Buying and selling

New insurance categories to make write-off cars easier for buyers to spy

insurance categories

It might not take that much damage for a car to be written off. But can it be put back on the road?

From October 2017 onwards, the insurance categories for damaged cars change. Where once these categorisations went neatly from A to D, they now go A, B, S, and N. The classes have been changed in a bid to ensure fewer dangerously crash-damaged cars end up being put back on the road. We look at what’s been done, what it means for drivers and whether it’ll make a difference.

What are insurance write-off categories?

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Smoking harms car resale value. How to spot a smoker’s motor

Smoking

Smoking isn’t just harmful to you and your passengers

We all know smoking is bad for us. But now there’s conclusive evidence that it’s harmful to our car’s health as well. Anyone who partakes in the evil weed will realise that smoking is an expensive hobby. But the impact on our pocket doesn’t stop with buying tobacco or cigarettes. It can keep on hurting us financially when we sell our cars too.

A new report by car valuation experts CAP HPI reveals that cars can lose as much as £2000 off their resale value if they’ve been smoked in.

Why does smoking in cars hit their value?

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How to choose a reliable used car – and avoid one that may break down

Reliable used car

Drivers may be tempted to imagine that the most reliable cars are the most expensive models from the poshest brands. But the latest independent surveys of car owners suggest otherwise.

Audi, BMW and Land Rover can be found languishing at the bottom of tables ranking the most and least reliable car makers. And budget brands, including Skoda and Suzuki, are often given the highest ratings.

It means that when buying a used or new car, drivers should do their homework carefully. If they don’t, they run the risk of their car being off the road and unexpected repair bills.

To help inform car buyers, we’ve got some top tips on how to choose a car that won’t let you down.

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MOT: half of drivers don’t realise government check service is free

MOT test

The annual MOT is vital to ensure cars are roadworthy

When is your car’s MOT test due? If you don’t know the answer to that question, you’re not alone. A new poll has revealed that a quarter of drivers (27 per cent) don’t have a clue when their current MOT runs out.

Although the Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) automatically sends drivers reminders about when their road tax is due, there is no such service for MOTs. Instead the government has an MOT check website. However, nearly half (47 per cent) are unaware of it according to the survey by Carbuyer.co.uk.

It’s easy to check when your MOT test is due

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Buying cars? People think it’s like snakes and ladders

Car buying

Up until a couple of seconds ago, he’d set his heart on the black Golf…

Buying cars is full of pitfalls with the vast majority of people expecting it to be hard work. And as they get further down the road, nearly two thirds of buyers give up through the sheer mental exhaustion of the process.

A major study, conducted by used car sales website Auto Trader  spoke to buyers during the car buying process to identify the pain points we all face.

How we buy cars

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Scrappage: all you need to know about car maker incentive schemes

scrappage

Vauxhall has been running its scrappage scheme since May (Picture © Vauxhall)

For drivers who might be considering swapping their old car for a new model, there are now multiple scrappage schemes to help. But, unlike last time when we had government-organised scrappage, these are car maker-inspired schemes. We explain what scrappage is, which manufacturers are currently doing it and look into these latest incentives.

What is scrappage?

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Which is best? Automatic gearbox, DSG, CVT, or automated manual

automatic gearbox

There are various automatic gearboxes on the market, but which is the best? (Picture © Kia)

Once upon a time, drivers simply had the choice between manual or automatic gearboxes. Now for anyone who wants to let the car’s electronic brain take the strain, there are a variety of different self-shifting gearboxes available.

Thanks to advances in technology, automatic gearboxes have become far more efficient. And as they can accommodate more ratios – some have 10 speeds – they help drivers to save fuel too.

Here we explain the difference between the four main types of automatic gearbox and look at the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Automatic gearbox

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Virtual reality letting buyers test new models without the car there

Test drive a Mazda CX-5 using virtual reality

Taking a test drive is one of the most exciting things about buying a car. But most drivers will agree that waiting months for a new model to arrive in showrooms, and having to go from one car dealer to another, invariably giving up their Saturday or Sunday in the process, is a chore they could do without.

That could soon become a thing of the past. New technology is bringing the car to the customer. Without even leaving home, it is now possible to conduct a test drive from the comfort of a favourite armchair – thanks to advances in virtual reality.

Car makers including Audi, Ford, Mazda, Peugeot and Volvo are experimenting with virtual reality as they look for new ways to entice car buyers. Here’s why it could play a part when you buy your next car.  Continue reading

Is part exchanging your car for a new model the easy way to sell it?

Part exchanging

Part exchanging your car for a new model can be straightforward

The car buyer’s conundrum has long centred around whether part exchanging is the best way to sell a used car. A few years ago, it could be more profitable than selling a car privately for some sellers. And it’s always been the most convenient. But is that still the case? We investigate part exchanging cars.

What is part exchanging?

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How to cancel vehicle tax and reclaim any that’s not been used

How to cancel vehicle tax and reclaim unused road tax

Anyone who was driving before 2014 may turn misty-eyed at memories of tax discs. Brightly coloured pieces of paper used to be displayed in the windscreen, to prove a driver had paid vehicle tax.

In addition to serving as a quick and simple visual reminder that car tax needed to be renewed, it let authorities easily check whether Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) had been paid. And there was another benefit to it. Anyone selling a used motor could charge for the remaining car tax that was to be enjoyed by the new owner. Alternatively, drivers buying a second-hand car could use the need for new tax to haggle down the price of the car.

In the digital age, that’s no longer the case. Anyone that sells their car and has outstanding VED on it should reclaim the amount paid from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). For the same reason, those buying a new or used car must tax it before they can legally drive away.

But it’s not only when drivers sell their car that they can reclaim tax. If a motor is being taken off the road, scrapped, declared a write-off by an insurance company, or stolen the tax can be reclaimed. Here’s how. Continue reading