Category Archives: Automotive

Winter Motoring – Be Prepared!

Driving in Winter
Winter Motoring – Be Prepared for the worst!

With winter well on its way, now is the time to prepare for those extreme and hazardous driving conditions. Make sure that you and your vehicle are prepared for the extremes of bad weather which appear to be happening much more regularly.

With shorter days and longer nights, especially when the clocks go back at the end of October, driving in the winter can be extremely hazardous. It may be nice and sunny when you set out on your journey but all too quickly the weather can turn for the worse and driving can become extremely difficult, if not impossible. In very bad conditions, it may be wiser to avoid driving completely unless absolutely essential.

It is always worth preparing for any eventuality and making sure you drive to suit the road conditions. When driving in winter, ice is an ever present hazard and one which you should always be prepared for. Even if the weather is fine and sunny and the temperature is above freezing, ice patches can still form on untreated roads that are sheltered by hedges, buildings or trees. Extra care should be taken on roads with hollows or roads that pass under bridges and all roads that are exposed.

Is your vehicle ready for winter?

Here are a few things you can do to make sure your car is fit for the journey and help to prevent any unnecessary breakdowns:

Make sure your vehicle is serviced regularly, especially before the onset of winter. Have your battery and alternator tested to make sure they are up to the job – this is a free check that DRB Car Spares will carry out at their store in Warrington.

Check that all lights are clean and working and check the condition of your wipers and washer jets. Check the fluid level of the screen-wash bottle and top up with winter screen-wash to prevent freezing. It’s also a good idea to carry some spare screen-wash, preferably ready mixed, in your car, along with a good quality de-icer.

Keep an eye on all the fluid levels and ensure that your radiator is filled with the correct concentration of anti-freeze.

Check the tyres for any damage and that they are inflated to the correct pressures. Check the tyre tread depth which should be an absolute minimum of 3 mm. If you regularly travel to areas with high snowfall, it may be worth investing in a set of good quality snow socks or snow chains.

When driving in winter it is a good idea to carry an emergency kit, especially on long journeys – just in case. There is always the possibility that you may be stranded in your car overnight!

A basic emergency kit should include:

  • Warm clothing, boots or wellingtons and a car blanket
  • Emergency rations such as a hot drink and food
  • Shovel and torch (check the batteries!)
  • Jump leads, tow rope and high viz vests (one for each person in the car)
  • Emergency kit such as the AA Winter Car Kit or Ring Emergency Kit
  • Warning triangle and travel first aid kit
  • Screen-wash, deicer and a good ice scraper
  • Map in case you need to re-route due to flooding or accident
  • Mobile phone & in-car charger

Many of the items above are available in the Winter Motoring section of our website.

Before starting your journey, make sure you have sufficient fuel in the tank. Check the weather conditions at your destination and on your route. You can get updates on live traffic information by visiting  the Highways Agency website,  and be prepared to delay your journey or change your route if necessary.

Have a safe journey – whatever the weather!

Solar Powered Caravan at Silverstone

Review of the Ring Solar Charger RSP600

Every year we hitch up the caravan and head off to Silverstone for a long weekend at the British F1 GP. One of the first, essential jobs after arriving at Litchlake Farm camp site (which is basically just a big field!) is to attach the generator to keep the battery topped up. Not this year though! This year we took along a Solar Battery Maintainer from Ring Automotive (RSP600). 

Ring Solar Battery Charger
Solar Battery Maintainer RSP600

After setting up the caravan on the Thursday morning, we placed the solar powered charger unit on the roof of the caravan and connected it straight to the caravan leisure battery with the long lead included in the box. There’s also an option to charge/maintain the car battery via the cigarette lighter or power socket if required. Once connected, it was a case of ‘fit and forget’ until we were due to leave on Monday.

Result: Brilliant! The solar charger kept the leisure battery topped up all weekend and even managed to keep all our phones and devices charged as well. And the best bit – we didn’t need the generator on at all! This is one fantastic bit of kit that we can definitely recommend.

For more information on this and many other Ring products, please click here to visit our website




Buying New Wheel Trims

Find the correct size of wheel trims for your car

Missouri wheel trim
Autostyle Missouri wheel trim

Fitting a set of new wheel trims is one of the easiest ways to give your car a facelift and make it stand out from the crowd. There are many, many styles available and just a quick look around our store in Warrington will reveal over thirty different designs in stock to fit most steel wheels (not alloy wheels) with sizes between 13 and 17 inch. Wheel trims are generally a universal product (except on a few larger vehicles, such as motorhomes and light commercial vehicles, which usually have a deep dished wheel) so there should be no problem fitting them to the most popular car models on the road.

A question we’re constantly being asked is: “How do I know what size wheel trims I need?” So how do you find the correct size for your vehicle? It’s actually really simple, just look on the side of your tyre!

Wheel size on the side of tyre
Wheel size is on the tyre sidewall

Wheel trims are usually measured in inches and the size refers to the diameter of the vehicle wheels – measured as 13, 14, 15, 16 or 17 inch. To find the size of your wheel and subsequently the size of the wheel trim you require, look on the sidewall of the tyre where you will see a series of numbers. The number following the letter ‘R’ is the wheel size in inches. See the examples below for more details:

165/65 R13 – In this example 13 inch is the size of the wheel, so you would order 13 inch wheel trims.

205/55 R16 – Here 16 inch is the size of the wheel, so you would order 16 inch wheel trims.

The letter ‘R’ in the above examples, just indicates the radial construction of the tyre.

Ring Gyro Wheel Trim
Ring Gyro wheel trim

Wheel trims are very simple to fit and are usually held in place by a retaining ring fitted to the back of the trim. It’s always a good idea though to fit a couple of ‘cable tie’ type straps to each wheel trim to prevent accidental loss or potential theft. These are usually available in black or silver grey, to match the colour of the trim.

For more information, or to purchase online with FREE UK delivery, please visit our website:



Ten Simple checks you can do yourself

The reason for the MOT test is quite simply to check that your vehicle meets the required road safety and environmental standards, so that it can be driven safely on the road. It is a legal requirement once the vehicle is three years old and then every year after that. According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) “Around 1.5 million vehicles fail their MOT due to simple things such as faulty bulbs, too little tyre tread, or even empty windscreen washer fluid bottles”.

MOT Test station

You really don’t need to be a mechanic to carry out a few basic checks before the MOT and they should only take you ten to fifteen minutes. Once you’ve completed these checks, you will have a much better chance of passing the MOT test first time round and not failing on something silly such as a faulty bulb or blocked washer jet. Apart from these simple checks, one of the most important things you can do is to have your vehicle serviced regularly. At least once a year and ideally just before the MOT is due. That should then pick up on any major problems which could lead to an MOT failure and will also help it to pass the emissions tests.

  1. Lights – by far the main reason for MOT failures, yet one of the easiest to fix! Check all the lights are working correctly, especially the headlamps dipped and main beams. Don’t forget to check the fog lights and their respective warning lights on the dashboard. When checking the brake lights, it’s much easier if you can get someone to help. If not you can always reverse up to a garage door or similar, so you can see the reflection when sitting in the drivers seat. TIP: If there’s a light out which comes back on when you bang it, don’t trust it. It’s probably a faulty bulb or a bad connection and is certain to let you down in the middle of the MOT. So get it fixed!
  2. Tyres – another major cause for failed MOT’s. Visually check the tyres for excessive wear or damage, making sure to check the inside tyre walls which are more difficult to spot. The minimum legal tyre tread depth is 1.6mm , this should be in a continuous band around the circumference of the tyre and cover three quarters the width of the tread. Of course the deeper the tread the safer the tyre, especially when driving in winter. Make sure the tyre pressures are correct and at the same time, it’s a good idea to check that all the wheel nuts are secure. TIP: Correct tyre pressures prevent excessive and uneven wear, and can actually save you money on fuel costs!
  3. Windscreen and Mirrors – windscreens must be free from cracks and other damage within the driver’s field of vision, although small stone chips are acceptable. Rear view mirrors both internal and external, should be secure with no damage to the glass and capable of being adjusted. Make sure that you have a clear view through the windscreen with no obstructions or distractions such as objects hanging from the rear view mirror.
  4. Windscreen wipers, washer fluid and washer jets should all be inspected. Wipers should be in good condition, with no damage or splitting. We recommended that wiper blades are changed every twelve months, so if they are showing any signs of wear, replace them or they could damage the screen. TIP: Sometimes, wiper blades can be a bit tricky to change, don’t worry as we offer free fitting at our store in Warrington! Make sure to check the washer jets are working correctly and clean them out with a pin if necessary. Top up the windscreen washer bottle with a good quality seasonal screen wash.
  5. Seat belts and seats should be checked for signs of wear or damage. Check that they operate correctly and that the seat belts are secured correctly and showing no signs of fraying along the edges. Make sure the seats are secure and slide freely on their runners.
  6. Warning lights and the horn should all be checked from inside the car with the ignition on. Check the ABS and Air Bag warning light operation by checking that they illuminate when the ignition is on, then go out and remain out when the engine is running. This method can also be used for most of the other warning lights on the instrument panel.
  7. Check the condition of the front and rear number plates. They must be in good condition and fixed securely. Make sure there are no cracks or splitting that will allow water ingress which will lead to failure of the plate and then failure of the MOT! Also check that the spacing of the letters and numbers on the plates are correct and that the BS standard is clearly shown. DRB Car Spares are approved number plate suppliers registered with the DVLA, so if you need any help or advice, just ask us.
  8. Brake Fluid – make sure you switch of the engine, then open the bonnet. Refer to the owners handbook if necessary, then check the brake fluid reservoir level. Top up as required. TIP: If the level is unusually low or you have to top it up frequently, it may be that you have a leak. This could prove to be very dangerous so should be checked out immediately.
  9. Fluid leaks – while the bonnet is up and the engine switched off, it’s a good idea to check around the engine bay for any fluid leaks. If you see any fluids or leaks that obviously shouldn’t be there, make sure you investigate further and fix the problem.
  10. With the engine running, check the exhaust system for any leaks (noisy or blowing). Give the engine a rev and check the exhaust  outlet for excessive smoke which could lead to a failure with the emission test. If you’re not sure, then many additives are available in store which will help to reduce emissions. We will be glad to advise on the most suitable products for your particular needs. Finally now would be a good time to visually check under the vehicle, especially under the engine/gearbox, for any other fluid leaks not visible from above.

Failing an MOT test can be both frustrating and inconvenient but most of all it can be costly! So follow these 10 simple steps and pass that MOT first time!

Happy Motoring!

For more information about the MOT test:

For more motoring advice and tips check out the ‘Motoring Advice’ section on our website:

A1 Motor Stores Launch New Technolube Oil Range

Developed by A1 Motor stores, this brand new Technolube range covers all the latest grades of semi and fully synthetic motor oils to meet the requirements of the latest generation of vehicles with exhaust after treatment devices.

Low SAPS (low sulphated ash, phosphorus and sulphur) engine oils are safe for catalytic converters and diesel particulate filters (DPF’s). Detergents in standard engine oils can form ash on combustion which can lead to the DPF becoming clogged by soot, damaging the filter and impairing engine emissions and performance. It is essential therefore, that low SAPS engine oils are used for petrol and diesel vehicles fitted with exhaust treatment systems. N.B. Excludes mineral oils.

The Technolube range consists of eighteen different grades, which meet the requirements of all the latest engine manufacturers specifications.


The full range of 1 and 5 litre Technolube engine oils are available in store, and on our website with free UK delivery:

For more information on the Technolube range and to find the correct oil for your car, just enter your registration number on the Technolube website: