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Garden City Garage has been looking after road users in and around Seven Sisters (Neath) for many years. We’re always really keen to answer your questions as well as keep you informed on motoring matters that you may find interesting.

With this in mind, we thought it’d be a good idea to put pen to paper and let you know why regular vehicle maintenance is a good idea and can save you money too.

Having your car regularly inspected can make a real difference to its efficiency, as well as minimising the risk of a breakdown. It’s easy to overlook vehicle maintenance but don’t underestimate the impact of looking after your vehicle and the difference it can make.

The RAC attended in excess of 2.5 million motorists at the roadside last year. They concluded that a high percentage of these breakdowns could have been avoided with regular maintenance. There’s nothing more frustrating than being stranded by the roadside especially when it can be easily avoided.

Regular servicing will benefit you in two main areas. The first of these is in identifying potential problems before they are serious. Prevention is better than cure, a small fix now is always preferable to an expensive one in the future.

A great example of this is the brakes on your vehicle. Brake pad wear is a natural occurrence, but it’s important that the pads are replaced before they are completely worn out.

Delay brake pad replacement to long and they’ll damage your brake discs. This can cost £100’s in unnecessary work. Which I’m sure you’d be keen to avoid.

The second area of benefit is that of maintaining your fuelling efficiency. Uneconomical vehicles can cost a driver ££’s every year in increased fuel bills. Something as straight forward as an oil and filter service can have a positive impact and improve the MPG you vehicle returns. As well as the obvious benefits of extending engine life.

It can also be a great idea for you to carry out some basic maintenance checks along the way. Inspecting items such as tyre pressures, engine oil level, and topping up the screen wash bottle are just a few things you can easily do that will have immediate benefits.

Most aspects of your vehicle will require a professionally trained technician who has the tools,  knowledge and information to carry out the more complex operations safely.

For many years cars have been highly technical pieces of engineering, the driver can hardly be expected to understand all the electronics that is hidden away underneath your bonnet.

That being the case, an under-qualified person could do more damage trying to fix the vehicle themselves, causing damage and leading to unnecessary expense.

Franchised dealership or Independent garage?

So… Your car needs a service, who should you choose?

Selecting a quality independent garage over a Franchised dealer can make a lot of sense.

The franchised dealer often has a much higher labour rate than a quality independent garage. This is often due to higher overheads caused by huge premises and the large workforce.

A recent survey discovered that a franchised dealers’ quote could be as much as 18% higher. This is a significant amount more than those provided by a quality independent garage.

Top end independents are more often than not owned by dedicated technicians who are passionate about their trade and have committed to 100’s of hours in training to keep up with modern vehicle technology.

Independents also rely on word of mouth to find new clients as they don’t have the huge marketing budgets allocated to the franchised network. This means you’ll often get a more personal service as well as great value for money.

What should you expect from a car service

The specific service that your car requires will depend on many factors. That being said the following is indicative of the popular items on most service checklists.

  • Engine: The oil and filter are usually replaced. Other items such as the exhaust system, fuel pipes, radiator, clutch, air filter, coolant hoses, auxiliary drive belt are checked and reported upon. Spark plugs and other service items may also be replaced.
  • Fluids: General fluids will be replenished, including washer fluid. It is often possible that the oil and filter could be changed. Fluids such as coolant, power steering will also be checked and topped up where required.
  • Brakes: Brake components will be measured to ensure serviceability. Brake fluid will be checked to ensure it meets recommended specs and topped up if required. Brake pipes will be checked for security and corrosion.
  • Lights: All lights are checked including the front, side, rear, and main lights are in full working order. Hazard warning lights and indicators are checked, as are number plate lights, brake lights, fog lights and reverse lights.
  • Wheels and tyres: Wheels and tyres are inspected for damage and defects. Tread depth is also be measured to make sure it is above the legal limit of 1.6mm. Tyre pressures are checked and adjusted.
  •  Instruments: The dashboard function along with all gauges, warning lights and the horn will be checked for correct functionality.
  • Windscreens: The screen will be inspected for damage, along with the wiper blades and washer nozzles for correct operation.
  • Electrics: The vehicles starting and charging system is checked including the battery, alternator and starter motor.
  • Interior: The seat belts and mechanisms are checked along with the internal and external mirrors, seats, interior lights, doors and locks and the handbrake.

So…. You now know that even some basic maintenance makes a huge amount of sense. But when it comes to your next service, who will you choose?

We’re obviously a little biased, but when it comes to looking after your car our years of experience, expert technicians, friendly team and competitive prices will leave you with a smile and a car you can trust.

You’ll certainly be glad that you picked Garden City garage to look after your vehicles.

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