There’s Always A Better Way

A good customer of ours came in to Sandy Lane Service Station the other day. She’d had knee surgery, and in moving the car seat back so she could get in and out the car the seat had become strained.

We took a look at the seat and then tried to source the parts we needed. We were told by Honda that the only way to sort the problem was to buy a complete new seat. At a cost of £650!

Well, that wasn’t acceptable to us, never mind the customer. There had to be a better way.

There was. And we found it.

We stepped back and had a think. And we realised that if we drilled the rivets out we could move the chair, and then replace the rivets. So that’s what we did, with the help of a company down the road that had the specialist equipment.

The result: our repairs cost £150, making a cost saving to our customer of more than £500!

Does your garage give you this kind of service? If you want your car to be looked after by an independent garage that has its customers’ interests at heart, contact Sandy Lane Service Station.

10 Things You Might Not Know About Driving In Europe (But Probably Should)


  1. First off – the basics. In Europe they drive on the other side of the road. That means you go round roundabouts anti-clockwise. Unless you’re in Cyprus, of course, where they drive on the same side as us.
  1. Because you’ll be driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road you need to adjust your headlamps so you don’t dazzle oncoming traffic. You can buy headlamp convertors (stickers) in places like Halfords, or at the ferry ports if you forget.
  1. If you’ve not got a GB sign on your registration plate you need to put a GB sticker on your car. Sorry, but the England flag, while patrotic, isn’t enough.
  1. It’s compulsory to have photographic ID on you at all times in many European countries, so keep your driving licence photo card or passport with you.
  1. Some countries, like France, forbid drivers from using satnavs that alert you to the position of fixed speed cameras. So, to keep using your satnav you’ll need to disable the ‘fixed speed camera PoI (Points of Interest)’ function.
  1. Just because you’re driving in Europe doesn’t you’ll get away with motoring offences – in many countries you’re fined on the spot! In Portugal the police are so keen that many carry portable ATM machines in their vehicles to ensure immediate payment.
  1. Many European countries operate toll roads, so make sure you have plenty of loose change in the local currency to pay at the toll booth.
  1. Historic zones in certain Italian cities require a special permit. Ignore this and you’ll face a hefty fine. Sat navs and GPS often don’t pick up on these “zono traffic limitato”, so keep an eye out for signs.
  1. In Germany many of the autobahns – their motorways – have no speed limits. It’s illegal to breakdown which includes being out of fuel. So it’s worth keeping your tank topped up.
  1. And finally if you’re driving in Denmark you might not realise that the law requires you to check for children who may be hiding underneath your car before setting off!

For all those driving abroad this summer safe travels! And if you want to double-check your car is safe and ready for your road trip, don’t hesitate to give us a call.

driving in europe

10 Checks To Make Before You Head For The Sun

School’s out for summer! And that means long holidays, and often long journeys.  Before you hit the road make sure your family are safe with our 10-point checklist. It will take you just 15 minutes, and not only will your car be safe and legal, it will also be more efficient and use less fuel.

  1. Tyres

Find out the correct tyre pressures for your car. Tip – it’s not the figure on your tyres! Have a look in your manual, or you might find the information inside the petrol flap.

Check your tyre pressure using a good-quality gauge or garage airline. If your car is going to be packed to the roof you’ll need to put more air in than normal – your manual will tell you how much. And don’t forget to check your spare if you have one. If you regularly need to pump up a tyre it may have a slow puncture – pop along to us for a check and advice on the best option for repair or replacement.

  1. Toolkit

Check the handbook for the location of the basic toolkit for the car that should contain at least a jack and wheel removal tools. If you’ve got locking wheel nuts make sure you’ve got the key with you or you really will be cursing if you get a puncture.

  1. Recovery membership

Consider taking breakdown cover out. If you have a blow-out in a strange country you might be very grateful to have someone deal with garages, hire cars and emergency accommodation. Plus you’ll have the added reassurance that your car will be looked after by an AA or RAC approved garage (we’re one of those).

  1. Engine oil

Check the dipstick to make sure you’ve got plenty of oil for the journey there and back, plus driving around while on holiday.  If your car needs topping up with oil more often than usual, bring it in to us to take a look; high oil consumption can indicate engine problems.

  1. Water

Check the coolant level when the engine is cool and top up if necessary. You might not realise that you still need to add anti-freeze even in the height of summer. It stops the build-up of corrosion in the cooling system, so make sure you add a summer concentration.

  1. Wipers

Wiper blades wear down over time and smear the windscreen as they become worn. For safety’s sake make sure you change them before you go if they need it. If you’re not sure which ones to get, or how to replace them, just give us a call.

  1. Screen Wash

Check your screen wash and top up regularly – it’s a legal requirement that the system works. And don’t forget to use a good additive – water alone can’t contend with flies splatted at 70mph.

  1. Windscreen

Check for stone damage as this can impair your vision or distract attention when driving. If you’ve got a crack or chip call a windscreen specialists to get it fixed (or we can sort it for you).  Cracked windscreens are so dangerous that often you can claim on your insurance without it affecting your no-claims bonus, and with no excess. Check with your insurer.

  1. Lights

Check and clean all your lights before you set off. Don’t forget indicators, brake and fog lights. Here’s a tip – check your side lights and hazards with your ignition off, and the rest with your ignition on.

  1. One last thing…

Make sure you take with you the driving licence for anyone who might get behind the wheel on your holiday.

Look out for our blog next week when we’ll be looking at some unexpected rules you need to know about when driving abroad.

Safe travels on your holidays this summer!


New UK Car Tax Rules and What You Need To Know

The way you tax your car has changed – here’s all you need to know about the changes in Vehicle Excise Duty (VED, known as road tax)

In October last year, the Government announced the end of the paper tax disc after 93 years meaning that you no longer need to display the disc in you windscreen. Instead number plate recognition will be used to check that you have paid you Vehicle Excise Duty (VED).

Here’s a quick guide to the changes in VED, what the changes mean for you, how you pay and also what happens when you come to sell your car.

Guide to road tax bands

There have been no changes in road tax bands, so the price you pay for your tax stays the same. However, there are changes in the new system as to what happens when you come to sell your car and how you can pay, so we’ve explained it all below.

VED changes explained

As of October 1st 2014 the colourful paper circles are no longer being issued and the requirement for motorists to display them in their cars ends. In the tax disc’s place comes a new system for paying your road tax, or Vehicle Excise Duty to use its proper name.

This overhaul of the road tax arrangements ends the tax disc’s 93-year reign and promises to make paying your car tax easier, while rendering the whole system cheaper to run.

What do the road tax changes mean for you?

The new car tax system isn’t being phased in gradually, UK motorists now no longer need to display a road tax disc on their car windscreen.

Even if you have time left to run on your car tax, the little disc can be removed and binned.

The DVLA will send you a reminder when your road tax is up for renewal in the time-honoured fashion, you can then pay your road tax online, over the phone or at the Post Office.

Tax disc


Tax Disc

The road tax price bands remain the same, as do the existing options of paying for 12 or 6 months tax upfront but from November 1st there will be the option of paying your car tax monthly.

This new monthly option arrives in tandem with the facility to pay your road tax by Direct Debit.

Drivers paying in monthly instalments from their bank accounts will be subject to a 5% surcharge on top of the road tax price itself. That’s less than the 10% that’s added when you pay for six months tax, an option currently used by 23% of motorists. Only the one-off annual payment comes with no extra charges.

The key advantage of paying your car tax by Direct Debit is that the DVLA will continue taking the payments until you tell them to stop. It means that you’ll no longer need to remember to renew your car tax.

What happens to your road tax when you sell your car?

Under the new car tax system, any remaining road tax will not transfer to the new owner with the vehicle. Instead, the seller can get a road tax refund on any tax remaining on the vehicle, while the buyer has to pay to re-tax the car.

The tax refund on a sold car will be sent automatically when the DVLA receives notification that the car has been sold, scrapped, exported or taken off the road with a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN).

tax disc 2


Is there a catch to the new Vehicle Excise Duty regime?

So far, so good for the new road tax system but as often seems to be the case, there is a catch.

The problem that’s getting motorists riled centres around the refund you get on outstanding road tax when you sell your car. When ownership of a vehicle is transferred the previous owner gets a refund on any outstanding road tax but that refund is calculated from the beginning of the next month. The new owner, on the other hand, has to tax the car anew and their bill is calculated from the beginning of the current month.

What this means is that the Government effectively collects two lots of tax on the car for the month where ownership is transferred, one from the new owner who pays for that month and one from the previous owner who doesn’t get the tax for that month included in their refund. It’s sneaky stuff and should give a useful boost to the exchequer, but at the expense of motorists.

What the new system brings is an estimated saving to the tax payer of £10million per year.

The tax disc has had a good innings. More than 1.7 billion of them have been issued since 1921 and in 2013 a total of 42.2million were issued by the DVLA. You can’t stop the relentless march of technology though and the new system promises real improvements in the UK road tax system that should benefit motorists and save money.

Getting Your Car Prepared For The Season Of Spring

Winter is over and spring is now here. As temperatures rise and the rain subsides for sunnier days, your car will face a different set of challenges on both road and track.

SpringBelow, we list six key changes you should make to your car to make sure it’s in tip-top condition this spring.

1) Switch from winter to summer tyres

As the snow and salt disappears from Britain’s B-roads, it makes sense to remove winter tyres fitted to your wheels. By leaving them on in warmer weather, the softer tread blocks will wear down quicker on dry tarmac and softer sidewalls will introduce more roll through corners.

2) Get your wheels aligned

Potholes caused by freezing winter conditions are the enemy of suspension setups. A four-wheel alignment will correct a wayward car’s tramlining and make your car easier to place on the road if it pulls to one side.
A properly aligned car will also handle substantially better on the limit, making wheel-alignment a cost effective way to sharpen handling.

3) Check fluids and belts

Simple, but highly effective in ensuring your car remains reliable, make sure oil, brake fluid, coolant and screenwash are all topped-up. If you’re venturing on track, we’d recommend changing your oil and brake fluid to minimise engine wear and the chances of brake-fade.

Keep an eye out for worn or squeaking belts, and replace them or the pulleys as necessary.

4) Change your wiper blades

Wipers take a beating through winter for clearing grime, salt and road film from your screen. Spring is usually a good time to swap them over for new blades to enjoy clearer vision and protect your windscreen from scratches and wear.

5) Clean your car – inside and out

Make sure to wash out the salt and grit from the car’s wheel arches and crevices to maintain its underbelly, as well as its paintwork. It’s likely the interior will be looking dirty after the winter months, a quick vacuum won’t hurt performance and might contribute a few grams to any weight saving

6) Have your air-con system checked

Air-con can suck precious bhp from your engine when in full use – a fully working air-con system is essential if you want arrive to your destination feeling fresh.

Follow these six easy steps and you’re giving your car a great start to spring.

Trust My Garage Scheme and Our Involvement

Sandy Lane Service Station is part of the Trust My Garage association; all the garages in Trust My Garage are members of the Independent Garage Association which is part of the RMI, one of Britain’s oldest motor trade organisations. IGA members are true professionals who have to comply with a strict code of practice.

Each and every customer of all Trust My Garage members can rely on using a nationally recognised brand. If there’s a problem that can’t be sorted out between you and your garage, the IGA takes over and helps to achieve a happy outcome.

The Trust My Garages demonstrate a level of commitment like no other to give our customers an experience of the highest quality. At Sandy Lane we strive to get it right, first time, every time.

You can trust us to –

• Provide a fixed quote or an estimate, both inclusive of parts, labour and VAT
• Only charge you for work completed and parts supplied and fitted
• Allow you to follow your vehicles service schedule
• Work to high standards and continue to achieve the key industry standards set buy the RMI’S IGA
• Explain things clearly and treat all our customers and their vehicles with the upmost respect
• Use up to date technical informati0on, techniques and tooling
• Comply with the TMG ‘code of practice for service and repair’

As an addition to the IGA association we also offer their ‘Car Repair Plan’ which you can find here.


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.


Sandy Now Have A Courtesy Van Service!

Generally, when it comes to having an MOT/service at a garage with a van, your work will go on hold until you get it back.

Not any more, we have courtesy vans for you to use when your van is with us!

If you are a tradesman, builder, plumber, tiler or joiner we can look after your vehicle and you can use one of our courtesy vans until you receive yours back, which means your work can go on.

Here at Sandy Lane we cater for most vehicles, including transit vans, light commercials and white commercials.

You can book your MOT in Stockport up to 28 days in advance of its due date.

There is no need to provide your old certificate, as start and exp dates are generated automatically from VOSA.

So don’t delay, call today for your FREE no obligation van service and van MOT quote on 0161 480 4117 or visit our courtesy van page here.

Keeping Cars Cool In Summer

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We all love a hot summer’s day here in the UK, epically as we don’t seem to get that many of them, but while it’s nice to go for a stroll in the local park or visit friends for a BBQ, but at some point we will use or cars to get there! And that is where the discomfort is about to start.
As you open the door the heat hits you and nearly knocks you off your feet, Once you get inside and close the doors it’s a fight to get the power on and all the windows down and get the car moving just to get some air flow in there.
It makes perfect sense to park your car in the shade whenever possible as this will help reduce the heat in the vehicle while it is stationary.
But the best way to keep you cool while motoring down the road is to turn on your air conditioning, making sure you air con is working properly is vital to keeping the car cool and here at Sandy Lane we have a great offer available for just such a case. We will do a full air conditioning service and Re-Gas as well as adding a leak detection dye that will enable us to monitor your vehicle air conditioning unit and protect against any future leaks.

So stay cool this summer and book yours today!!

Crossing The Finish Line

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On Sunday the 13th the Sandy Lane Slow Spokes team came together at 6.30am to start there Manchester to Blackpool bike ride in aid of the Christie charity.
But before they set of they had to make their way to the starting line at old Trafford football ground that was an extra 8 miles away, and so they knuckled down and cycled to the starting line.
At 7.25am all riders were prepped and ready to start the 60 mile ride to Blackpool, but sadly the weather was against them as the rain came down heavily leaving our riders drenched and cold.
But after a few hours the sun finally made an appearance and it continued to be glorious summers day leaving Michelle with a very red glow by the end of the journey.
First across the finish line was our very own Michelle Potter with a fantastic time of 4 and a half hours, Leighton Snow crossed the line seconds after closely followed by Mike. Tony was next across and finished in 5 hours, then Simon Dunn with a time off 5 hours 10 minutes, followed by Sarah seconds after and not far behind the remaining four riders.
Sandy Lane Service Station would like to say a big thanks for all the support we had from our friends/ customer and suppliers, we managed to raise £200.00 from our sponsor sheet and a further £65.00 from the just giving page
And a big thank you to all the riders who participated in this great cause