Tag Archive: car guides

  1. 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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  2. 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.

  3. 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.