Tag Archives: garages

Cars are being left out in the cold this winter

In the UK, 69% of homeowners that have a garage do not use it for their car, instead using them for storage or converting them into extra living space. So cars are increasingly being left out in the cold. While modern motors are more weather resistant than ever, for drivers opting to leave them kerbside, there are maintenance measures for winter that will help keep their car in good condition. It might even avoid a frozen morning trying to solve car woes.

Garages being taken over

According to research by RAC Home Insurance, 69% of home owners don’t use their garage to store their vehicle. Instead, the majority are being used as extra storage, mainly for DIY tools, gardening equipment, sports gear and decorating kit. 9% of respondents to the survey said they had converted their garage into extra living space, with others using it as a gym or workshop for a hobby.

What’s more, many reported that their garage isn’t actually big enough for a modern car: many were designed for a 1950s-sized vehicle, and are no longer fit for purpose. Meanwhile, for many of us without a garage, the kerbside or drive is the only option.

The impact on your car

For motorists, it’s essential to take steps to help your car stay in good condition. Below are some things to be aware of if your motor isn’t kept under cover:

  1. Check your insurance. If you’ve stated that your car is kept mainly in the garage, but now it isn’t, it’s worth updating your insurer so that you are definitely fully covered if your car is stolen or damaged whilst parked up.
  2. Battery charging. Car batteries are far more likely to fail in winter, as the lower temperatures affect the battery chemicals. If your car is being kept outside, then the cold will have a greater impact. Regularly recharging your battery can keep it in good condition, and using a smart charger will help do just that, as well as repairing them. Ring’s smart chargers even have a winter charge mode, designed specifically for charging in cold weather.
  3. Tyre pressure. Cold weather can make tyre pressure drop, and for every decrease of 1°C in ambient temperature the tyre pressure drops by around 0.19 PSI. So when the frost sets it, it’s worth checking your tyre pressure, and topping up if necessary. A Digital Preset Tyre Inflator is the fastest and easiest way of doing this. As it is powered from your in-car 12V socket, it doesn’t need an extension cord from the house.
  4. Check your fluids. As you might expect, fluids thicken in the cold, including oil, antifreeze, power steering, brake and transmission fluids. Be especially sure to check your coolant/antifreeze, as this prevents the fluid in your engine from freezing.
  5. Risky deicing. It can be tempting to pour hot water on a windscreen for speedy defrosting, but if the hot water gets into any chips it can cause them to grow into cracks. Using an ice scraper or deicer is a better option.

Whether it’s a study, a workshop or a storage solution, if your garage is not being used for the car, make sure you don’t get left stranded this winter.

Take control of your own destiny

As the headlines continue to be dominated with speculation about what plan will be put in place as a result of Brexit, the automotive industry is already feeling the impact of uncertainty. Ring explains how it is taking control of its own destiny.

Marketing Manager for Ring, Henry Bisson comments: “As an exporter of thousands of products every year, there was never any doubt that Brexit would have an impact on the business, we just didn’t know exactly what that would look like.

“The effect on currency exchange has already been felt by many with the dollar strengthening against the pound, meaning that the cost of goods has increased with no material price increase. Then there is the euro also gaining strength against the pound. This results in a double impact as we pay more but ultimately sell for less when euros are converted back to pounds.

“The obvious concern is that goods from the UK become consistently higher cost, encouraging customers to go elsewhere. Prices are already rising at the pump as people try to recover the gap caused by buying in dollars. This means logistics and distribution costs are rising, so eventually prices for aftermarket products will too.

“Conversely, in Europe, volume sales are rising as they benefit from the increase in the value of the euro against the pound. It can be argued that this does bridge the gap short-term but we have to consider the longer-term impact of Brexit.”

Working with distributors and retailers across Europe, Ring has remained close to contacts since the European referendum to monitor the changing reaction as Brexit talks begin.

Bisson continues: “Following the initial announcement, and the headlines that ‘vote out’ created, contacts have become cautious. They, like us, are waiting to find out exactly what happens now. In the short-term it’s business as usual but how long this continues is unpredictable.

Having such a strong network across Europe has given Ring a greater insight into the reaction of those it works with and has therefore also given the business a chance to step back and consider what its own response will be.

Bisson continues: “Predictions and speculation are exactly that. Until we get a roadmap that has the facts the industry will find it difficult to plan and that is why we have chosen to take control. We need to be ahead of the game and we intend to secure our business across Europe.

“We’ve worked hard to establish the Ring brand across Europe over the last 10-years and have a strategy in place to ensure that this will continue. Business across Europe has reported growth year-on-year as we offer an alternative to the traditional markets. In order for us to build on this success, and to reinforce our intentions and commitment to Europe, we will be investing in these markets.

“Far from waiting to see what happens, we are budgeting to invest in Europe and very much see the markets as an opportunity for further and future growth.”

In the wider automotive market, with more than 30 million cars on the roads in the UK, the industry is not going to disappear overnight. However, as an industry that relies heavily on export, predictions may signal the end for some foreign businesses that could simply feel it is too expensive to produce in the UK.

Bisson concludes: “We can only predict what foreign owners will do and use past experience to influence this. We are hopeful that production will not be moved from the UK, which would result in the loss of skills and jobs.

“That is why we are choosing to take a more pragmatic approach to Brexit. We can’t change it but we can plan for change and use this as an opportunity to strengthen the business in what will inevitably become an increasingly competitive and turbulent marketplace.”