Buying and selling

Test how much you know about the humble engine

quiz-about-engines
We know roughly what engines look like but how much do we know about them? (Picture iStock)

For as long as we’ve been driving, the internal combustion engine has been our principal source of power. Battery electric motors are slowly replacing them now but even so, the vast majority of us still drive cars with engines in them.

These lumps of metal live under our bonnet, drink petrol or diesel and have cylinders and valves that go about their business of speeding us along. But how much do you actually know about them? Take our fiendish quiz to find out.

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Thousands of possible death traps sold to unsuspecting buyers

possible death traps sold
If a written off car has been repaired, it should be declared (Picture iStock/Kadmy)

It’s no secret that there’s a shortage of used cars. And those that are available are being sold for inflated prices. Hardly surprising then that the trade in dodgy motors is picking up.

Research by TV show Dispatches found that up to 40,000 possible death traps sold every year could be insurance write-offs going to unsuspecting buyers.

How can a written off car be sold again?

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Buying a new car for the 72-reg plate change – what you need to know

72-reg plate change
Getting to this point is more difficult that it was a few years ago (Picuture iStock/Clerkenwell)

It’s time for the 72-reg plate change. Traditionally, September has been one of the two months (along with March) when car sales peak. And the more new cars sold, the more used models are freed up for buyers to get their hands on.

But since the dark days of the pandemic, the supply of new cars has slowed dramatically. The knock-on is a shortage of used cars with the models that are available costing more. We look at how to get a good buy for the 72-reg plate change.

Go for existing stock

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Cut the cost of motoring by buying an unlikely classic car

A classic car? Really? Yup, many think so. (Picture Vauxhall)

One way to cut your motoring costs is to own a classic – a car that’s more than 40 years old. But you’ll probably think some of the motors that turn 40 this year make an unlikely classic car, clapped out rather than classic.

Owners of pre-1982 cars don’t need an MOT and don’t pay any car tax. If you read on below, you’ll see that many classics won’t cost a fortune to buy either. Get the right one and it’ll even appreciate in value too.

Here we look at some of the cars that turn classic this year – at least in name. We also see how many remain and reveal what it might cost to buy one.

Audi 100

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What does the war in Ukraine mean for car drivers?

The cost of living is increasing and so is what you pay to go motoring (Picture iStock/Simon Bradfield)

The devastating effect of war in Ukraine is being felt to a lesser extent across Europe and into the UK too. Here we look at how the war is affecting car users today and the impact it could have in the future.

More expensive fuel

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Expert advice: how to make sure you don’t void your car warranty

car warranty
A warranty should give extra protection to your car but they’re easy to void (Picture: iStock/Rido Franz)

Buy a new car and by law it must come with a warranty. And increasingly, if you buy a used car, particularly if it’s manufacturer approved, it’ll also have a car warranty.

These guarantees vary in length from between seven and three years if it’s a brand-new car; between one year and three months if it’s a used car.

But they come with a strict set of terms and conditions. Drivers must abide by these if the warranty is to remain valid throughout its term. Here are five things you should steer clear of if you want to maintain your car warranty.

Keep your car maintained

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How to go about rejecting a faulty car

rejecting a car
You might end up deciding to reject a car if your dealer can’t fix it satisfactorily (Picture iStock/Skynesher)

Increasing numbers of owners are rejecting their cars. Law company Stormcatcher claims people seeking legal advice for rejecting a car has skyrocketed over recent months.

But what does rejecting a car mean and if you want to do it, how do you go about it? Read on for all the ins and outs.

How can you reject a car?

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Towcar awards: best cars for 2022 revealed

towcar awards
SEAT Leon was overall Towcar of the year 2022 (Picture Caravan and Motorhome Club)

If you’ve considered caravanning as a holiday you’re not alone. Numbers taking holidays in caravans were increasing even before the pandemic. And in some months during 2020, caravan sales increased by up to 70 per cent compared with previous years.

To help drivers pick the best cars for their caravanning needs, the Caravan and Motorhome Club (CAMC) holds its Towcar of the Year competition. To find the winner of this year’s award, it tested 32 cars in 11 categories. It then narrowed these down to one overall winner. Read on to see the best cars for towing.

What was the best car for towing?

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Lack of computer chips causes new car shortage. How and why?

computer chips
Computer chips are an integral part of car manufacture (Picture iStock/Madmaxer)

Anyone who’s tried to buy a brand-new car this year may well have been disappointed. Dealers will happily sell you one. But actually getting to enjoy that new-car smell and all the electronic wizardry a new car will feature now involves a lengthy wait.

The delays are all down to a shortage of a part that costs a few quid. They are called integrated circuits or semi-conductor chips, more commonly known as computer chips. There’s even a knock-on to used cars with prices of these increasing. Read on for the full story.

What are computer chips?

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Stolen cars: why ‘chop shops’ are the new threat for car buyers

chop shops
Chop shops are like legitimate garages but stolen cars are stripped for their parts (Picture iStock/Patrick Heagney)

If you’re unlucky enough to have your car stolen, there’s a very good chance it will end up in what’s known as a chop shop. There it will be dismantled or chopped up and its parts will either be sold to innocent consumers or used to repair wrecked cars.

Why might this be a problem for car buyers?

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