Do you know your catalytic converter from air-con compressor and your spark plugs from your shock absorbers? You don’t have to be a mechanic to know the most basic car parts. But if you give a motor more than a cursory glance over, which components can you identify? Take our cunning quiz to find out how much you really know.
How old is your car? If it’s getting on for the best part of 10-years old, don’t feel any shame in not keeping up with the Joneses: the average age of motors on UK roads is rising.
The typical vehicle is now 8.1 years, the oldest since 2000. The figures for all cars and light vans licensed in 2017 suggest that more drivers and businesses are holding on to their vehicle to help make ends meet.
Analysis by The Times shows that over the past two decades, the proportion of the very oldest cars on Britain’s roads – those more than 13-years old – has almost tripled in the last two decades.
So what’s causing more drivers to keep their car for longer?
We all know running a car is an expensive business. But exactly how costly is it? Over an average driver’s lifetime, do you think motoring will cost tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of pounds?
Now we’ve got some answers. Two lots of research have come up with figures. While neither agrees with the other, both concur: running a car is more costly than many of us think. According to finance company MyJar, people will start forking out for motoring aged 17 and go on until they’re 80. MoneySuperMarket meanwhile looks at the cost over a car’s lifetime. Read on to find out what they think you’ll spend.
How much is the cost of motoring over a lifetime?
There are certain car faults you associate with cold weather and brake trouble probably isn’t one of them. But in the recent spell of extreme cold weather Green Flag saw a dramatic increase in call outs to do with braking systems.
The number of cars experiencing calliper problems increased by 52 per cent. And drivers having trouble with handbrake cables was up by 77 per cent. Read on to find out how brake faults happen and what you can do to rectify them.
Why do brakes jam on?
Back in the day, oil was oil. It came out of the ground and as long as it was the right viscosity for the engine, we’d trust it to do the job. Now there are effectively three kinds of oil: mineral, synthetic and semi-synthetic. And I’m frequently asked: “Should I use synthetic oil for my car?”
I’ve already spoken about the grade of oil drivers should choose for their cars. But once you’ve decided on that, what are the benefits of synthetic oil?
What is synthetic oil?
For many drivers, the cost of keeping their vehicle properly maintained and road legal can be a real worry. And studies show drivers dread taking their car into garages thanks to overuse of technical jargon and the fear of being ripped off.
A lot of drivers find just remembering the MOT is a trial: a quarter (27 per cent) don’t know when their annual test is due, never mind how much possible repairs might cost them. But what if you had a qualified technician on your side? And what if they oversaw any work that needed doing to your car and could get preferential rates as well? Green Flag Smart Service provides exactly that, and it’s available for all Green Flag customers at no extra cost as an added benefit of your breakdown cover.
What is Green Flag Smart Service?
There are no end of motoring myths. Most drivers will know at least a handful: sometimes they’re true, but often they’re stories that need to be shown the red light.
From the speed limit on a dual carriageway, to sounding a car’s horn in the small hours of the morning, driving in flip-flops to using an egg to repair an engine’s radiator, they can seem as confusing as the Spaghetti Junction.
To help sort the facts from fiction, we’ve pulled together 10 tricky questions for a motoring myths quiz. Which is driving delusion and which is as factual as the Highway Code?
If there were no emissions standards, pollution would still be this bad
Whether you’re looking to buy a new car or you’re working out where you can use your existing model, it won’t be long before you have to know its emissions standard.
This will tell you whether you have to pay the Toxicity Charge before driving into central London. It is also useful for knowing whether you can take advantage of one of the many car maker scrappage schemes around. And it’ll even help you convince the doubting Thomas next door that your new diesel could well be cleaner than their old petrol.
Read on to find out more about emissions standards and how you tell what your car’s is.
What are emissions standards?
Dealing with complaints for an entire year probably won’t seem like anyone’s idea of a good time. But that is exactly what the Motor Ombudsman was set up for. And after a year of resolving disputes between drivers and garages, the organisation says complaints remain high.
Founded last November, the Motor Ombudsman is a voluntary and fully impartial private sector organisation to regulate the motor industry. With a code of practice set out by the Chartered Trading Standards Institute, it offers drivers a free dispute resolution service. This covers areas including car sales, servicing, repair, and warranty problems. Read on to find out what’s been driving motorists round the bend in 2017.
What is making people complain?
By 2040 the government expects all new cars on sale in Britain to be either electric or hybrid. But drivers who want to embrace these cars for their low emissions had better prepare themselves for an electric shock with a difference: high insurance bills.
A study of electric cars currently on sale has shown that drivers who want to ‘go green’ will have to pay 45 per cent more for insurance than the average motorist.
It means the rising number of drivers buying electric cars could see any potential savings, such as lower ‘fuel’ bills, wiped out by costly cover. So far this year, sales of electric vehicles (EVs) have risen by 37 per cent over 2016. Here’s what drivers need to know before switching to an electric car.
Electric cars: are they more expensive to insure? Continue reading