child first passes their driving test, they will no doubt be eager to own their
own car. It may be that, as parents, you are in a financial position that
enables you to buy the first car for them but usually this will have to be a
used car. The physical size of the car, engine size and fuel type will all need
to be taken into consideration.
important firstly to think about what the car will be used for. If it is only
used on short local journeys a smaller car will probably be sufficient but if
the car is going to be used for longer motorway journeys a more reliable, fuel efficient
model will be more suitable.
The cost of
insuring a young persons’ car is a significant outlay and so a car with a
smaller engine may mean that savings can be made. A tracker can be fitted to
the car by a representative from the insurance company which measures the
mileage covered, speed the car is driven at and the time of day journeys are
undertaken. This feature can result in a reduced insurance premium for the
driver and peace of mind for the parent too.
motorways have been about for a number of years now and in the last five years
there has been 38 deaths which surely says there is a need to rethink them. A
section of the M25 that has been turned in to a smart motorway has seen a 20
fold increase in near misses since the hard shoulder was removed. The idea of
these smart motorways is to open up the hard shoulder to be used by motorists
as another lane. It someone breaks down in a lane then a sign on a gantry will
illuminate a red x to show drivers that the line is closed, and they need to
move in to another lane. This was first piloted on the M42 where the Emergency
Refuge Areas were every 500m, without consultation this was changed to only
have them every 2500m instead which may have contributed to the number of deaths
that have occurred.
It can take
up to 17 minutes for the control room to spot a broken down vehicle and hit the
button to display a red X, it can then take another 17 minutes for the car to
be rescued and bought to safety which means you have well over half an hour of time
where you are in a very dangerous position.
are not only an inconvenience but sometimes they can also be very dangerous, If
you break down on the motor way for example then you are at high risk of being
involved in a another accident. This is why it is very important to try and
find ways to cut down on unexpected breakdowns.
last few decades there have been a number of huge advances in the motoring
industry such as improved safety features and environmental features such as
Many of the
new cars that are on the market have colour coded speedometers not only
displaying your speed on a digital display but also showing you if you are
driving economically or not.
little device that may be worth purchasing is one of the portable real time
diagnostic boxes that many of the breakdown companies are offering. Companies
such as the AA and Green Flag have created these boxes that plug directly into
the diagnostic port on your vehicle. They are set up to read any error codes
that come up on the ECU of your vehicle and report them to you in real time.
This may be by sending you a text message or a phone call. They can read data such
as battery issues, engine management fault codes and even driving styles
cover is something that many drivers skim on and either neglect to get it at
all or find the cheapest quote and go with that, but in doing this you are
playing a dangerous game which could end up costly.
insurance, break down cover is not compulsory in the UK but even so, it is
something that we should all take out for added peace of mind. Even new cars
suffer breakdowns so regardless of the age of the vehicle you should get
breakdown. Some policies even cover you when you are a passenger in someone else’s
car so need not worry about ever get stuck. If you break down on the motorway, you must
get your car recovered as soon as possible and if you cannot provide details of
the company that is recovering you then you may have to pay the recovery
charges issued by the highways maintenance service. This is often a lot higher
than the annual fee you would pay for breakdown assistance and they will often
only recover you to a local garage or safe place to leave the vehicle.
break down policy costs as little as £9 per month so it really won’t break the
bank and in with this you may also be given extras such as a hire car or
overnight accommodation. If you want extra peace of mind be sure to opt for a
package that recovers you to any UK destination and also home start.
If you have a
vehicle and have not been given the service schedule book then you may have no
idea what if any services have been done on it. Most cars are usually kept up
to date with the services for at least the first three years after which time
some people can become a little complacent and miss one or two along the way. A
service is important to ensure that the car is working as efficiently as
possible and to try and prevent the unnecessary wear of parts.
If you have
just bought a car but have no service history for it you can do some
investigation work and try to find out yourself information on past services.
If the car came with any receipts, then have a good look through them first and
see if you can find an invoice for a service. If you know where the car has
been taken for repairs you could ring that garage up and ask them if they have
any service history for the vehicle. You can sometimes order a duplicate
service book online for the make and model of your vehicle but be sure to then
try and contact the servicing garages to ask if they would be willing to stamp
it for you.
faults on a car can be very frustrating. Often you may notice that something is
not quite right but then when you take the car to the garage, they cannot
replicate the fault. This can result in costly investigation costs and may mean
you have to go without your car for a period of time whilst they complete their
are built with a type of on board computer that can be linked up to a
diagnostic machine that will check the system for faults. This will then create
a diagnostic report listing any fault codes it has found. The fault codes will
refer to a problem with a specific part or function of the vehicle. Not all
garages will be able to do a diagnostic on your car so it is worth checking
with them first. Once you have the results of the diagnostic you can then make
a decision as to what you want to do with the vehicle. If it is quite old, you
may feel that it is not worth repairing and better to cut your losses.
can cost around £20-£40 depending on where you take it and you need to bear in
mind that the diagnostic will not pick up everything that is wrong with the car
just faults that have been recorded on the on-board computer.
a car you want to make sure that you get the most fuel for your money as you
would if you were driving your own car at home. Many hire cars come with a
certain amount of fuel in them and when you return them, you usually have to
return them with the same amount back in. If you return them with less fuel
then you will usually get charged for this.
for your next car hire by reading these top tips to help improve your hire car
fuel economy. Some you’re probably aware of, some you might have forgot or been
unaware of. They’re all handy to know!
simple, but when the weather is hot try to park in the shade rather than out in
the open as this will reduce fuel evaporation. Plan you journeys in advance and
look out for traffic. Making sure you take the shortest route may help you save
on the fuel you use. Carrying unnecessary weight will increase fuel
consumption. It can be easy to leave those bags of unwanted clothes in your
hire car for days forgetting to take them to the charity shop but each day this
is costing you money.
are a common component that needs replacing usually every couple of years,
maybe more depending on how much you use your vehicle. The cost of replacing
brake pads can vary drastically from car to car and they always need to be
replaced in pairs as if you only replace the one, the car will not brake evenly
when the brakes are applied and the car may swerve or skid.
If you take
your car to a main dealer you may end up paying in excess of £300 to have the
brakes replaced. If you take the car to an independent garage it will probably
be around £200 for new pads all round.
The job of
changing brake pads is fairly straight forward, and if you are feeling
confident then you may wish to have a go yourself. Although the job isn’t too
difficult, it is vital that you get it right. Be certain that you know what you
are doing, and ideally have them checked over by a mechanic once you have
completed the change.
You can save
quite a bit of money in buying the brakes and fitting them yourself. The parts
will probably cost you around £75 – £100 and then it is just a case of your
As a car
owner it is your responsibility to ensure that your car is maintained and road
legal. There are many things that can go wrong with a car from time to time and
one of the more costly jobs is often involving the cam belt.
A cam belt
is the belt that drives the cam which synchronises the rotation of the
crankshaft and the camshaft so that the engine’s valves open and close at the
proper times during each cylinder’s intake and exhaust strokes.
have a rubber belt but some are fitted with a chain belt which means they are
much less likely to break. The rubber cam belts will often need replacing at
certain intervals and may need tensioning in-between changes. If this is not
done you run the risk of the belt snapping or loosening too much and causing
internal damage to the engine, which can often be enough damage to make the car
a write off and beyond economical repair.
need the cam belt changing approximately every sixty thousand miles or so where
as other may only need it doing every one hundred and twenty thousand.
the cam belt changed as soon as possible on a second hand car unless you can be
certain it has been done recently.
The law is
hotting up on drives who use mobile devices whilst driving. It is against the
law to drive a car whilst using a mobile phone, unless it is using a hands free
device. There is still quite a valid argument though that using a hands free
device is still not completely without risk and may not be as safe as you would
like to think. You are certainly better off not to use your phone at all, but
often this is not possible especially for people like reps etc who need to be
able to have the ability to make and take phone calls when on the road all day.
There is a huge selection of hands-free devices out there which range in price and functionality. If you have a stereo that has an aux port on it or a micro usb / Apple connection then you should be able to link your phone directly to the car stereo. If you are intending using your hands free a lot then it is recommend that you invest in a good quality one that may cost a bit more. Some newer vehicles also have a blue tooth connection to allow you to link your device that way. These systems often will link to your phone book allowing you to ring contacts in your phone.