When we own our vehicles, we all like to think from time to time we’re the experts of them. In fact, in certain cases you probably are – as people, cars have little quirks, foibles and workarounds that, if you’ve spent any time with them, you learn to understand and in many ways, help make a connection with your vehicle. At EASR, we notice the same little things our customers do – although, we never forget that we’ve always got more to learn about our motors, especially as revolutions in auto-technology seem to rev up each year!
We service enough cars, and meet enough motorheads, to know that people have some pretty strong opinions about automobiles – and of course, we think everyone should be able to have their own thoughts and feeling about cars, but it’s always important to level the playing field. That’s why this month we’re going to bust some automobile myths – let us know if you’ve fallen for any of these motoring fables!
Manual Cars are more fuel-efficient than Automatics
Alright – if there are any older drivers reading this one, we can accept that this used to be the case, but automatic technology has improved a lot since the 80s, and their efficiency is almost the same, and in certain cases better!
Ever wondered why ‘stick-shifts’ were more efficient than their stick-less counterparts? It all has to do with ‘fluid coupling’. In short, what made manual transmissions easier on the wallet was the fact that all you had to do to change gears would be a step on the clutch, choose your gear and then leave it there. Simple right? Automatic transmissions don’t have and don’t want, the ability to stay in one gear all the time so instead of a clutch pedal, they use a thick liquid that can be used to ‘slip’ between gears in lower states.
Back when this technology was a new thing, the ‘slipping’ between the gears at lower speeds would lower the fuel efficiency of the vehicle – nowadays, the fluid coupling has improved to the point where any difference is barely noticeable.
Cold engines need to ‘warm up’
Even though winter seems so far away, here’s a nice little myth to give you something to look forward to this coming snowy season.
This too is another case of ‘it used to be different’ – and be sure, if your car was built before the 90s, or you know it uses a carburettor, you should pre-heat your engine. It all had to do with the limitations of both the hardware in the engine and motor oil at the time.
Cars before the 90s generally used carburettors, a device that mixes air and fuel, which were pretty good in the right conditions, but were very inefficient when not up to temperature, and would run a mix on the that was fuel heavy through the system when it was cold. One impacting problem was that back in the day, fuel intake manifolds would be made completely of metal, meaning the whole thing would have to heat up for the carbs to run efficiently.
Nowadays with fuel injection systems, these problems barely arise – however, if you like the feeling of getting into a warm vehicle on those cold winter mornings, pre-heat your vehicle.
Filling Up in the Cold Get you More Fuel, for Less Money
Here’s another tall temperature themed tale – this one may have occurred to you if you’ve got a knack for the basic sciences, and have a proclivity for pinching pennies! The myth goes a little something like this:
In colder temperatures, petrol is more dense, meaning you get more fuel per volume than in warmer temperatures – so filling up early in the morning gets you more bang for your buck.
We’ll just like to start by saying that if you came to this scientific conclusion yourself – well done! It is true that petrol does in fact get denser in colder temperatures, and you do in fact get ‘more’ energy per volume. However, it’s really one of those cases of something being technically true – from about 15 to 25 degrees celsius, the energy difference is a measly one per cent – probably burnt off idling in traffic, or driving to get the fuel in the first place.
Secondly, nowadays fuel is kept in specialised temperature-controlled units under petrol stations – so while even if you do manage to catch a really cold day with no one at the pump, you’re probably not looking at any savings.
Premium Fuel Means Premium Performance
This one is nice and quick.
Have you ever been tempted to fill up your vehicle at the hallowed Premium Pump? It’s enticing isn’t it – imagine the possibilities your engine could fulfil if only you had the right fuel.
But let’s be real, if you are driving anything that isn’t a performance car, then the only difference is the price. It all has to do with octane – the hydrocarbon in petrol that gives it its combustible qualities. In the UK, standard petrol stands at about 95 octane, and all car companies are required to make this as efficient as possible.
The reverse is also true, filling performance cars with standard petrol won’t save you money, and probably only cause ‘knocking’ – a symptom of an engine unhappy with its fuel to air mixture!
So there you have it!
Maybe you’ve fallen for a few of these motoring misconceptions, and if you have, maybe you can make sure others don’t either, or just play the smarty-pants in the passenger seat! What isn’t a myth, however, is EASR’s professional, specialist services.
From alloy wheel restoration, paintless dent removal, car and van customisation and paint care and so much more, book a consultation to see what we can do for you – fill out the form on our website, call us at 0330 111 0203, or feel free to email us at [email protected]
It’s that time of the year again!
An end to the dreary days of drizzle and driving with the windows up! Winter has been and gone, no need to worry about the gritters, and better yet, no fear of ice on the roads – it’s springtime in England, and we can finally get back on track, and enjoy driving the way our cars intended – with the top down, enjoying the sun and the scenery. Here at EASR, we strive to help our customers, even when you’re not in our specialised repair garages, that is why we like to offer some of the best advice for you and your vehicle!
If there is one thing we notice during the winter period, it’s that our cars tend to turn into safe havens from the cold and the rain – they’re perfect for it when you think about it, almost like your own house on wheels! Cosy and warm on the inside, the ability to listen to the radio or a podcast as you drive through sleet and snow – however, there is always one caveat to being comfy in our cars – they do get rather ‘lived in’!
After a while, the comfort and convenience of our vehicles start to show, and without the weather to do a deep clean ourselves, and often not having the luxury of taking it to the cleaners, our once pristine motors are transformed into harbingers of empty food packages, muddy shoes and a seemingly endless amount of crumbs – and that’s not even mentioning the effects of grit, dirt and sleet on the exteriors of our vehicles.
So to celebrate the turning of the seasons, and join in with this year’s homemakers, we want to make sure you can enjoy the return of spring, the sun and the breeze with our own spring car cleaning guide!
Upholstery and Fabrics
There’s really nothing worse than looking over your upholstery and catching a glimpse of what managed to hide its way in the crevices, let alone the muckiness of your car’s footwells if you have carpeting.
You want to start dry – get rid of any large crumbs or clumps of dirt with a brush, and suck them up with the hoover! The last thing you want to do is rehydrate all that dried dirt!
After you’ve gotten the main culprits out the way, just prioritise the smaller jobs first – any general scuffs, stains or scratches, maybe from muddy shoes or food items, can be lifted right off the upholstery with a damp cloth. Then move on to stains that require a carpet cleaner, perhaps a spilt drink made its way into the footwell, or a particularly muddy walk stained the carpet!
From this point, slowly tackle the more invasive stains, perhaps a broken ink pen has leaked on your seat – it is here a dilute mixture of rubbing alcohol might be applied to lift those spots right out – just remember to wipe down the spot after with pure water.
The amount of dirt and grime that can gum up our vehicle’s dashboard is really quite surprising – other than the steering wheel or the gear stick, it’s the part of the interior our hands come into contact with the most!
This is where we start having to be a bit more careful – electronics and water are famously not very good friends, and the last thing we want to do is short out any of our car’s interfacing systems.
Lightly dampen a cloth, and wipe down all the surfaces – but do not forget to dry! Remember to get behind the steering wheel, cotton buds or toothpicks are really good at getting the grime out of rubber trimming and tight corners!
People seem to always forget about the boot – often, we think, because people realise how dirty it can get back there, especially if you are a pet owner! Often carpeted, our tips from the upholstery and fabric section apply here too.
If your car has a spare wheel well or compartment that can be accessed via the boot, make sure you lift the hatch and clean that out, as a lot of dirt and detritus often get vibrated down in there, and sometimes even worse, liquids, which can eventually rust through the bottom, or ruin a spare tire!
The Exterior and Wheels
Here comes the big job – if you’ve read our Hidden Hazard Helper, you’ll know how winter-time road debris, including grit and natural material, can really impact your vehicle’s exterior – while many of us settle for just a light cleaning of the paintwork and windows, without the proper care and attention, our cars can suffer if the remnants of winter are not properly cleaned!
Make sure the first clean is a deep one – mix speciality car cleaner or detergent with water – never use solvents not made for your car’s exterior, as it will strip the coating clean off your car!
Many people often overlook the cracks and crevices of the exterior of our cars – i.e. the wheel arches, the interiors of the doors, the gaps around the bonnet and beneath the rear and front bumpers – make sure to hit these parts hard, as these are always where dirt and moisture get trapped and lead to rusting.
So there you have it!
Hopefully, there’s something here to inspire you to get back on track and get your vehicle in tip-top shape! However, there are some things we just can’t do at home, those dents, scuffs and scratches on your car’s bodywork and alloys won’t disappear with any home care technique!
That’s why all our specialists at EASR are the best in the business when it comes to alloy wheel restoration, paintless dent removal, car and van customisation and paint care and so much more – if this winter’s been too hard on your vehicle, book a consultation to see what we can do for you – fill out the form on our website, calling us 0330 111 0203, or feel free to email us at [email protected]
Driving means many different things, to many different people! Some motorists can’t get enough of the thrill of jumping behind the wheel, while others find comfort and relaxation in the repetitive nature of long journeys – some unfortunate few even find the whole driving experience just a bit too much, and keep their enthusiasm relegated to the contents of books and walks around the workshop!
Here at EASR we believe that everyone has the right to enjoy the amazing world of automobiles in their own way, just as much as we do – we see it from both sides, and often we see the results of the hidden hazards many motorists fail to even consider!
Our solution? Compile a list of the more elusive hazards that you can look out for – some are more serious than others, like all things. However, we feel that whether it will save you a few quid, or even save something a little more serious, we’re happy to help keep people passionate about our vehicles, so here’s our EASR handy-hidden-hazard-helper (we’re working on a better name!)
We want to start our guide with something a little less serious and scary, and possibly could save you the scuffs and scratches that bring us down when we notice them on our vehicles!
We tend to notice the glaring obstacles that might cause damage to our cars, for example, other vehicles, obstructions in the road (fallen trees, bits of damaged vehicles), but what if we told you there are more than a few elusive car-scuffer and scratchers that we fail to notice every time, and while some are unavoidable, with the right techniques and mindset we’re confident you can significantly mitigate the effects of some of the invisible nasties!
Most of the time, we envision the road as being of the most solid parts of driving – at the end of the day, it is what we are literally driving on – motorways especially lure us into a false sense of security, especially when they have recently been worked on or touched up!
If we take a closer look, however, there are a handful of variables that, while sometimes inescapable, can be worked around to save the stress from chips, scuffs and scratches! Let’s have a closer look:
We should have maybe mentioned this one at a more relevant time of year, however, better late than never, right? The bane of windshields worldwide, we’re sure you’ve seen them roaming the streets early in the morning, or late at night – the dreaded gritter! When the weather gets to a point where moisture on the tarmac could freeze, councils and highways may decide to grit the roads. Foremost, try to avoid driving behind them as much as you can – perhaps note their schedule and plan journeys before they have gritted, or at least an hour after – if this is impossible, and you find yourself behind one of the big yellow beasts, try and keep a wide berth, potentially the length of two or three cars to avoid ricocheting rocks.
Country roads & tracks
Roads that are less well maintained obviously harbor many more hidden hazards, and not simply on the road surface itself – here are a couple of things to note:
Hazards are not limited to the road
Overhanging trees or a dense canopy can cause serious damage to your vehicle – you wouldn’t walk anywhere by staring at the floor, so why would you drive like that. After a strong storm, listen out for cracking branches by lowering your window a tad.
Watch your speed
Unlike motorways, bits of natural debris (pebbles, rocks and even some small bits of wood) can blend into the floor much more easily on country roads. It is also important to understand that the faster your speed, the faster a piece of debris will fly from under your wheel (or the wheel of the car in front of you!) – keep your speed down and save your chassis, and set a precedent to stay safer on winding country roads.
Hidden hazards may not always be natural, and more often than we’d think, our very vehicles (or the vehicles of others) may actually be the reason we have to break into the wallet to fix up dings and dents. Some vehicles have suffered to the point where they begin to shed pieces of themselves and litter the road – unfortunately, after years of use, the bottoms of cars match the colour of the road, making them hard to spot, and sometimes bits of broken auto-mobiles will lay dormant on motorways, ready to cause damage. We would strongly suggest keeping an eye out for cars or motor-cycles that look a little on the ‘shabby’ side – telltale signs are cars that are excessively scratched on the bottom, protruding parts from the base of the vehicle, exhausts that are hanging too low and tires that seem to spin inconsistently.
We hope that at least a few of these might have opened your eyes to a little more than before, and remember to take all of this with a grain of salt! A nervous driver can be a dangerous one, and at the end of the day, we want everyone to enjoy the experience.
Let us know if there are any more hidden hazards to watch out for, and remember, if your car has fallen victim to any of these secret scratchers or deceptive dingers, book a consultation with our dedicated team of car care professionals, from paint repairs to wheel restoration, we always have you covered!
While the holiday season is over, you wouldn’t be blamed for thinking that we never really got our full opportunity for a getaway! With all the restrictions and mindful shieldings we’ve endured over the Christmas period, many people, maybe even yourself, feel as if they have not had the opportunity of a well-deserved break from the stress of the past couple of years! But at EASR, we quite frankly think that having that opportunity to get away from home, and to relax from our ever more complicated lives, is more important than ever!
But you may be asking yourself about the difficulty of travelling abroad at the moment – or the expense of hired travel, and while they are fair points, what if we told you that there was a way to cheaply take on an adventurous getaway, by yourself or with your family or friends, without having to deal with travel agents, or even if you want, not even one hotel receptionist?
If you’ve been paying attention to our quality car maintenance and repair services, you’ll know that our getaway solution has to do with our cars! That’s right, it’s the road trip – and while it’s a leaf we’ve taken out of the book of our North American driving buddies, there are still plenty of beautiful and exciting road-tripping destinations around Great Britain that can really give you the breather you deserve!
Let’s just cover the basics of road-tripping for those who haven’t been lucky enough to experience it before!
What is Road Tripping?
This one is pretty simple, but for those who haven’t even encountered the term, don’t worry, we’ve got your back! Road tripping quite simply is the activity of visiting location to location using your own vehicle, and treating it like a holiday or adventure! The activity really took off in the United States. As the country is so vast and it could take days to drive across the nation, some bright spark realized you could use that time in between to get some rest, relaxations or activities in!
In the UK, we do not have access to a landmass as large as our American friends, however, this may serve as a blessing to some. The main detractor from American road trips, ironically, is the driving – there’s a lot of driving, and sometimes it’s through places that don’t have an awful lot going on, leading to semi-monotonous sessions of staring out of the window and listening to the radio. The UK on the other hand is positively pea-sized compared to the States, meaning that interesting locations are not only closer together, but we also have more control as to where we want to go! Want to hop from coastal town to coastal town? No problem! Want to take a tour through WWII Britain? Easy peasy! Like any road trip, these excursions can take however long you’d like them to, but most can easily be done at a weekend, or long weekend, with plenty of stops in between!
What Should I Take While Road Tripping?
When planning a road trip, you have to take the fact that this is not your run-of-the-mill holiday into consideration, and your personal wants and needs can be catered for, which is really exciting. If you’ve been following our blog, you may have seen our Christmas Car Safety Guide, which contains a mix of both car checks and must-brings on your trips, especially in the winter! We recommend taking a look through and picking up the essentials, like spare blankets, map and light source, a warning triangle etc.
However, we are going on a trip, remember, so we can afford to take some more luxurious items in the car, especially if your trip is a little bit longer, and boredom is almost sure to strike!
- Make sure you bring some entertainment along for the ride – prepare a playlist or pre-download some audiobooks! Firstly it will stave off boredom, and also by preparing before you leave, you won’t be fiddling with your phone on the journey
- If you’re travelling with little ones, maybe figure out any car games they might like, eye spy, or any verbal game can be a great pastime and keeps them engaged with the wold going buy, rather than a screen in the back
- Travel pillows and eye-masks (obviously not for the driver) can also be great, long drives often have a sleepy effect on passengers, and a quick rest can make the time fly by
- A travel mug or flask is almost a necessity, especially for drivers, keeping just a little tea or coffee could make the world of difference when setting off early in the morning or late at night, but of course, remember never to drive when excessively tired
How To Plan A Road Trip
Now we’ve skimmed over some road-tripping tips and must-brings, let’s get started by looking at the planning of an effective and fun road trip! While it is fun to just jump into the car and see where the roads take you, sometimes things can become very difficult and less enjoyable without just a little bit of a plan!
- Pick a destination – this one is obvious, but can really be helpful. Sometimes the destination might be for a work meeting far from your home, and in that case, leave a day before to plan a route with interesting stops along the way, and turn it into a get-away with a friend or loved one!
- Do your research – nowadays, it’s tremendously easy to find things to do by using search engines and travel websites – however, what these resources are not good for is going off the beaten track. Pick up some old guide books, or talk to people in the area to find those once in a lifetime spots
- Always take the scenic route – what’s the point in taking a driving holiday, when if you look out the window, all you see is the motorway? Of course, we have to take the fastest route from time to time, but sometimes A roads and even smaller country roads, while less efficient, can reveal some of the most beautiful parts of our country, and it is always fun to get a little lost!
- Book campsites in advance – obviously, if you decide not to camp this does not apply to you, however, camping on a road trip can significantly reduce the cost of your trip, and in turn, elongate it! If you are planning on camping, do not expect all campsites to have space, and in recent years many sites have adopted booking policies, so be wary, as sleeping in the car is really not as comfortable as it sounds!
Happy New Year!
After the first of each January, we hear the same old adage – “new year, new me”, but here at EASR we stand by our own new year’s resolution, “new gear, new me!” If you’ve spent any time reading our blog, you know we take our favourite rides very seriously – so seriously in fact, that in the spirit of the new year, we want to offer a few new year resolutions, both for the sake of our cars, and more importantly, our valued drivers like yourself!
We’ll kick off our resolutions with a few ones for you, our dedicated customers, and more importantly, dedicated motor heads! Let’s start the new year in the right gear!
Driver’s New Year Resolutions
1. Brush up on a few driving tips
When it comes to driving, we were all learners once – and for some of us, learning was much longer ago than we’d care to admit! Driving and road etiquette has changed a lot since then, so why not do yourself a favour and stay ahead of the curve (or should we say curb) – brush up on a few driving tips, flick through a newer edition of the Highway Code, and most importantly stay safe!
2. Take a road trip
In the UK, the idea of a ‘road trip’ is not as well established as it is across the pond in the Americas, but that’s not to say you can plan a great cross country tour around our historic island nation! In fact, now might be a better time than ever to start your own road trip, with travel restrictions abroad being as unpredictable as they are, now is the perfect time to jump in the car with friends and family and explore all the roads our country has to offer!
3. Keep your calm
We understand that not all drivers can be level headed and calm, and we know how easy it can be to lose your temper on the road, be it at a reckless driver, or the painful crawl of traffic! However, getting wound up whilst driving is one of the leading causes of traffic accidents worldwide, and if left unchecked over a period, can lead to ‘road rage’, which can be host to a whole gamut of problems. Put the stoic behind the steering wheel this year!
4. Understand your vehicle better
Cars are complicated! We hand pick our dedicated automotive engineers, simply because they are the best of the best, and we are always appreciative of customers who share the same passion and understanding behind the way these miracles of the motorway work! A clear, and even basic understanding of how your vehicle works can prevent thousands (yes, thousands) of pounds in damage, and can keep your car running for much longer. Have a look online, and don’t be afraid to ask anyone who knows a little more than you – your mechanic will love it.
5. Scrap the SatNav
“There was a time where we didn’t need a computer to tell us where we’re going”, we’re sure if you’re a younger driver on the road, you’ve heard this one before. The fact of the matter is, it’s true, and while we’re not saying to throw your TomTom out the window, invest in a current road map, or plan your route from home, and use your memory and road signs. Not will it improve your sense of direction, it might help you learn the right shortcuts to get you out of a jam.
Of course, these resolutions are here as just a little recommendation, if you can already pass the Knowledge, or are as cool as cucumber on the roads, then look out for some helpful resolutions for yourself this year. However, if you’re like many of our valued customers, then you’re up there with some of the best on the road, but here at EASR we reckon we can always do more for our vehicles – so for the start of 2022, here are a few resolutions for our rides!
Vehicle New Year Resolutions
1. Spruce up your interior
Why should we wait till spring for our cleaning? I’m sure we’ve all been there – the fateful day when a friend or relative offers you a ride, and you can’t see the floor for all the Coke cans, used mugs, receipts and god knows what else! Our cars are like our homes, so for the sake of yourselves and your passengers, let’s give them a real clean.
2. Make those alloys sparkle
Sometimes the start of a new year is an opportunity to show off your new self, there’s nothing wrong with a little peacocking once a year – the same goes for our cars. At EASR we offer a range of specially catered services for you and your vehicle – and our alloy wheel restoration service is no exception. We can almost guarantee a restoration back to factory quality, shine from your alloys, and use specialized techniques and equipment, tailored to your needs.
3. Keep that paint pristine
Speaking of sprucing up your vehicle, why stop at just the wheels – at EASR we have more than simply just alloy restorations! Throughout the past year we’re sure your vehicle’s paint job has sustained a few dents and dings along the way – perhaps even something more serious. At EASR there is no need to worry, as our talented and passionate paint restoration team have seen it all, from light touch ups, to some deep scratches. Even if the damage has extended to more than the paint level, book a consultation with our quick and easy paintless dent removal team – and keep that baby clean!
Here we are again, that special time of year – the start of the Christmas countdown! Can you feel it in the air? Well, we’ll tell you one thing, your car certainly can. Wintertime brings a lot with it, the festive spirit, cosy days inside, warm blankets and mulled wine, but of course that’s not everything. Here in the U.K, we tend to get something a little bit different to the Lapland-like idyllic Christmasses – something a little more grey.
While we have the luxury to stay home and snug up indoors, for our cars it’s a bit of a different story. Often cars, roads and motorways aren’t designed for our comfort, especially in winter, and as our need to travel increases around this time of year, we thought we would present to you the gift of peace of mind!
If you’ve been keeping up with our blog, you can probably tell we really care about our cars! That’s why we’ve compiled our wintertime car care tips to stave off any Christmas crisis, both at home and on the road! So let’s get in the spirit and start driving home for Christmas!
Store a blanket or sleeping bag in your vehicle.
We want to put this one first because as it goes, warmth is one thing we really can’t afford to lose. We’ve all been there, on the edge of turning into an icicle, with the heater packed in – blankets are overlooked nowadays, especially in cars, as we are so accustomed to high-quality super air-con units, however, sometimes you just can’t beat the old ways. In a situation where your car may break down in winter, or even worse at night, waiting for assistance in a stationary car is surprisingly dangerous, more so if you need to exit the vehicle if on a motorway or main road!
The beauty of the car blanket doesn’t simply extend to just emergencies you know! Blankets can be a great way to liven up your car’s interior a little bit if the home-vibe is your thing. Having a blanket or sleeping bag also opens the opportunity to rest in your car when necessary, and take a sensible nap to re-energise. They are also a great companion if you have little one’s along for the ride, especially on a long journey.
Keep a light source and a map.
We could see how these first two tips could be described as ‘fuddy-duddy’, but isn’t Christmas all about tradition? Sometimes the old ways are the best, and we’re sure that just having a few of these super simple items in your glove compartment or boot, might just save your holidays!
We can almost hear it now, the chorus of “why do we need a light and a map? We already have that on our phones!” Of course, that is a hard case to argue, however in these months of festivities it’s almost too easy to forget to keep those things charged, or while travelling to a roast dinner, find yourself in a data dead zone! A good torch could mean the difference between a Merry Christmas morning, or a miserable country-road accident, it may help to find your way around hazards in the road, or perhaps even more useful to signify your presence to other drivers in a broken down car!
The map should be pretty self-explanatory, although reading maps has recently become a bit of a lost skill – it’s certainly helped us out a few times in the past! Be aware though, never try to read a map and drive simultaneously, pull over and consult, or have a passenger read for you and direct. A good travel map also doubles up as a great stocking stuffer!
Keep your headlights clean
Here’s a quick one, but one very easy to overlook! Christmas time tends to mean two things – new socks, and dirty cars! With the constant threat of the roads icing over, roads tend to receive a healthy dose of grit – which then tends to cover your car. It has been estimated that drivers can lose up to 40% visibility due to grit, mud and ice on the car, so why not take a little time to add this to your pre-journey checklist.
Right after scraping down your windshield, why not give your headlights just a bit of attention, and while you’re at it, walk around your vehicle, take a look at your brake lights and indicators to make sure everything is shining bright!
Other essentials to consider
While we want to get onto the topic of our cars, we have to realise: what are cars without their drivers? So alongside our blanket, torch (with batteries) and map, here are a few more items to keep around, just in case:
- A good pair of wellies or some rugged, strong gripped shoes – English winters usually mean rain, and sometimes we might have to exit our cars in less than ideal conditions – don’t walk the hard shoulder, mid-shower, in heels!
- An umbrella – We think you’re starting to get the idea – keep the rain off yourself!
- Ice scraper – They occupy the junk drawer in almost every house in the country, but do you have it in your car? When away from home, or just when it gets that cold, a good windshield ice scraper will make your life so much easier. Don’t waste any more fuel or power trying to defrost your windows, get as much off with a good scrape.
- A warning triangle – This one should be in everyone’s cars all year round, and actually if you haven’t really explored your car, you may find you already have one of these hidden by the manufacturer somewhere! A reflective warning triangle has been known to be a lifesaver, especially this time of year when we drive in the dark so much more!
Well, there you have it! Hopefully, some of these tips have inspired you to make sure you’re stocked up on all your Christmas car essentials items, and if you know of someone without any of these, you might just be able to help with a stocking stuffer! Don’t forget EASR are here for all your paintless dent removal that may be required from your winter driving. We offer a range of car and van paint repair services as well as other SMART repair services for your vehicle so scuffs and marks are no issue. Drive safely, and most importantly, let’s remember to keep the festivities in our homes, never bring the party into your car, and know your limit!
Merry Christmas and safe driving!
Here at EASR, we take everything auto-related seriously – so seriously in fact that we think that the history of our favourite vehicles, and how they came to be, should be celebrated just as much as machines themselves, especially their often-overlooked stories.
If you’ve been following our blog, you may have noticed the first half of our car painting odyssey, starting just before 1924, and rolling into the 1950’s – the basics, if you will! In the spirit of showing how dedicated we are to both our happy customers and their vehicles, the time has come to reveal the second chapter of the vibrant history of auto paint!
Perhaps we need a little catch-up – we’ve followed DuPont’s rise to nitrocellulose power following a fortunate accident in 1921 and traced how the effects of the Second World War affected the use of gun cotton in paints, specifically following sanctions clamped on the defeated axis powers after the victory in Europe. We left off on the developments made in High Solid paint systems developed in Germany and Italy and set the stage for a very different kind of invasion in the US.
Any Colour You Like (1950s-1960s)
In the United States, the symbol of the automobile had transformed in the eyes of both manufacturers and consumers. The purpose of vehicles as simply a means of transportation had transformed into the idea of the car as an extension of the self – a means of expression, of style and of social standing. The use of nitrocellulose lacquers, with its inefficient application and drying process, paired with its limited colour pallet meant that it was ill-equipped to suit the needs of the more stylistically motivated auto-industry! Recalling the end of our previous article, the sanctions set in Europe had set in motion the discovery and development of acrylic lacquers, which surely could not have come at a better time.
Fundamentally, the improvements that came with using thermoplastic acrylic lacquers were twofold: firstly, the ability to apply a base coat, before a clear acrylic topcoat, opened the possibility for a far broader spectrum of colours! Secondly, the clear top-coat itself had made massive leaps in the protection of the base layer, acting as a powerful shield against UV light that tended to bleach and wash out previous coating methods.
Kustom Kulture (1960s-1970s)
It is difficult to overstate the importance of the development of acrylic painting techniques and how their introduction has shaped the art (yes, art) of auto-painting even up to this very day. By the early 1960s, the creative potential of car manufacturers had expanded, and due to acrylic paints becoming more readily accessible, the car paintwork industry had been extended into the hands of the general public, and custom paint jobs became a viable means of business and a national pass time. In turn, the self-expression that a custom finish of an auto-mobile allowed was granted to more people than ever before.
It is abundantly clear that when a creative tool is made convenient for more people, it is only a matter of time before cultural influences make their mark. It can be seen following the mass production of cameras, and the ensuing art of photography – the same can be said for auto-painting. “Greaser” culture of the 1950s had standardised the modification of motorcycles and cars as a cultural pastime – the rise of drag race culture in the early 60’s further solidified this passion within the hearts and minds of Americans.
The shifting cultural tides of this period, and the new accessibility of auto-paint, left the doors wide open for artists like Ed ‘Big Daddy’ Roth, Dean Jeffries and Kenny Howard (to name but a few) to kick start the wild period of ‘Kustom Kulture’!
The Kontinuation (1970s-1980s)
Never before were the likes of cartoonists, tattoo artists and designers granted access to entirely new canvas for their work so quickly. The seemingly immediate ability to harness these new painting technologies resulted in an explosion of new styles of auto-art, and as Kustom Kulture expanded, newly formed subcultures began to form. The drag racing scene of the 1960s began a new wave of iconographic designs – cars were now beginning to appear as individuals: their names being embellished on their doors and bonnets, some even sporting mascots, like Ed Roth’s ‘Rat Fink’, harking back to the nose art of WWII aircraft.
By the time the 1970s rolled around, custom car culture (or should we say kulture?) was no longer reserved for the racetrack, and the “low and slow” appeal of lowrider culture was springing out of California and hitting the streets of the US. Auto-paint was getting ever closer to being in the hands of more consumers, and improvements made to base coat acrylic, and enamel technologies, along with further durable topcoats, allowed for the iconic metallic-coated, suspension bopping style of ‘lowrider’ cars to take form.
As time drove on, and more subsets and subcultures branched out from under Kustom Kulture’s umbrella, the late ’70s and early 80’s suddenly witnessed a newly affordable renaissance for auto-paint – the price to customise your vehicle was now no longer a luxury worth several months of pay, and the average driver could express themselves with their own designs.
Wrapping Up (1990’s – Present)
It may be clear at this point, that the richness of auto-painting culture, especially after the 1950’s, is far too broad to cram into one post alone – and surely trying to do so would be an injustice in itself. We would rather save the time to explain the in’s and out’s of our favourite vehicles, for another opportunity to share them in our blog!
The progression of auto-paint has rolled onwards, with an unyielding passion that doesn’t appear to want to stop. The technologies have moved so far in fact, that the paint element of auto-paint has seemingly been removed from the equation. With the development of ‘car wrappings’ that grace the chassis of the most coveted supercars, sporting wild and intricate designs, brilliant colours and sometimes other-worldly metallic and pearlescent shimmers! But perhaps that is an opportunity for another auto-history lesson?
EASR is not only motivated but passionate, about how your vehicle represents you – and we thrive off the sharing of that passion with our customers. Our cosmetic, and mechanical solutions are tailored to you! We are proud to offer the newest advancements in repairing any paint damage that may come to your vehicle, along with Alloy Wheel Restorations, Diamond Cutting Services and Paintless Dent Removal! To get a quote from our automobile experts, you can fill out the form on our website, call us 0330 111 0203, or feel free to email us at [email protected]
It seems that the spectrum of interests car aficionados has is endless. Even regarding the most niche information about cars, some the average person has never even taken into consideration, there is a petrol-head somewhere ready to write an entire book about it! Although, with all the elements of automobiles that we are fascinated by, we can’t help but notice an overlooked element of our favourite vehicles – and the more we think about it, it’s hard to understand why.
The paint job of our vehicles is often the first striking aspect many of us see, and when thinking of the most iconic rides throughout history, it’s hard to avoid picturing their colours and decals in our mind’s eye. It may seem odd, but the history of how we got from painting wooden ‘motorised carriages’, to the 60’s hot-rod design craze, all the way to today’s almost otherworldly custom paint jobs and wraps, is truly vibrant!
This journey is a colourful one, with many fascinating discoveries along the way, so here’s an EASR crash course in the history of automotive paint!
Like Watching Paint Dry (Pre-1924)
Before we dive right into all of the advances made in the auto-painting industry, we need to first take a look into the period before even paint-gun or spray paint technologies were even used on vehicles, let alone mass-produced ones. While the invention of the automobile in the late 19th century started changing the technical approach to transportation, the technique used to paint carriages had remained the same for a number of years. This process was almost as simple as it gets, using brushes to paint wooden chassis; an old Studebaker Electric Carriage advertisement outlines the process: “twenty-two successive stages of finish as they appear on every Studebaker carriage (…) an item that means fifty-two days of valuable time.”
Fifty-two days to finish a batch of carriages – this labour-intensive process, combined with the inefficient and wasteful use of space to keep many of these vehicles in a “stable” environment clearly was unstainable, and ultimately culminated in the phasing out of Studebaker and other Electric Carriage style vehicles. Most importantly though, set a goal to improve the painting of the soon to be the mass-produced automobile.
A Happy Accident (1921-1939)
The first big discovery came about in 1921 at the DuPont Film Plant. Yes, film plant, specifically nitro-cellulose film, the likes of which you’ve probably seen used in old projectors and film cameras. As the story goes, it was a warm day at end of the week, and one (probably very tired) factory worker, happened to leave a barrel of ‘gun cotton’ (another name for nitrocellulose, named due to its fluffy, cotton-like appearance, and its use as early accelerant for firearms) outside over the weekend. Little did he know that what was about to occur in that barrel would change the automotive industry for decades. When the mistake was discovered the following week, what they saw was not the gun cotton, but rather a thick, clear liquid – the fundamental part of nitrocellulose lacquer.
Following this discovery, the DuPont Chemical company began working on developing both the lacquer and primer from this new material. By 1923, following innovation in spray-paint technology, the first fully spray painted car was rolled out. The 1923-24 Oakland (the predecessor to Pontiac) began to set a new precedent for the way cars were to be finished.
It wasn’t until 1926 until Glyptal developed the first manufactured mass-produced alkyd enamel paint, now commonly referred to as just enamel. As the ’30s drove on, both lacquer and enamel were used as the final coats for many car manufacturers – the bigger names like Ford, Chrysler and Studebaker, tended to opt for enamel, while more independent manufacturers used nitrocellulose lacquers, although a mixture of the two was not uncommon.
Turning of the Tides (1940-the 1950s)
Up until the end of the 1930s, America was leading the way in the automotive industry, and with that, the automotive paint industry too! However, with the ever-looming tensions of the war in Europe, and the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Americans had no choice but to intervene.
If you recall back to the DuPont days, the term ‘gun cotton’ arose from nitrocellulose’s explosive qualities. Following the victory in Europe, many restrictions were placed on Axis powers in Europe (Germany, Italy,), some of which extended to the use of nitrocellulose lacquers to prevent the manufacture of explosives, which left only the use of enamels. It was under these circumstances that the Europeans developed the then-revolutionary High Solid Acrylic Urethane paint system (High Solid referring to the higher concentration of resin, and lower quantity of more volatile natural compounds), the result of which far exceeded that of their American counterparts, resulting in far more durable results compared to the slow air-drying process of lacquer and enamel!
It would not be long however until this new technology would make an invasion of its own in the United States, and new advancements of these materials would turn the process completely on its head!
Following this first crash course on the history of auto-paint, be sure to check in next week for the history up until today! We hope to show you how seriously we take our trade here at EASR. While we may not be able to offer the most “vintage” of finishes, we offer the newest advancements in repairing any paint damage that may come to your vehicle, along with Alloy Wheel Restorations, Diamond Cutting Services and Paintless Dent Removal! To get a quote from our automobile experts, you can fill out the form on our website, calling us 0330 111 0203, or feel free to email us at [email protected]
East Anglia may be one of the most historically rich regions of the United Kingdom, but the area’s heritage is not limited to the days of horse and cart! In fact, Norfolk and Suffolk’s auto-motive history is extremely rich, and any motorhead-historian may just be surprised at what they might find in these auto-history sites!
Don’t let this 15th-century building’s ancient exterior fool you – hidden within Sir John Falstof’s private estate, is the largest and most varied private car collection in the UK that is also open to the public! Located just north of Great Yarmouth, the purpose built museum is home to a staggering amount of “fine and rare veteran, vintage, classic, sports and touring automobiles”, spanning from an 1893 Panhard et Lavassor to the very first Ford Fiesta!
With everything both an automobile aficionado and car-mad kids will enjoy, Caister castle is sure to impress the whole family but be quick, the opening season closes in October, so get driving!
For information on the location and opening times for Caister, visit www.caistercastle.co.uk
Classic Team Lotus
In the small village of Hethel, located only a short drive outside of Norwich, you may be surprised to find the headquarters of one of the most prestigious and celebrated car manufacturers in the UK – Lotus Cars. While the company is still constructing their new home facility, which will be available for visitation sometime in the next year – there is still over 70 years of Team Lotus history to discover on their Classic Team Lotus Tours.
Sporting a wide collection of classic and special examples of Lotus’ prestigious engineering, any F1 fanatic is sure to find something of interest touring the home of this 7 time Formula One winner! Show-cars, which are often demonstrated during events, can be seen making the rounds of the area, as can the dedicated team of engineers, whose workshops are available for tours!
For more information visit www.classicteamlotus.co.uk/en/home/
East Anglia Transport Museum
Not all motor history is flashy rides and muscle cars, and sometimes we should take the time to really respect the hard-working cars and motors that helped us build the nation! Located in Lowestoft, the East Anglia Transport Museum is offering that precise experience for any historically minded motorheads!
With vehicles and exhibits that are not only exclusive to automobiles but also proudly harbour an extensive fleet of trams and trolleybuses, the East Anglia Transport Museum is sure to invoke that classic blast-from-the-past experience. Sparking life into these old machines by lovingly crafting a variety of period-correct street scenes, this time capsule can be a great way to school up on the little aspects of our motoring heritage, or simply a fun and educative day to spend with friends or family, everyone is sure to find something that they will enjoy
For information on exhibits, events and opening times, visit www.eatransportmuseum.co.uk
Not all automobile heritage has to be about the gears and engines, and sometimes we have to remember that without long winding tracks, or tight hairpin turns, what would be the point of automobiles? For all the racers looking for a bit of history – or maybe want to watch it being made, you would be missing out by not driving into Snetterton Circuit, located in Thetford, just outside of Norwich!
Originally opening in 1953, this 3-mile track has been host to some of UK motorings most famous events, including hosting the UK’s first-ever 24-hour race, the Willhire 24 hour. Initially used for motorcycling racing, Snetterton soon became the testing ground for Lotus, and eventually other racing teams! Still hosting some of the most prestigious races in the country, and with new revisions made to the track, this really is a must-visit. And for the up and coming racers, don’t forget that Snetterton offers the opportunity to drive around this historic track yourself!
For circuit information, events and tickets, visit www.snetterton.co.uk
While we all love history, make sure your vehicle doesn’t get on the wrong side of it – East Anglia Smart Repair offers all car and van paint repairs as well as paintless dent removal services. Everything you need to keep your car in prime exhibition condition! To book an appointment with our automobile experts, you can fill out the form on our website, calling us 0330 111 0203, or feel free to email us at [email protected]
There are a great number of places to take a look at spectacular cars around our county. With the right treatment, your garage could be one of them. There’s nothing that beats a perfect finish, especially when done using quick, cost-effective methods such as our specialist Norfolk Paint Repair services. However, we can’t ignore the morbid curiosity that comes with visiting a graveyard.
The kind of graveyard we’re talking about is full of rusting vintage cars. Amateur photographers, urban explorers and car enthusiasts make the journey to the depths of Norfolk to seek out scenes of old cars in the middle of the woods. Although they’re old and decrepit, there’s just something so fascinating about seeing a piece of history just abandoned in the woods. Once immaculate examples of engineering, nature has taken over and these cars have become home to moss and fungi. Who knows what animals have made nests in them?
Here you can see one filmmaker show off some of the motors you can see at one of these graveyards. Even though they’re old and rusted, the cars look beautiful! What is it about the vintage look that’s so pleasing to the eye?
Part of the appeal of these places is the mystery. How did these graveyards come to be? There are many who speculate on the internet about how those cars get there. No matter the answer, we’re glad that there are these hidden treasure troves of classic cars just waiting to be discovered.
That’s right! It’s not just one graveyard, Norfolk ramblers have found sites like these all over the county. The one in the video is in Medlar’s Field in Horsford, 6 miles from Norwich. Another one is in Hevingham, where some car parts have even become part of the trees! These car graveyards aren’t forever, though. Sometimes they get cleared away, so they’re not always around forever. If you want to catch a glimpse of these rotting vehicles, you better get a shift on. If it’s too late for one, people are discovering these kinds of sites even today! Who knows? Maybe you’ll discover one that no one has seen before.
Even though they’re beautiful in their own way, these cars are a reminder of what can happen when you don’t properly look after your vehicle. Rust, dents, paint scratches might look like superficial problems but they can build up and cause real damage. Do you think you can start the engine on any of these motors?
Luckily, East Anglia Smart Repair is equipped with the technology and expertise to deal with all kinds of damage to the outside of your vehicle. Using specialist Norfolk vehicle paint repair specialists and providing mobile paintless dent removal services, we can maintain your car’s shine. Rust, scratches and dents are no match for our Norfolk SMART repair services! Rusty looking cars have their place, but you can keep your car in top form with just a click of a button. All you have to do is fill out our form, email us at [email protected] or give us a call at 0330 111 0203.