I decided to make a post on my favourite car maintenance and breakdown products after recently going through a thought process over everything I’ve bought over the years. I’m going to constantly add to this post products which I’ve personally found extremely useful and recommend on the car. Or ones which I’ll fit to my car and then review at a later date
Products posted here are affiliate links, however I’m posting them because I personally use the products and recommend them. There are cheaper products that can be found online, but because I haven’t used them personally I will not recommend them. However, you are more entitled to purchase them at your own decision if you need to save money or if money is a bit tight for you. This is more of a general guide to help others find useful things for their cars.
Oil, I’ve ALWAYS used Mobil1 ESP 5w/30 Fully Synthetic Oil when carrying out oil changes for my own personal car, as it is a good quality make of oil and meets the stringent testing standards for VW. For those who don’t know, using the wrong oil in VAG family cars can cause sludge issues and a host of other problems. VAG family are really fussy when it comes to fluid. So it’s best to get the right ones. The oil is also low ash which reduces soot build up on the turbo and helps lower emissions for MOT testing. Additionally, I personally found that using this oil I never had to top it up. Newer VW based cars say it’s common to top up every 1000 miles or so. I’ve personally never had to top up once with my old VW Passat and since changing to this oil still haven’t to date. Oil is designed to lubricate and protect the engine, but don’t expect to drive at 100mph+ and not burn some oil. If you are doing normal town / motorway driving I wouldn’t worry though
Screenwash, it varies what I use at the time, however the last few years when I can afford it I’ve used Prestone Screenwash. A few years back I tested it at Asda when first released. It was around £2 for a 1Litre bottle and I loved it. It has an excellent rate of keeping the windscreen clear. I believe the formula must have a silicone compound added to it, as when I was driving I didn’t have to use my wipers much. This was because when washing my windows it was coating the windscreen in a layer which formed water to bead when driving and rolling off the windows quickly which enhanced the visibility when it was heavy rain and driving at high speeds. It also protects really low down which aids de-icing windscreens in the winter
Tow Bar, generally if a car breaks down the old method of towing someone was just to use a rope to drag the car in tow and using the car in front to help recover it. This was banned for multiple safety reasons. One of the common problems that would occur was the driver behind was always having to use braking on the car to keep the tension between the towing car and the broken down vehicle. Anyone who’s driven a car with no brake assist knows how forceful you need to be, and if there is a sudden need to stamp on the brakes then it usually resulted in going into the rear of the car towing you. To overcome this, everyone now uses a rigid towing bar. The towing bar I use for recovery is a Clark 2-tonne towing bar with Spring Damper it suits all the requirements of a modern broken down vehicle. One of the main benefits is that it’s rigid, so there is no need for the driver behind to keep pressing the brakes, although they should still press them to assist the driver in front as the towing vehicle has to overcome the brake force of 2 x vehicle weight. With a fixed rigid line, there is a constant tension between the vehicles, the spring damper helps reduce the loads between the two vehicles both when braking and pulling away. Any sudden “jerks” on a normal rope could potentially snap it. The equipment comes in 3-pieces which rapidly dismantle and goes away into a bag for ease of transport. Total weight approximately 5 kilograms.
SUMMER / WINTER ACCESSORIES
Ice Scraper, this is a bit of a tough decision really. Ice scrapers are generally only the thing you use when the weather gets bad but some people live in areas where the weather ices up a lot. I live in the UK so we rarely get much snow/ice unless there’s a bad spell across the pond. I’ve tried multiple variations of scraper, they all do the job to some extent. Although I’m trying to find one which suits the needs and does the job efficiently. This is the scraper I use so far is made by Signstek. It’s actually sold at Asda, but this is the closest match I could find online for those who don’t have a local Asda / Walmart store near them. I’ve tried the cheap scrapers which are the ones where they have a small sqeueegee at the end. I didn’t like them very much because you couldn’t get enough of a decent angle and the blade isn’t very sharp. Also found my hands were really cold. I’ve also tried the gloved ones where it’s a mitt with a scraper. These do the job at keeping your hands warm, and work fairly effectively, but the ones I had eventually started falling apart. This is more of a personal decision more than anything else, but I’m really liking the one I purchased from Asda to date. It’s a good length (around 8-9″) is made of stainless steel with a hardened plastic edge. It doesn’t appear to scratch the windscreen and it cuts through the ice very easily. I’m sure I’ll change this post, but this is the most effective one I have found to date and don’t intend on changing in a while.
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