‘Secret’ car tax increases hit drivers

car tax increases

Fed up with paying too much to go motoring? Here’s some bad news: amid all the furore of Brexit, the government has sneakily pushed through car tax increases. Revealed in the November budget, but not spoken about in the chancellor’s statement, the increases are in line with inflation.

The result is the cost of motoring will increase further from the beginning of April 2019. Read on to find out how much you’ll have to pay from now on.

How old is your car?

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Pothole update: decline in roads stemmed but not by enough report finds

Think of a pothole that you either hit or narrowly avoided. You probably won’t find it hard to recall because the state of our roads continues to worsen, despite increased government money aimed at tackling our crumbling carriageways.

But while local authorities do their best to patch up the nation’s roads, the annual independent report into their sorry state makes for depressing reading. Here’s what the 2019 ALARM survey found.

How many potholes are there nationwide?

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Quiz: How well do you know recent Highway Code changes?

highway code changes

The Highway Code will never rank as a right riveting read. So it’s possibly no surprise that a third say they haven’t read the rules of the road since passing their driving test. And according to Halfords Autocentres’ research one in five haven’t read it for at least 10 years.

But while the Highway Code is hardly a page turner, it is vital drivers keep up to date with it. Our road environment, not to mention the technology aboard our cars, is changing at an astonishing rate. And the Highway Code is updated on a rolling basis to reflect this. Between 2015 and 2018, the rules of the road have been updated 48 times. Take our quiz to find out how up to date you are.

10 recent Highway Code changes

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Expert advice: What to do with a chipped windscreen

chipped windscreen
As soon as cracks like these start spreading you can’t repair them. But that isn’t always the case… (Picture iStock/LivingImages)

You might have noticed many of our roads are in a pretty shocking state. And a degrading road surface doesn’t just mean potholes, it also results in debris on the road surface. These small stones can be thrown up and hit the screen of following vehicles. On a 30mph road, that small stone will probably have an impact speed with the glass at the equivalent of 40-50 mph. It’s hardly surprising then that there’s a decent chance it’ll take a chunk out of whatever it hits.

If debris hits the windscreen and damages it, there are plenty of reasons to get it fixed. After all, if a windscreen is chipped in certain areas it’s an instant MOT failure. Here’s what I think you should do, why, when and how.

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The reasons why you should give your car a wash this spring

Spring car wash

Spring has sprung, the bulbs are coming up and the birds are getting frisky. But chances are, your motor is looking far from perky, wearing the cloak of winter in the mucky form of an all-encompassing film of dirt. With warm weather (hopefully) just around the corner, now’s the time to get out and give your car a good clean. There are plenty of good reasons to. Here we list nine of them.

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Brexit: what you need to know about driving in the EU if there’s ‘no deal’

If you’re bored with the B word, we’ve got some bad news: Brexit really is the gift that keeps on giving. And whether you support it or not, it could well change how we all drive abroad. Sadly, that doesn’t mean life is going to get any easier or involve less admin.

Whether you’re taking a car abroad or planning to drive a hire car once you get to a foreign country it’s likely you’ll have to apply for some paperwork. Read on to find out what you’ll need – if we leave the European Union/European Economic Area (EEA) without a deal.

What sort of driving licence do you need?

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The zip merging debate: is it perfect sense or pushing in? We find out

zip merging

Are you driving in the closed lane on the left, or queuing patiently on the right? (Picture © Alamy)

The debate on how you merge into moving traffic when the lane you’re driving in closes is a fierce one. Do you stay in the closing lane to the very end, then merge in turn with the traffic in the open lane? Or do you move out of the closing lane as soon as you possibly can?

It’s a bit like whether you put cream on a scone before the jam or vice versa. Or perhaps even more fundamentally, whether you pronounce the word scone like ‘own’ or the other way. The law states that we should merge in turn, better known as zip merging. Yet only around a quarter of drivers (27 per cent) know this is the correct thing to do. Read on to find out why people who stay in the closing lane aren’t doing anything wrong.

What usually happens

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Valentine’s Day quiz: how much of a car lover are you really?

Is this you? Or aren’t you that passionate about your car? Our quiz tells all (Pictures iStockimages)

Valentine’s Day is coming up and it’s time to shower the one – or perhaps ones! – you love with gifts and attention. But where does your car rank in your affections? Will you be showing it how much you care this year? Or don’t you really care for it at all? Take our quiz to find out how much love you lavish on your car.

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Expert advice: try my car cold weather hacks on freezing mornings

cold weather hacks

Follow our tips below and this need not be you (Picture iStock/sonsam)

Standing outside on freezing cold mornings scraping ice off your car has to be down there with visits to the dentist and paying tax. All are necessary for very good reasons but that doesn’t make them enjoyable.

I can’t help you with your teeth or tax, but I can give you some pointers to make it easier to get your car ready for the road in the mornings.

Air-con’s your friend

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Expert advice: why your stop-start might not be working in cold weather

Stop-start

Is your car’s stop-start system on the blink at the moment? If it isn’t working as you think it should, there might be a very good reason for it. Stop-start is designed to save you fuel and cut a car’s exhaust emissions by reducing the amount of time your engine sits idling without going anywhere. And it’s on nine out of every 10 new cars sold. But if it stops stopping, is it a problem? And should you take your car to the garage?

It might be due to the cold weather

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