I’m always delighted to get good publicity for my clients and here’s a great example! In November last year I was contacted by Good Housekeeping Magazine who were writing an article about women drivers. You can read the full article in the March edition: At last! The brilliant truth about women drivers… and our piece features on page 65.
The researcher I spoke with was aware that Roy Chapman’s Senior Technician, Vicky Kempton, had taken part in the IMI (Institute of the Motor Industry) female campaign alongside BBC Formula 1 presenter Suzi Perry in October 2014, and wanted her input for the magazine. Furthermore, Roy Chapman Ltd, is a female-friendly garage with the FOXY Lady Drivers Club.
Realistically, we understand that only a small proportion of our submission will get published, if that. Below I have printed what I wrote for them and, in black italics, what they actually published – its actually a really good representation. Moreover, Justine Chapman the MD at Roy Chapman was pleased too.
Vicky Kempton has been doing this job for 23 years. She became a technician as she enjoyed watching stock car racing when she was younger and developed an interest in cars from an early age. Her official title is Senior Technician and MOT Tester.
What every woman needs to know about car maintenance
- Look after your tyres. Worn tyres have less grip on the road, especially in wet weather, so it will take you longer to break, potentially with dangerous consequences. The minimum legal depth of tyre tread is 1.6mm. You can easily check your tyres yourself with a 20p piece. If you can see the inner rim of the coin, then the tyre is approaching the legal minimum tread depth and you should consider replacing it. Check your tyre pressures before a long journey too, it’s easy to do this at a petrol station and the recommended tyre pressures for your car are generally found just inside the driver door.
- Keep your car in good condition and regularly carry out some basic maintenance checks. Check your oil, coolant and screenwash regularly. If your engine seizes due to lack of oil it’s a costly process to repair, yet simple to check regularly. Just remove the dipstick, wipe on a piece of kitchen roll to clean it, replace and when you draw it out again you’ll see where the level sits compared to the minimum and maximum marks on the dipstick. Remember to reinsert the dipstick! We recommend that you check your oil monthly or every 1000 miles. The coolant expansion tank is generally made of clear plastic so you can easily see the level and again you’ll see minimum and maximum marks, you’ll need to refer to your vehicle handbook for the correct type of antifreeze. Antifreeze isn’t just for cold conditions, it’s also useful for protecting against corrosion and scale build up. Generally speaking the level shouldn’t change unless you have a leak. Top up your screen wash at least every 3 months. Whether it’s wet, dry or icy, your screen wash will help your vision in all conditions. Equally, old or worn out windscreen wipers can affect your visibility during adverse weather conditions. Only check the oil and coolant when your car engine is cold and parked flat (ie, not on a hill).
- See and be seen. Check your headlights and brake lights every so often, especially during the winter when there’s lots of salt and muck on the roads to ensure they’re operating properly, and wipe them down if necessary, not only to meet legal requirements but to ensure that you can be seen at night or in poor weather conditions and, just as importantly, that other drivers can see you.
- Pay attention to your dashboard. If a warning light comes on on your dashboard, don’t just ignore it, it’s there for a reason to alert you that something is wrong and needs attention. If the oil warning light on your dashboard comes on, stop the car as soon as it is safe to do so and call your local garage, or your roadside assistance. A red oil warning light is not an advance warning, it means that the oil in your car has run out. Ignoring the oil warning light could mean a costly new engine.
- Use the handbrake. If you’re parked on an incline or in traffic, use the handbrake rather than keeping your foot on the pedal. It will help keep the rear brakes adjusted and make them last longer.
If in doubt, always refer to your vehicle handbook for specific make and model advice.
Our quote from Vicky was: “Most importantly, doing basic checks and getting your car serviced regularly saves money in the long run. It means your car will be worth more when you want to sell it, and it helps avoid breakdowns”.
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