Emissions

Drivers at risk from poisonous pollution in cars, expert says

Poisonous pollution

All cars have cabin air filters but new research shows they may not be that effective (Picture iStock/ahirao_photo)

A new study reveals that millions of drivers could be being poisoned by the air in their car. The claims come after researchers from a company specialising in motoring pollution tested 11 popular cars.

We’ve already revealed the bacteria living in car air-con. Now a study has found that some new models do little to protect occupants from dirty air coming in via filters in the ventilation system. Nick Molden, whose company Emissions Analytics was behind the report, said: “Our research suggests many vehicles are a risk to their drivers’ health.”

Which cars did badly?

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Spot the warning signs of the five most common faults in new cars

How to spot the warning signs of the five most common faults in new cars

For some drivers, the excitement of a showroom-fresh motor is short lived. Car faults can frequently take the pleasure out of owning a new motor.

At least, that’s the view of members of consumer champion Which?. Nearly 45,000 owners of cars aged up to three-years old were asked to rate their motor for reliability. Yet despite many of the vehicles still having that new-car smell, a surprising number of problems reared their head.

Here are the five most common faults that occur in a new car’s first three years of driving. And we’ve added the symptoms to help you understand if your car might be suffering from one.

Fault 1: Exhaust or emission control system Continue reading

Diesels less reliable than petrols and pricier to fix, report claims

Diesels less reliable

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?

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Modifying cars: what can you and can’t you do?

Modifying cars

Once upon a time this would have been a humble family runabout…

We all like to give things our personal touch and modifying cars is no different. But while it might please you to make parts of your car bigger, brighter, faster and louder, it could land you in hot water.

For a start, the law takes a dim view of cars that aren’t considered roadworthy. And insurers may even refuse to pay out if you modify a car without telling them. Here we look at what you can and can’t do to your car. And whatever you decide, make sure you do it with safety in mind and that you inform your insurer.

In-car entertainment

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Choosing a replacement exhaust: what to look for and why to shop around

Choosing a replacement exhaust: what to look for and why it pays to shop around

If your car has ever needed a replacement exhaust you’ll know just how expensive this essential mechanical component can be. As it’s such a pricey part, it pays to know what to look for and it’s important to shop around. That might seem daunting, but the potential price savings alone should convince you research is time well spent.

The exhaust is an essential part of your car. It keeps the engine healthy and ensures the emissions being pumped out do as little harm as possible to the surrounding environment. But over time, the effects of high temperatures, water and grime, the occasional bash from a speed hump and general wear and tear from continuous movement mean it can end up needing replacing.

Here’s the exhaustive low down on repairing or replacing a car’s exhaust.

Signs you need a replacement exhaust

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Emissions standards: what they are and how to tell what your car’s is

Emissions standards

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?

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Is your car affected by the £10 London T-Charge and how do you pay it?

Is your car affected by the £10 London T-Charge and how do you pay it?

The new London T-Charge has been introduced in an attempt to reduce the number of polluting cars in the capital. But drivers are already being warned that the Mayor of London wants to introduce harsher measures.

The T-Charge or ‘Toxicity Charge’ has been brought in to help tackle air pollution. This is estimated to cause the premature deaths of 9000 people a year. Here we explain which vehicles are affected by the T-Charge, how much it costs, when it operates and how to pay – and what to do if car owners need to pay a Penalty Charge Notice.

What is the London T-Charge?

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Diesel and petrol car ban: what does it mean for Britain’s drivers?

Diesel and petrol car ban what does it mean for Britain's drivers?

The government’s announcement that diesel and petrol cars will be banned in Britain from 2040, as a way of tackling air pollution, has led to widespread confusion amongst drivers.

Common concerns include the impact on residual values of used diesel and petrol cars; the relatively high cost of new electric cars; whether hybrid cars will still be available; and how the industry and infrastructure will cope.

We try to tackle these concerns, and more, based on the limited information currently available.

Why ban petrol and diesel cars?

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Drivers travelling to France require an emissions sticker to enter Paris, Lyon or Grenoble

Drivers travelling to France require an emissions sticker to enter Paris, Lyon or Grenoble

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.

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Choosing the best car: top 10 diesel and petrol cars with the lowest nitrogen oxide emissions

Nitrogen oxide emissions

It’s not easy being a driver who wants to do their bit and buy a car with the lowest nitrogen oxide emissions. These NOx are harmful pollutants emitted by cars that are estimated to contribute to over 30,000 premature deaths a year in the UK. Information about a car’s NOx levels has been hard to come by as, for obvious reasons, vehicle manufacturers tend to advertise cars’ fuel economy or performance rather than the nasty particulates pumped out of exhausts.

But now a new website allows drivers to see just how polluting Britain’s most popular makes and model of car are when used in normal, everyday driving conditions.

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