Car Insurance Premiums Are Rising

Car insurance plays a large part in the yearly costs of running a car in the United Kingdom. It is a legal requirement to have insurance before you take your car on the road, and many of us spend a few days each year researching the lowest priced car insurance.

New research shows that comprehensive car insurance cover has soared by a massive 12.3% in the past year, approximately £92 for each policy. This pushes the average driver’s yearly premium to a whopping £843.

For those drivers who insure Third party, fire and theft it was even worst news. They were unfortunate enough to face the biggest blow an increase on average of £192, an enormous 19.9%.

Using more than four million quotes Watson Car Insurance Price Index data discovered that the largest annual price increase for fully comprehensive cover was in the North of England.

Fully comprehensive drivers in the Oldham were hit the hardest with a 27.9% rise, pushing premiums to around £1,437, while those in the city of Bradford fared slightly lower with a 27.5% increase, the average premium being around £1,394.

It looks as though we should all head for Scotland, which saw the lowest increases. For drivers in Perth it was up just 0.3% on the year, an average of £564. Kirkwall had a 0.8% rise to reach £620.

However it’s not all doom and gloom, as the typical cost of a comprehensive car insurance policy dropped by 1.6% during the third quarter of 2011.

We all want to keep our costs down when it comes to our cars. So even if your insurance premium is climbing, your maintenance costs needn’t increase. Keeping your car regularly serviced and up to date with its MOT helps to reduce the cost of repairs. Here at FastFit Station we can look after you for all your Milton Keynes MOT and Service needs, whilst helping you utilise your hard earned money in the best way.

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Why Does Fuel Cost So Much?

You’re stood at the pumps filling up your tank, watching the pounds getting guzzled away. Each trip you make to the petrol station seems to result in it becoming more expensive to fill up. FastFit Station asked why is it so expensive and where does the profit from this hugely expensive fuel go?

After some research we discovered the government has the significant proportion, in fact over half of it. Approximately 60% of the £1.34 odd per litre we pay of unleaded petrol is fuel duty and VAT.

The petrol retailer pays around 30% for the actual fuel iteslf and profits from around 5% to 1% of it, which explains why so many of them are unable to survive,

The cost of the oil is then broken down, of which petrol is derived and refined. the refining process does not account for much, with the biggest percentage being the actual cost of the oil.

A single barrel of fuel varies dramatically depending on where abouts in our world it was sourced from. It can be anything in the region of $2 to $60. The oil companies have a long process of discovering the oil to producing it, which generally take around 7 years and costs around 20% of the barrel of oil. Managing and running the oil rig accounts for around 10%.  These figures are based on this year, 2011 and do vary from year to year.

Of course, not forgetting the two largest factors. Two-thirds of the cost of oil in 2011 were made up of tax and the oil companies profits, with no real surprise, the goverment being the largest beneficiary.  The biggest charge being revenue, here in the UK marginal tax rates are currently 62%, however maybe we should consider ourselves lucky as in some countries they are an astonishing 90% and as you know these tax rates fluctuate meaning so does the cost of your fuel.

Still, no matter how high the tax rates go the oil company continues to achieve incredible margins of around 25% of the total cost of fuel. On comparing this to a UK gas or electricity company margins of around 9% you can see why they are smiling.

The price of oil on the open market plays a significant role in the margins that they make. Depending on how much oil is in supply, and being demanded is a differing factor of the cost and price, as is an investor’s speculation. Some organisations feel that investors and what they speculate also drives the price of oil.

Whoever is benefiting from the ever-increasing price of petrol and diesel, it certainly isn’t everyday drivers! While there are many fuel efficient cars being introduced, we don’t all want to drive practical cars or hybrids. Unfortunately if you want to drive a high performance car you have to expect to pay more at the petrol pumps.

At FastFit Station, we understand the need to keep your motoring costs down, that’s why we quote all-inclusive prices and offer half-price MOTs and car servicing to our happy Milton Keynes customers.


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What Do We Do In A FastFit Car Service?

We all know how essential it is to have your vehicle regularly serviced to ensure your car runs safely and efficiently but what exactly does a service involve? Exactly what we examine and carry out on your car will depend on the type of car service you have booked your vehicle in for. We offer the following services:

Interim Service – To ensure your car is road worthy and safe in between a full service these are carried out every 6 months or every 6,000 mile and offer peace of mind that all parts of your car are working as they should be.

Full Service – Generally carried out yearly or every 12,000 miles a full service is essential in keeping your car maintained.

We always discuss with our customers any issues or concerns they may have with their vehicle and what work needs to be carried out before one of our fast fitters commences work. Many different items, parts and components are examined and reviewed to ensure your vehicle continues to run at it’s optimum performance, at the highest of safety standards and as efficiently as possible.

You can see the different stages and processes for each individual service on our vehicle service checklist on our website. Details of our guarantees are also available.

Our Station Manager or the technician who has worked on your vehicle will happily talk through what work was done and inspect your vehicle with you at the end of the appointment. Good old fashioned service, all for our amazing FastFit Station’s fully inclusive price.

And while you wait, take advantage of our comfortable, warm waiting rooms with free tea and coffee!

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Milton Keynes Red Bull Racing Team

Milton Keynes-based Red Bull racing team decided to go their own way with an alternate strategy to which tyres to use in the recent Korean Grand Prix. Instead of utilising their prime tyre option they opted for fresh super soft tyres.

Despite fears that the Pirelli soft and super soft would not result in the performance they desire at the Korean International Circuit, after being some what of a let down at the qualifiers, the team remained positively optimistic.

Christian Horner, technical director of Red Bull Racing said that the strategy had been thought up well ahead of coming to Korea and that the whole team were aware of the change.

“We took a different approach to qualifying so obviously the guys didn’t take too much out of the first set of the super-soft tyres in Q1,” Horner speaking to BBC said. “They drove to a target lap time and we will see. The McLarens have been very quick here this weekend and in all honesty we didn’t expect to get close to them.”

With regards to the massive amount of tyre degradation that was anticipated and and Pirelli’s soft and super-soft tyres Horner said  “This race with the tyre choice that Pirelli have elected here, it’s going to be very strategic, and I think it will be crucial.”

True to form and with having the most competitive car of the season, the strategy they had in place certainly paid off! With the 2011 world champion, Sebastian Vettel finishing in first place and team mate Mark Webber arriving in third. It appears nothing can stop this team!

Here at FastFit Station Milton Keynes we follow the progress of the Red Bull boys and wish them every success for next year’s F1 season. And if they ever need a quick tune up or a tyre change while they’re in Milton Keynes, we’d be happy to see them at any of our three car servicing stations in Kingston, Wolverton or Bletchley!

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Half Price Car Servicing in Milton Keynes

Now is the time to get your car serviced in Milton Keynes! FastFit Station is offering a half price car service sale for the whole of November. We know everyone is busy saving up for Christmas, and you don’t want to be shelling out on an expensive service at this time. So if you book your car in for servicing before the 30th of November you will save up to £150 on your service!

That isn’t the only offer we currently have at FastFit Station Milton Keynes. MOT tests done on weekdays in November, will cost a mere £20, saving you nearly £35. You may not know, but your MOT test can be done as much as a month before the expiry date, so why not check to see if you can save money by booking your car MOT in now?

With winter being just around the corner, now should be when motorists are ensuring their vehicles are in tip top condition for the colder weather. FastFit Station Milton Keynes offer a range of car services and winter checks to make sure you can stay on the road.

Even with these discounted prices, we still value good old-fashioned service and work hard to ensure your visit to FastFit Station goes as smoothly as possible.

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The FastFit Guarantee and Good Old Fashioned Service

Good old fashioned car servicing is guaranteed with FastFit Station in Milton Keynes. The FastFit Guarantee is available on our wide selection of car parts and gives you peace of mind when you have your car serviced or repaired at any FastFit Station.

When you have your vehicle serviced here with us we only use branded replacement parts which are guaranteed for at least 6 months or 6,000 miles, whichever is sooner. Our LUK clutches, Monroe shock absorbers and aluminised exhausts all have a two year, unlimited mileage guarantee.

FastFit offer a selection of guarantees on batteries of two, three and four years. Tyres have a lifetime mileage and are guaranteed against manufacturing defect for the legal life of the tyre (i.e. until the tread wears to 1.6mm or less).

Had your wheels aligned by us recently and concerned that they require further attention? We are happy to recheck, and re-adjust if required, free of charge, within 30 days of your Wheel Alignment appointment.

No need to keep looking for Milton Keynes Car Servicing, our guarantees offer you that extra bit of reassurance you were looking for. Give us a call today to discover the happiness that good old fashioned service brings right here at your local FastFit Station. With guarantees on everything from shock absorbers to batteries, you don’t need to worry when you have repairs carried out with us.

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Preparing Your Car Battery For Winter

There are many little checks that you can carry out yourself as the owner of a vehicle to prepare your car for winter. Doing some routine maintenance on your car can help keep it going during the colder weather.

An important part of your car is its battery, yet it is often overlooked. Your vehicle’s battery is what makes it start. It also supplies the power to other electrical items such as your lights, stereo and windows, as well as receiving power from the alternator. The starter motor, alternator and ancillary drive belts will all be put under pressure from a failing battery.

Maintenance free batteries that are sealed and require no servicing can be found on some modern vehicles, however many cars’ batteries need attention and servicing to maintain performance and ensure a higher life expectancy. FastFit Station Milton Keynes offers a choice of batteries with two, three or four year guarantees.

Depending on how often your car is started and used will change how often a service is required. A battery’s life is affected by how frequently the car is started. A longer daily run allows enough time to fully recharge the battery, while short journeys cause it more strain. The health of the battery can deteriorate over long periods of not being in use, as if it is not being fully charged then sulfation can occur which reduces the battery’s life.

Temperatures can also have a severe effect on a battery. High temperatures can cause battery fluid to evaporate, leading to battery failure. Cold weather can cause batteries to fail quickly, particularly if they are already weakened.

Here at FastFit Station Milton Keynes car servicing we would advise you to book in for your battery to be looked at before going off on a long journey or before winter sets in. We offer FREE battery checks at any of the three FastFit Stations across Milton Keynes. Winter is just around the corner, so give us a call and avoid being caught out and left in the cold!

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Costly Changes to the MOT

Huge changes to the MOT rules from new incoming European Union regulations could prove to be extortionately expensive to the UK driver from next year. From 2012 all vehicles’ ESC (electronic stability control) systems are required to be in working order.

The Department of Transport’s roadworthiness test also means that equipment such as electric seat adjustment motors and and factory fitted tyre pressure monitoring systems will also need to be fully functional to achieve a pass.

ESC systems are to become mandatory on new cars from 1st November 2012 but
the new regulations will be applicable on both new vehicles and older cars that have them fitted. Therefore you could find yourself with a huge repair bill to make your car roadworthy.

Motoring magazine Auto Express conducted a study by contacting more than 20 car manufacturers in the UK to ascertain the cost of repairing some of the systems covered by the new rules.

They discovered that the repair bill of an Electronic Stability Control (ESC) could reach £2000, the repair of an electric seat adjustment could be in the region of £1500, whilst a new tyre pressure monitoring system was estimated at around £500!

Auto Express News and Features Editor, Julie Sinclair commented,

“It’s about time the MOT test got tougher. But repair costs for these important safety features need to come down or we’ll end up with a nation divided by those motorists that can afford to be safe on the road, and those that can’t.”

Without a valid MOT certificate it is not legal to drive your car on the roads, and you won’t be able to insure the vehicle either. You can have an MOT carried out up to a month prior to your current certificate expiring and it will still last for another year.

For an affordable MOT, book your car in at FastFit Station – you could grab a half price MOT or service at any FastFit Station in Milton Keynes and save your wallet while keeping your vehicle in top condition.




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Wheel Alignment Crucial To The Handling Of Your Car

Wheel alignment, also known as tracking, is an essential part of your vehicle’s maintenance. It involves adjusting the angles of the wheels so they are set to the car’s correct specification. These adjustments are made to assist in reducing tyre wear and to ensure the vehicle does not ‘pull’ to one side and drives straight as it should. Wheel alignment that is not set correctly can affect the handling and safety of the car, increase fuel consumption and decrease your tyres’ life.

Wheel alignment can lose its geometry for various reasons. Everyday driving, particularly factors such as driving over a pothole or hitting a kerb, can cause misalignment. Worn steering or suspension parts can also have an effect or perhaps they have just been adjusted incorrectly previously. It is important to have your wheels and tyres correctly aligned to ensure you get the best ride possible and the most usage out of your tyres. It also improves your fuel consumption and safety of your car.

When you book your vehicle into a FastFit Station to have your wheels aligned, the direction and angle at which the tyres are set are checked against your specific vehicle. These angles are set by the manufacturer. There are several terms for these including:

  • Toe - refers to whether the front tyres are closer or further apart than the rear of the tyres.
  • Camber – this is the inward or outward tilt of a tyre.
  • Caster – this relates to the angle of the steering pivot axis and how it is tilted when looking at the wheels from a side view.
  • Centre Line – is exactly that; an imaginary line running through the middle of the vehicle, from the front to the rear at an equal distance from the sides.
  • Thrust Angle – this is the direction of where the rear wheels point to in relation to the centre line.
  • Steer ahead – checks whether your steering wheel is straight when you are driving along a smooth flat surface in a straight line.

It’s worth keeping an eye out for unusual wear on your tyres. Premature wear on the inside or outside shoulder of the tyre, if your car is pulling to the left or right when driving along a straight flat road or a crooked steering wheel are indications that your wheel alignment is out and needs adjusting.

It is advisable that your wheel alignment is checked yearly or every 12,000 – 15,000 miles. We highly recommend it is also checked should you knowingly have hit a kerb or driven over a pothole, had new tyres fitted or your suspension or steering components replaced.

You can have your wheel alignment checked when you have your tyres changed, at your annual car service or at your MOT – simply ask your mechanic to perform an alignment check when you book in at FastFit Station.

The many roundabouts in Milton Keynes also cause your tyres to wear unevenly, making it doubly important that you check your tyres regularly. You don’t have to do this yourself though as we offer a FREE tyre check at FastFit Stations across Milton Keynes, ensuring that your tyres (and wheels) are in top condition to keep you safe on the road.


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Check your vehicle’s lights as winter draws in

The type of maintenance that your car requires changes throughout the year. While your car servicing requirements can be taken care of by FastFit, many general maintenance checks should be carried out by you, the driver. Now that it is getting dark earlier and earlier, the chances are you will have had to switch your lights on for your journey to or from work. In fact, with all the rain we’ve been having here in Milton Keynes, it’s been dark enough to need your car headlights on in the middle of the day!

Carrying out basic maintenance is a crucial part of car ownership, and it will help your car last longer as well as keeping it running as safely and economically as possible.

If you haven’t checked all your bulbs are working, now is the time to do it. Many modern cars have a warning light to tell you a bulb is faulty, although it doesn’t usually tell you which one. So switch your lights on and ask someone to check they are all shining as they should. These include your headlights, tail lights, brake lights, indicator lights and fog lights. Make sure you also check your full beam headlights. An easy way to tell if an indicator bulb has blown is if it is blinking faster than usual, which you will be able to see from the flashing light on your dashboard.

For drivers who do have a bulb faulty warning light but can’t seem to find a faulty bulb, one that is frequently not noticed (because it is hardly critical to your driving safety) is the light bulb illuminating your number plate. However, if that is working fine but the warning light is still on, it is time to bring your car in for servicing.

You can book your service online at our website, or call any FastFit Station to arrange a time that’s convenient for you. Our friendly technicians make sure they explain exactly what they need to do to your car if it requires repairs, so that you can make the right decision according to your budget. We can also carry out free winter checks on your car to make sure you’re safe out on the roads as the nights grow longer!

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