Even Car Thieves Can Restore Your Faith.

Sometimes people can simply be downright annoying. That lady you hold the door open for who just walks in without even acknowledging you’re there or that car you let out from a junction and the driver ignores you. On the other hand, there are times when people can surprise you, even if they are car thieves.

This odd story is both reassuring and might make you a little wary too.


This Tuesday, in Portland, Oregon, Erin Hatzi discovered her red Subaru had been stolen from her driveway by a lady who calmly walked up to the car, opened it with a key and, after a few minutes texting on her phone, drove off.


Erin was a little bemused as to why the thief was in no hurry to leave the scene. She said,

“We were really confused because it didn’t seem like the normal actions of a car thief. You wouldn’t think they’d sit there and idle in the owner’s driveway for two or three minutes.”

Erin filed a police report. But it didn’t take long before she started getting answers.

Her husband was taking the garbage outside Wednesday afternoon when a Portland police officer had a woman stopped right outside Erin’s home. The woman had just gotten out of the stolen red Subaru, and she had left a note and some cash inside.


Here’s what the note said:

“Hello, So sorry I stole your car. I sent my friend with my key to pick up my red Subaru at 7802 SE Woodstock and she came back with your car. I did not see the car until this morning and I said, ‘that is not my car.’ There is some cash for gas and I more than apologize for the shock and upset this must have caused you. If you need to speak further, with me, I am ******* and my number is ………. So so sorry for this mistake.”

See the video here.


That the “car thief” was thoughtful enough to leave Erin some money for fuel restores your faith a little. However, there is a worrying downside to the tale. It turns out that older Subarus can have interchangeable keys, so a key for one can start another. This might only be with American models but that’s unlikely. So, if you’ve got an old Subaru, you might want to get that after-market lock and alarm.

7 Tips for Driving in Fog


One of the most difficult weather conditions to drive in is fog. With some weather predictions alluding to foggy conditions in the coming weeks, we thought it only best to pass on some best practice tips on how to combat the difficulties fog can throw your way.

Car driving in Fog

Statistically, fog is the most dangerous driving hazard there is. The first rule is fairly obvious: slow down and turn your lights on. Think about how far ahead you can see, how far other drivers can see in front of them, and how long it will take you to stop. Keep an eye on your speedometer. Studies show that some drivers acclimate themselves to foggy conditions quite rapidly and unconsciously increase their speed over time. Make sure that you can be seen and aren’t going too quickly to react in the fog.

  • Keep your minimum safety gap to three seconds in ideal conditions. With the decreased visibility fog causes, this interval should be increased substantially; we’d suggest 6 to 9 seconds.
  • Slow down. Most fog-related traffic fatalities occur because someone was driving too fast and couldn’t stop in time to avoid a collision.
  • Make sure that you can be seen. Turn on your fog lights, and use low beams. High beams direct light up into the fog making it difficult for you to see. Low beams direct light down onto the road and can help other drivers to see you.
  • If you leave the road, be sure to pull off completely. Turn off your driving lights and turn on your flashers so others know you’re there but won’t think you are driving on the road.
  • Always use your defroster and windscreen wipers in foggy conditions to keep the windows clear.
  • Keep an eye on your speedometer and maintain a slow, constant speed.
  • Remember that other drivers have a limited sight distance and that fog can leave roadways slick. So, be sure to signal early, and when you use your brakes, don’t stomp on them.


Auto Accessories Fitted too!

Did you know that we fit lots of different accessories to vehicles?

Yes, retro-fitting of all types of accessories is very popular amongst GDK customers!  Whether you want to avoid fines and penalties by finally getting a bluetooth handsfree phone kit fitted, or protect yourself against unscrupulous claims by getting a dashcam installed (or even if you’re just hopeful of earning £250 from You’ve Been Framed or getting kudos from a YouTube video going viral).  Handsfree kits and in-car cameras are definitely trending at the moment.

As summer approaches, we’re expecting a flurry of orders for retro fitted towbars as folks get ready to take their boats, caravans and trailers on the road.

Check out our Accessories page for details of all the accessories that we can fit for you.

Does my van need a new engine? The nice man from the AA said it does.

Had a call from one of my customers today;  Saul from Woodall Refrigeration, their van was making odd noises yesterday afternoon and this morning it wouldn’t start, so they called the AA. Try as they might they could not get it running properly and it was making some really funny sounds, they pronounced the engine with terminal trouble and told them it needed major surgery. Later the van arrived on a relay truck, we unloaded it and had a look. We noticed that numbers 1 & 2 fuel injectors were moving up and own when we tried to start it and it was making hissing sounds as it tried to start. Now even we know the injectors are not supposed to move, so we took the bold step to tighten the loose bolt that held them down and what happened next? Yup, engine ran fine and all the noises gone, so it goes to prove it always pays to take your vehicle to a professional that knows what they are doing. How much did we charge for this? A fraction of the cost of a new engine, one hours labour. We are too cheap.

Do we buy and sell cars or find cars?

People often ask me if I can either sell their car for them or if I know anyone that is looking for a car like theirs. I am always glad to put one of my customers in touch with another, for everyone’s benefit, that way I still get to look after the car, and they get the car they needed. So if you want to sell or buy a car please give me a call, you never know it may be simpler than you thought to sell/buy your car. If you want to tell us about the car you want to sell or the car you’d like to buy, let us know here or on our facebook page: GDK Garages.

The light has come on telling me to add coolant.

The light that has come on to add coolant will come on for two main reasons, either the coolant is low or the engine has started to overheat this can be for various. My first piece of advice is not to attempt to add coolant if the engine is hot, if the pressure cap is opened when hot it can cause severe scalding. Wait till it cools down first. There are two or three types of coolant these days, but if the coolant has gone down there must be a reason,this needs to be investigated,asap,but if you can top up to get home, follow this.
Identify where the filler is, its not always easy, your hand book should help you here.
In order to top up you need to add the right coolant most modern cars take the red type of coolant but some older cars are green or blue, you need to make sure which type. If you are driving straight to your friendly local garage plain water will do, but take care if its really cold, that will freeze overnight and cause damage.
Coolant usually leaks for a reason, sometimes an external leak can be real tricky to find and we find adding a UV dye into the system helps, we then use googles and if there is a leak we will usually find it.
If in any doubt call your breakdown service as doing the wrong thing can be potentially expensive.

Looking good

We thought that our premises needed a bit of a makeover, and proving that we don’t do things by halves, you can see how our transformaion evolved.

Uneven wear on my tyres especially the front ones

Many of my customers complain that their tyres wear unevenly on the front and if left unchecked, especially when it is on the [difficult to see] inside edge they can wear down quite quickly. We have had customers bring vehicles in for regular servicing or other unrelated issues, and we have noticed that tyres can be so badly worn that they are down to the inner lining and in some cases the steel inner strengthening is showing. Now that is sooooo dangerous that a blow out at high speed could result, and the potential loss of control caused by sudden deflation at any speed, does not bear thinking about.

Most of the problems with accelerated wear are down to either worn components in the steering/suspension set up, or more likely a wheel alignment issue.Many times speed humps  jumping the kerb,and potholes can cause alignment to”go out” and GDK Garage we advocate regular checking of alignment. One of the ways you can see if your own alignment is out is as you drive along a straight main road, check to see if your steering wheel is straight, and also does your car pull to one side, but the best thing is to check your tyre condition and pressure once a week for uneven wear/inflation. Unless you have a tyre pressure monitoring system which makes things really east to check pressures.

Speed cushions are best tackled  without damage by not straddling them, this ends to push the inner edges of the tyre inwards deforming them, cushions are best driven over by straddling them with one tyre going over the bump, and the other on the flat between the cushions.

I have talked about front wheel alignment but similar things can happen on the rear, many cars have adjustments on their rear set up, but not all, it tends to be the more expensive cars with more complex independent rear suspension systems that are adjustable.

We have the equipment here at GDK Garages to check and adjust most types of alignment on modern vehicles, please call us on 020 8959 6776 to book your appointment.



Is it safe to drive with my engine management light on?


I get asked this question more and more these days,people are finding that their cars are running seemingly normally with this warning light,the advise I always give is to let me “plug in” and see what is stored in the system. Sometimes there is a minor fault that can be fixed easily other times a quick system reset sorts it out,but more and more these days there is a sensor that has gone down and locked the engine management system into a “limp home” setting, although this allows the engine to run relatively normally can have disastrous effects on fuel consumption. I always therefore advise my customers to allow me to plug in first and then we can decide on a plan. It’s not always as bad as you think.

Can you see clearly in the rain?

Many cars today have the more modern looking flat wiper blade, these are known as aero blades. These can be retro fitted to most cars,they give a much cleaner sweep and are less likely to judder and be noisy. Here at GDK Garages we have a good stock of blades, just pop in and we can fit a set while you are waiting. While you are here ask us to do a tyre and light check too we won’t charge, only if you need a bulb or tyre, the check is free.