Thursday, 2 February 2012

How to safeguard your car

How to safeguard your car

Want to know the best ways to protect your car and its contents? Read on...

Get adequate cover
Good car insurance cover is invaluable in protecting your vehicle. Use comparison websites in your search for the best policy, but remember not all insurers sign up to them so do your own hunting around, too.
Just make sure you evaluate policies on an equal footing, i.e. compare quotes offering the same type and level of cover – and be aware that one might be cheap because it doesn’t offer as many ‘extras’, so always read the small print.
Nobody wants to pay more than they have to, but think seriously about the kind of cover you want and need  – there’s no point in being insufficiently insured.
Equally, don’t think you have to pay for every add-on going. Some are handy, but many might not be relevant to your personal needs.

Deter thieving eyes
There’s been a massive reduction in the number of cars stolen. The ACPO Vehicle Crime Intelligence Service’s latest figures show that between 1997 and 2010, car theft fell 68%, from 378,000 stolen vehicles to less than 120,000.
It’s probably due to the growing prevalence of anti-theft devices, so if you don’t have one, it could be well worth investing in one.
So what equipment can protect your car? Firstly, there’s the mechanical immobiliser. These lock onto your steering wheel, preventing it from moving. They’re usually bright yellow, so are a good deterrent.
There are also electronic immobilisers, too. These use a microchipped key, which when turned in the ignition tells the engine to start. If someone tries to start the car without the key, it will immobilise the engine.
An ignition kill switch is another type of immobiliser. It’s a secret switch or button that must be pushed for the engine to start.
Then there are alarms. These use sensors to ‘feel’ when someone is trying to break in. When triggered, a deafening noise will sound, which obviously attracts a lot of unwanted attention for potential thieves.
And finally, there are tracking devices. If your car is stolen an electronic tracker can find your car using the Global Positioning System.
Alternatively, have your windows etched with a vehicle identification number to deter thieves.
Of course, it is essential you keep your keys safe or else all your efforts will go to waste. And don’t leave valuables in the car, especially where would-be thieves can see them.

Drive safely
Drive badly and you run the risk of having an accident as well as clocking up penalty points, a fine and even a conviction. You might also cause injury or vehicle damage.
We all know what constitutes bad driving – everything from not stopping at red lights, driving aggressively and failing to indicate, to driving too slowly, sitting in the overtaking lane and poor parking. If some of these habits sound familiar, break them now and stick to the rules of the road.
In addition, be patient and considerate to other drivers, and stay alert. Never drive under the influence of drugs or drink, or when you’re tired. And don’t get distracted or sidetracked, even by eating, drinking or fiddling with your radio or phone.
Only drive when you’re feeling well, and visit an optician regularly to check your vision.
Also remember to be especially vigilant when the weather makes roads slippery and reduces visibility, and wear sunglasses if it’s dazzling sunshine.

Check your car
An annual MoT and service is the minimum you should do to maintain your motor. Between trips to the garage, look after your vehicle at home.
This includes testing your tyres to make sure they’re adequately inflated – check your car’s manual to find out the manufacturer’s recommended pressure. Your tyres should all have at least 3mm of tread, too.
Also, be aware that your battery lasts between two and four years, so get it checked to see if it has enough life in it.
You should also keep the oil, water and other essential fluids topped up in your car.
Keep your windows and mirrors dirt- and smear-free, and replace your windscreen wipers whenever they’re worn.
Don’t forget to clean your lights too, as dirt can dull them. Similarly, change old bulbs if necessary.
Before winter, change the anti-freeze in your radiator.

This is a guest  post written by  Sainsbury Finance, and expresses their views and opinions which are not necessarily my own. No payment of any kind was received by myself for this post.

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