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Give a damn...GiveacarGive a damn...Giveacar Cars, they're a bit like kids; great when they're doing what they should be doing but when they keep acting up and costing you a packet you want to give them away :) Luckily for me when I was a kid and...

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24 top tips for winter driving24 top tips for winter driving I don't know about you but I'm hoping for another Winter like the last one! I love the snow and I like driving in it too. So in anticipation of another long spell of deep snow covered roads, icy corners...

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Have a free guide to buying a used MX5 on me...Have a free guide to buying a used MX5 on me... My smurf coloured MX5 is up and running again and beginning to shape up nicely - finally :)  There have been quite a few problems that could have been avoided if I'd had a bit more knowledge earlier on...

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How to replace your soft top in two and a half hours...How to replace your soft top in two and a half hours... If it's the first time you've ever replaced the vinyl hood on your MX5, the bads news is you'll probaly need a weekend. On the other hand, if you've a bit of extra cash to hand you can call in The Soft...

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How to improve an MX5 – wrap it in sunshine!How to improve an MX5 – wrap it in sunshine! When I suggested to a friend I was going to Union Jack Maurice, he said 'Why don't you wrap him?' I immediately thought how do you wrap a car? How many rolls of gift wrap would it take, can you get bows...

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Give a damn…Giveacar

Posted by Maurice | Posted in Recycling | Posted on 06-05-2011

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Cars, they’re a bit like kids; great when they’re doing what they should be doing but when they keep acting up and costing you a packet you want to give them away :) Luckily for me when I was a kid and for Maurice, it wasn’t an option. Had savvy, young graduate Tom Chance had his idea for donating end of life cars to charity a year earlier, my smurfmobile might have had a different ending to his days. If you have no option but to scrap an MX5 (I know some of you do and I dislike you intensely for it) then I’ll let Daniel from Giveacar explain why you should give them a call (and I’ll like you all over again :) )

Obviously you want to keep your Mazda running as long as possible but unfortunately one day it may become so worn out that you can no longer run it and on that sad day you’ll have to decide which option is best for disposing of it. Now there is a new way, instead of just scrapping it you can donate it to charity and we’ll ensure that your chosen charity gets the best value possible from it.

Tom Chance of Giveacar

Best laid plans and all that…

Posted by Maurice | Posted in Other Stuff | Posted on 15-03-2011

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Just in case you thought I’d fell off the end of the world, I thought I’d better post something and in case you’re asking  Is Maurice still a work in progress? The answer is yes! He’s fine, thanks for asking but I’ve slacked off – due to crummy weather and other things that had to take priority.

waxoyl

Anyhoo, I booked a day annual leave to finally waxoyl the underside of the car, I bought the Waxoyl in December, it’s been sitting in the dining room ever since. No.7 has a vehicle lift which is perfect for the job meaning I can stand comfortably under the car and get easy access. Armed and ready I toddled along at 10am this morning only to find out that the water supply was off at the unit – the underside of the car needs jet washing before the Waxoyl is applied, so no water was a bit of a bummer. We couldn’t really complain at the landlord’s lack of ability to come and fix it as he’s not long fell off a ladder and broke both his legs. Call me churlish but I think he has a few more important problems of his own :)

Why we should use winter tyres

Posted by Maurice | Posted in Safety | Posted on 17-12-2010

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I’d never heard of winter tyres up until a couple of months ago. I do know we used to have winter and summer oil for cars which was superceded by all weather oil when multigrades were developed but tyres? Do we get enough snow in the UK to warrant changing tyres? We did last year and it looks like we will this year too, but is it worth the extra expense? I thought I’d find out. Who to ask? Someone who makes them, I thought. So I asked the largest tyre manufacturer in Europe,  Continental Tyres – manufacturer of millions of tyres over the past 140 years and they were good enough to tell me.

What are winter tyres and why use them during the winter months?

Previously, there has been a huge lack of awareness in the UK about winter tyres. Either motorists didn’t know they existed or they thought they could only be used in heavy snow or ice.

car-tempIn fact, drivers will see benefit from using winter tyres on slush, ice, frost and even wet roads, in fact any time the temperature dips below +7 degrees centigrade.

In some EU countries such as Austria, Germany and Finland  winter tyres are legally required. There is however, no legislation or guidance in this country.

2010 has been a turning point in the UK. Demand has increased dramatically as the country is gripped by prolonged periods of snow and motorists realise that winter tyres aren’t only effective in snow and ice but also on wet roads at cold temperatures. Advice for motorists is to talk to their tyre retailers. If they don’t have any stock left this year, talk to them about next year and get your tyres changed in October – along with the rest of Europe – before the weather worsens.

How do you become a motor journalist?

Posted by Maurice | Posted in Other Stuff | Posted on 30-11-2010

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Ever find out what someone does for a living and think  ‘Lucky git – how on Earth did he land that job?’ Me too. I think that about motor journalists – what a fantastic job to drive cars, travel the world, write about it and get paid. Until recently, like a lot of people outside of the industry, my experience of  motor journalists was limited to Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond. Unfortunately, it seemed, they’d also nabbed the only three jobs available for such a cushy and fun career – lucky sods. Glad to say I was wrong though, there’s quite a lot of them out there. Never one to miss a trick, I thought I’d ask six that were skidding round the racetrack of motor journalism a few questions. Some are seasoned experts, some are just starting out but how did they do it?


jon-quirk

Jon Quirk has written for Autocar Magazine, been Editor of Europe’s biggest motoring community Pistonheads and is currently digital producer for WhichCar’s website.

1. What route did you take into motoring journalism?
A random one! I had read Autocar since I was a foetus but like most people, I didn’t ever dream that it [motoring journalism] could be a feasible career. Instead, I studied economics at Newcastle then went on to attend the MA in Auto Journalism at Coventry.

Why you should always keep Vaseline in your car!

Posted by Maurice | Posted in Electrics | Posted on 23-11-2010

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There’s a very good use for it and it’s not what you’re thinking! It’s ideal for keeping electrical connections moisture free. My right headlight has been failing and the last one I put in only lasted two months. At fourteen quid a go I thought I’d better try a bit of preventative care.

vaseline

24 top tips for winter driving

Posted by Maurice | Posted in Safety | Posted on 15-11-2010

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I don’t know about you but I’m hoping for another Winter like the last one! I love the snow and I like driving in it too. So in anticipation of another long spell of deep snow covered roads, icy corners and treacherous conditions, I began thinking of all the things I learnt last year that got me to my destination safely and in one piece. Remember this?

cars-driving-in-snow

Snow causes havoc in the UK, mostly because we don’t get that much of it but we do get cold winters and plenty of ice.  Canada and others countries fare much better because they expect it so they are always prepared. So that’s the answer then, isn’t it? Be prepared.  There’s already been a few very bad crashes reported due to ice on the roads, so to help make sure you’re not one of them, here’s my comprehensive list of tips for driving safely this winter.

Fitting new headrest speakers…

Posted by Maurice | Posted in I.C.E | Posted on 05-11-2010

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As Mx5′s are tiddly little motors Mazda has been very clever at fitting all the gizmos we want into a very conservative space. It took me five minutes when I first got Maurice to work out where the sound was coming from behind me – I  still think it’s a very simple but clever idea to use vacant space in the seat as part of the sound system. Plus you can have the music on loud enough to make your ears bleed, providing your headrest speakers are working well – which mine weren’t.

I bought these luvly puppies from MX5 Parts – these aren’t the stock version but an upgrade, as the price was the same as the regular MX5 headrest speakers it seemed daft not to buy them.  When I opened the box I thought no way would they fit, but the clever peeps at MX5 Parts have obviously met people like me before and put a printed sheet in the box saying they do and pictures to show how to fit them. The front grill of the speaker doesn’t need to go in, so they are actually smaller than they look.

jvc-boxed-speakersit-won't-fit

Changing the long mast to a stubby aerial

Posted by Maurice | Posted in I.C.E | Posted on 14-10-2010

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For some reason early MX5′s have a riculously long aerial – about 40cm I think it is. They can be a pain if you take your car through a car wash but more of a problem for me is it gets in the way of the storm cover fitting properly. I didn’t think it was the brightest of ideas to trim a hole in the cover for the aerial to fit through – kind of defeats the idea of having a waterproof cover :) As I want to get the sound system sorted, so I can deafen myself as I drive and as winter is on its way, I thought I’d start by replacing the long aerial with a stubby one from MX5 Parts.

cover-long-mast

New alloys for your car for under £20.00

Posted by Maurice | Posted in Detailing | Posted on 12-09-2010

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Yup, new looking alloys for under £20.00 – I know I put new alloys in the title but it’s stretching credibility a bit isn’t it, to get brand new wheels for that price? Having said that visit some forums and the odd generous bod does indeed give away wheels sometimes! Anywho, as I’m fed up of having my head stuck under the bonnet and being covered in oil, I thought I’d get back to the brief I started with and turn Maurice into a ‘tidy looking’ motor.

The new soft top makes the car look much smarter but it does really show up the paintwork and bloody awful alloys. Get a load of these:

original-tyre

Have a free guide to buying a used MX5 on me…

Posted by Maurice | Posted in Books | Posted on 30-08-2010

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My smurf coloured MX5 is up and running again and beginning to shape up nicely – finally :)   There have been quite a few problems that could have been avoided if I’d had a bit more knowledge earlier on when I bought him. I’m not the only one though, there’s plenty of owners out there who have fallen in love with the prospect of whizzing around in a sporty convertible that they’ve seen a ‘bargain’ and bought it on sight only to find some expensive problems later on.

Rather than put anybody off buying a topless pocket rocket I put together a FREE guide so you know what to look for when buying a used Mazda MX5. There aren’t many faults but some are best avoided and as there are so many on the market you can afford to be choosy.

Buying A Used MX5