add hours onto travel time and can make a 3 hour journey become much more. Consider traveling very early or later in the evening to avoid traffic if travelling a long way. This has a double benefit, as children may be more likely to sleep during night time or early morning travels. Additionally, travelling with smaller children maybe more comfortable for all if it incorporated into a nap time.


In todays day and age iPad’s, tablets and games consoles are the perfect way to while away hours on a long journey, but if you fancy going old school there are plenty of car journey games to play on a long journey.

Ispy….I spy with my little eye something beginning… hours of fun ahead and no explanation required.

Memory Games. Mrs brown when shopping and brought followed by a list that all players must remember. Each player adds one item to the previous list and the winner is the one who doesn’t forget any items.

20 Questions. Players simply pick a person and their fellow passengers have to guess who it is using only 20 questions.

Would you rather. Would you rather have arms for legs or legs for arms. Neither is particularly pleasing, but you have to pick one. Great for kids and adults alike.

Finally, if all else fails as keep a bribe to hand and promise a little treat as a reward at the end of the trip.

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MotorSport Vision’s YoungDrive! is underage driving made legal – a first lesson on a real race track for 11 to 17-year-olds.
Cars4Girls.com Offers News
Gemma Masini
December 19, 2017
photo courtesy of Gary Hawkins

YoungDrive! is the perfect Christmas gift for aspiring young drivers who can’t wait to get behind the wheel. Experienced instructors put them through their paces in a stunning Mini ONE, teaching the basics of clutch control and gear changing while reaching speeds of up to 40mph in a safe, controlled environment.

A YoungDrive! lesson lasts around two-and-a-half hours and includes:
– Introduction and classroom briefing
– In-car briefing on controls
– Moving off and stopping
– Steering through cone configurations
– Clutch Control and its purpose
– Changing gears
– Building up speed and steady driving (up to 40mph) on closed-off sections of the circuit
– Students rotate driving and watching from the rear seat
– Debrief and certificate presentation
– Photo opportunity
– Q and A for parents and students

I went along with my son for his 11th birthday present and found the entire experience extremely well put together. As an F1 fan my son was very excited to be driving on a part of the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit and although nervous at the start he quickly relaxed and found his confidence with his instructor calmly taking him through each step. I was amazed at how quickly he mastered the slalom course and how smoothly he was able to pull away and stop. The experience certainly left him beaming from ear to ear and that is why I think this is the ultimate Christmas gift for kids!

YoungDrive! is available at Brands Hatch in Kent, Snetterton in Norfolk, Oulton Park in Cheshire and Bedford Autodrome on selected dates throughout the year. Full details are available at www.msvdrivinggifts.com/youngdrive

YoungDrive! gift vouchers are £85 and are valid for 12 months. Bookings made before the end of the year will also receive a FREE ticket to the British Superbike or British Touring Car Championship worth up to £34!

YoungDrive! Plus is also available for £109 at Brands Hatch, Oulton Park and Snetterton, offering an advanced option for those who have already completed YoungDrive! with additional manoeuvres and faster speeds.

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Women less likely to pass their driving test than men, new data shows
Gemma Masini
December 6, 2017

Women in cities fare particularly badly, with fewer than 30% passing in parts of London, Manchester and Birmingham
Young men claim 14% more on insurance than young women – and their claims are 46% more expensive

Although they’re statistically less likely to be in a serious accident, women are still faring worse than men when it comes to passing their driving test, according to analysis by learner driver insurance provider Veygo by Admiral.

A combination of DVLA learner driver data and Admiral’s own accident figures were used to compile the most comprehensive picture to date of learning to drive in the UK. It forms part of the learner driver insurance specialist’s campaign to give young drivers the best information possible to help them pass their tests.

The statistics show that 51% of men passed their test in 2016-17, compared to 44% of women. This is despite figures showing young men (aged 17-21) claim 14% more frequently than young women on their car insurance, and their claims are 46% more expensive than similarly-aged women.*

Last year, there were 1,730,921 driving tests taken in the UK. 815,168 tests were passed in total – 51.3% by men and 48.7% by women.

Overall, women fare much better in Scotland and Wales – pass rates in England are 4% and 6% lower than in those countries respectively. England has the lowest overall pass rate for women – at 43%.

In some parts of the UK, particularly in busy urban areas, fewer than one in three women are passing their driving test.

10 Test Centres Where Women Perform the Worst

1 Belvedere (London) 24.9%
2 Cheetham Hill (Manchester) 27.7%
3 South Yardley (Birmingham) 28.0%
4 Salford (Manchester) 29.0%
=5 Erith (London) 29.2%
=5 Wanstead (London) 29.2%
7 Garston (Liverpool) 29.3%
8 Wednesbury (Staffordshire) 29.4%
9 Barking (London) 29.8%
10 Barnet (London) 30.1%

Veygo’s in-depth research is the basis of an interactive map, allowing drivers to see pass rates of test centres near them so they can make an informed decision about where to take their test. Its cost calculator also helps new road users to estimate how much it will cost them to learn to drive.
Of 349 UK test centres, only 14 recorded better pass rates for women rather than men, while 11 of these were in remote parts of Scotland and Wales. There were only three test centres in England where women outperformed men – Wellingborough, Northamptonshire; Trowbridge, Wiltshire and Camborne, Cornwall.

The UK Test Centres Where Women Outperform Men

1 Kingussie (MPR) 47.9% (FPR)62.5%
2 Grantown-On-Spey (MPR)50.6% (FPR) 61.9%
3 Benbecula Island (MPR)46.7% (FPR)57.5%
4 Stranraer (MPR)60.3% (FPR)67.6%
5 Gairloch (MPR)66.7% (FPR)73.9%
6 Wick (MPR)58.7% (FPR)64.0%
7 Mallaig (MPR)75.0% (FPR)80.0%
8 Stornoway (MPR)63.2% (FPR)67.4%
9 Wellingborough (MPR)58.4% (FPR)62.1%
10 Trowbridge (MPR)47.6% (FPR)49.8%
11 Rothesay (MPR)71.2% (FPR)72.5%
=12 Newtown (MPR)55.7% (FPR)56.8%
=12 Camborne (MPR)50.1% (FPR)51.2%
14 Kyle of Lochalsh (MPR)71.9% (FPR)72.2%

( *MPR = Male Pass Rate *FPR = Female Pass Rate )

While pass rates for both genders have risen since 2007-08, the difference between male and female pass rates have stayed largely the same – the gap was 6% at the end of 2008, compared to 7% in 2016.

And although success rates for both men and women fall after several driving test attempts, the gap between them remained consistent; men are 7 percentage points higher than women when taking their first test, and 6 percentage points higher on their 6th attempt. The data can be found the blog of Veygo Learner Driving Insurance.

Jean-Baptiste Limare, Head of Veygo, said: “Countless statistics have shown that young women are less likely to be involved in crashes than young men, but are consistently passing less than their male counterparts – our Learn to Drive calculator gives the clearest picture of this disparity yet. This has a real impact in terms of time and cost – women are paying more to learn to drive.”

“Our map gives learners the opportunity to research the test centres with the best pass rates. If it is a viable option, they might consider doing their test somewhere with more favourable pass rates. Ultimately, there’s no better preparation than practice and you always find that learners who have plenty of experience in the area around their test centre are less likely to be surprised and more likely to shed their L-plates.

“The best advice is to supplement formal driving lessons with additional practice with friends and family members. This could also save you money as you may need to pay for fewer lessons.”

TV Presenter Jane Farnham, founder here at Cars4Girls.com, said that there isn’t anything inherently sexist or gender biased in the test, but that she was surprised by the difference between the two genders.

“I’m obviously biased, but I do think women are better drivers than men. Girls are generally more risk averse and less prone to red mist in a tricky situation – and this is backed up by industry insurance data and crash statistics which show that the actual risks are shown to be greater with men.

“I do think that there are ‘real life’ factors that are hard to cater for in a test.

“There are also more male examiners than female, so I think that could make some girls slightly less relaxed. I understand how pass rates may be lower in inner-city areas because the traffic can be harrowing enough to contend with, let alone when you’re next to the examiner.

“There’s nothing wrong with failing your test – I passed second time around and they say they are the best drivers!”

Further stats available at https://www.veygo.com/learner-drivers/revealed-uks-toughest-driving-test-centre/

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Annalese Ferrari, stunt driver, rider and model talks Films, footballers and being blown up ....
Gemma Masini
November 27, 2017

Annalese is literally one of the coolest girls on the block, she is driven by horse power, as a professional stunt rider on horse back and driver behind the wheel.  She has appeared in numerous live stunt shows, scared the pants off of the Arsenal football team as she parallel parked them in their own net, and she has appeared in movies including the Fast and the Furious and Edge Of Tomorrow.  There is nothing Annalese cannot do behind the wheel, I have witnessed first-hand as she takes a four wheel car up onto two wheels, perform j-turns, and hit high speeds that most of us could only dream (or  perhaps have nightmares!!) about.
So what better woman to give the rest of us tips on ultimate car handling, but first i wanted to get to know Annalese a little better.
With a name like Ferrari you were destined to be involved in cars in some way or another! When did you first find your passion for cars?

I had always been interested in cars as a child and loved watching Michael Schumacher on the TV! I think I have always had a need for speed and when I was old enough, I asked my mum to take me karting, I absolutely loved it so it all stemmed from there. Once you’ve started in motorsport, you can become addicted very quickly. My name obviously helps a little too…!
And how did that lead you on to stunt driving?

I had started doing live shows from being involved in racing and then by chance, I met a film stunt coordinator who said he needed a female driver for a film. At first I thought he was joking until he called me and asked me to go to Warner Brother Studios for a screen test! So it all came from racing cars, it really gives you a good grounding in car control and car confidence which you definitely need for performing stunts.
How do you go about learning such skills? I mean its not like popping the handbrake in your local Supermarket and arriving in the space!!

I’m pretty much self taught regarding skills, I have had some training along the way which I have been grateful for but some stuff you just have to get on with it! There is rehearsals for live shows and filming so there is some practice but it’s having the mindset to be able to do it that is most important. The first film I worked on I was towing a caravan that was remotely controlled by someone else – I’d never towed anything before and then there I was towing a caravan at 70mph being blown up by aliens! Most of the stunts require a sensible head as you have to be very aware of crew, cast, cameras etc that are generally quite close to you and accuracy is very crucial! There a  number of stunt schools out there where you can have a go at the movie tricks but to do them at a filming level takes years of practice and experience.
How much of a part does fitness play in being a stunt driver?

Fitness is fairly important for both body and mind. Fatigue is a big problem with driving stunts and can affect concentration and attention which is very important either on a set or in a live show to avoid any unplanned incidents! Sometimes the cars can be quite “heavy” to drive so you do need a base line of physical fitness too to manoeuvre them around. Core strength is actually quite important to be able to feel what the car is doing.
You perform some pretty cool stunts, I have been lucky enough to see you in action – what is the ultimate stunt that you loved doing?

I think every job has it’s exciting parts but one that stands out for me was filming on Edge Of Tomorrow, the car I was driving was blown up whilst I was driving it and the caravan on the back was set on fire, looking back in the mirrors as you are towing a massive fireball is pretty exciting! It took lots of filming for that particular scene, the stress levels were pretty high but the end results were spectacular! There are so many fun things I have done, another one was for Ford, racing around the docks in Barcelona at full speed in reverse next to the big drop into the sea got the blood pumping!
What was it like being on the set of such an amazing and cool film Fast and Furious?

Being on the set of any film sounds more exciting than the reality of it but being able to work with top cast and crew is what makes it amazing. It’s quite surreal when you’re working with a mega famous actor and you have to pinch yourself sometimes to say am I really here?! The talent I have been fortunate to work with has been incredible, directors, cameramen, wardrobe, actors etc and it’s nice to get to know some of these people outside of their media personas. The actual reality of being on set though is usually long hours, mostly spent waiting around, in cold, freezing and wet locations!

I`ve seen you in action with the Arsenal football boys, were they shocked when their ‘girlie’ chauffeur turned out to be a bit of a daredevil?

The Arsenal video was definitely the funniest job I have ever done! They had no idea who I was – in fact, they thought I was from the Arsenal Ladies team until I started driving them round a football course at high speed doing driving stunts! I had one take to get everything right otherwise the prank wouldn’t have worked and luckily it all went to plan; although I did have to hold one of them in car at one point! They were properly shocked, maybe a little scared but saw the funny side at the end of it, I’m also relieved it went well as I’m not sure I would have coped with the wrath of the Arsenal fans if I had wiped out 3 of their top players!
Check out Annalese in action and coming soon … her top tips for Winter driving …

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The potential damaging effects of potholes and what should we be doing about them?
Featured News
Gemma Masini
November 22, 2017

How often do you come across pot holes in the road? They are in major roads, minor roads, country lanes and carparks – they are everywhere. Why is this important to us? Well as motorists pot holes can cause you a number of problems for your car and car handling, infact 32% of motorists have reported vehicle damage caused by potholes in the last two years, that is 1 in 3 or motorists.

Potholes can cause damage to the tires, causeng punctures, tears or even a blown tire to occur and of course the damage is worst the higher the speed at which you traveling when you hit one and the depth of the hole itself. Not only that but they can cause the tracking to be thrown off balance which in turn will lead to poor handling.

Potholes are a caused by many factors and are unavoidable, so what should we be doing about these holes? Well, the answer is simple as motorists we have a responsibility to report the potholes to the local council in order for repairs to be made. A recent survey found that a whopping 51% of people surveyed have seen bad potholes locally but not reported them, that is 1 in 5, and 40% reported that would report a pothole if they knew how.

So how do you report these potholes?

Make a specific note of the location of the pothole, a landmark nearby for reference is a great idea along with the road name of course.
Find the contact details for your local council via their website or type the relevant post code into the government’s ‘report a pothole’ page.
Add the details, some councils have an interactive map option in order for you to drop a pin to locate the pothole.

If you do come across a pothole you should not make erratic changes to your driving such as swerving or heavy braking, especially if there are other road users nearby.

If you can avoid it by slowing down and careful steering around it, or passing over slowly then do so but please try to consider your actions and try not to cause a bigger accident by your actions.

Furthermore if you have experienced damage by potholes then contact your local council in order to find out if you are eligible to claim compensation. The claim will be dependent on evidence and the size of the pothole as well as the road that it is on but it is definitely worth checking.

Images and stats courtesy of The AA https://www.theaa.com/breakdown-cover/advice/how-to-report-a-pothole

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Road Trips
Gemma Masini
November 15, 2017

Driving Abroad

Road Trips – Love them or loathe them they are something that in modern day life we are tackling more and more. What qualifies a road trip? A journey for business or pleasure? An adventure perhaps? I consider any journey over and beyond your usual commute to work, school run or shops is a road trip and I personally like to take them on as often as possible in order to discover new places, visit friends and family, for part of a holiday and sometimes … yes … to go to work!

There are many things to factor into a road trip and I don’t just mean how to keep the kids entertained or which route you will take, maintenance checks are crucial and with modern day electronics on our cars how many of us check oil, water and tyre pressures regularly? It has become so easy to rely on a light to flicker on on the dashboard display to warn us of a potential problem, but waiting for that light to shine could well lead you to unwanted problems, costs and delays.

So what should we be checking on our cars prior to long journeys? and what should we carry in our cars in order to be well prepared for any potential break down or problem? Here is my guide to a safe, well planned and prepared road trip.


This is a simple, mess free job that anyone can do. simply open your bonnet and check for the engine Oil logo (you may need to consult with your cars manual for the exact location). Normally anything you may need to touch under the bonnet is colored – for example a yellow cap with a logo and this should make it easy to find. To check the oil you are looking for the ‘dip stick’. Once you have located it, pull it out and wipe it clean with a rag or piece of kitchen towel. Then put the stick back into the pipe and pull it out again, this time you are checking where the oil film stops and that it is within the maximum and minimum markers. If you are satisfied that the film rests within the markers then simply wipe clean again and pop the dip stick back in the pipe and you are finished. If you have too little you will need to top up your engine oil. Check what you need with your cars manual.

As a guide your oil should be changed every 5,000 – 7,500 miles or so in order to ensure you are running clean and uncontaminated oil through your engine.


Again the guide for pressure will vary per car and you should consult your cars manual for your optimum pressure. Tyre pressures relate directly to the efficiency of your car and your fuel efficiency on a road trip is of utmost importance. Pressure also effects the handling of your car, acceleration, breaking and grip in the wet, not to mention cornering efficiency and ensuring even wear for your tires. Remember that your tires are the sole thing that grip your car to the road, check the pressures using a home pressure gauge or at your local petrol station. Pressures should always be checked when the tires are cold ( travelled less than 5 miles ) and check all four and the spare if you have one.

It is a good idea to check the condition of the tires as you are doing this, ensure the tread is at the legal level and that you cannot see any irregular bulges, lumps or cuts.


It is a legal requirement to have windscreen washer fluid and ensure that you choose one that contains an anti-freeze product for the winter months as well as one that will remove grease from your windows. Again this is located under the bonnet and will be clearly marked usually with a symbol that looks like a windscreen. Top this up regularly and especially before your long road trips.


Here, I am referring to the engine coolant, which is essential in order to cool your cars complicated radiator system so that you don’t suffer an over heat. Coolant is directed around the cylinder heads and valves to absorb their heat before returning to the radiator. In order to check the level, ensure that the engine is NOT hot. It is ideally done when the car is just a little warm. First, park your car on a level surface, the open the bonnet, locate the coolant and simply check that the line rests between the maximum and minimum levels.


Just take a couple of minutes to check that all your lights, including fog lights, brakes, indicators and side lights are working. Ask a friend or family member to give you a hand, my kids love doing this job with me!


Not all cars have a spare tyre but if you do, ensure that it is in good condition and that you have the correct locking wheel nut device and jack in order to change a tyre should you need. If you don’t know how to change your tyre please consult our Cars4Girls guide and video tutorial.


It is not a legal requirement in the UK to carry a warning triangle or fluorescent jacket, however if your road trip takes you across the channel to Europe then it is, and for your safety why not carry these anyway in order to add to your safety in case of emergency. I also suggest carrying a small kit of spare bulbs for your car and the tools required to change them should you need to.

Finally give your car a once over body work check, just make sure nothing is loose or out of place and then you are ready to go … Load up a good playlist and enjoy the open road with piece of mind.

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