If In Doubt, Ask The Experts (Especially If It’s Bad News)!

Last week we got a phone call from one of the local car dealerships. They had a car with a tricky problem. They’d made their investigations and run the usual diagnostic tests, and they were pretty sure they’d found what was wrong with the car. But it wasn’t going to be good news for the customer.

So, before they broke the bad news, they wanted to be absolutely sure that they’d identified the fault correctly, and their proposed repair was the best way forward.  That’s when the garage turned to us and asked us to have a look at the car ourselves, and give them our opinion about both the fault and the best way to deal with it.

We were happy to help, and in this instance came to the same conclusion as the dealership. Bad news indeed for the customer, but at least they had the benefit of knowing that two garages had looked at the car and independently determined the same repair was needed.

We do this kind of work for a lot of local dealerships, and we’re happy to provide our expertise. After all, if you tot up all our time as mechanics, we’ve got 135 years’ experience in the trade!

But you don’t have to be a garage to ask us for a second opinion. If you’re a bit worried about what a garage has told you, or simply want the peace of mind of another pair of eyes checking the problem with your vehicle, just get in touch. We’d be delighted to help.

For a second (or even a first!) opinion on your vehicle, call Tony or Andrew at Sandy Lane on 0161 480 4117.


Using your dealership. Great deal or no deal?

If you’ve bought your car from a main dealer you might be used to heading straight back to them to get your car serviced or fixed. You don’t need to – even if your car is within warranty. By choosing a local independent garage like Sandy Lane instead, you could save a lot of money without compromising on the quality of parts, expertise or labour.

Dealership quotes up to 40% more expensive

An independent survey of 5000 garages by Who Can Fix My Car in October 2014 found out that overall franchised dealers’ quotes were 18% higher than those provided by independent garages. In some cases the difference in price was much greater than that. According to the survey dealerships were quoting 40% more than a local independent garage for brakes and exhaust work.

Sandy Lane is ££ cheaper

These findings are backed up by the case of a recent customer who came to see us:

Mr J needed replacements tyres, a new alloy wheel, wheel tracking, brakes checking and adjusting and new wiper blades.

The main dealership quoted £1,910 including VAT

We quoted, and charged, just £346.18, including VAT.

Why are we cheaper?

We have good relationships with a lot of local dealers, and we know that the individual dealerships don’t have much control over the prices they quote. Much as they might want to provide a lower quote, company policy requires them to fix or replace everything that might be a problem in the particular scenario the customer has explained.

As an independent garage Sandy Lane has much more freedom to treat each customer’s car problems individually. So we can quote for what’s absolutely necessary and then discuss any extra work that might be appropriate. Our customers can choose to have that work done there and then if they want, or wait and see whether a problem arises.

Another advantage of coming to Sandy Lane is that you get to choose what replacement parts we use when we repair your car.  You can ask us to use branded parts, eg Mercedes or Ford, to repair your car or unbranded parts, which are cheaper and do the job just as well.

Plus our hourly rate for labour is much cheaper too – again because as an independent garage we can choose what rate we charge.

Before you pick up the phone…

Next time your service is due or your car has a problem, pause before you pick up the phone and dial your dealership. Contact Sandy Lane instead to discuss your repair and get a comparison quote. Then you will be able to see for yourself the difference that Sandy Lane Service Station can make to your pocket.

Surviving The Hot Weather

With the heatwave in full flow this week, we’d though we should give you some tips and advice on what to do in order to make sure you and your car are safe and can get through it in one piece.

Check the level and strength of the vehicles coolant –  A low coolant level may allow your engine to overheat. Make sure the coolant reservoir is filled to the proper level. Don’t forget though, never open a radiator cap on a hot radiator to check the coolant level. This is because hot steam and boiling coolant may spray out.

It’s advised to wait until the engine has cooled to check the level inside the radiator. If the level is low, add a 50/50 mixture of the specified coolant and water, but never run straight water in the radiator.

Water does cool better than antifreeze, but antifreeze is required to raise the boiling temperature of the coolant and to protect against corrosion.

Angle shot of a car against sunset in the background

Make sure the cooling fan works – If the fan isn’t working when the air conditioning is turned on it may mean a defective fan motor, relay or electrical problem. If the engine has a belt-driven fan with a fan clutch, a worn fan clutch may cause the engine to overheat.

High mileage fan clutches (those with more than 100,000 miles on them) may be weak and not provide adequate cooling. If the fan clutch is leaking fluid or spins with little resistance, the clutch needs to be replaced.

Check your air conditioner – Make sure the A/C blows cold air and is working properly. Nothing makes hot weather seem worse as a weak air conditioner. If the A/C is not blowing cold air, the refrigerant charge may be low. The system should be checked for leaks before adding refrigerant.

Check the age of your battery – Most car batteries only last 4 or 5 years. If you battery is 5 or more years old, it will probably need to be replaced soon. Hot weather is actually harder on batteries than cold weather because it increases the rate of evaporation of the liquid electroyte inside the battery (this is not a problem with gel type batteries). The date can be determined by reading the date code on the battery. The date code number indicates the year, and the date code letter corresponds to the month (A = January, B = February, C = March, etc.)

Change the oil – Replacing old dirty oil with fresh oil can increase the lubrication protection for your engine. Switching to heavier viscosity motor oil during hot weather is a good idea, especially on older high mileage engines. Synthetic motor oils are even better for high temperature protection.

Check or replace the windshield wipers – Natural rubber wiper blades have a limited life of a year or less. Sun exposure, extreme heat and cold all age the rubber and cause it to become hard and brittle. If the wipers streak, chatter or smear, it is time to replace them.

Check Your Tires – Check the tire for wear, uneven wear, age cracks or damage. Check the inflation pressure in all the tiers, including the spare. Underinflated tires makes the tires run hot and increases the risk of a blowout.

Wax the body – The body should be waxed or sprayed with some type of protectant to help shield the paint from the ultraviolet rays from the sun, and summer smog in urban areas.

Hot weather 2

Keep yourself cool – Buy a sun shade for the windshield to reflect light so the interior doesn’t get so hot if the vehicle is parked in direct sunlight. Opening a window slightly when the car is parked can also lighten the cooling load on the air conditioner when the vehicle is first started, and prevent you from getting a hot seat or burning yourself on hot interior surfaces.

For more information on staying cool and safety tips call Sandy Lane on 0161 480 4117 or nip in for a chat.

Cleaning Your Car For Spring

Spring is the time to give your car that proper clean after the winter months, the AA have put together a great walkthrough to make sure your vehicle is spotless top to toe and has fully recovered from the harsh months that have passed.


The inside of your car may not have dried out properly all through the winter as wet shoes and clothes keep bringing in moisture while there’s not been the heat or ventilation to dry it out. Discoloured upholstery, rotted carpets and general shabbiness can seriously reduce a car’s resale value.


Remove winter grime from paint work with warm water and a suitable car shampoo.

Start on the roof and work your way down and around the car, allowing stubborn dirt at the bottom to soak. Pay particular attention to the undersides of doors and sills and make sure that all the shampoo is fully rinsed off before drying the car.


The underside of the car takes the worst of the winter weather. Mud soaks-up salt laden spray and, if left, will cause corrosion over time.

Assuming there’s no hosepipe ban, hose down the entire underside of the car, paying particular attention to the front and rear wheel arch areas.


Check tyres carefully for tread and general condition. The legal minimum tread depth is 1.6mm, but we recommend replacing them before the tread gets down to 2mm. Look for faults such as cuts, splits or bulges too and have any damaged or worn tyres replaced. Don’t forget the spare.

And finally

Before the start of any long journey and ideally every week check the engine oil level, radiator coolant level, windscreen washer level and tyre pressures, including the spare. The vehicle handbook should show you clearly how to do all of these.

For more information on these tips visit http://www.theaa.com/motoring_advice/seasonal/spring_clean.html

Cleaning your car

Free First Aid Kit with any combined Service and MOT!

Claim your free essential first aid kit when you take out our combined service and MOT.

Having a first aid kit in your car is a requirement on the continent and gives extra piece of mind for long journeys or while on you are holiday.

Your car and van first aid kit is suitable for cars, delivery vans and service vehicles. It is supplied in a soft nylon bag with a zipper closure.

Your free first aid kit consists of:

  • 1 first aid scissors
  • 20 assorted plasters
  • 1 conforming bandage
  • 1 pair examination gloves
  • 1 microporous tape
  • 1 medium sterile dressing
  • 2 low adherent wound dressing 5cm x 5cm
  • 1 low adherent wound dressing 7.5cm x 7.5cm
  • 6 cleansing wipes
  • 1 survival blanket
  • 1 triangular bandage
  • 1 first aid guidance leaflet
  • Travel bag 15cm X 10cm x 8cm

Call 0161 480 4117 for your FREE no obligation service and MOT quote.


When To Buy A New Car

Getting a good deal on a new or used car often depends on the time of year you buy it. Make sure you keep an eye on the calendar so that you can take advantage of seasonal factors that affect the car trade. To find out when to time your purchase, read on.

Choosing the right time of year to buy a car could potentially save your thousands of pounds. Here’s what to bear in mind:

• In February and August many dealers offer some real bargains, while sales are slow as buyers wait for the new number plates coming in March and September. However, If you take advantage of this lull, your ‘old’ number plates will make your car seem older than it really is, so it will depreciate faster

• At the end of each quarter – particularly the end of June and December – dealers may be keen to hit their quarterly sales targets and more likely to offer you a good deal

• Find out when new models or ‘face-lifted’ existing models are due out, then buy the previous version during its last few weeks in the showroom. Dealers will be want to shift this stock and be more likely to offer you a good deal. But remember that the older model will depreciate faster than the new arrivals, even though it’s roughly the same age

• Convertibles are more desirable in the summer, so there may be bargains to be had in the winter

• Demand for four-wheel-drive vehicles usually peaks during autumn and winter because of poorer weather, so you may get a bigger discount in the summer

• Showrooms are quieter on weekdays so drop in on a Friday – when the dealer will also be keen to meet their weekly target. This gives you a double advantage when bargaining with the salesperson

• Wait a few months after launch before buying a new model – by then there will be less showroom buzz about it so the dealer may well offer you a better deal

Sandy lane can provide our services for your brand new car at up to 40% cheaper than the main dealerships! So why not come to us and save money.



Shield Yourself From Unexpected Repair Costs At Sandy Lane!

Here at Sandy Lane Service Station we are part of the Independent Garage Association which means you can join our Car Repair Plan!

This is a service to ensure you always have the funds available to pay for the service and repair of your car.
Your monthly direct debit can be as much or as little as you like and you can start and stop payments at any time to suit your own circumstances. Once you have built up your fund it remains available to you at any time to use at Sandy Lane.


Each time you use your Independent Garage Association Car Repair Plan to make a payment or part payment for goods or services at a participating garage you will be asked to sign the invoice to authorise the payment and you will also receive an email to confirm that the money has been deducted from your plan.

All garages that accept the Independent Garage Association’s Car Repair Plan are members of ‘Trust My Garage’, the code scheme exclusively for Independent Garages.

For more information call us on 0161 480 4117 today!

Getting Your Car Ready For Winter

Winter is just around the corner, so it’s best to have your car serviced before the ice comes in order to give your car the best chance of coming through it unscathed
• Get your battery checked. Batteries have got much better in recent years, however they don’t like the cold are more likely to fail when the temperature falls.
• Make sure you have the correct mixture of anti-freeze in the engine cooling system. Modern anti-freeze protects your engine in all conditions, hot and cold, so should be kept at the correct levels all year.
• Your windscreen washer fluid should be kept topped up as winter driving can get messy. Use the correct mixture of screenwash and water as this acts as anti-freeze. Don’t use washing up liquid, it will freeze solid.
• Have your air-con system checked as performance can drop off over time. Your air-con is vital in bad weather as it demists the windows far more efficiently when it’s working properly giving you better visibility.
• Winter driving requires extra tread in your tyres, the tread should be at least 3mm deep. We supply winter tyres to get you through the harshest environments.

To get your car prepared for winter driving call us on 0161 480 4117 or visit our site at http://www.sandylaneservicestation.co.uk/ and book yourself in!

Sandy Lane’s MG Project

Sandy Lane have many years expertise fixing and repairing classic cars, here’s a perfect example of us repairing a classic MG using quality MG parts


So book in now as classic car owners can get a 10% discount on all MOT’s and services!




The rich history of MG began nearly 90 years ago in 1924. The famous initials we know and love were chosen by Cecil Kimber, the founder of MG. Kimber chose the letters as a “nod” to William Morris, his employer, and the owner of Morris Garages. Kimber, didn’t just come up with our name. He also created the first line of MGs. He started out by fitting coach-built tourer bodies to the Morris Cowley chassis, creating cars known as the Morris Garage Chummys. A few years later, in 1924, he designed the 14/28 Super Sports model, the first true MG, and the car that premiered the octagonal logo which has journeyed with us ever since.


Another Brilliant Review From A Happy Customer!

Sandy Lane are always dedicated to giving the best to their customers and here’s one testimonial from the director of Master Gas Freddie Leyland

“ I wanted to thank Sandy Lane for the great job they did servicing my car.

I dropped my car in the morning and received a courtesy car so I could get to work. At lunchtime I received a call to say my car was ready.

I picked my car up on the way home and was even more surprised when I was presented with the bill. It was less than half the price for the same service at Audi.

Thank you Sandy Lane, I’m really happy with the overall service I received. I’d recommend you to anyone who wants to pay less for the maintenance of their car.”

Always great to have another satisfied customer!