Tag Archive: car guides

  1. What To Do If Your Car Is Stolen

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    Car theft is a driver’s worst nightmare – but, with car theft at an ‘all-time high’ whether due to the rise of keyless car technology or thieves targeting luxury cars, drivers need to be more aware of what to do if their car is stolen. 

    So, what happens if your car gets stolen? The first thing is to remember that while the event can be shocking and traumatic, it’s best not to panic. Instead, there are several steps to take that can ensure you receive your insurance payout with as little stress as possible. 

    All our temporary insurance policies are fully comp, so you will be covered for theft whether you’re a learner driver or a tradesman who needs their vehicle protected. Follow the advice here so you know what to do if your car is ever stolen.

    Has Your Car Been Stolen?

    If you cannot find your vehicle, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s been stolen! There are several other reasons you might be unable to find your vehicle, the first of which being that you’ve parked in an unfamiliar location – so make sure to check the surrounding area thoroughly before starting to panic. This can also be aided by screenshotting your location on a map, or utilising technology that pinpoints the location of your car.

    If you share your car with other people you might want to check in with them before reporting it to the police. Someone might have required the vehicle for a short-term drive that they felt wasn’t necessary to mention. 

    Unfortunately, another reason your vehicle might not be in the ‘correct’ spot is that it may have been towed or impounded. There are many reasons your car may be impounded including parking violations, meaning if you have parked illegally you could return to an empty space, thinking your car has been stolen..

    To check if your car has been stolen or impounded, you can ring your local police station, who will be able to advise if your vehicle has recently been towed. If so, you’ll need to get your car out of an impound, using impound release insurance.  

    While these events – someone borrowing the car, misplacing it, or having the vehicle be towed or impounded can occur, vehicle theft is still a real and pertinent problem, which is why we’ve put together the steps you can follow if your car is actually stolen.

    Steps to Follow If Your Car Has Been Stolen

    Contact Your Police Station

    Once you’re confident that your vehicle has been stolen, your first step should always be to call the police. Ringing the non-emergency line on 101 will get you through to your local police station, where you’ll need to have your vehicle’s make, colour, model, and registration number to hand. As a result, saving these into a note on your phone is a great way to be prepared if your vehicle is stolen, especially as time could be of the essence. 

    You’ll then be given a crime reference number, which you’ll need when you contact your car insurance company. 

    If your car is stolen and it has a black box, be sure to let the police know as it could be very valuable information as it can be used to help track the car. Don’t attempt to locate the car yourself, as you could put yourself in danger.

    How long it takes the police to find a stolen car is dependent on several factors, including how sophisticated the crime was, coverage of surveillance cameras, witnesses, details provided in your initial report, and the location of the crime.

    Call Your Vehicle Insurance Company

    After you’ve notified the police, you’ll need to call your car insurance company to begin the claims process. Try to remember everything that your stolen vehicle contained, as you may be asked this when you report the missing car.

    Try to have your policy number to hand when you call your car insurer to make this step quicker. You may also have several questions at this time, including whether your car insurance covers theft or wondering if a stolen vehicle will make your insurance premium go up. Luckily, most car insurance policies will indeed cover you if your vehicle is stolen or broken into. 

    Regarding whether your insurance premium will go up if your vehicle is stolen, this is dependent on several factors. These include how comprehensive your policy is, and whether it includes theft, in addition to claim history, the circumstances of the theft and if you’d consider features that might mitigate future theft, such as purchasing a Faraday Bag, steering wheel locks or installing a ‘smart’ car alarm.

    Inform the DVLA once your insurance provider pays you out

    If your insurance company pays out for your stolen car claim, you must notify the DVLA that it’s been bought by the company. Even if the car is never found, the insurance firm now owns your stolen vehicle, so the DVLA will have to update their car records. Wondering how to notify DVLA of your stolen car? The police should do so when you originally file a police report, but you can also contact the DVLA yourself.

    Get A Vehicle Tax Refund.

    Another reason you must notify the DVLA about your stolen car is to get a vehicle tax refund. This will be calculated from the date you provide them with your information, so contact them as soon as possible and request a V33 form, making sure to include your crime reference number. Your refund will usually be provided in four to six weeks. 

    As soon as you inform the DVLA that you don’t own the vehicle anymore, they’ll cancel your vehicle tax. If you pay the surcharge through Direct Debit, this will be automatically cancelled.

    What to Do if a Car With Private Number Plates Has Been Stolen?

    While a private or personalised number plate will not count as a modification that increases or invalidates your insurance premium (in the majority of cases!), you do need to let your insurance provider know. This is partially because purchasing a private number plate can be expensive, resulting in a subsequent rise in the value of your vehicle. 

    If your vehicle is stolen while you have personalised licence plates attached, it’s essential to follow the same steps as above. However, it’s also important to note that your vehicle’s tax refund won’t be processed automatically, and that you’ll actually have to request this. You’ll also need to prove the stolen car was taxed and MOT’d when it was taken, and after taking these steps, you’ll be able to ask for a tax refund.

    Be sure to make an application to keep your personalised plate immediately after your car is stolen. This will ensure the number stays in your name so you can transfer it to another vehicle at a later date.

    From 9th March 2015, the law was changed to reduce keeping a personalised number plate from £105 down to £80. This applies to online and paper transactions. 

    This change has seen the £25 fee for renewing the retention of a personalised plate every year, being removed. The renewal has also been extended to 10 years.

    Does Insurance Cover Car Theft?

    The payout you receive will be highly dependent on your specific policy, in addition to the circumstances regarding the theft. For example, car theft is usually covered by the ‘comprehensive’ part of your policy, meaning an insurer is liable to compensate you for vehicle loss. However, there can be exclusions to this, including:

    • If the key was left in the vehicle (which may be considered negligence on the drivers behalf)
    • Fraudulent reporting 
    • Failure to report the theft in a timely manner
    • The location of the theft (for example, if you had driven outside of the country)
    • The model of the vehicle (as some luxury cars or old models are more likely to be stolen)
    • Any personal property left inside the vehicle at the time of the theft which would make theft more likely

    Keep in mind that things can delay or even jeopardise your claim. For example, if your car is stolen and the key or keyless entry card was left near or in the car, some insurers may not cover it. This includes cars featuring advanced technology.

    ‘Connected’ cars can become victims of a theft known as ‘relay theft’. Car thieves use a special device to get a signal from the key fob to get into the car. This device can pick up a signal from more than 100 metres away from the car and can be bought very cheaply online.

    Similarly, other things that could delay your claim include any suspicions of fraud, any lapses in coverage due to non-payment or the aforementioned exclusions, which may even lead to the breakdown of a payout altogether.

    The Insurance Claim Process

    Luckily, the process for claiming insurance when a car is stolen is usually quite simple. The first step is filing a police report and opening a claim with your insurance company, which will then be followed by an investigation from the insurance provider. Finally, your insurer will determine the value of your vehicle, which will be the basis for payout.

    However, it is important to note that stolen car claims can take a while to complete, and many insurance firms have a 30 day waiting period before they’ll payout. However, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) says that insurance firms must either settle the claim or provide a reasonable offer within three months. 

    You can also check our guides on what to keep in your carcar insurance guides and why car insurance is mandatory to help keep yourself protected from any risks of your car being stolen.

    Tips for Protecting Your Car From Being Stolen?

    Securing your car against theft is easier than you think! In addition, investing in proactive measures to prevent theft can not only help to prevent the risk of your vehicle being stolen – it can also lower your insurance premiums as an added bonus.

    Protecting Your Vehicle Against Car Theft

    One of the first things we recommend any vehicle owner to install is an alarm system. Doing so will ensure that anyone trying to break into your car is not only deterred by the loud noise, but these alarms can actively alert those in the nearby areas, meaning any nearby police might then be able to identify criminals and prevent future theft. 

    Similarly, there are several anti-theft devices you can install with ease in your vehicle. These range from items as simple as a steering wheel lock or a lock that sits on your brake pedals, or more complex and expensive tools such as an immobiliser, which requires you to input a ‘key’ before the vehicle starts. While the former tools can be quite obvious to a thief, who might then remove them, ‘ghost’ immobilisers can be hidden in your vehicle, meaning that thieves will not only be unable to remove the technology, but these tools often contain trackers, meaning you’ll be able to locate your vehicle, even if stolen. 

    In addition to these measures, there are several other ‘free’ preventative measures you should consider, such as always parking your vehicle in a secure and well-lit area whenever possible, or making sure to always remove your keys from the ignition and to keep them in places that are not immediately visible or accessible.

    Factors That Contribute To Car Theft

    While they may be obvious, there are a few ways that you can help to deter theft. The first of these is by always ensuring valuables are well-hidden or removed from your car, as a laptop or expensive phone left on the seat is likely to inspire a break-in. 

    You should always make sure to never leave your car unlocked or running, even if you’re only planning on exiting the vehicle for a minute. All windows of opportunity, no matter how small, could end in disaster. 

    Finally, for those with cars that rely on smart technology, you should always keep software updated to the latest version. With software continuously updated to plug any gaps that could make your car susceptible to theft, having the latest, most protected version is essential to protect your vehicle. 

    Unfortunately, vehicle theft can happen to anyone, meaning every driver should know what to do if your car is stolen. However, there are ways of minimising the risk of it happening to you, including installing a GPS tracking system in the car and keeping it in a locked and secure place.

    If you have your car stolen, it’s essential to keep calm and follow the steps outlined in this guide to recover your stolen car. Remember, the sooner you file a police report, the quicker you will find the vehicle. If you need to insure your vehicle for a short period of time, use our temporary insurance options to keep your car covered for theft always.

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  2. A Midlife Carsis… After all, 50 is the New 40!

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    It’s official – The Porsche 911 is the ultimate “midlife crisis” car, according to a study completed by our experts, with a whopping 39% of those surveyed picking the iconic vehicle as their flashy car of choice. 

    Our research discovered that three in ten Brits (32 percent) know someone who has bought a sporty little number in a bid to recapture their youth. Whether this is a midlife crisis car or simply the actions of someone flashing the cash is unclear, but our latest study also found that turning 50 is the trigger to men throwing caution to the wind and splashing out on a hugely impractical, yet impressive midlife-motor.

    Interestingly, we found that 3⁄4 (73%) of men were likely to buy a sports car, compared to just 5% of women. This suggests that men are clearly more interested in vehicles as a whole, especially flashier models! This may be directly linked with the fact that over 1 ⁄ 4 (26%) of the Brits we spoke to wanted a nicer car to appear more attractive, with studies proving that this does – against all odds – actually work.

    Andy Moody, Founder and Managing Director at GoShorty said: “Even in modern times, a car is still seen as a symbol of status for many people. However, we know the practicalities of getting from A-B, in a cost-effective and easy manner, should be the priority!

    “Our report showed that men over 50 seem to be sticking to the stereotype, with a desire to put flash ahead of sensible cash. It’s a case of Insta vs. reality, but in real life, with cars being chosen for their appeal rather than operative value. 

    “While the car you choose might demand some attention in the short-term from passersby, we know that in the long-term, investing in a practical vehicle is always the better choice. From being cheaper to insure to lower maintenance costs, a reliable vehicle is always a better – and often safer – choice. This is particularly true in the winter months, as flashier sports cars are less equipped to drive in ice and snow.”

    The study went on to reveal the iconic Porsche 911 is the car we’d most like to own (39 percent), followed by the slightly cheaper Porsche Boxster (34 percent).

    Also making the list of most desirable midlife crisis cars, are James Bond’s favorite, the Aston Martin Vantage (26 percent) in third, fourth the Jaguar F Type (23 percent), followed by Iron Man’s top choice the Audi TT Quatro (21 percent) and the muscular Ford Mustang (21 percent) taking fifth place.


    1. Porsche 911 – 39 percent

    2. Porsche Boxster – 34 percent

    3. Aston Martin Vantage – 26 percent

    4. Jaguar F Type – 23 percent

    5. Audi TT Quatro – 21 percent

    6. Ford Mustang – 21 percent

    7. BMW Z4 – 20 percent

    8. Mercedes Benz SL – 17 percent

    9. Audi R8 – 16 percent

    10. Alfa Romeo Spider – 14 percent

    11. Lotus Evora – 14 percent

    12. Chevrolet Corvette – 11 percent

    13. Range Rover Evoque – 10 percent

    14. Subaru BRZ – 10 percent

    15. Dodge Challenger – 9 percent

    16. Land Rover Defender (new version) – 9 percent

    17. Mazda MX5 – 8 percent

    18. Volkswagen Golf GTI – 8 percent

    19. Toyota Supra – 8 percent

    20. Ford Focus RS – 8 percent

    So, why the Porsche 911?

    Sleek, refined and ultimately reliable, the Porsche 911 has long been regarded as one of the greatest sports cars in history. Plus – these cars aren’t just aesthetically pleasing, they’re also chock full of gadgets, including rear wheel steering and RAIN mode, which allows you to drive safely at high speed, even when the roads are wet

    In addition, for all of those purchasing a car to recapture their youth, the model has been in production for over 60 years. This means many men purchasing the vehicle may associate the Porsche brand with their childhood. The vehicle has also featured in several iconic/cult classic films, such as Bad Boys and Le Mans, giving it an extra edge of cool – meaning it might just actually be the best sports car for a midlife crisis. 

    Just a warning to all the dads out there – this might not be the best vehicle for car sharing!

    The Porsche Boxster:

    This first-generation Porsche is not just a lovely, exciting little car – it’s also one of the best midlife crisis cars on a budget – putting the ‘fun’ in functionality. Similarly to the 911, this iconic little Porsche offers serious style and competition in the sports car world. 

    As a great plus, it’s already relatively cheap to maintain compared to other sports cars, which means it’s a great choice for a road trip – where you can show it off all over the region, instead of just the home stretch.

    Aston Martin Vantage

    Fitted with a 4.0 litre, twin-turbocharged V8 engine, the Aston Martin Vantage is designed to go fast. With studies revealing that some individuals actually find driving more thrilling than kissing, it is no wonder that this car comes top of the pops for so many. 

    The Aston Martin Vantage also featured in the James Bond film The Living Daylights, and – midlife crisis car or not, let’s face it, every man secretly wants to be a Bond.

    Why does a midlife crisis make us want a car?

    When it comes to the reasons why Brits want a flash motor when we get older, 52 percent admitted it was to feel young again, while over 1/3 (38 percent) of respondents felt that owning a luxury car would be a symbol of them having achieved something in life. 

    Alternatively, 32% feel having an expensive car would make them happier when they get older, with almost half (44 percent) insisting other nationalities are less critical of people who buy a sports car later in life – suggesting British pessimism is alive and well. 

    A whopping 62% of respondents insisted that the older they get, the more important it is for them to have a nice car, with over half (54 percent) admitting they would love a car that turns heads when they drive it. This may be due to the fact that over 50% of those in their 60s own a house outright, meaning they might want to take the ‘next step’ in terms of expensive and extravagant purchases, showing off to their neighbours. 

    As a result, it’s no wonder that a further 32% have been tempted to hire an expensive car for the day to see what it’s like – living the life of luxury without having to commit to the costs and commitment of the upkeep of a sports car. Similarly, as the insurance on a sports car can be incredibly costly due to their horsepower, and the price associated with damaging them high, insuring a car you rarely drive can be very costly. 

    Scared everyone is going to judge your midlife crisis car? Fear not.

    Positively, 68% of those polled felt as a society we’re too quick to judge someone who splashed out on a midlife crisis car, while 30%  admit they are secretly impressed by people who own luxury cars. This means that while there may be plenty of negative connotations about those who like to splash the cash on these pricey vehicles, such as footballers, we’re secretly just a bit jealous. 

    Plus, with over 94% of surveyees stating that they wouldn’t judge someone for buying the car of their dreams, we are actually happy for each other – even if we don’t show it. 

    What’s on the inside matters too!

    Last but not least, we also asked our respondents about the most attractive interior car features – because your car’s personality is just as important as its looks. The results were as follows:

    • A banging sound system 📻 (45%)
    • Leather seats 💺 (41%) 
    • Alloy wheels 🛞 (33%)
    • A custom interior colour 🎨 (32%)

    In addition, when looking at the exterior colour of our dream car, black was the most popular choice (29 percent), followed by blue (21 percent). This might be because black cars are associated with wealth – just think limousines! – and their elegance. 

    Whether you’re thinking of buying a new, showy car – or trying to talk your middle aged husband out of one – We are  proud to offer award-winning, innovative insurance that helps you get from A-B in style, without a hitch. 

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  3. Transferring Vehicle Ownership Guide

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    Buying a new car is up there with the best feelings a driver can have. The paperwork associated with it, however, can be somewhat of a headache, especially if you’re buying your first car and you don’t know exactly what you might need. Well, consider this your comprehensive guide to buying and selling a vehicle, including everything you may need and the key things to look out for.

    At GoShorty, we understand that car insurance and other paperwork-laden aspects of car ownership can be tiring, so we’re here to sprinkle some simplicity into the car ownership handover process. Buckle up as we break down the nitty-gritty, ensuring a seamless, fully authorised by the DVLA change of ownership.

    Steps for Privately Buying a Car

    You’re going to want to test drive the vehicle before you buy (we would highly recommend this) and so be sure to check out our complete guide to test driving – spoiler alert, yes you will need to take out some temporary car insurance for a legal test drive. Otherwise, fines can mount up to £300 and come with a side serving of six penalty points. You can even be taken to court if you’re caught driving without insurance. Luckily for all you test drivers out there, we have a cost-effective solution through our temporary car insurance offering, which allows you to whizz up and down the road testing out your new wheels with stress-free comprehensive cover.

    The first thing you’ll need to do is of course, find a car to buy, or find a buyer to sell your car to! Once you’ve done that, we’d like to think the hard part is over. Next all you need to do is purchase the vehicle and transfer ownership and you’ll be on your merry way home with your new wheels.

    How to Transfer Car Ownership

    Step 1: The Prelude – Completing the Sale

    The dance begins with completing the sale. Agree on the terms, sign a bill of sale, and let the fun commence. Get a receipt for the purchase of the vehicle, this is useful for any potential issues down the line (fingers crossed this isn’t needed) along with any and all warranties etc.

    Step 2: Gathering Necessary Paperwork

    Gather the essential documents for this ownership tango. The DVLA, our trusty Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, holds the key to updating records. The V5C, or logbook, spills the car’s beans, akin to a car’s official diary, and plays a crucial role in this stage, capturing essential details.

    When you change ownership of a car the V5 document is the most important document you’re going to need. The V5 acts as a registration certificate that contains all the important information about your car. Plus, it also states who the registered owner of the vehicle is. This process can now be completed online for ease.

    Once you submit this, you’re officially the registered DVLA new keeper of this car, and will receive immediate email confirmation stating this.

    Step 3: Financial Footwork – Transfer Fees and Taxes

    Expect a bit of financial footwork with transfer fees and taxes. Pay the piper, and the ownership dance floor is yours. You will need to ensure the car is taxed and insured before driving it anywhere.

    Step 4: Farewell Plates – Removing License Plates

    Bid adieu to old plates (if necessary). The seller may choose to keep their private number plate and so you will either have to source the old one or replace it.

    Getting your new car home

    Fun fact, if you sell your car and you have paid the year’s tax for the vehicle you will then be given an automatic refund for the remaining months within the year. As the ownership baton changes hands, update the insurance policy accordingly. For the buyer, this means securing cover for the new ride. Sellers, it’s time to wave goodbye to the old car on the policy.

    Once you pay for the vehicle, transfer car ownership and swap V5 documents, you’re all okay to hand over the keys. Those buying the car are now responsible for paying for tax and insurance – this is where GoShorty steps in. Whether you want to shop around before you commit to a long-term insurance provider or use temporary car insurance to get home, we have you covered. Browse our drive away insurance and get yourself covered as you galavant proudly home in your brand new addition to the family.

    Check out our comprehensive guide to getting your new vehicle home for the full run-down.

    Congratulations! You’ve mastered the intricacies of the car ownership handover. With GoShorty by your side, the journey doesn’t have to be a bumpy one, there is always a fix should you stick to this guide. 

    As the curtain falls on this exhilarating journey through the twists and turns of buying a new car with GoShorty, we hope you’re armed with the knowledge and confidence to turn your car-buying experience into a seamless adventure. Remember, we’re not just about providing temporary insurance, we’re your trusted co-pilots, navigating the intricacies of ownership transitions. So, buckle up, enjoy the thrill of the ride, and rest easy knowing that GoShorty is here to make every moment of your car-buying odyssey as exhilarating and stress-free as possible. 

    Here’s to the open road and the exciting chapters that lie ahead! 

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  4. What is a Good First Car?

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    Although we all want a brand new BMW when we first get hold of a driver’s licence, we have to be realistic when it comes to owning our first vehicle. An ideal first car is one that is affordable, plus safe and easy to drive. Most importantly, it needs to be a car that you can actually insure as a young driver

    So, if you’re wondering what makes the best first car (that you’ll actually be able to get insured on), check out our guide below.

    How Much to Spend On a First Car

    A first car should be affordable, for a number of good reasons. Firstly, as a young driver in a cost-of-living crisis, you don’t want to be spending tens of thousands on a car that will no doubt be replaced for an upgrade in a few years’ time. You can find quality, used vehicles for a few thousand pounds or less, allowing you to get on the road without breaking the bank in the process. Looking at our research on the most popular cars to learn to drive in, we know that vehicles such as Ford Fiestas and Vauxhall Corsas are two of the most popular cars for young people, both of which are available for less than £10,000. 

    Spending less on your vehicle will benefit your insurance options too. As a young driver, car insurance for your first car is more expensive due to new drivers being considered ‘high risk’.

     With cover for one hour up to a full 28 days of insurance, you have plenty of time and freedom to decide how you want to insure your first car. The maximum value car we insure is £65,000, so if you do make the sensible choice and go for a cheaper vehicle, you’ll be able to take full advantage of the benefits of temporary cover. Whether that’s getting on the road before deciding on an annual policy, or sharing the driving on a road trip with friends, who can also take out temporary policies on your new car!

    The Best First Cars

    No matter your age, your lack of experience on the road means you are statistically more likely to be in an accident, so insurance for new drivers’ first cars is typically more expensive. To combat this, it’s recommended to go for a cheaper, safer car first. This can help reduce the cost of your insurance.

    Cars are placed in insurance groups, so the lower the group your car is in, the lower the insurance costs. Lower end cars include the Ford Fiesta, the Fit 500, Citroen C3, Skoda Fabia Classic, and so on. All of these smaller, safer vehicles are the best choices for a first car, as your first years’ insurance costs aren’t sky high.

    Temporary car insurance is a great insurance option for new drivers wanting to get on the road. You can get covered in as little as 90 seconds after passing your test, so you can start driving when you want, rather than waiting to find the right annual policy straight away.

    What To Look For In the Best First Car

    Now you know how much to spend on a first car to ensure that you can actually get insured on it, we’ll go through the other key factors to consider when selecting that all-important first car.

    The Age and Usage of the Car

    You will most likely be buying a second-hand vehicle as your first car, due to the costs of brand new models. It’s important to check how much the car has been used before making the purchase. A good mileage for a used car is around 10,000 miles per year, and the car should still have good legs left in it with this kind of mileage. It’s also a good idea to check it has a solid service history, to be sure the car has been looked after in the past, and no nasty (expensive) surprises await.

    The Best Size For a First Car

    It’s best to choose a smaller car when selecting your first. Vehicles with smaller engines, such as 1200cc, will be lower in the car insurance groupings, keeping the costs of your new driver’s insurance down. 

    Getting On the Road in Your First Car

    Your first car will most likely not be your last car, but you should still take care when choosing it. A cheap, safe, reliable vehicle will allow you to enjoy life on the road with lower costs as a new driver. Our temporary insurance for younger drivers will allow you to get driving in no time, without the need to commit to an annual policy straight away. 

    So, take these tips with you when you pick out that dream first car, remembering to keep the car cost low to ensure you’ll be able to get covered on it as a new driver, and afford the insurance on your first car. 

    Our range of policies, from temporary learner insurance to young driver insurance and regular temporary cover, ensure we are here to provide you with flexible insurance options for every step of your driving journey…

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  5. Make sure your car is ready for winter

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    Is your car winter ready? Preparing your car for the cold weather can help protect you against accidents or breakdowns.

    This article will look at the critical checks, preparation, and supplies to prepare your car for winter driving.

    Car Checks

    As the weather worsens, checking your car is ready for the winter before it is too late is advisable.


    Checking your tyre tread depth to ensure they aren’t worn will give you better traction in slippy conditions. Your tread must be a minimum of 1.6mm by law in the UK. If you are even close to this coming into winter, you might want to consider replacements.


    Checking car batteries should always be a part of preparing for colder weather. A flat battery is bad at any time, but it is even worse during the winter.

    You will be able to check the health of your car battery using a home battery tester or by getting a professional to help.


    Checking antifreeze levels in your engine’s cooling system will help you to avoid your system freezing in the dead of winter.

    To check your engine coolant level, ensure you have a cold engine before taking off the radiator cap. Start the engine and allow the engine to reach operating temperature. Insert the probe of a digital multimeter that has been set to 20 DC volts or less.

    Rev to 2,000 rpm before placing the probe onto the negative battery terminal. Look for a reading of .4 volts or below. Anything over this shows that coolant is needed.

    Screen wash

    Screen wash levels should be regularly checked as wet weather, salt, and dirt on the roads can make visibility challenging if you cannot efficiently clean your windscreen. Checking that your washer fluid is topped up regularly is advisable.


    The winter months in the UK are naturally quite dark. Ensuring your lights work will allow other road users to see you in dim light.


    You must have the correct insurance cover anytime you want to drive. Because the winter weather can cause a lot of accidents, getting more protection could help.

    If you find your insurance policy is due to run out, temporary car insurance that offers a higher level of protection than you usually get can be a great solution.

    GoShorty offers temporary car insurance and temporary learner driver insurance, so you won’t have to pay for an entire year’s policy. You can select your cover before deciding whether you want to continue with the same level of protection for the rest of the year.

    Car Prep

    After checking your car, you will be able to protect certain parts from the bad weather in the UK by performing some essential car maintenance.

    Clean and protect the car battery terminals

    If you have checked your car battery and it is in good health for the coming winter, cleaning the terminals and using a protectant spray will help them make it through the winter without corrosion.

    Lubricate windows

    Protecting your window tracks from drag caused by freezing water can help you avoid damaging them. Spraying the window tracks with a lubricant should minimise this risk.

    Lubricate stripping, door locks, hinges and latches

    Cleaning and lubricating the weather stripping between car doors can minimise the risk of your car doors freezing shut.

    Lubricating door locks will also help minimise their freezing or corroding.

    Lubricating your hood latch and door hinges are also recommended to ensure you don’t suffer from any corrosion during winter. Metal parts are particularly at risk because of the road salt and water at this time.

    Fit winter tyres

    Switching from summer tyres to winter tyres can be expensive and might not be necessary for most UK. They offer better grip and handling but work best in conditions below 7°C.

    This can be a good option for those that use their car a lot during the winter.

    Fit winter wiper blades

    Winter blades are designed, so they don’t get packed with snow. A packed wiper blade will leave streaks across the windshield, reducing visibility.

    Make A Winter Car Survival Kit

    Now that your vehicle is winter-ready, you should consider packing and keeping an emergency kit in your car for winter. A well-stocked vehicle will be able to help you in any situation.

    LED torch

    Keeping a small LED torch in your car during the winter is always helpful. Most phones will have a torch, but having a separate light source can be invaluable if you are using your phone or trying to preserve the battery.

    Mobile phone charger

    If you are involved in an accident or break down, your phone will be a vital lifeline. Having a phone charger and even a portable battery pack will help should you run out of battery.

    Pen and paper

    A pen and paper are always handy to have in your car. This can be useful for taking down information on the phone or other drivers’ information if you are involved in an accident.

    Tool kit

    A basic tool kit should include duct tape, an adjustable wrench, pliers, and screwdrivers. You might not be able to fix all car problems, but having these tools can help resolve minor issues.

    Grit or cat litter

    If the temperature drops when you are out, it is possible that your vehicle can get stuck on ice or snow. Carrying grit or cat litter will allow the tyres to gain traction and get you moving again.

    Jumper cables

    Even if you have checked your battery before winter, mistakes like leaving the lights on can drain it. Keeping jumper cables in your can help you deal with a flat battery should it occur.


    Having a foldable shovel in your car won’t take up much space but can be helpful if there is heavy snowfall and you need to dig your car out.

    First aid kit

    A first aid kit should be kept in all cars to help deal with minor scrapes or cuts in an accident.

    Winter clothing

    Making sure you have warm clothes in your car during winter is advisable if you break down. Every winter survival kit should include a hat, gloves, and jacket.

    Waterproof clothing or an umbrella can help if you wait outside the car in freezing rain.

    Hi-visibility clothing, such as a bib, vest, or armband, should be included to make you more visible to other road users.


    If you break down in the winter and have to wait for breakdown assistance, having a warm blanket in your car will help keep you warm.

    Warning triangle

    Carrying warning triangles in case of an accident will allow you to alert other road users a safe distance away. This is especially important in winter when visibility is low and stopping distances are increased by wet or icy roads.

    Scraper and de-icer

    Being able to clear your windscreen and windows is important in the winter as you need to ensure you have maximum visibility. De-icer and a scraper will make this job a lot easier.

    Food and drink

    Having water and food in your car is essential if you get snowed in or break down. Bottled water and high-energy cereal bars should last through the winter.

    Final Thoughts

    Preparing your car for the winter will improve road safety and ensure you are ready for the worst-case scenario. Safely storing a winter emergency kit in your boot won’t take up much space but could be important.

  6. UK Car Essentials – What do you need to keep in your car?

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    Owning a car can be an expensive thing to do. With many cars, something new seems to go wrong every month. You can’t always predict what is likely to go wrong, but you can prepare yourself and the car for when it does. Keeping a few car essentials in your vehicle can help you be ready for most eventualities.


    One of the hardest things to predict is the easiest thing to prepare for. If you get a puncture, or your tyre bursts entirely, you could be left stranded for a long time on the side of the road. Preparing for any eventualities gives you the confidence that you will be ready if the time comes.

    Many cars come with a spare tyre, or with a tyre repair kit. However, you should not assume that your spare is suitable, or will even fit your car. Familiarise yourself with how to change a tyre, or with how to use your repair kit. Make sure that you also have all of the appropriate kit you need. If you need a tyre jack, then ensure that you have the correct equipment.


    You can’t always predict a flat tyre. However, you can prepare your tyres, and try to keep them in a state that lessens the risk of getting a flat tyre. Essential to this is keeping your tyres correctly inflated. Keeping your tyres either too inflated or not inflated enough can cause damage.

    Make sure that you keep a tyre pressure gauge / foot pump in your car. Somewhere on your car, usually inside the door, your car is likely to have a sticker indicating the correct pressure levels. Keep your tyres at the right level of pressure, and you could reduce your chances of needing the spare.


    It can be tempting to assume that you can look up anything you need to know on your phone. After all, a quick Google search always seems to turn up the answers you are looking for. However, this is not always the case. If something goes wrong with your car, a Google search will often not show up the answer you need. Equally, if you are in a remote area, or your phone is out of battery, you might not even be able to access the internet.

    If you keep your car’s manual with you in the car, you will always have access to the answers you need. Sometimes the oldest ways of solving problems are still the best.


    If you break down, you need to be prepared. While you are unlikely to break down, you can prepare to make the process easier, in case you do. There are not the same regulations about breaking down in the UK that there are in some other European countries. However, while they are not regulations, it is often worth following the same guidelines.

    Wearing a Hi-Vis jacket when you break down can be the difference between another motorist seeing you in advance, and you having a serious accident. Equally, warning triangles can alert approaching traffic that you have broken down ahead.


    Satellite Navigation seems to have entirely defeated the traditional paper map. After all, how often do you break out the road atlas when you are trying to plot a route? However, using your phone or a sat nav system is not always possible. If you get caught out in the countryside and you have no signal, or you run out of power, technology might not be the best way out of your difficulty.

    Keeping a traditional paper Road Atlas in your car doesn’t take up much space. However, an atlas can help you out regardless of where you are – and it never runs out of battery.


    You cannot prepare for everything. No matter how many car essentials you have prepared, sometimes you are going to have an accident, and there isn’t much you can do about it. That’s where your insurance comes in. While you are only required to have third party insurance, it is always worth having a higher level of cover. Short term car insurance from GoShorty is fully comprehensive. That means that if you have an accident, your insurance will cover damage that your car suffers.

    Temporary car insurance from GoShorty can cover you from 1 hour to 28 days. That means that you only need to get cover for the time that you need, and not waste money insuring a car when you don’t need it.

    Get a temporary insurance quote today, and see how much you could save.