FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Our recommendation is that, irrespective of a low mileage, a vehicle should be looked at once a year; servicing frequency should increase if the mileage exceeds 20k per annum. Recent service schedules from most manufacturers recommend intervals of 15k or more. However, when servicing, we have many cars come to us out of warranty with small annual mileages but with fluid levels which are virtually empty and need topping up. Oil is a common culprit as the car’s level system may only flag the low amount when the engine is about to seize up!
This is always a difficult question to answer but, on average, a set of front pads will last up to 15k miles if driven under normal conditions. A lot more can be achieved in favourable circumstances – for example, if the vehicle only does long distances on motorways – and a lot less if the driver is not smooth, often brakes hard and late, or does a lot of short journeys. Rear brakes usually last 2.5 times longer than front ones, unless they are on a vehicle that is loaded with extra weight. Modern friction materials are very efficient and offer a high level of resistance but tend to wear the discs or drums a lot quicker. As a result, we often see the need to replace these for every other brake pad or shoe replacement.
First of all, if you notice the mistake before you get back in the car, you shouldn’t even switch the ignition on, if possible! Turning the ignition on will circulate the wrong fuel through the low pressure system and make things worse.
If you happen to own a car which is still under warranty, you do not have to contact the manufacturer as there are alternatives out there which will often be notably cheaper but just as effective. We would recommend contacting the RAC or the AA who have a specific service for this occurrence. Alternatively, get your recovery service to tow you as soon as possible to your nearest understanding, friendly garage who should correct your problem.
You can still drive your car from an insurer’s perspective, providing the current MOT certificate is still valid and no ‘Dangerous’ faults have been reported. However, you could still be prosecuted by the police if you are pulled over for driving your car with known fault(s). For this reason, it is important to get your vehicle fixed as soon as possible if you fail an MOT.
Age and mileage are very important factors in answering that question – if in doubt, contact a reputable garage who will be able to give you advice specific to your car. Mileage and age are equally important so if, for example, your vehicle has only covered 30k miles in an eight year period and the lifespan of the belt is 80k and seven years, then you are still overdue a replacement and should have this changed immediately. The opposite applies too, and so if the mileage limit is achieved before age limit is reached – which is often the case – you should also organise a replacement. A quick phone call to a friendly garage will answer any queries you may have.