Tips On Servicing & Maintaining Your Car

Ensuring you’re car or van is serviced and maintained regularly is important for a number of reasons, well maintained and serviced vehicles are far less likely to break down than those that have not visited a garage for some time. Then there are the safety issues caused by cars that have problems that are ignored or quite often the owner or driver is not even aware of until an experienced mechanic has seen during an inspection.

Many van and car owners rely on the annual MOT as a guide to the health of their vehicle but an MOT examiner is not allowed to remove any parts such as wheels so can only asses the motor on what he can clearly see, a proper inspection service is far more thorough when done correctly.

The Money Advice Line has written a number of articles on the subject, here is an excerpt from one…

If you look after your car properly, you’ll be far less likely to get hefty repair bills in the future. Find out why your car’s service manual is your best friend, how to locate a good garage and get a fair price.

How often should a car be serviced?

To keep your vehicle in the best possible condition it should typically be serviced every year.

However, there are some age and mileage milestones you need to be aware of. For example, the distance you can cover between oil changes.

These will be shown in the cars manual, along with the tasks needing to be completed.

Caring for your car saves money

Getting your car serviced each year – and maintaining it between services – is money well spent. Problems are likely to be caught early on when they’re cheaper to fix, and your car will have a better resale value and longer life.

A well-maintained car is also more efficient, so you’ll save money on fuel as well. If you need to claim on a warranty you’ll normally have to show your car’s got a complete service record.

Get to know your car’s service manual

Your car’s service manual is the key to keeping your vehicle in good repair.

Written by the people who designed and built your car, it should show:

  • How often you’ll need to get your car serviced.
  • Whn the car’s replaceable parts might need changing.
  • How often regular maintenance tasks need to be carried out – for example, oil changes.

It’s also a good idea to use the service manual to plan for the cost of your car’s maintenance and repair bills.

To avoid spending money on your car unnecessarily, always follow the schedule in the service manual.

For example, many dealerships and quick oil-change chains will typically recommend an oil change twice as often as your car needs.

Watch out for dashboard messages

Most cars now have dashboard warning messages about a wide range of topics, including issues with the braking system, engine, oil and coolant levels, and tyre pressure.

Your car owner’s manual will explain what each lit-up warning message means and what you need to do.

A few of the messages are particularly urgent – they mean you need to pull off the road and stop the engine immediately.

So if you see a lit-up warning message, always check it out straight away.

It could save you hefty repair costs later, or even prevent you being a danger to other motorists and pedestrians.

The cost of skipping servicing

When money’s short it can be tempting to skip servicing your car. But if you do this you risk much bigger bills later.

The cost of a service is far less than the cost of having to replace parts later because of damage through poor maintenance.

For example:

  • Radiator – £430
  • Water pump – £240
  • Engine exchange – £2,575
  • Cylinder head gasket – £520

(Source: Motor Codes website, June 2014)

Keep an eye on the cambelt

Check your service manual to find out when your car is next due to have its cambelt (the camshaft drive belt or timing belt) replaced.

This varies from car to car, but is often needed at around 70,000 to 80,000 miles.

Cambelt replacement can seem expensive (as much as £250 or more) but if it fails while you’re driving, you could face serious engine damage costing much more to fix than changing it when recommended.

Look after your tyres

Caring for your car’s tyres will not only save you money, but also keep it safe to drive.

If your tyres are in poor condition they could blow out on a busy road or lose traction in poor weather and cause a crash.

Stick to the recommended tyre pressures in your manual and check them regularly.

Tyres over or under pressure wear unevenly and will need to be replaced sooner.

Another cause of uneven tyre wear is the tracking being out of alignment, which can be checked and repaired at any garage.

Depending on your car, tyres can cost anything from £70 each so it makes sense to get maximum mileage out of them.

Choosing where to get your car serviced

With higher overheads and staff commission, dealerships are nearly always a more expensive choice for servicing and repairs than independent garages.

The average rate for franchised dealers is £92.11 per hour, while independent garages typically charge £63.56.

On the other hand, a dealership with a franchise for your make of car might have a better understanding of the faults it tends to develop.

          You can read the full article by clicking here

Hartley Garage has been servicing cars and vans in Hartley for nearly 50 years, we have built up an enviable reputation as being a friendly reliable;e and affordable garage. One that has invested heavily in its staff, equipment and workshop. We are now able to maintain the online service histories for Jaguar Landrover, BMW and will shortly be approved by Audi and Mercedes giving you the confidence to use your local garage as a viable and cost-effective alternative to the main dealer.

If you wish to discuss the servicing of your car or van please call 01474 706501 or for further information visit our website

Tips On Servicing & Maintaining Your Car is republished from


Winter Maintenance Checklist

Getting Your Car Ready For Winter: Our Top Tips

After a fantastic summer, the evenings have started drawing in there is a chill in the air first thing in the morning not to mention Christmas has started hitting the shops! Winter is around the corner and so are the wet and slippery roads to work. This is the perfect time to start thinking about getting your car or van ready for the cold, leaving it till the last minute or worst still waiting for something to go wrong can be an expensive mistake.

The RAC has compiled a comprehensive list of things that should be checked interestingly their final piece of advice when preparing for winter is “cars need to be serviced” servicing your car regularly will ensure is it is running at it’s best and reduces the chances of a breakdown. Here are the RAC’s top tips:

1. Fuel

Check you have plenty of fuel in your tank for your journey.

It may sound obvious but you would be surprised how many people run out of fuel and with temperatures as low as expected you really don’t want to get stranded. 

2. Oil

Our patrols check the oil level on every vehicle they attend and surprisingly they find one in three are dangerously low on oil. This can cause a breakdown or lead to catastrophic engine damage at worst.  

You should check your oil level is between the minimum and maximum mark on your car’s dipstick and top up if necessary.

For the type of oil you need to use, you should refer to your owner’s handbook or speak to your local dealer. 

3. Rubber

You’ll need to check your tyres and your wiper blades before you set off.

Check your tyres for general wear and tear racks, splits of bulges, and more importantly, tread depth.

Although the minimum tread level is 1.6mm, during winter it’s advisable to have 3mm of tread on your tyres to help with traction and grip.

Also ensure that you have the correct pressure in your tyres. (Check your owner’s handbook for the correct inflation).

Your tyres are your car’s only connection to the road and it is vital that they are in good condition and correctly inflated for good traction and grip.

Next check your wiper blades. They are not everlasting and will need replacing from time to time so check them for splits and cracks.

tyre checks are free at hartley garageCheck whether they are effective at clearing your screen and replace as necessary.

Wiper blades can get frozen to the windscreen – if is freezing or you have plenty of snow – clear your windscreen and ensure that they will lift off the screen before switching them on.  Use de-icer or a little warm water to free them if necessary.

This winter our patrols have seen a big increase in callouts to member’s cars which have blown a fuse or broken the motor/mechanics when operating the wipers when they are frozen to the screen.

Cover your windscreen with a blanket or an old sheet to keep it ice and snow free and wrap the wipers up in the sheet to avoid them sticking to the screen. 

4. Coolant

Check your car’s coolant level. The last thing you need is a frozen engine or for your car to overheat.

Although it’s a sealed system and shouldn’t need to be topped up, you should always double check, especially before a long journey.

Check your coolant levels when the engine is cold and look in your handbook for the correct coolant and mix to use should you need to top it up.

5. Electrics

Check your lights – they are essential for you to see and be seen.

It’s vitally important to make sure not only that you can see where you’re going but also that other drivers can see you, Walk round your car and make sure all lights are working and that they are free from dirt and grime.

Lights get extremely dirty during the winter months so clean them on a regular basis.


Check the battery terminals are clean and tight, (clean corrosion off with hot water and apply petroleum jelly).

If your car struggles to start and the engine ‘labours’ when you turn the key you should get it checked out by a garage. If your battery is over four years old it may be getting to the end of its life and it could let you down.

If you are having your battery test ask them to check the charging system and the drain on your battery – this will give a better picture of your car’s overall electrical health.

Our RAC patrols deal with over 400,000 battery related faults every winter as the cold weather takes its toll on older tired batteries and the wet and ice conditions play havoc with the electrics. Batteries have to work that much harder in cold conditions and they have endure greater demand from extra electrical equipment like the lights and the heater.

windscreen wipers and washer check

6. Screen wash

Check your screen wash level and top up with a quality screen wash additive or pre-mix which is effective down to at least -15 degrees Celsius.

There’s more muck and dirt on the roads during the winter, as well as salt, so it’s important to make sure you can keep your windscreen clean. And remember to keep checking and topping up the level over the coming days.

Our patrols are often called out to motorists whose screen wash has completely frozen in the tank – so it is vital that you remember to use a quality additive. Remember the wind-chill factor can send the temperature to below 20 degrees Celsius.  You can read more of the RAC’s tips about driving in the winter here………….


The overwhelming recommendation by the RAC is to get your car serviced! as this will prevent many problems arising but a thorough service and inspection of your vehicle will highlight issues that could cause a breakdown. If you would like top talk to us about servicing your car please call 01474 706501 or click here

Hartley Garage has a number of services to help keep the motorist on the road including our FREE winter safety and health check where all of the above recommendations are checked, to find out more click on the link

The article Winter Maintenance Checklist See more on: Hartley Garage Blog

Cars Registered In September 2015 Due MOT Test Now


If you purchased or own a car which was registered in September 2015 it will now need to have an MOT carried out, all cars three years or older are required to have a current and valid MOT certificate.

You can book an MOT up to one calendar month in advance and you will maintain your anniversary date.

For a vehicle test in Hartley, Longfield, New Ash Green, and surrounding areas come to the Hartley Garage MOT and Service Centre where we won’t be beaten on quality of the service we provide.

Hartley Garage has been an approved MOT site for over 40 years currently licensed by VOSA who closely monitor our test results against national averages ensuring your car or van gets a fair and honest MOT test. 



Book Now!

01474 706501

Why Use Hartley Garage MOT Centre

mot reminders

             ✅   Free retests – ALL retests are free within 10 days
          ✅   Free headlight alignment – many garages charge £15 +
          ✅   Free side & stop & tail bulb replacement on most cars
          ✅   Wiper Blade replacement @ cost price
          ✅   Free Screen wash if required
          ✅   Free text or email reminder service – can opt out
          ✅   Free lift to the station after drop off
          ✅   Free local collection & delivery to/from home or work
          ✅   Waiting area should you wish to wait
          ✅   Discounted MOT if booked with a service – please ask


“Excellent service at Hartley Garage, clean, tidy and professional and right on your doorstep, exactly whats been missing around here. Will be recommending to all my friends and customers, top work chaps.” Paul Such – Facebook July 2018

“I had my car re gassed a couple of times and each time the air con failed within days. I then tried Hartley garage as they said they would fully test for leaks and only re gas if they found the problem, they also deducted the cost for testing off any repairs carried out. They found the leak and re gassed for a reasonable price and my air con is the coldest it has been for years and so far a week later still working fine. They did say if for some reason it stops working, bring it back and they would fix it, but they were confident they had solved the problem for good. Can highly recommend them.” Clive Blake – Facebook August 2018

“Took my Datsun to Hartley Garage today for some work on the brakes and a MOT. Really impressed with their facilities. They fixed the car promptly, and I found their prices to be very good. They are very friendly and knowledgeable. Many thanks!” Matthew Chaplin – Facebook July 2018


“Just wanted to say thank you to Hartley Garage for sorting out a last minute MOT for my mums car today. Despite me only calling first thing this morning they managed to shuffle things around to accommodate me and get it booked in the same day. By 2pm they called me to say it was all done.
Can’t ask for more than that !!” David Carter – Facebook August 2018

“The team at Hartley garage managed to fit my car in with no notice for mot, full service and 4 new tyres and at a very reasonable price, i couldn’t be happier and would highly recommend.” Keely Brown – Facebook April 2018


“Absolutely fantastic people and service, thank you all so much. Highly recommend this garage very reasonable but most of all honest and trustworthy- support your local garage these guys are great x” Katie Payne – Facebook July 2018


“Recently had my mot with this garage. Very accommodating and excellent service. Will definitely be going back in the future and would recommend to anybody needing the same or further work carried out” Stephen Leighton – Facebook June 2018

For more information about Hartley Garage MOT please visit

The blog post Cars Registered In September 2015 Due MOT Test Now Find more on:

Hartley Garage Has Joined The Good Garage Scheme

We are extremely pleased to announce that we have been accepted into The Good Garage Scheme. The scheme was created because of a lack of self-regulation in MOT and independent repair and servicing workshops, vehicle owners are able to find trusted local garages and view their feedback from customers before booking.

To become a member of The Good Garage Scheme we have to adhere to strict a code of conduct and pledge to always have our customers’ best interests at heart. We must discuss and agree with customers about any work that is required prior to the commencement of the works, and make available all replaced parts for inspection by the customer. Each customer that is supplied with a feedback form which allows them to send their views directly to the scheme administrator which has in place a comprehensive complaints procedure.

If you are an existing customer of Hartley Garage we would really appreciate you leaving some feedback on our The Good Garage Scheme page


The Good Garage Scheme Code of Conduct

    • To provide full business details to the Good Garage Scheme administrators including ownership, premises, staffing and trade activities.


    • To demonstrate a commitment to deal with customers fairly, courteously and in keeping with good business practice.


    • To notify customers before work is undertaken if the business does not accept particular forms of payment.


    • To deal with complaints from customers within 2 weeks of receiving a complaint.


    • To make parts replaced during service or repair available for inspection by the customer.


    • To comply with the Industry Standard Service checklist on all services and include products that remove contamination.


    • To provide a completed service checklist following the service.


    • To offer the customer a feedback leaflet.


    • To provide the customer with a Good Garage Scheme service record.


    • To display in a prominent position the Good Garage Scheme Code of Conduct.

To find more information about our MOT test services click here

Hartley Garage Has Joined The Good Garage Scheme Read more on: Hartley Garage MOT

We Are Now Open Saturdays!

Following the successful opening of Hartley MOT and Service Centre @ Hartley Garage, we are now pleased to be able to open on on Saturdays for MOT’s and servicing.

open in Hartley Longfield for MOT's

Now you can get your class 4 vehicles tested in Hartley, we are at the rear of of the old petrol station on the Ash Road between Longfield and New Ash Green, we are open from 8 am till 5.30 pm Monday till Friday and 9 am till 1 pm on Saturday.

Whilst it is always best to book your vehicle test in advance on 01474 706501 we will also accept walk-ins on a first come first served basis.

If your current MOT has already expired, you are legally allowed to drive to a pre-booked appointment without the worry of driving illegally.

If you would rather not drive your car to us then we can collect it for you by prior arrangement, carry out the test and return it to you at no extra cost, normally in  a 3 hour window.

For more information about our MOT  Services please take a look at



The post We Are Now Open Saturdays! was first seen on hartleygarage

The MOT Test is Changing – how could they affect you?


The DVSA are updating the way MOT tests are recorded – the roadworthiness directive will change how test centres categorise defects, from the 20th May instead of the current ‘fail’ and ‘advise’ defects will be categorised as ‘dangerous’, ‘major’ or ‘minor’.

mot changes 2018Dangerous and Major Defects

These defects will be a fail or refusal to issue an MOT certificate, cars failed as ‘dangerous’ should not be driven away from the test centre.

Defects Considered as ‘minor’

Replacing ‘advisories’ with ‘minor’ defects, these defects will be noted against the ‘pass’ certificate and should be dealt with accordingly.

Additional changes that will have an effect on the MOT

  • Fitting HID bulbs to halogen head lights has always been a motoring offence, so the annual test is being brought into line and any cars that are presented with HID bulbs will be failed as having a ‘major’ defect
  • Any car registered after 1st Sept 2009 will be tested on the reversing lights and likewise, any cars registered after March 2018 that are fitted with DRL’s also known as daytime running lights and fog lights will be included in the test
  • Engine management lights that do not come on with the ignition, or if they do light up and then fail to go out when the engine has started will be classed as a ‘major’ defect
  • Cars presented with brake pad warning lights illuminated will be failed
  • Excessive travel on the handbrake will be classed as a major defect
  • Engine and gearboxes with excessive leaks will be failed
  • Any emissions device that has been tampered with, modified or removed will have a major defect classification
  •  Cars or vans that are registered from Jan 2014 will have reduced emission limits

It is worth remembering that Hartley Garage has an excellent reputation for carrying out MOT’s to a high standard, whenever possible we will carry out minor fixes such as topping up washer fluid, replacing some bulbs and make adjustments to certain models of cars headlights free of charge to ensure that your vehicle passes. Should your car fail it’s MOT then we will offer you a retest within 7 days regardless of whether or not we carry out the repairs.


Click here for more  Local testing near me or MOT booking form

The post The MOT Test is Changing – how could they affect you? is republished from Hartley Garage Service Blog

Free MOT Reminder Service

It is the responsibility of the driver of a vehicle to ensure that it is kept in a roadworthy condition, the MOT test is carried out annually. 

Did you know that nearly 4.7 million people forgot to book their mot check before the old certificate expired leaving themselves open to a £1000 fine?

Use our free reminder service below and we will contact you once your next MOT is due

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Car MOT Information Page

The post Free MOT Reminder Service is republished from hartleygarage