* Prices may differ from that shown
I bought two tyres for the rear of my car only to find that one had deflated by the next day, I returned to the garage and 1.5 hours later the keys were returned with no explantion until prompted ('needed sealing mate') and no apology. Having fitted the wheels to the front I find they are not balanced correctly, having complained to the customer careline I have had no reply, I do not intend to return.
Unimpressed with the way other potential customers were being treated at the desk, 'no we haven't got any' rather than 'we can get them in for you' attitude! Treadright is just down the road and probably do very well as a result, thats my next port of call for tyres for my 4 cars, yes I need some more tyres soon Formula one, so you HAVE lost sales. Don't judge a customer by the old car he drives, he may just be and enthusiast with classics at home!
If you want poor service and to support a company with an unmanned careline (maybe they just run it for a laugh), this is the one for you!
I would like to say how pleased I am with the service I have received from F1 Autocentre in Chesterfield since September 2009. I bought an old BMW 518i (1987) which has needed a fair amount of work doing to it. I moved up to Chesterfield in September and found F1 Autocentre. Their customer service is excellent - everyone is unfailingly polite, helpful and really good at keeping me informed as to what is happening with my car.
I asked the staff at F1 for a full list of all the work that needed doing on my BMW and they provided it and identified the work that needed doing immediately, or fairly soon, and the work that could wait. They were prepared to spend time and effort to make sure I understood all the problems and the options for fixing them. If something went wrong with the BMW they could often fit it in at short notice at the weekend and in January, when my exhaust broke, a lot of garages might have charged me a fortune for a new exhaust. F1 had a look at it and assured me it could be repaired rather than replaced. This cost very little compared to the huge bill I had expected and I really appreciated their honesty.
Sadly my BMW has now become quite uneconomical to run so I've bought a newish VW Polo which I will be taking back to F1 for all the servicing and MOTs. If all garages offered a service like F1 in Chesterfield, it would make car maintenance a real hassle free experience.
F1 Autocentre I recommend using them.
I wish to say a big thank you to the F1 Autocentre Blackheath Branch.
In October I had new tyres and brakes fitted, and my wheels aligned very quickly and efficiently, in fact I was in and out in half an hour.
Since then I have had problems with my car with a vibration in the steering and took it back twice to Blackheath, where first time they kindly balanced it all for me again, 2nd time they checked it over completely, even though they were 100 % confident it was nothing they had done in the initial job.
The staff there wanted to assure both myself and them that their work was satisfactory.
Brett suggested it maybe my power steering motor, which in fact it has proved to be, which thankfully Fiat have agreed to replace free of charge.
So I just wanted to show my appreciation to the branch and hope you will send my thanks and gratitude onto them.
Excellent first class customer service
Well today I am going to tell you about a product that will make you want to throw away the shammy for good. After hearing from a friend about this product and seeing how effective it was on his car I decided to give it a shot myself. I bought the hydra flexi blade about a week ago and this is the first time I have used it on my car and what a result, it was really easy to use and the amount of time I probably saved with not having to wring out a shammy every minute was great. The flexi blade has a plastic handle and it uses a rubber blade which has a shaped lip on the end to push the water residue off the vehicle surfaces, not only can it be used on cars but pretty much anything such as bathroom tiles or even windows. When using this item on cars it probably does work better on cars which are waxed/polished as this helps the water to run off more effectively when drying. This item has been featured before on the QVC shopping channel and was always sold out so this shows how popular the item has been. Because the blade is made of rubber this allows it to shape to the bodywork to remove the water. This product also does not scratch any of the paintwork when used. Where do you buy it from? Well I have tried halfords although sadly they do not sell these items, I decided to search the internet and there appeared to be a large stock on E-Bay although the best source for finding this is speeding.co.uk for a price of £12.99 inc. VAT + P&P.
Just started using a new fuel conditioner call the Firepower pill. Its just been launched last week at Brands Hatch. The pill seems to do the same job as Optimax petrol but without having to pay 6p a litre for the bernefit. Given it was developed by Shell in Australia I guess that shouldn't be a suirprise. It is available for Bikes and Cars and I have been using it on my Classic 1980 Mercedes 380SL. Can't say I have noticed the fuel savings yet, but it has done away with the carbon that used to come off on ignition and there is noticeably more power. Currently it is only available on-line at www.firepowerpill.com and there is loads of other test information
Never use the Lex Autocentre on West Street, Bedminster, Bristol. They are a complete ripoff. I have been there on previous occasions and have found them expensive but good. I only recently realised HOW expensive (and also how incompetent) they can really be. I own a Ford Mondeo (which I am going to sell now), which is pretty much as common a car as you can get. They took more than a week to finish servicing my car. They said that they had changed a lightbulb (but hadnt), they fitted the wrong windscreen wipers (!), got the replacement number plate wrong and tried to sell me a replacement clutch (£400). All completely incompetent. They have now (two weeks later) got the correct windscreen wipers which they refuse to send to me. I can hardly take a day off work to go and pick up windscreen wipers, so I have to wait until Saturday and hope that it doesn't rain. They charge £20 for one number plate (£10.99 at Halfords), £9.99 PER windscreen wiper and £40 for an awful tyre. £175 for disc brakes and pads and £25 for a rocker cover gasket (5 minutes work). I can't possibly stress how bad they are. DON'T USE THEM. Get a Haynes manual and fix the problem yourself. If you haven't got the time, then find a trusted specialist.
Ever got fed up with the paintwork of your car? I'm not talking about the colour, but what happens to older cars, especially in dark colours, or bright red - oxidising. Oxidising makes the paint lighten in shade. Unfortunately it does not do this uniformly, but is more likely to show itself as light-coloured streaks. Sometimes T-Cut, Mer, or a whole host of expensive, "colour" polishes that are sold on the fact that they will restore colour, won't work. When this happens, you've got to play with the big boys. This is when I happened upon Halfords Cutting Compound. It comes in a yellow tube, not unlike a handcream tube in design, and can be found along with the fillers, sandpaper and tack cloths, not among the polishes. It's best used in a "Ronseal" way - i.e., do exactly what it says on the tin. Take a damp cloth, apply some of the paste, rub into the affected area, then rub off with a dry cloth. I first used this on my white 1985 BMW 528i. At some point the leading edge of the bootlid had been resprayed, in a slightly different shade of white (white is so difficult to match!). I applied some cutting compound, and rubbed hard. The results were quite remarkable. The new paint began to come off, so that spots of the old, correct shade, showed through. Some hard graft saw the original colour restored. Next subject was my recently-acquired 1978 Ford Fiesta in that delightful shade of Midnight Blue. This is a very dark blue, like squid ink, and is notable only because the paint used to go milky almost as soon as the cars left the factory. Again, the stuff was rubbed on, and rubbed off. This time the results weren't quite as good, as some oxidation remained, but it was far more presentable than before. No doubt another go may bring even better results. Not bad for a 24-year old car which doesn't appear to have been polished for a good few years. The major caveat with this stuff is, like T-Cut, it works by stripping layers of old paint. There is only a finite level of topcoats you can strip back before you reach primer, so it's basically a one-shot deal. Also, it's imperative to apply a coat of polish afterwards, to protect the "new" paint.
I have had some bad experiences when I have taken my car- a peugeot 206 into garages to be fixed/ serviced in the past.Being ripped off has be my speciality! Though not any more!!! I had been taking my car to the main dealers, because I didnt want to break the warranty!The last time I took it, it was for a service, a run of the mill oil service. Three days later and £200 broker, my car was ready! I thought this couldnt be right, but they know best, it is there job after all, and I was used to paying quite a lot for anything on my car when I had been to see them previously. Well now my warranty was up, would I continue going to this main dealer or do I try my luck with another garage, who deals with all cars. I had heard some stories about terrible cowboy garages, so being a little weary I looked around, asked a lot of people. What I found, was a garage in North London. A modest family owned business. Very helpfull, very friendly- especially as they didnt treat me like an idiot because I was a girl. I had my car finished by the next day, fab! Everything was explained to me, about why the problem had occured, I felt that I could actually ask a question no matter how inexperienced it sounded!They told me how they could fix it, but gave me a choice of what I could do. I got the idea that they didnt actually want to rip me off, that they understood that people are not made of money, therefore customers like myself dont want to throw their money away. I told the mechanic there about my experinces with the main dealer and he couldnt help himself but laugh! Laughing about how devious the main dealers are plus a lot of other garages! He said that the last service I had, the oil service should have cost at maximum £60-70! Not £200! I felt so stupid. Well my car runs like a dream. I have sent so many people to them and have only heard praises about the garage. I just needed to tell the world that there is hope. If you wanna
find out about the garage the website is milesaheadmotors.co.uk You will not be disappointed!
The best car wax you can buy! (updated for 2005)
Let me give you a little bit of background. I've owned interesting performance cars for many years. I've been area & regional organiser for a number of car clubs & have often displayed cars in concours events.
I've used Autoglym products for 24 years & have had experience of many other brands. Seven years ago, I was introduced to Zymol products & then six years ago, I started using the products from a little company in Plymouth called Wax Wizard. These products took the Zymol natural type of products to a higher level, but at a cheaper price. Wax Wizard have since merged their range with Swissol who have used their resources to further improve & refine the range. The Swissol wax is now even easier to apply & buff.
The proper system of cleaning needs to be explained, so sorry if I'm teaching you to suck eggs here.
First rinse the wheels using a hose pipe. Spray on wheel cleaner & agitate with a wheel brush, use a sponge & car shampoo if you're not using a wheel cleaner. Rinse the wheels & the whole car with hose pipe & use a detergent free shampoo & cotton cloth from the roof downwards. Wash the roof, bonnet, boot, windows & the tops of the doors, using a side to side movement (not round & round). Then rinse the car with a hosepipe. Use a second cotton cloth & wash the lower part of the car. Then use a chamois leather to dry the car starting from the roof downwards. I like the Autoglym synthetic chamois. After you've dried the car, open the doors, bonnet & boot & use a 2nd chamois to wipe the inside edges of the doors. This operation should take about 1 hour.
2. Cleansing & feeding
Every 6 months use the Cleanse #1 product. Cleanse has a great smell & you wipe it on the car, using side to side motions, one panel at a time & buff it off using a terry towel. It's important to buff without putting pressure on the paintwork - just the weight of the towel. Buff using your wrist - not your elbow. Keep turning the towel over & you will need 2 towels for the whole car. Using cleanse has the effect of cleaning off the old wax & contamination from the road & air. It also feeds natural oils back into the paint that have been lost to the sun & air. If there is any dead paint, it will be lightly removed. After this treatment, the paint will feel squeaky clean & smooth. This will take about 1 hour. The car must be waxed soon afterwards as there is no paint protection.
Every 1 month, wax the car. There is a great range of wonderful smelling waxes, your car smells afterwards of pineapple, or almonds afterwards. I use Saphir wax. This is a high quality wax, but is easy & quick to apply. It is made of over 50% high quality white carnuba wax & the rest is enzimes to allow you to wipe it on & bond with the paint surface. There are no petroleum products like the other cheaper waxes. This wax simply protects your paint - that's it. Wax the whole car panel by panel, using the small sponge applicator in side to side movements. Leave 1 minute & then buff using a fresh terry towel. Don't add pressure, just the weight of the towel. Turn the towel often. You are not buffing anything off the car, you are simply making the carnuba wax shine. And it certainly shines! This takes about half an hour. After you have finished, apply a second coat of wax to the edges of the bonnet & wing mirrors (if painted) & buff again. I also use a wheel wax for my alloy wheels, it makes them easier to clean on the weekly wash.
Wash once a week
Wax once a month
Cleanse every 6 months.
You get a better finish & better protection than other car wax products & you won't harm your paintwork or get swirl marks.
Get another brand, poor some out & set fire to it - it burns! This is because it's about 80% solvents, only 5% wax, 10% cleaning compounds & the rest is silicate dust. The silicate dust acts as an abrasive rubbing compound & the solvents are used to keep everything is suspension & then evapora
te on the car leaving the wax & cleaning compounds for you to rub into your paint. The solvents will also dissolve any tar marks & remove any old wax left on the car.
These "supermarket" car wax products try to do everything at once - & do nothing properly. When you understand what these things are made of, you realise what they are doing to your paintwork!
I've no connection with Swissol apart from being a customer. I'm not in the car business, I just like cars & I like to look after my cars.
You can safely dissolve tar marks without using strong solvents by applying some margarine (I use Flora), leaving it half an hour & then buffing with a towel.
On Opinion On Mer Polish & Other Mer Items What can I tell you about this product, well how about its Fantastic. I have never in all my life found a car wax that is as good as mer. we bought a £30 pack while attending a local steam engine gathering about 8 months ago. The pack contained: 1 Litre of Mer polish 500ml of bumper gel cleaner 500ml of interior cleaner 500ml of tyre restorer 500ml of windscreen cleaner So first a bit about the product. Apparently it has been around for some many years and was originally used for polishing aircraft in Germany, Now hands up how many of you have heard of it?, probably not many as anyone who I've told hasn't, which is a real shame as it's so good!. The next day I set about cleaning the car. out came the pressure washer for a quick wash and then I applied the Polish to the car which was still wet. went all the way round the car with the polish and left it for about 30 mins to dry. When I removed the polish I was impressed by how little effort was required to bring it off and create an excellent shine, the whole car was sparkling in less that 20 mins. Also the polish seemed to restore colour back into the car!, Like using T-cut. And because this polish contains no colour pigments works on all car colours!. Next up was the bumper gel, which also was very easy to apply, it just required wiped on with a cloth, and it removed all dirt marks and left the bumpers clean and an even grey colour.(there original colour). Then I applied the tyre restorer, which comes in a 500ml spray bottle and just requires spraying on, no wiping. It didn't make the tyres very shiny but it made them very black and left them looking like new. The last thing I used was the windscreen cleaner, which is designed to remove any dirt and road film along with any bug splats!. This worked a treat too. I also applied a little to the wiper blades as suggested on t
he back of the bottle. To this date we have never used the interior cleaner, so I cannot report on it's effectiveness. What surprised me most was how long the results lasted! My car was looking as good nearly 2 weeks later!. At this point is did require a wash, but even more pleasing was the way everything went back to excellent condition!, the car was lovely and shiny and full of colour, the bumpers clean and grey & the tyres black, and my car looking a treat!. And kept doing so for many many washes, infact the wax was almost as good 3 months later, excellent!. This product is sold through Halfords and Kleaneasy, but I am not sure of their prices. At a show the wax sells for £10 a litre which is amazing value considering the price of other waxes, usually about £5 for 300-500ml!. Another excellent experience of this product was only this last week, when i cleaned my sisters Vauxhall Corsa for her, I got the polish on.... and then it rained. So she drove the car for 3 days with the polish left on till we got a dry day! :). Which we eventually did so I finished the job, and to no surprise the polish came off with still hardly any effort, and the car looking as good!, And she's very impressed, she even called me today to tell me so!. Everyone should try these products, You'll be as amazed as I was!.
Everyone nowadays seems to knock Halfords and rightly so in a lot of places but some Halford stores are getting so good that they even know that woman know a bit about cars and do need to buy things to repair them. There is such a massive difference between the smaller Halford shops and the large super halford ones. The smaller ones that I have been to have to be blunt not encouraged me to return. Yet the super halford ones are hard to beat. They have very good staff and are very polite and treat both sexes as equals, yes even in the car world. They have a good variety of stock and anything that they cannot get they will try and get you the next day. At the moment they even have a car parts guide book that you can pick up in their stores or they will automatically give you one. In it they say that they do have parts for 98% of UK cars. Okay this is not good if you are the 2% but the chances are they will have the part in stock for you. They also guarantee that they wont be beaton on the price, on the range or on the quality. Well they cannot say better than that can they. If you are looking towards Christmas, you can now order your childs bike from here and pay it off when you wish and they will keep it back for you until you want to pick it up to give it to Father Christmas. They also have a very good audio selection and dont mind playing the music there and then in the shop for you to listen to it! They are also open 7 days a week which is good when working on the car at the weekend.
There are a lot of woman drivers around nowadays. Good ones too. Some even know a little bit about cars. When our car needed new spark plugs, I went into Halfords armed with all the details of what I wanted and how to find them. Okay it was written down for me and yes this was a man that wrote it. On entering Halfords I was asked if I needed help which was good of them but I knew what I was doing so politely told them I was okay thank you. Clutching my paper I head for the spark plugs and look through the leaflet till I find what I want and the number. Look on the board where all the plugs are and they were out of stock. Now that should have been the end of it. On my exit I was again stopped and so told them when asked if they could help again that no thank you you havent got them in stock. That was like a red rag to a bull and he insisted that he checked to make sure I had got the right number. Would he have said that to a man I wonder. When he found I was right he rabbited on that I should check up on what I had written down as it depended on the points and even the depth of the plugs needed! What rubbish. Besides this, Halfords is good. It is open on Sundays so if you want to do a bit of work on the car and want bits for it this is ideal. Our local one is small and doesnt do so much as the ones in the town but it does have a good selection upstairs of bicycles and all the equiptment thinkable for the bike. So come on Halfords dont treat woman as idiots please.
Car polish is car polish, right? Well yes, but there are different types for different jobs. The trick is choosing the right one for the state your car is in. Soft liquid waxes are very good for cars where the paintwork is pristine with no dead paint. For cars that have some oxidisation (dead paint) an abrasive polish is needed to bring the paint back to showroom shine. Where the paint is very oxidised, or "as flat as a kipper's d***" as they say in the trade a more radical approach is needed and a cutting compound must be applied often with a buffing machine, but this should be left to the professionals as too much paint can be removed if not done correctly. What is this Mer then? It is a soft liquid wax that is mildly abrasive and will remove light oxidisation. The creamy liquid should be applied neat on a damp cloth for this operation having first cleaned the car. Oh, I cleaned the car last year, I can clean cars it's easy. Think again. Never wash or polish a car in direct sunlight whatever the product label says. Water on hot paint stresses the paint and causes fine cracks that will lead to rust, maybe not tomorrow but someday. Polish that is solvent based used on a hot car will streak because the solvent dries out to quickly. Do it right. Wash the car out of direct sunlight with a good quality car shampoo not washing up liquid. Experts say that this contains salt and will encourage rust. True, but washing up liquid steaks and leaves salt deposits which have to be removed with a chamois leather, this buggers your chamois. I like to get my beloved all wet before going to work, causes less scratches you know. Get out your hose; don't be shy. If you don't have a hose use a bucket, Hyacinth. When she's all wet, get two buckets of your chosen mixture made using lukewarm water and get two sponges, one for the upper part of the car, the other for the lower gritty areas. Start at the top and work yo
ur way down as a gentleman should, splash it on all over Harry. When you are happy that you've got all the crud off, rinse the car well with clean water ------ then wash it again. You will have missed some areas and these areas will have grit on them that will scratch the paint. When you've rinsed the car again you can just leave it or chamois it. If you are not waxing the car it really is a shame to leave the car to go streaky, so chamois it. I normally dry the car to save time when waxing, but if the weather is warm it doesn't take long any way. Get your Mer out now. To remove oxidised paint Mer should be applied from the bottle with a damp cloth to a dry car. Use a circular motion making sure to overlap so that all the paint gets covered. The trick to using any polish is to use a clean piece of the cloth when there is any build up of crud on the piece you are using. Not doing so just spreads the crud round and defeats the object of the exercise. This is hard work so take your time; use plenty of CLEAN SOFT cloth. I'm watching you! Mer is meant to be left on the car for ten minutes before polishing off. I do the whole car before starting the buffing up. This part is easier; I use soft mutton cloth to take off most of the dried Mer. Then I go over the car again with very soft cotton cloth to get the remaining dust off. White cotton shirts a great for this but co-workers do take the Mick if I'm wearing my car cloth shirt for work. This seems hard work; it is but should not need doing often. When all the dead paint is removed its easier to keep the car shiny. Use Mer regularly on a wet cloth or even a wet car to maintain the shine and it performs like one of those non-abrasive soft waxes, not much elbow grease needed. To give the car a boost, put two capfuls of Mer in a bucket of water and wash the car as usual. When the car dries just polish of the Mer and see it shine. Mer can be used on all vehic
le paint types and on some really sad things like cookers and fridges and stuff. This wax is like several products in one, a light restorative wax, and a fast to use soft wax or even a wash and wax. It cleans off tar, tree sap, bird s***e and other stuff. If you are really brave, you can polish your alloy wheels with it. Don't get it on plastic or rubber as it will leave white marks, then you have to buy Mer bumper gel to get the marks off. Is this a good product? Very good, and available from Halfords at slightly less cost than from the importers. Some of you will think I'm rather cheeky telling you how to wash and polish a car. I have a friend who owns a car valeting business and "volunteered" to help out during my holiday when he was short staffed. I learned a lot, earned very little but had a very clean car at the end of the week! Anyone care to give my aching back a massage? Clarification* Mer is mildly abrasive, true. It will, however, only remove "dead" oxidised paint from a car. It has not removed good paint from my car. So called "show-car" owners love this polish because it can be very easy to use without having any negative effects. Before anyone accuses me of working for them, as in some of my other opinions, no I don't, so there!
... Wonder Wheels by nature. Having not washed my car for a couple of weeks, the alloys were covered in baked on brake dust. Erk! I thought, that's going to take some scrubbing to get rid of that. I headed to the local Halfords and had a quick look for a wheel cleaner, and there it was 'Wonder Wheels'. Yes it sounds like a corny 70s sci-fi show, but in reality it is a highly effective, simple to use alloy wheel cleaner. It comes with a dispenser and brush, just tip a small amount of the liquid into the dispenser, and work to a lather with the brush. Rinse off and voila! Shiny 'as-new' alloys again. It is a bit pricey, but does the job very well, and no scrubbing, the brush is quite soft, and the solution gets to work very quickly. It took me about 10 mins to do all four tyres, and they look as good as new (apart from the scratch I hadn't noticed!). Highly recommended, and you should get loads of use from one bottle, you really don't need much of the solution at all. It will be a permanent addition to my garage from now on.