Buying and selling

Are electric cars cheaper to service than diesel models? We investigate

Are electric cars cheaper to service than diesel models? We investigate

In the autumn 2017 budget, the government dangled more carrots to entice drivers to switch to electric cars. It promised not to tax those who charge their cars for free at work. It also said there would be £400m for additional charging points and revealed increases in Vehicle Excise Duty (road tax) for new diesel cars.

The incentives are intended to accelerate the drive toward electric cars that emit no emissions. Even so, most drivers still have practical questions over the suitability of battery powered vehicles and, importantly, their running costs.

One of the most significant running costs of any car is the price of servicing. And manufacturers of electric models often highlight how much cheaper they are to maintain than a comparably priced diesel car. But are there really savings to be made? And how often do they need to be serviced? We investigate. Continue reading

Buying a cheap car? Use this to avoid scams and choose with confidence

Buying a cheap car? Use this checklist to buy with confidence and avoid scams

Finding a cheap car isn’t difficult. There are more than 800,000 used cars for sale at any one time on websites such as Auto Trader, eBay, Exchange & Mart and Gumtree. And that’s in addition to other online sales sites both locally and nationally.

Buying a good one, however, calls for drivers to do their homework. We’ve created this checklist to help drivers buy the best motor for their budget and sort the good from the bad and the downright ugly.

Research the best cheap car for your needs

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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