News & Blog

Can we reset the service indicators on modern cars?

Contrary to popular belief most competent garages can reset the service indicator/light on modern cars, often without expensive equipment, it’s just a question of pressing the right buttons in the right order. Therefore, our customers can be assured of a service well done and no annoying light telling you the service has not been performed properly.

My sat-nav is out of date but the dealer wants £300 for the latest disc.

Do you have a built in sat-nav system that now the car is a few years old has become hopelessly out of date? What do you do? You can buy a Tom Tom or Garmin for less than the price of a new disc or DVD. Well you prayers have been answered by going to, you can find what you want usually for less than £50. Now you can keep you dash as it is and not have a satnav stuck on the windscreen.

Did I hear a noise?

We had a BMW in today 24.10.11 with water pump seized solid, and the customer said he never heard a thing, not until the last minute when he heard something flapping and he though he’d had a flat tyre. This chap was soooo lucky that the fan didn’t go through the radiator and get seriously hot and blow the head gasket. What’s my message here? If you hear anything out of the ordinary that’s not normally there STOP and get it checked out, don’t keep driving. Unless you like keeping your friendly local garage busy.

Business is tough can you help please?

In these times of recession,I am increasingly trying to find ways of keeping my workshop busy. I have decided to implement a recommend a friend system. If you recommend a friend and they subsequently spend over £150 pre vat, with us at, GDK you will receive a £25 voucher from M&S as a thank you from me, hows about that then.

I can get my MOT test done cheaper than your price.

You have to ask yourself why a garage would want to charge less than the £54.85 fee (non vatable by the way). This is the old supermarket loss leader technique, where they sell a popular item for less than cost I order to get you through the doors, and once your inside you spend money. Who’s to say that the “cheap” mot test station are not doing something similar,and once you are in there they find things wrong with your car that another mot station might have said were ok.It might be the reason they charge less is due to local completion, but all I’m saying is that here at GDK Garage we charge the right fee, and hope we do a good job for a fair price and we don’t compete on quality or price. As ever if you need to contact us our details are on the contact page of this website, one of my team will be happy to talk to you. Alex

My car is using too much fuel. Should I change it?

I get asked this question a lot. Firstly how much is too much fuel. And how are you measuring it?if you are using to old “I put xx amount in and I’ve only done 40 miles” that method fails to take into account in amount that fuel has risen and you are getting less than you were before. Some of my customers change for something smaller and more economical, but bear in mind small economical cars are in demand and are at a premium, if you don’t need to change your car for any other reason other than fuel consumption, it’s an expensive way to save money. Best way to save money on fuel is in my opinion, keep tyres pumped up, it’s amazing how much fuel is used trying to drive a car with low tyre pressures, anything up to 15% extra. Remove a roof rack when not in use. Drive gently without harsh acceleration, read the road, if the traffic is slow ahead of you then come up to it slowly and gently, if you adopt a smoother gentler style of driving, overall you can save an amazing amount of fuel. And do you really need to make that short journey, the car from cold takes 2 miles to warm up at least, and if you are only driving locally it won’t warm up at all, and this type of driving uses the most fuel, if the journey is esential ok you have to do it, but if you can walk then why no do so, I hope these thoughts have been helpful. As ever if you want to talk to us our details are on the contact page.

What is a timing/camshaft belt anyway.

It is a rubber belt usually about 20cm wide and 3mm thick and has teeth on it running inside the belt from one side to the other. This belt is connected to the lower pulley wheel on the engine,and is pulled round and in so doing it turns other pulley wheels that are connected to it.These other pulley wheels can be the camshaft sprockets, water pump,and possibly others too tensioner wheels are there to to to ensure the belt is not lose and there are usually guide wheels too to ensure smooth running This belt has a limited life span, anything from 4-10 years dependent on the vehicle manufacturers recomendations. It quite often happens that when failure occurs the belt is not at fault but either a guide or tensioner wheel has failed, it is vitally important to replace these when doing a “belt” to leave them is a false economy and many a car has been uneconomical to repair as a result of camshaft/timing belt failure. I hope this helps. As usual we can be contacted via the contact page if you wish to discuss your individual needs.

Tyre prices

One question I’m often asked is. Can you beat the price I’ve been given by **** Usually one of the national tyre fitting centres that advertise exhaustively everywhere. And often the answer is YES. What people don’t realise is that the price quoted is not always the bottom line price, valves and balancing are often not included and sometimes the charge for casing disposal is left off too, so you have to be careful. Call me and ask me and often you’ll be surprised, even though my buying power is not as great as that of the big boys I can sometimes compete. Never confuse value with cost.

Car insurance is so expensive nowadays, heres a tip that might save you some dosh.

I was having a chat with a customer last week whilst i was collecting his car, he’s got three kids and was babysitting. He explained that when his renewal was due, he researched the whole insurance comparison market, and came up with . It’s a company that arrange to fit a monitoring box in your car and monitor your movements and the driving habits and times of use, and therefore light users will pay a different premium to heavy users (not weight related), he reckons it saved him £600 last year. That’s a lot of money. Try it and let me know. Alex

Can my car be serviced by an indepentent garage whilst under warranty?

As an independent specialist we often get asked about the servicing and repairs of new cars whilst they are still under the manufacturer’s warranty.

The whole area is covered by the Block Exemption Regulations (BER) 2002, which gave motorists almost total freedom of choice in where they buy their new car and where they get it serviced; a fact that generally hasn’t filtered through to the consumer. For servicing, the British consumer is spending £500 million per year more than they should by going to expensive official dealers when they can get just as good quality from independent garages (source: Office of Fair Trade <> ).

The BER legislation was initially derived from the European Union (see, they’re good for something!) and it was designed to promote competition in what had effectively become a monopolized market place. Now that it’s been enshrined in UK law and policed by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), a genuinely competitive market is slowly emerging from what was one of the worst excesses of Rip-off Britain.

The BER specifically prohibits the manufacturer from insisting that servicing is only performed within the dealer network, nor that only original manufacturer’s parts are used.

The only (sensible) conditions are that the servicing is done in accordance with the manufacturer’s schedule and is recorded as such, and that ‘appropriate quality’ parts are used. We feel that the phrase ‘appropriate quality’ leaves the door open to a dispute between the manufacturer and the parts supplier, so to be absolutely sure, we at the GDK Garage only use manufacturer’s parts.

Other details about BER include that part manufacturers must be able to supply Original Equipment parts under their own brand to independent specialists and wholesalers and not just to the vehicle manufacturer, and that anyone with a legitimate requirement for technical information has the right to it in a usable format and sensible cost.

To be fair on the manufacturers, their compliance with the new law is now good (not least because of the swingeing fines that can be levied against them if they aren’t). But then again, they aren’t exactly quick to tell their customers that they are now free to make a choice.

So, do your friends a favour and spread the word..