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Frequently asked questions

Can you perform a seasonal vehicle check on my van?

Yes, of course. Our mechanics have the skills and experience to perform these checks on a variety of vehicles.

Do I need to buy new tyres in order to have my wheels aligned?

No. We can realign your wheels, even with worn tyres. However, most people find it convenient to have this done when fitting a new tyre to minimise the amount of time your car is off the road.

How often should I have my wheels aligned?

In like with general driving, we recommend having your wheels aligned every 2 – 3 years. This will make sure you are at your safest in the car.

What are the signs of poor wheel alignment?

The most common signs that your tyres are poorly aligned are: Uneven tyre wear on one side of the car Off-centre steering wheel Noisy steering Car pulling to one side of the other Squealing sound when turning

Do I really need to have my wheels aligned?

Having your wheels aligned will help to reduce excessive wear on your tyres and improve safety for everyone inside the car. We recommend having it done when having new tyres fitted to ensure you get the most out of them.

How long does it take to fit new windscreen wipers?

Replacing windscreen wipers can take as little as 5 minutes if you know what you are doing. Our experts can perform this and get you back on the road quickly.

Can I drive my car with a cracked windscreen?

Again, this depends on the size of the crack and its location. If it obstructs the driver’s view or could contribute to a dangerous situation while driving, it will be considered a motoring offence. We recommend you have scratches and chips repaired as quickly as possible.

Will a car fail its MOT if it has a scratched windscreen?

It depends on where the scratch is and how big it is. If you have a scratch of any size directly in front of the driver and in a place that could cause visibility issues, you could fail an MOT. If you have a scratch elsewhere that is under 40mm in size, you may be OK.

How often should I change my windscreen wipers?

The exact lifespan of windscreen wipers will depend on their usage conditions. However, we recommend they are changed every 6 months to 1 year, or when you notice problems.

What do I need to bring to my MOT?

Most of the information needed to perform an MOT can be found online with your registration number by the approved centre.

Will you quote for work that my vehicle needs in order to pass it's MOT?

Yes. If your car fails, we will get in contact to advise why. Our team will provide quotations and lead times for any work that needs to be performed so you can make your decision.

What happens if my car fails its MOT?

In this situation, you will be given a VT30 vert. You are not allowed to legally drive your car until the relevant repairs are made. Then, you will need to have another MOT performed to ensure the car meets the legal requirements. Your insurance is also likely to be void without a valid MOT certificate.

How old does my car have to be to need an MOT?

All cars over 3 years are required to have an MOT and a relevant certificate. If your car is younger than this, you do not need an MOT to keep it road legal.

How long will it take to do an MOT?

On average, an MOT takes between 45 minutes to 1 hour. We will try and ensure it is completed professionally and within the time frame we set.

How do I know what catalytic converter is best for my car?

This will depend on your individual car make and model. Check your manufacturer’s manual which should have all the information you need.

When should I consider a vehicle safety inspection?

We recommend these checks when you’re considering buying a second-hand car and want to ensure you’re getting the best deal for your money.

How long will a vehicle safety inspection take?

Our checks will take approximately 30 minutes unless we identify any complex issues. In this case, we will always keep you updated.

What happens if you find a safety concern?

We will advise you of this concern and provide quotations for how much this would cost to fix. With this, you can then make a decision as to whether this car is the right option for you.

Do I legally have to have a seasonal vehicle check?

No, but we do recommend having a detailed check on your car to make sure it is ready for adverse weather conditions.

Is a vehicle check the same as a service?

No. A vehicle check will just identify issues caused by bad weather. A service will bring your car up to workable state, keeping you safe at all times.

How do I know that my car needs a service?

If you notice any of the signs below, it’s likely your car may need a service: Engine warning light Unusual, loud noises Smoke under the bonnet Vibrating Reduced comfort

Will you quote for work that needs to be done on my vehicle?

Yes. If there is additional work needed to make your car safe, we will quote for this and allow you to make the decision before proceeding.

How long does a service normally take?

A full service will take approximately 2 – 3 hours. The actual time will depend on the age or complexity of your car.

How often do I need to get my car serviced?

The recommendations are to service your car every 12,000 miles. If you drive the car more, you may need to have it serviced on a more regular basis.

What will happen if I drive on unroadworthy tyres?

As well as running the risk of punctures and accidents, driving without roadworthy tyres can result in a fine of up to £10,000.

How do I know the correct air pressure for my tyre?

This information can be found on the tyre itself. Additionally, the information can be found in your car manufacturers manual.

Do I need to change my tyres in pairs?

It’s not always necessary to have tyres changed in pairs. However, this is the ideal situation as it ensures you have even tread on both sides.

How do I check wear on my tyre?

For your tyres to be road legal, the tread needs to measure 1.6mm minimum. You can use a 20p coin to check this – if the raised edge is covered then pushed into your tread, your tyres are likely to be fine.

How long should my tyres last?

In average conditions, your front tyres should last around 20,000 miles. As your rear tyres take on less of the strain during driving, they can last up to 40,000 miles.

Will a vehicle check ensure my car will pass it's MOT?

Our vehicle checks can definitely help to identify issues that may cause you to fail an MOT. We recommend utilising them to minimise the costs to you in the future.

How long does a vehicle check take?

In general, our vehicle checks will take under 30 minutes. Any work identified here will be quoted separately.

How often do I need a vehicle check?

To keep your car in the best working condition, we recommend having a vehicle check every 6 months to 1 year.

Why has my car not passed the emissions test?

There are a number of reasons why your car may have failed this test. In general, it means that your car is releasing too much CO2 into the atmosphere. We recommend you have your oil, exhaust and catalytic converter to find the problem at hand.

How do I know if my exhaust or catalytic converter needs to be replaced?

Keep an eye out for the following signs that indicate you may need a replacement: A lack of engine performance Poor fuel efficiency Loud, rattling noises Issues starting the vehicle

Can I drive with the DPF light on?

Your DPF light should only come on when there is too much soot on the filter that hasn’t been burnt off. Sometimes, a long motorway drive at speed is enough to sort this. However, if the light stays on, you’ll need to get it checked by a professional mechanic.

Can I claim for bodywork repairs on my insurance?

This depends on the insurance policy you have. But it’s worth checking whether your policy excess exceeds the cost of the repair, whether the claim will impact your ‘no claims bonus’ and whether this claim will increase future premiums. We recommend checking your insurance documents to make sure.

How long will it take to repair a bodywork scratch or dent?

The exact time will depend on the extent of the damage. Light scratches can often be repaired in around 30 minutes or can take up to a few hours.

Do you offer a mobile service?

At this time, all of our bodywork repairs take place in our workshop. This allows us to achieve the highest quality results without the risk of external contaminants.

What type of bodywork damage can you repair?

We can deal with most types of bodywork damage, including scratches and dents. Get in contact for information about our full range of services.

How long can a car battery sit there unused and still work?

An uncharged battery should be workable if left stationery for between 1-2 months. However, we recommend starting your car up regularly, even if not travelling, to keep the battery charged.

How do I choose a new car battery for my vehicle?

The best place to find this information is in your car’s manufacturer manual. Normally, your registration number can be used to find the right battery online too.

How can I dispose of my old car battery?

Car batteries can be detrimental to the environment. Most reputable mechanics will dispose of your old car battery themselves in the safest way available. They can also be taken to specialist recycling locations.

How do I know if I need to replace my car battery?

Some of the common signs that your car battery may be on it’s way out include: Slow starting engine Dimming lights Electrical issues Check engine light Get in contact with the Axminster Autos team if you’ve noticed any of the signs above.

How long should my car battery last?

In general, a car battery should last approximately 3 years. This will depend on how hard it has to work and the quality of the battery fitted.

How long will newly recharged air conditioning last?

As a general rule of thumb, we recommend you have your air conditioning either services or recharged every 1 – 2 years. The actual time frame will rely on how dependent you are on air conditioning during your driving.

How do I know if my air conditioning needs recharging?

The main signs for low air conditioning gas include: – Lack of cool air when it’s turned on – Not hearing the air conditioning kick in – Leaks (greasy film or pools of liquid) In these situations, it’s likely you need to recharge your system.

Should I use my air conditioning all year round?

Yes. Although the main role of air conditioning is to cool your car, it also helps to clear your windscreen and dehumidify your car. We recommend you turn your aircon on for a short period every few weeks to keep the gas moving around.

How long does it take to recharge my air conditioning?

On average, it will take about 45 minutes to complete this process. This includes removing the old gas and replacing it with fresh refrigerant.

Will you match my car paint colour perfectly?

Yes. We work carefully to ensure our bodywork repairs are as inconspicuous as possible by matching your car colour exactly.

How long do brake pads last?

On average, brake pads will last anywhere between 20,000 and 60,000 miles. The exact lifespan will depend on how often they are used and in what sort of driving conditions.

How do I know when my brake pads need replacing?

The main signs to look out for are: Squealing or screeching sounds when braking Grinding sound Pulling to one side or the other Vibrations when braking Having to push the brake paddle more when braking Brake warning light Sticking handbrake

How do I know if I need to clean/replace my DPF?

If your DPF needs a manual clean or to be replaced, you may notice: A stagnant, diesel smell DPF warning light on your dashboard Loss of power in your engine Excessive smoke coming from the exhaust

How long does it take to clean a diesel particulate filter?

Generally, it will normally take around 30 minutes to 1 hour to manually clean a DPF in our workshop.

Will a clutch replacement be covered by my car warranty?

Generally, no. Your car warranty will cover wear-and-tear and is generally exempt from this coverage.

How long will you have my car for a clutch replacement?

Replacing a clutch is a complex and specialist process. For this reason, it can take anywhere from a few hours up to 10 hours.

How long does a clutch last on a car on average?

In general, your car clutch should last around 60,000 miles. The actual lifespan will depend on wear and how often the clutch is used.

What are the signs that your clutch is going bad?

If your clutch is on it’s way out, you may notice the following signs: A burning smell Revving and acceleration not matching up Unusual noises Trouble getting into gear Clutch pedal feels unusual

Can you drive a car with a burnt clutch?

We highly recommend you don’t drive a car with a burnt clutch as this could do additional (and more costly) damage to other components of your car.

Can I replace my car bulbs myself?

Some car lights are relatively straightforward to replace yourself. However, if you’re unsure about the process, you can do more damage to the car in the process. We recommend letting an experienced mechanic change this component for you.

Should I replace my car bulbs in pairs?

Yes. By replacing the pair of bulbs, you’ll reduce the risk of unbalanced or unpredictable beams which can pose a safety risk to you and other motorists.

How do I know if my car bulbs need replacing?

We recommend replacing your car bulbs if: They are flickering They are dimmer than normal You’ve constantly changing fuses Some lights are working and some aren’t

What bulb do I need for my car?

The best place to find this information is in your car manufacturer manual. Alternatively, the team here at Axminster Autos will be able to advise.

How often should I have my brakes inspected?

Checking your brakes every 6 months will ensure you stay on top of their wear and replace the pads before any further damage can happen.

How long will it take to replace my brake pads?

It should take approximately 30 minutes to 1 hour depending on the vehicle and the specifics of the job at hand.

Why do brakes wear differently?

Sometimes, brake pads wear more on one side than the other. There are a number of reasons for this, including problems with the brake calliper, problems with the brake rotor or misaligned fittings.