Car ownership

AdBlue: What it is, how it works and why it’s vital for some diesels

AdBlue

Run out of AdBlue and you might struggle to get going again

AdBlue is becoming an important part of our motoring life. And for drivers of diesel cars it could make the difference between miles of trouble-free, low pollution motoring and their car not working at all.

There are currently estimated to be more than 200,000 vehicles using AdBlue in Europe. This is because it’s been popular in the haulage industry for the past 20 years as a means of reducing poisonous exhaust emissions.

Although AdBlue is neither a fuel nor a fuel additive, cars that use it can stop running if they don’t have a sufficient amount in a special on-board tank. That’s because the AdBlue is designed to be injected into the exhaust fumes and remove the harmful nitrogen oxide gases. The trouble is, some drivers aren’t sure what AdBlue is and ignore the car’s reminders to fill it up. Sometimes when the AdBlue tank runs dry the car won’t start and they then have to call us out to get going again. Here’s all you need to know about AdBlue.

How do you know if your car uses AdBlue?

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How to check how many miles you drive each year and avoid invalidating your insurance

How to check how many miles you drive each year - and avoid invalidating your car insurance

If you’re unsure how many miles you drive each year, you’re not alone. More than a quarter of drivers could be guessing how far they drive and it may cost them dear, according to a survey.

The findings mean millions of drivers could be paying too much for their car insurance or, more worryingly, may be at risk of invalidating their policy.

The survey of 2,000 drivers highlighted how 27 per cent of Britain’s motorists ‘guesstimate’ how far they drive each year. It was conducted by uSwitch.

Why is it important to submit an accurate annual mileage to insurers?

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Diesel car ban: Will it really happen and what does it mean for drivers?

Diesel car ban

About half these cars will be diesel. Could they really be banned?

Will there really be a diesel car ban? It’s been a hot topic among drivers for the past couple of years and as time passes it seems to get ever hotter. At the end of 2016 it was revealed that by 2025 diesel cars would be forbidden from entering Paris, Madrid, Athens and Mexico City. There are rumours that London could follow suit and the capital’s Westminster Council has already revealed it will charge diesel drivers extra to park.

Later this year, there will be a change to the congestion charge. Owners of older, more polluting vehicles will pay a supplement of £10 to enter to congestion charge zone. Five other UK cities have been told they can create clean air zones. These would also permit local authorities to charge diesel drivers for coming into city centres. So what do these proposals mean for owners of diesel cars and drivers considering buying them?

Why are diesel cars being punished?

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Big fuel savings for better drivers. We show you how to reap them

Fuel savings

Drivers who’re more aggressive at the wheel could use significantly more fuel

Drivers with a light foot can save themselves £562 a year according to a new report. By anticipating the road ahead better, drivers can save money at the pumps and almost halve the amount they have to fill up every year.

Insurer Direct Line compiled the findings using information from drivers with telematics ‘black boxes’ fitted to their cars. It analysed 319,000 journeys over a two-month period and concluded calm, less aggressive drivers can make big fuel savings of nearly £11 a week.

What did the report find out?

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What every driver needs to know about the 2017 VED car tax changes

Car tax

Did you know that the car tax regulations will change in April, 2017? Big alterations are afoot after the government calculated that increasingly fuel efficient cars are leaving it out of pocket.

That’s because currently, the annual tax drivers pay to be on the road is calculated according to how much carbon dioxide (CO2) comes out of their car’s exhaust. And around 25 per cent of all new cars are so clean that, guess what? They’re exempt from road tax.

But from next April anybody that buys a new car will face a new regime of car tax. And overnight it will make many of the UK’s most popular new motors much more expensive to own.  Continue reading

Expert advice: Defrosting cars – all you need to know

Defrosting cars

Iced up car windows are all too familiar at this time of year

Defrosting cars is something we all have to do at some point in the year. Although it sounds simple and should be relatively straightforward there are still some dos and don’ts. Here are my top tips to ensure you defrost your car and get going, even in the toughest conditions.

How to defrost your car

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Designated drivers: wild passengers and pressure to drink drive – the truth

Designated drivers

It is possible to have fun at a party and stay sober to drive friends

Being the designated driver can be a thankless task. Now the facts about staying sober to drive friends who’ve had a few can be laid bare. Being pressured into drinking by friends who’ve entrusted you with their safety and having drunken passengers distracting you are just two of the pitfalls. Nonetheless, new research by Green Flag shows that more of us than ever before (26 per cent) are volunteering to be designated drivers.

Designated drivers: the benefits

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Things to remember for safe winter driving this year

Safe winter driving

The abolition of the tax disc saw a rise in the number of cars without VED

Car ownership can be a taxing business – in more ways than one. There’s so much to remember that it’s easy for simple bits of admin to slip through the net. Forget one of those and it could end in a costly fine or ‑ even worse ‑ an accident. For worry-free and safe winter driving, here are six points that it’s worth checking.

Safe winter driving: car tax and MOT

After the abolition of the tax disc, the Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) witnessed an increase in the number of drivers who hadn’t paid Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) or tax. Part of the problem is the tax disc was a very visible reminder for drivers that they needed to keep their car legal. If you’ve lost track – it’s easy to do ‑ check whether your car is taxed by going to the DVLA website here. Continue reading

Car fires: What to do if your car catches fire and how to stop it

Car fires

Around a third of the 300 car fires a day are caused by poor maintenance or design flaws

Car fires are not as rare as you might think. The Fire Service says that around 300 cars a day go up in flames. Recently there have been high-profile blazes involving the Vauxhall Zafira MPV because of a design flaw. And figures from the Driver Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA), which oversees manufacturer recalls of faulty vehicles, reveal that the number of cars recalled for risk of fire increased dramatically in 2015-16.

Big-name manufacturers Honda, Chrysler, Bentley, Volkswagen, Toyota, Mercedes-Benz, Land Rover, Ferrari, and Porsche all joined Vauxhall in issuing recalls for vehicles that are at risk of catching fire because of design or build flaws.

Although the chance of a car catching fire is tiny, what do you do if it does? We asked the Fire Service for its advice.

What causes car fires?

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First aid kit for drivers and how to help at an accident scene

First Aid kit

It might not just be bent metal at the scene of a road crash

Either having or witnessing a road crash is most people’s worst nightmare. But as bystanders there is plenty we can do if we’re involved in, or come across, a road crash. According to the Red Cross, around half the deaths from road accidents occur before the emergency services arrive. But the vast majority of those fatalities could be prevented if first aid is administered in that time.

Carry a first aid kit

Road safety experts urge drivers to carry a first aid kit. And although these can be vital in an emergency, they’re also pretty handy to have in the car, just in case of the unexpected. After all, you never know when your child is going to fall over and scrape their knee or you’re going cut your finger changing a wheel. Continue reading