As if diesel didn’t have enough on its plate, now experts are saying that cars powered by the fuel are less reliable than petrol motors. The majority of complaints around diesel have been down to its environmental credentials. However, a new report shows that diesel cars could be three times more likely to break down than their petrol equivalent and up to 20 per cent more expensive to fix.
How unreliable are diesel cars?
When is a flat battery not a flat battery? When it’s a problem with glow plugs. OK, that’s a bit simplistic but frequently people breakdown with what they think is a battery problem, only for it to turn out to be the glow plugs that are at fault.
The reason is that diesel engines use these heaters to help them start. In warmer weather they’re not as necessary. However, when the weather gets cold, glow plugs are vital. That’s why in November 2017, the number of call outs Green Flag attended for glow plug problems rose by 112 per cent. Read on to find out what the problem is and how you can diagnose it.
What are glow plugs?
Hyper milers: Paul Clifton (left) and Ian McKean with their diesel Ford Fiesta (Picture © Ford)
Failing to achieve the fuel economy that their car is claimed to return is one of the most common grumbles among drivers.
So what would you say if simple driving tips could improve your car’s economy? And in some cases it might even climb by a staggering 60 per cent compared with the manufacturer’s figures.
Most of us would raise an eyebrow and wonder if it’s really possible. But these aren’t the claims of sharp-suited sales execs; they’re perfectly practical tips from normal drivers that anyone can put into practice.
As London brings forward the introduction date of its new Ultra Low Emission Zone and the government prepares to unveil “toxin taxes” on diesel cars driving into cities across England, rumours persist of a diesel scrappage scheme for motorists.
Up to 35 cities across England could introduce charges aimed at reducing pollution from diesel-powered vehicles, following the lead set by London. The move is an attempt to address chronic air pollution in parts of the UK, which is said to contribute to the deaths of up to 40,000 people a year.
Now politicians, industry representatives and driver groups are calling for a UK scrappage scheme, to help drivers replace the oldest and most polluting diesel cars.
The last scrappage scheme, in 2009, helped breathe life back into a flagging car industry, by giving £2000 in return for any car over 10-years old that was part-exchanged for a new vehicle. Could a similar incentive help replace the oldest diesel-powered cars?
Air pollution means cars with high emissions could be prevented from entering Paris or Lyon
As millions of Britons make plans for their Easter or summer holidays, travellers driving to France must ensure that their car has an emissions sticker when visiting Paris or Lyon – the two largest cities in France.
The sticker system has been introduced to help tackle air pollution in city environments, and is active in Grenoble, as well. Other French cities are likely to join the scheme.
Called Crit’Air, it effectively bans old cars from city centres during weekdays and will allow authorities to restrict which cars are permitted to enter cities.
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?
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?