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Autonomous cars: we answer the 10 most important questions

autonomous cars

This may be what driving is like – one day (Picture © Volvo)

Autonomous cars are just around the corner. Or are they? It’s the tech everyone’s talking about, yet the reality is we know very little about it. And what we do know is confusingly bound up in reams of legislation. So, let’s try to find answers to 10 of the most obvious questions.

What are autonomous cars?

These are cars that use electronics to control the driving process. But there’s a difference between an autonomous or self-driving car and a driverless car. A self-driving car needs a driver at its helm. A driverless car doesn’t. While a driverless car must be self-driving, a self-driving car isn’t always driverless.

Will autonomous cars stop driving for fun?

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Brilliant bangers: five of the best cheap and cheerful cars for £1000

£1000 used cars: VW Bora is a brilliant banger that’s a VW Golf in disguise

Avoid the obvious when searching for a cheap car (Picture © Volkswagen)

Brilliant bangers don’t have to come in packs of six, ready for the frying pan or barbeque: they can also be some of the best value motors money can buy.

Choosing a used car on a £1000 budget calls for patience, detective work and an ability to resist the lure of luxury names. You’ll also need to read between the lines and not be tempted by classic sales patter: “First to see will buy”; “One lady owner”; “Starts every time”.

A full service history, all accompanying paperwork, verified mileage – clocking can be common – are just your starting points. Check the length of the MOT, find out when the next service is due (and how much it’s likely to cost) and don’t be put off by cosmetic blemishes if the car is mechanically tip-top. After all, you’re buying it to get from A to B for the least amount of money, not cruise London’s Kings Road in head-turning style.

A final tip is to try to build a picture of how reliable the car is likely to be. A helpful tool is the Reliability Index, provided by Warranty Direct, a leading provider of mechanical insurance for cars. With all that in place, start hunting out any of these brilliant bangers…

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How to check if your car needs manufacturer recall repairs

Recall repairs

Vehicle makers’ franchised dealers will carry out recall repairs free of charge (Picture © Mercedes)

A new service has been launched for drivers to check if their car needs to go in for manufacturer recall repairs. This work is called for when specific parts or systems prove faulty on a large number of similar cars. Recently, Vauxhall had to issue a second recall for its Zafira family car’s electrical components causing fires after the first fix proved ineffective. And in 2009, Toyota had to recall around nine million cars world wide, including 180,000 in Britain, because of a problem with unintended acceleration.

To enable drivers to check if their car has been subject to a recall, data company HPI has unveiled a new service to enable drivers to have someone carry out a recall check on their behalf. You simply enter the vehicle registration and HPI does the detective work for you, for £2.99. But it will only save you about 10 minutes and there are cheaper alternatives.

How to check for free if a car has been recalled

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