New Year – Time for a Service

The worst of the winter months tend to be January and February. With this in mind it is worth preparing your vehicle for the toughest months of winter. Bringing your car in for a service is a great way to prepare the vehicle. Our technicians will check the fluid levels and the strength of the anti freeze. This anti freeze check will be completed on both the major and interim services.

 

Antifreeze strength could be one of the most important checks to be done to your vehicle this winter!The coolant that keeps your engine at the correct temperature has also can not be allowed to freeze overnight.The water that is pumped around the engine is pumped around the engine block. If the antifreeze failed to do it’s job correctly the fluid could freeze inside the engine block. As the water freezes it expands and this can cause the engine block to crack. This is extremely bad news and extremely expensive! It usually requires the vehicle to be fitted with a replacement engine, ouch!

 

So make sure that you book your car in with one of your local FastFit stations and we will make sure that it is ready for the colder months and keep you happily motoring this winter. You don’t even need to pick up the phone. Simply book in using our new online booking service.

 

 

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Milton Keynes roundabouts

With over three hundred full size roundabouts in Milton Keynes in is not surprising that the grid system takes its toll on our cars. The grid system is fantastic and MK is one of the few places in the country where you can go from one side of town to the other side during rush hour in less the 20 minutes.

There is however one downside to our high speed driving and constant breaking, which is wear and tear. Tyres and brakes in Milton Keynes last the average driver at less time than drivers from other towns. Especially as some of the roundabouts on the towns dual carriageways are driven at extremely high speeds.

 

However there are ways to help save tyre & brake wear. Driver anticipation would make one of the biggest differences.  Make sure you are watching the road as there is no point in speeding off the line if you are going to need to brake hard at the next roundabout. It is also worth noting the tyre pressures should be checked to help avoid uneven tyre wear. An under inflated tyre will attract uneven tyre wear. This can mean that you are paying to replace tyres that if they wear properly inflated may have lasted an additional thousand miles. Ever time you have new tyres fitted it is also worth investing in having the tracking checked, especially if you need new tyres due to uneven tyre wear.

 

Other towns may mock our roundabouts and concrete cows but at least we can get to work without sitting in lines of traffic.

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Our Shiny New Website

At FastFit station we are always investing in ways to save our customers time. We have developed our brand new website with this in mind.  It takes just a few minutes to book your car in for a service, new tyre’s or a Mot. You can book online and book yourself a convenient time slot. The great news is that you will know the prices of the work that needs to be carried out and will only pay once the work has been completed. All additional work such as brakes, shock absorbers, air con and anything else that you may want us to check out for you.

Our new site is really easy to use. All you need to do is click on the service you require from the petrol pump. Once you are on the right page simply fill in your registration number and our system will find the details of your car. All you need to then is add the required service to your basket. You will then be given the option to book an appointment., simply choose a convenient time and confirm your booking.

We have also a launched Grippy our new mobile tyre fitting service.  As you would expect from the FastFit team we have done this with customer service in mind. All of our brand new Van’s are named so be sure to keep an eye out for the mobile team.

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The history of the Cats Eye

My son asked today “how do they change the batteries in the Cat’s Eye”.  I did explain that they were reflective and they were reflecting the lights back at us to show us where the road goes.

However the Cat’s Eye has an interesting past and was invented nearly 80 years ago! The cleaver little device originated in the UK and is now used all over the world. The Cat’s Eye is made up of two pairs of reflective glass spheres set into a white rubber dome. This is mounted into a cast iron housing, which is then situated in the road. Cat’s Eyes have developed over the years and now different colours indicate where to leave a carriageway.  The cast iron mounting also works to alert the driver as you feel the car rumble over the bump in the road.

Shaw the inventor is responsible for saving many lives over the last eighty years.  Percy Shaw reached a respectable age of 82 passing away in 1976. There are several stories of how he came up with the idea as he gave different stories to different people. Percy became eccentric in later life he keep three T.Vs on constantly one on each of the three channels, all muted! You would have thought that the inventor of one of the world’s best gadgets would have been extremely wealthy. Whilst he was be no means poor his estate was valued at £193,500 in 1976 which is worth an estimated 1.5 million pounds at today’s value.

 

For more car news, advice check out Fastfit Stations blog page. We are your local garage in Milton Keynes looking after all your vehicle needs from new tyres and exhausts to MOTs and car servicing. Once you’ve discovered our good old fashioned service you won’t take your motor anywhere else!

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Working wiper blades this Winter

They are a crucial component to your vehicle yet they are one of the most neglected. Having efficiently working wiper blades are a necessity all year round but particular so in the winter.

We advise you to check your wiper blades regular and if they start making unusual sounds, are not moving smoothly or leave smears and streaks then its time to have them replaced. It is important to check them regularly in order to help maintain the best visibility in poor and hazardous driving conditions. Working windscreen wipers will help to keep your screen clear from rain, sleet, debris and steam that can restrict your view. Driving in these conditions is bad enough as it is without making the situation worse by having a screen that you are unable to clear and barely see out of.

Be cautious of turning on your windscreen wipers on a cold frozen morning. You could potential rip off the runner on your wipers or possibly blow a fuse if they are frozen solid to the screen. Ensure you use a scraper and de-icer fluid beforehand to remove the frost. Never use boiling water from the kettle, even if you’re running late – unless you want a cracked windscreen! You should also clear off heavy snow prior to using wipers so not to put too much strain on the blades.

For more car advice and tips check out Fastfit Station’s blog page. Our garages based in Milton Keynes can help keep your screens clear whatever the weather. We also think that you should have a clear view of the price too. All of our prices include both the wiper blades and the fitting and are guaranteed for 12 months! For a free quote simply enter your vehicle details via this link.

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Essential driving tips in the winter – Part 2

  • In our previous blog - Essential driving tips in the winter – Part 1 we discussed the importance of having your vehicle regularly serviced and maintained and listed some useful items you should ideally store in the boot prior to setting off on your journey. So how should you drive in certain wintry conditions. For some new and inexperienced drivers the thought of getting behind a wheel in the snow or ice is truly terrifying. Read on to discover some useful tips when faced with snow and ice on the road and adept your driving as required.

 

Reduce your speed – the chances of skidding are much higher and your stopping distance will increase hugely.

  • Drive only at a speed of which you can stop within the distance you can see to be clear. The speed limits set are usually much too fast in hazardous conditions.
  • Try not to brake too harshly nor accelerate too quickly.Avoid sharp steering.
  • Ensure you reduce your speed smoothly, judging and allowing enough time on slippery surfaces.
  • Allow plenty of time to slow down before bends and corners.
  • It is very dangerous to brake on an icy or snow covered bend. Your vehicle could end up spinning due to the centrifugal force which will pull you outwards causing the wheels to be less grippy.
  • To avoid your wheels locking when braking on ice or snow select a lower gear than normal and allow your speed to fall before applying your brakes very gently.
  • As you may need up to TEN TIMES the normal distance for braking ensure you leave a big gap between yourself and the vehicle in front of you.
  • Make sure you keep your vehicle well-ventilated. An overheated car can make you feel sleepy and cause you to lose concentration.
  • During snowy conditions stop often to clean the windows, wheel arches, lights and number plates.
  • Use dipped headlights when visibility is poor.

 

Should you find yourself stuck in the snow avoid revving your engine to try and get out of it. This will inevitably make the situation worse. Instead select the highest gear you can and move your vehicle slowly forwards. If this proves to be unsuccessful you may have to ask for someone to give you a push or start digging with your shovel!

 

For all your winter car servicing needs look no further than Fastfit Station. From winter tyres to MOTs your friendly local garage in Milton Keynes can help keep your motoring all year round.

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Essential driving tips in the winter – Part 1

Driving during the winter is very different to any other times of the year. With the clocks going back the nights become darker for longer and the adverse and typical British weather can make driving more hazardous. As the last two winters have seen flooding and heavy snow we thought we’d share some essential driving tips to help keep you safe and moving this winter. You should be prepared for your journey to take you into different weather, road and traffic conditions and adapt your driving as necessary for each one.

Having your vehicle serviced fully serviced before Winter and your anti freeze checked is the best start for both you and your vehicle. It will help keep your car on the road and reliable and keep you warm and going places too. Fastfit Stations have several garages in and around Milton Keynes and offer competitive prices on car servicing as well as MOT’s and tyres.

Before you set off on your journey spare five minutes to run through these checks:

  • Lights are clean and working
  • Windscreen, wiper blades and other windows are clean and the washer bottle filled with screen wash
  • Check all of your tyres condition, tread depth and pressure, not forgetting the spare.
  • Fluids are kept topped up, especially windscreen wash (to the correct concentration to prevent it freezing), anti-freeze and oil

Ensure you have a good supply of de-icer, windscreen wash, oil and anti-freeze at the start of the season.

In the event where very bad weather is predicted it is a wise idea to store an emergency kit particularly if you have a long journey ahead of you. You’re then prepared should you get into a tricky situation for example becoming stranded in your car overnight due to heavy snow. Items listed below could really help you out in that spot of bother:

  • Tow rope
  • A shovel
  • Wellington boots
  • A hazard warning triangle
  • De-icing equipment
  • First aid kit
  • A torch
  • Blankets
  • Warm clothes
  • Emergency Food supply
  • A fully charged mobile phone

Prior to setting off to your destination check out the latest weather and travel updates and keep yourself regularly updated just in case you may need to take an alternate route. When the emergency services advise you against travelling you should really take into consideration whether you’re journey is necessary.

If you are looking to get your vehicle serviced this Winter, need to book in for your yearly MOT test or its time to change those tyres then look no further than Fastfit Station. With several garages located in and around Milton Keynes we pride ourselves on good old fashioned service.

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Winter Air Con Service

Believe it or not but properly functioning air conditioning is just as important in the winter months as it is in the summer. One of the first things you will do when you get into your cold car is turn the dials upto full with the vents directed to the windscreen to help it demist. Many manufacturer’s list it as being a safety feature which is another reason to have a regular air conditioning service.

When you book your vehicle in for its service in Milton Keynes at your nearest Fastfit Station you can request to have your air conditioning recharged. Each year an air conditioning unit will lose up to 10% of its refrigerant gas. Imagine if its been many years since a recharge and how poorly your unti must be working!

Not only will the car benefit from an air con service in that it will be working more effectively to help keep you comfortable all year round it can also be more efficient as systems that are not functioning correctly can significantly increase your fuel consumption. Bacteria can also build up in the unit which in turn can trigger allergies and cause illness

If you’re having your vehicle serviced or MOT carried out at one of our Milton Keynes garages why not ask for the air con to be serviced too and feel the advantages a clean working air conditioning unit can do for you and your motor.

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It’s not too late to change over to Winter Tyres

If you have been contemplating for a few weeks over whether or not to change over to winter tyres then its not too late. Generally most people have winter tyres on their vehicle from around October through to April so you would still have a good couple of months use out of them. With the weather forecast continuously advising off the big freeze on its way and comparing the past couple of years sub zero conditions it is highly advisable to do so in order to assist your in keeping safer during these cold and wetter months of the year.

Many motorists think that winter tyres are designed just to be used in heavy snow, this is not the case as drivers will benefit from using winter tyres on slush, ice, frost and even wet roads. You are in fact better off with winter tyres as soon as the temperature falls below +7 degrees centigrade. Unlike your everyday tyres these specifially designed tyres feature a unique rubber compound and do not harden at lower temperatures which means they provide you with a much better grip on the road and the ability to stop in a shorter distance. On a set of standard tyres the compound loses its flexibility which results in tyres being less grippy in colder temperatures.

Your local Fastfit Station holds stock of winter tyres at their garages located in and around Milton Keynes. Alternatively we can come to you with our mobile tyre fitting service that covers a 50 mile radius from Milton Keynes. Don’t delay, call us today!

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Is your vehicle ready for the big freeze?

So many parts of the country have seen a dusting of that white stuff already and those five extra minutes in bed are now taken up with having to scrape the ice off your vehicle. Don’t be caught out this winter, read on to make sure you’re prepared for the big freeze and don’t end up in the cold!

Breakdown Cover – The past few years have seen a record amount of call outs to breakdown companies as motorists battled their way through the ice and snow we encountered. Ensure you are covered should the inevitable happen.

Take a coat – Yes you might be nipping from a warm car into a warm office but if you were to break down the safest place to be is outside of the car and away from the road. The same goes if you were to be stuck in traffic due to heavy snow, that blanket in the boot would really come in handy! If you’re planning a long journey a supply of energy snacks and a flask is a good idea too.

Get your vehicle serviced – In order to keep your motor running efficiently and effectively a regular service is essential. Our garages located in and around Milton Keynes offer good old fashioned service at unbeatable prices. For cheap servicing, MOT’s and tyres look no further than your local Fastfit Station.

Plan your journey – When driving conditions are hazardous it is best to limit the amount of time you spend out on the road as possible. A Satellite Navigation system is a worthwhile investment should you not know where you are going and could potentially avoid you getting into trouble should you get lost.

Take warnings seriously – If the weather is severe and you are advised to only drive if you really must then do think carefully about setting out. Is that journey really necessary?

Pack some essentials – So we’ve mentioned a coat and blanket. Give a few minutes to putting some other items that you could really help you out. A torch, de-icer and scraper, jump leads, a first aid kit and even a shovel can get you out of a tricky situation. Check your phone is fully charged too!

A clean windscreen – Visibility is poor enough in the winter without a dirty windscreen. get those wiper blades replaced and make sure you have plenty of screen wash. Don’t be tempted to not clear your windscreen fully from ice and condensation as it really is an accident waiting to happen. Any snow on your roof should be cleared too otherwise it will end up tumbling down your windscreen when you build up speed.

Clean those lights – Dirty lights will also affect your visibility not only to you but other drivers too. Whilst out wiping your lights check all the bulbs are operational too.

Safe and legal tyres – Are your tyres up to standard? Check your tyres have enough tread to cope with wintry conditions and consider changing over to winter tyres which really make such a difference when driving in hazardous conditions. Fastfit station offer a range of cheap tyres to suit everyone’s vehicle requirements. Have them fitted at one of our local garages in and around Milton Keynes or use our mobile tyre fitting service that covers a 50 mile radius of Milton Keynes. Do check your tyres are correctly inflated to the recommend pressure for the vehicle and load you are carrying.

Finally no matter how prepared your car is for the unexpected British weather its your driving that makes all the difference. Drive carefully, allowing more time for journeys. Remember that it take longer to stop in snow and ice so allow enough space between you and other vehicles and be aware of how wind can affect your driving. Don’t be tempted to speed if you’re running late as you never know where that patch of black ice may be!

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