What are your car cleaning tips? Here are some of ours.

Depositphotos_8282348_s We all pick up little tips about things like car cleaning, and here are some of ours.

First, avoid going in car washes where you drive through a tunnel of rotating brushes. The brushes pick up all sorts of grit and junk which causes tiny scratches to your paint.

Second, some hand car washes can cause paint problems too. Not all, but some, especially later in the day when their sponges have accumulated a day’s worth of micro-grit, and the wash buckets have a layer of grit and gravel at the bottom.

So if you’re getting your car handwashed, do it on the way into work, rather than on the way home, and if you’re particularly proud of your car, then even carry your own sponges around to give to the hand car wash guys …

If you wash your own car, then when you do, firstly, always use a proper car shampoo. Washing-up liquid has chemicals and additives which remove some of the protective wax elements of your car’s paint.

Depositphotos_21428599_sIt may sound like an extravagance, but only use a car washing sponge a couple of times – again because of the grit issue. Most big stores will sell car wash sponges for 50p or less.

When you do wash your car, start at the bottom and work up. First, hose the heavier dirt that collects along the bottom of the car to loosen and soften it. Then sponge only about a foot or so above the sill, removing the heavier road grime along the sills and round the wheel arches taking greater care to squeeze out your sponge when dipping it in soapy water. Ideally, use one sponge for the heavy stuff on the lower body panels, and another for the rest of the car.

What little tips do you have for making car cleaning easier, and avoiding risking damage to your car..?

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Dodging the M40 Junction 10 jams with the A34

Become a Jammy Dodger with Drivestyle

Jammy Dodger buscuit

Isn’t there something soooo satisfying about hearing the traffic news on the motorway a couple of junctions before the problem, and then knowing you have a way round it by just slipping off a junction early while you watch everybody else sailing on towards the tailback…?

The M40, southbound at Junction 9 for the A34 (which takes you on towards Oxford, Winchester and the south coast) is one of those junctions that seems to regularly cause the sort of tailback that’s so satisfying to circumnavigate.

The A34 is pretty well the main route from the south Midlands to the south coast ports and holiday spots. Junction 9 is simply not big enough to cope with peak hour traffic – and the slightest problem there can cause tailbacks for miles.

So what’s a good jammy dodge?

a34 jammydOK, heading south, slip off at Junction 10 of the M40 for the B430 – which runs south parallel to the motorway – and follow signs for Middleton Stoney and then Weston-on-the-Green.

The B430 intersects with the A34 just west of the likely M40/A34 troublespot. From J10 to A34 it’s around 15 minutes.

It’s a good clear road, and instead of getting stuck in the likely A34 junction jam there’s also some cracking little pubs, hotels and cafes to stop off for a rest and refresh.

When Junction 9 tailbacks are at their worst, we bet that you’d be able to get off at J10, stop for a cuppa on the B430, get back in your car and rejoin the A34 westbound and likely see the same cars and trucks that will have gotten caught in a half-hour jam by staying on the M40.

Avoid the M6 Traffic Jams!


Jammy Dodging the Drivestyle Way

Jammy Dodger buscuit

The M6 between Birmingham and the M62 just west of Manchester is notorious for traffic jams, especially just when you happen to be using it …

We sometimes use Vodafone 2222 (or 401100 on any network) for live traffic information on the road (make sure you’re parked when you use it, or you have a passenger – and there are other mobile network equivalents). Dial 2222 and it’ll work out where you are and tell you what’s round the corner or over the hill. Usually pretty accurate. You can also check out http://www.highways.gov.uk/traffic-information/ before you start your journey.

Anyway, if the roads are looking, well, challenging, there’s a series of really good jammy dodges that can get you out of the traffic and on to reasonably good A-roads that run practically parallel with the M6 motorway between Junction 14 and Junction 19.

Heading north, out of rush hour, you can get off at Junction 14 north of Stafford, and head east and then north on the A34, eventually picking up the A500 just south of Stoke-on-Trent near Junction 15. It’s difficult to see if the traffic problem has cleared at Junction 15 until you’re actually joining the motorway – both ways – but there’s a really good jammy dodge staying off the motorway from Junction 15: follow the A500 for Stoke-on-Trent – known locally as “the D-road” because it follows the curve of the “D” while the M6 is the shape of the line of the D – and then go north past Stoke-on-Trent following signs for the M6.

M6

It’s a good dual carriageway, which, out of rush hour, runs as fast as the M6.

Here’s the clever bit, though: you can go as far as the M6 Junction 16 on the A500, and, if it looks like there’s still a jam on the M6 there, then you have the option to circumnavigate that stretch of jammed motorway.

Go round the roundabout, back the way you came onto the A500, and then a couple of miles down is the A34. Turn left onto the A34, and, after a short towny bit and then a left fork onto the A50 following Holmes Chapel, it gets you on to a fast flowing A-road which runs parallel with the M6.

This gives you options to get back on the M6 at either Junction 17 or Junction 18, both of which you can suss out from the roundabouts at the junction before re-joining the motorway, and then get back on the A50 as far north as Junction 19 near Knutsford, or Junction 20A just south of Warrington.

It would work the same on the way back were it not for the jams that build in Knutsford which are always much worse heading south.

A good jammy dodge from M6 Junction 20A heading south is off onto the A50, then right (west) onto the A556 – a really good road- and then, after a few miles, left – south onto the A533 which gives you those options to get back onto the M6 at Junction 18 or one of the more southerly junctions.

Using those routes also take you past some of Cheshire nicest villages and small towns, and nice villages and small towns have nice places to stop and have a break and something to eat too.

Save Money Visiting London With These Tips

Depositphotos_26296747_lGoing to London for a bit of a break or a day out? Here’s our tips for making it a cost-effective journey.

Don’t drive and then park inside the M25. Too much traffic, not enough road, bank-busting parking costs, higher risk driving environment.

Research satellite towns, just off the motorways, with railway stations and direct services into London, and easy – sometimes very cheap – parking.

Our favourites are places like Luton Airport Parkway and Beaconsfield, but there are others. Luton Airport Parkway station is just off Junction 10 of the M1, with parking right next to the railway station, and with surprisingly reasonable parking charges and off-peak rail ticket prices. It’s as little as 20 minutes by rail into London St Pancras. The same car journey could take you two hours.

On your way back, if it’s a Monday then take advantage of the St Pancras Yo Sushi Blue Monday deal for a special treat: Yo Sushi Blue Mondays offer.

Beaconsfield is just off Junction 2 of the M40. Two bits to it – picturesque old town based around the roundabout at Aylesbury End/London End, and the newer area full of shops near the railway station. Pick up your picnic at http://www.waitrose.com/ right next to the station car park entrance (though park in Waitrose to do your shopping). Park in Beaconsfield station car park – again pretty reasonable prices for parking and off-peak rail tickets – and a sub-30 minute rail journey into London Marylebone. If you’ve got time, be sure to pop into the family-run breakfast kiosk on the London-bound platform. Very reasonably priced, and possibly the best toasted breakfast sandwiches anywhere on that line.

Staying over, and not wanting to be out in London too late?

Watford mainline station can be easier to get to from central London than some tube destinations – with good value big brand hotels like Park Inn Watford and Holiday Inn Watford right outside the station often at a fraction the price of the same hotels in London.

But the real gem has to be The Ethorpe Hotel, Gerrards Cross, also just off Junction 2 or Junction 1 of the M40. Two minutes walk from Gerrards Cross station – 20 minutes rail trip to London Marylebone, and if you stay over the night before or after your London trip (watch out for the occasional room price deal…), you get to park in their car park for free. Really nice rooms.

Time it right, and you could get from full English breakfast to Oxford Street shops in less than an hour.