General election 2019: who’s offering what to Britain’s drivers

general election 2019
More electric car charging points feature strongly in all manifestos (Picture iStock/PlargeDoctor)

It may not have escaped your notice that there’s a general election this week. In the UK there were 45,775,800 people eligible to vote in December 2018. Of those, latest Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) figures show 40,861,015 hold driving licences.

With 89 per cent of voters also drivers, what do the political parties have to offer them? We’ve combed the manifestos of the eight parties represented in the UK Parliament until the general election 2019 to see what they’re promising drivers. The parties are ranked in order of the number of seats they currently hold.

The Conservative Party

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Catalytic converter and premium car thefts help fuel spike in car crime

catalytic converter
If you know what you’re doing it’s easy to steal CATs from exhausts for their valuable metals (Picture iStock/BanksPhotos)

Drivers shouldn’t just be worried about having their car stolen. They’re actually more likely to have something pinched from their car. And that could include the catalytic converter.

Figures from London’s Metropolitan Police reveal that in the first six months of 2019, thefts of this component, which makes up a part of the exhaust system, were nearly double the same period in 2018. We investigate the problem and give tips on how you can avoid being a victim of car (and CAT) crime.

Why are catalytic converters stolen?

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Expert advice: how to know if your car is suffering brake trouble

brake trouble
Sudden brake failure is unlikely but faulty brakes still cause crashes (Picture iStock/RapidEye)

Some recent research reveals faulty brakes is the most common vehicle defect to end up causing an accident. The study of official figures by brake maker Pagid showed that dodgy brakes caused 15 deaths in 2018. In the last five years it says 64 deaths have been caused by brake trouble.

We should all check our brakes regularly and if you have any doubts about the system working properly, stop driving and have your car seen to by a professional. Here are some of the main symptoms of faulty brakes, what they mean in real terms, and what you should do about them.

Brake trouble: Soft pedal

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10 of the best mobile phone apps for drivers

Mobile phone apps
There are some great free mobile navigation apps (Picture iStock/Svetikd)

Mobile phone apps are a way of life for many of us. And unsurprisingly there are loads out there aimed specifically at drivers. Some are better than others so we’ve chosen 10 that we think are among the best.

All the ones we’ve picked are available for either iPhone iOS or Google Android operating platforms. And all are free. That said, some do have upgrade options that you can pay for if you choose.

Do remember that it’s illegal to hold your mobile phone while you’re driving. You must control it via a Bluetooth headset or voice command, or while it’s safely located in a dashboard or windscreen mount. But we’d advise drivers to program destinations into navigation apps before they set off.

10 Great mobile phone apps

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Would you repair your car with second-hand parts? We reveal all

second-hand car parts
Engines can be remanufactured using a mix of existing and new parts (Picture iStock/Vladru)

Would you use recycled or second-hand parts on your car? Online auction platform eBay thinks more of us ought to in order to save the planet. And used parts will be cheaper and save us money too. But what are the risks? We investigate.

What are these second-hand parts?

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Expert advice: all about the airbags in your car

airbags
Airbags are designed to soften the impact for car occupants (Picture iStock/Therry)

One high tech feature of all modern cars that I never hope you see is the airbag. These are designed to inflate milliseconds after an impact and work with the seatbelts to prevent you hitting any hard surfaces in the car.

They can go wrong but thankfully it’s not something we see very often. But it’s still worth knowing a bit about airbags.

Which cars have airbags?

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Quiz: how much do you know about electric cars?

electric cars quiz
Cars like the electric Kia Soul are becoming increasingly popular. How much do you know about the electric car phenomenon? (Picture Kia)

Drivers are waking up to the cheap running costs and eco benefits of battery-powered motors. But sales of electric models are still lagging a long way behind conventionally fuelled cars.

In the first nine months of 2019, official figures show that just 1.3 per cent of cars sold are battery electric vehicles. The vast majority are still petrol or diesel.

However, new research by transport group TRL has revealed that half of us are considering buying an electric car as our main or second motor within the next five years. And if the range increased to 300 miles per charge, 90 per cent would consider buying them.

Take our cunning quiz to find out how much you know about electric cars.

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Cashless parking catches drivers out. Here’s why it’s costing millions

cashless parking
Should you be penalised if you can’t do this and only have cash? (Picture iStock/MartinPrescott)

Drivers who’ve been fined for not being able to pay at cashless parking meters are being urged to contest the penalty. New research conducted by the Mail On Sunday has found that around a third of parking meters are now cash free.

That means drivers must pay with a debit or credit card or via a telephone hotline or mobile phone app. But what happens if you can’t?

Drivers penalised for not going cashless

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New MOT test is tougher but more cars pass it

new mot test

The government revamped the MOT test in May 2018 to make it tougher. But its first year in operation has seen a significant decrease in the number of vehicles failing the annual test.

Under the previous rules, around four in 10 cars (about 40 per cent) that took their MOT every year failed it. However, the first year of the new tougher test saw only about one in three cars (33 per cent) declared unroadworthy by testers.

Millions of cars taken off the road

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