Connected cars coming to a road near you soon

Connected car

Weather conditions, the state of traffic, and engine software updates will be handled automatically by connected cars. (Picture © Continental)

If you’re lucky enough to drive a car that has its own mobile internet network, you’re ahead of the curve. You’re driving what’s known as a connected car. As time passes, these vehicles will become fundamental to everything we do on the road. They’ll revolutionise how we think of transport and spend time in our cars. They’ll speed up the likelihood of full self-driving cars. And they’ll cut the number of crashes, one day maybe even making road deaths history. Here’s all you need to know about the connected car.

The beginnings of the connected 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?

Continue reading

Driving in France: which cars can visit Paris with Crit’Air emissions stickers?

Driving in France which cars are allowed in Paris using CritAir sticker system

British holiday makers planning to drive to France this summer are being warned to check their car meets emissions regulations, or they could find themselves fined up to £117 (€135) for entering some of the nation’s most popular city destinations.

Drivers attempting to visit Paris by car are most likely to be affected by changes to the Crit’Air anti-pollution scheme.

Previously, diesel cars that were built before 1997 were banned from cities, including the nation’s capital, due to their poor levels of toxic emissions.

Now authorities have introduced tougher minimum standards. No diesel car registered before 2001 will be permitted to enter Paris during weekdays. Other cities, including Lyon and Grenoble, are expected to follow its lead, which came into force from July. Continue reading

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

Diesel car sales fall but new tech could make it cleaner and greener

Diesel cars

Diesel cars are blamed for poor air quality courtesy of their exhaust emissions

Diesel car sales are falling as drivers turn their back on it because of health concerns. But diesel power is about to hit back with new technology designed to reduce harmful exhaust emissions.

Official figures show that sales of diesel cars were down in the UK by a fifth in May 2017 and by 15 per cent in June. That’s compared with the same period in the previous year. The slump is believed to have been caused by various factors. The high-profile Volkswagen diesel cheat device case raised people’s awareness of the harm of the nitrogen oxide (NOx) pollutants diesel produces. But people are also concerned that diesel cars may be slapped with hefty taxes.

However, we can reveal that diesel is hitting back. Automotive technology giant Continental has worked out how to make a much cleaner diesel car.

Why do we need diesel?

Continue reading

Car insurance premiums: why you’re paying more than ever for cover

Car insurance rises to record high average cost

Drivers of all ages are paying record amounts in car insurance premiums. And the Association of British Insurers (ABI) has warned there is no end in sight for the high cost of cover.

The reason for these spiralling prices is a cocktail of external factors. Here we look at why the cost of cover is going up, show where premiums are spent, and point the way to how drivers can save money on their motor insurance.

What’s the average price of UK car insurance?

Continue reading

Where to take your driving test if you want to pass it first time

Where to take your driving test if you want to pass first time

To many people, the driving test is a rite of passage. Like turning 16, heading off to university or arriving for the first day of work, ripping up the L-plates is something we all remember.

However, some drivers look back and feel a chill run down their spine. The driving test may have been one of the most stressful times of their life. And to make matters worse, it may have taken several attempts to pass.

All too often, that’s because they unwittingly sat the examination in an area with one of the lowest pass rates in the UK.

Believe it or not, at the UK’s toughest test centres, less than a third of candidates get their licence. The most successful areas see a staggering 80 per cent pass first time.

So the 1.5 million new drivers looking to pass every year should think carefully about where they take their theory and practical tests. Especially in light of the changes to the test, due to be introduced this December.

Plan ahead, and it could be as easy as mirror-signal-manoeuvre. Pick poorly and it could be more bump and grind.

Where’s best to take the driving test?

Continue reading

Expert advice: what to do with an overheating car

Overheating

Overheating cars used to be a familiar sight, stopped at the road side, bonnet up, steam pouring from the engine. Thankfully it’s not so common now as cars in general have become more robust.

But overheating – when the engine’s water literally boils – does occur. Here we look at why, what you can do if your car does overheat, and offer some tips on how to prevent it.

Why do cars need water?

Continue reading

Undercover shoppers ask if it’s too easy to get car finance with shock result

Undercover shoppers ask if it's too easy to get car finance

The young driver walked into the Audi showroom and gazed at the gleaming new cars. They looked a million dollars, but unfortunately the 24-year old driver was unemployed and didn’t expect he’d qualify for a loan to buy a new model. He was wrong.

Within minutes, a salesman says he’s confident that a new Audi A1, worth more than £15,000, could be the young man’s. Spend £215 a month, for 48 months, and he can hit the road. And after a final payment of nearly £7000, the car is his for keeps.

Despite being unemployed, the process of securing a loan to own the car was predicted to be straightforward.

A salesman says not having a job won’t make any difference. He explains: “We drop it down to the finance company, they’ll do a credit check on you. It’s not a case of you not having a job today and having a job tomorrow. We just need to see what the finance company says.”

However, the young man was an undercover reporter for the Daily Mail. He was one of a team that visited 22 dealerships. And the findings were prompted the question: is it too easy to get a car loan?  Continue reading

GAP insurance: what is it and do you need it?

gap insurance

The last thing you want is to have a car crash and then be left out of pocket

Having a car stolen or written off can be hugely stressful. For a start, you suddenly no longer have a car. There’s the fall-out from the incident itself. And then there’s the possibility that you’ll be out of pocket. That’s where GAP insurance comes in.

Guaranteed Asset Protection insurance, otherwise known as GAP, should ensure car owners aren’t left counting the cost of an unforeseen occurrence. You might now ask if that isn’t what regular motor insurance is for. The answer to that is yes… and no. But it’s worth taking the time to work out whether it might be worth protecting your investment with GAP.

Where GAP and comprehensive insurance differ

Continue reading